A British Brexiteer, a man named Jacob Rees-Mogg, the MP from North East Somerset, has been known to campaign with his nanny in tow:
(“Rees-Mogg later clarified he had been driving his mother’s Mercedes Benz during canvassing – and not the Bentley that soon made him a source of public ridicule.
“The nanny bit is right,” Rees-Mogg confirmed in 2013.”)
He has written a book about his Victorian heroes. In its first week it sold 734 copies. Including the chains such as Waterstones, there are well over 1,000 bookstores in the United Kingdom.
This warms my heart, that with the publishing and promotional heft of Penguin Books, there must have been shops whose discerning readers declined to buy a single copy of the book from a politician with a voting record like this:
“Boris Johnson is facing widespread criticism after claiming to have voted Conservative in the local elections despite living in an area where they were not taking place.”
You could make this stuff up, but who would think to?
Today in the Brexit saga,
“Kent is going full steam ahead with its contingency plans to prevent gridlock on its roads in the event of congestion in Dover or Calais.
Concrete barriers have already been erected on the main port artery in Kent, with a section of the London-bound M20 between junction 8 and junction 9 now operating as a 50mph contraflow for normal traffic. Work on signage will be completed over the weekend.
The coastbound section will be closed off to all but lorry traffic from next week to allow Highways England to carry out a dry run to cope with possible chaos after 11pm on 29 March.”
“Manston airport near Ramsgate is in the final stages of preparation for use as a lorry park for up to 6,000 heavy goods vehicles in the event of gridlock.
Councillors will also hear from adult social care and health officers who have plans to minimise the risk of disruption to admissions of patients to hospitals, residential care homes and the supply of fuel, medication, cleaning and sanitation products.
Schools have also been issued with Brexit guidelines warning them to think twice before closing down in the event that staff cannot make it through the gridlock.”
From UK’s emergency plans for no-deal Brexit begin to be put into action in The Guardian.
Michael Hirsh writes elsewhere today that
“Britain’s humiliation has been a powerful lesson for even the most virulent populists and nationalists within the EU, rendering the idea of full exit all but unthinkable, a new political third rail.”
That may be wishful thinking, for also today, across the channel and just up the road, comes news that Far-right Forum for Democracy wins most seats in Dutch provincial elections.
All this time I’ve taken it on faith that the United Kingdom’s “Europe” debate has primarily been an internal Tory affair, to which the ruling party has held the rest of the country hostage. But yesterday the wider parliament, acting as the collective decision-making body for the country and comprising all the parties, failed to muster even the minimal political dexterity to stave off crashing out of the EU without an agreement.
It looks as if the entire political class is unable to govern. It looks like a shambles.
Let’s just call it “gold custody services.”
Windy and gray on our side of the hill today. Looks like an indoor weekend in the southern Appalachians.
The theme of today’s weekend reading recommendations is big European countries in turmoil.
– The Divided Kingdom by Helen Dale
– Labour’s Brexit trilemma: in search of the least bad outcome by Laurie MacFarlane
– How Ireland Outmaneuvered Britain on Brexit by Dara Doyle
– Notes on the Yellow Jackets by Claire Berlinski
– Macron Fans the Flames of Illiberalism by Pankaj Mishra
– Two Roads for the New French Right by Mark Lilla
– What Will Follow Emmanuel Macron? by Sarah Jones
– From Sans Culottes to Gilets Jaunes: Macron’s Marie Antoinette Moment by Sylvain Cypel
– How Macron gave Italian populists a boost by Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli
– The Dangerous New Face of Salvini’s Italy by Walter Mayr
Enjoy your weekend. See you next week.
“What invariably kills Tory governments, in the end, is private affluence and public squalor. Today too few Conservatives are sufficiently conservative: they seldom speak of the value of community, of the shared institutions that bind us together and give purpose, dignity and meaning to our lives. And so, Britain crumbles. “
– from Crumbling Britain: thousands like my elderly aunt suffer as the public realm decays by Jason Crowley