Bernard Ingham: Toil and trouble as parties descend into a total mess

bernard Ingham takes Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and other leads to task this week.
bernard Ingham takes Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and other leads to task this week.
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IT is the fashion in the free world these days for politics to be in a mess.

The US has President Donald Trump. Enough said. Europe is beset by a revolt against untrammelled immigration. As a result, even Sweden, that haven of social democracy, has swung to the Right.

Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable at his party's conference in Brighton this week.

Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable at his party's conference in Brighton this week.

And our party conference season will show, from this week, that our politicians are taking the buttered biscuit for utter disarray.

First up, the Liberal Democrats are seeking not their perpetuation but a grand coalition of the centre. This is another term for a retirement home for Remainers to moan along with their geriatric current leader, Sir Vincent Cable, who understandably wishes to retire.

Then Labour’s party conference will be bawling “Ooh, Jeremy Corbyn” in support of a political curiosity who, if not stopped by the more rational lump of his party, could kill our democracy as well as the economy.

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I can guarantee that Mr Corbyn would create a couple of dozen new jobs – for labour correspondents, a role I once played in the 1960s when I was more accurately called a strike reporter.

This species was virtually extinguished by Margaret Thatcher’s trade union reforms.

Whether labour correspondents would have any strikes to cover is another matter, given the devastation we can confidently predict when Len McCluskey and other union leaders on £100,000-a-year or more are inflicted on the economy.

There is, of course, one proviso: Shadow Chancellor’s John McDonnell’s plan for worker shareholdings. A share-owning democracy is more concerned to maximise profits rather than to wreck the joint.

This was illustrated when, in 1986, Margaret Thatcher laid the keel at Barrow for the first Trident nuclear submarine.

Those who booed her were predominantly contract workers, not the 82 per cent of the workforce who had shares in the privatised VSEL shipbuilders.

My story of political chaos continues with Ukip apparently on its way out as its members return whence they mostly came, to the Tories, to make sure Brexit really does mean Brexit.

Which brings me to our fractured Tory Government, reeking with plots to oust Theresa May. Will the necessary 48 MPs force a vote of confidence in her before next week’s Tory Party conference or will sanity prevail? You can never be sure with the Stupid Party.

What do they fear? That the indomitable Mrs May will become a heroine by actually bringing home the Brexit bacon either by accepting an EU compromise even they cannot reject or being forced by Brussels’ malevolent intransigence to redeem herself by chucking Chequers, the Government’s current negotiating stance?

It is, frankly, difficult to understand many politicians both at home and abroad. You can excuse the EU Commission which doesn’t care what the people feel. It is, after all, a bureaucracy that knows best.

But there is no excuse for politicians like Angela Merkel for causing political crises across Europe by welcoming immigrants from the Middle East and Africa by the million.

Our variety should know by now what works and what doesn’t. They know – as most certainly should the Archbishop of Canterbury in posturing at the TUC conference – that capitalism operates to the benefit the populace like no other system yet invented by man, though amoral excesses by capitalists always have to be curbed.

They also know – or should know – that Communism, Marxism and Leftish dictatorships do not. Just look at Russia, where 20 per cent are still below the poverty line 101 years after the Revolution. Just look at the shambles to which Venezuela has been reduced. And just look at the hopeless oppression forced on millions of Africans.

Ordinary folks deserve better than this. Yet the Remainers lust after a federal Europe that is creaking under the weight of a single currency causing unemployment, and revolting over immigration caused primarily by brutal African and Middle Eastern politicians.

Meanwhile, the Corbynistas can’t wait to chuck money around to the tune of half a trillion pounds that we don’t have and to hell with our grandchildren.

You might reasonably have thought that the average Tory would regard the prospect of Britain under Corbyn/McDonnell doctrine and iron heel of Momentum as a fate worse than death.

Yet they persist in tearing their party apart – even in the face of a referendum’s instruction – and risking a general election that, given their internecine war, could see Corbyn slip into No 10.

Shakespeare’s witches could not have bubbled up more toil and trouble than the party conference season offers us over the next fortnight.