‘BREXFAST’ and I’ve not even had breakfast yet.
The Daily Mirror comes up with that coinage on its front page today after the Brexit vote in the Commons, suggesting that Theresa May is ready for a swift exit.
A skim through the headlines is instructive this morning. Before doing that, let’s rewind to the story about David Cameron asking the owner of the Daily Mail to sack its rabidly pro-Brexit editor, Paul Dacre, in the run-up to last year’s referendum.
If you are lucky enough not to be familiar with Mr Dacre, he is to journalism what Lord Voldemort is to Harry Potter. He uses his dark arts to produce a newspaper which is read by many people and disparaged by many others.
Newsnight reported that Cameron approached Lord Rothermere with this request, although a spokesman for the former prime minister said: “It is wrong to suggest that David Cameron believed he could determine who edits the Daily Mail.”
Wrong perhaps, but highly plausible, because you can just see Cameron doing that, privilege speaking unto privilege and hoping for a favour.
Cameron is also said to have asked the famously unbending editor to “cut him some slack”, but Dacre declined and jumped right back on his Brexit barge.
When Dacre later heard of Cameron’s attempt to have him removed, he is said to have been “incandescent”, although a cautious glance at his newspaper suggests he spends his life glowing with rage. I imagine you could warm your hands on the man.
The result was that Dacre barged even harder for Brexit, and he is still giving it a shove this morning with the headline: “WE HAVE LIFT-OFF” imposed over a photograph of Winston Churchill’s statue outside the Houses of Parliament.
A frankly obnoxious sub-heading says: “But 114 MPs betray will of the people.” What a typical piece of cranked-up outrage. Perhaps those MPs were speaking up for those who voted to stay in Europe – are they no longer allowed a voice?
The Mail, the Daily Express and the Sun consistently batter out a pro-Brexit message – endlessly disparaging anyone who disagrees, and turning a narrow referendum margin into the will of all the people to rush for the hardest Brexit possible.
It is the fashion to coin a phrase for what comes next and my entry for this game is Blind Brexit. That’s what we are doing, preparing to take a leap of blind faith as we follow Mrs Maybe to the edge of the cliff.
The headlines do offer some caution, with the i-newspaper summing up the feelings of many: “Britain takes step into the unknown.” That’s it exactly, isn’t it?
The Guardian reports that “a fifth of Labour MPs defy Corbyn as Brexit bill passes” – something picked up by another sub-heading on the Mail’s front page: “Labour meltdown as 47 defy Corbyn.”
What a shambles Labour has been over Brexit – and all praise to York Central MP Rachael Maskell for quitting the shadow cabinet over her leader’s order that his MPs had to vote for Article 50.
A while ago anyone who criticised Jeremy Corbyn came in for abuse from the sainted scrum of his supporters. I haven’t asked for a while, but do you think they have seen the light yet? Corbyn seems like a walking disaster to me. And the often-disparaged Lib-Dems are looking a more attractive option under Tim Farron.
Let’s end with a cheer for Labour MEP Seb Dance who said he had a “screw it moment” when he held up a sign saying “He’s lying to you” with an arrow pointing at Nigel Farage as the former Ukip leader gave a speech in the European parliament.
It’s a shame someone hasn’t been doing that for years, although the editing machine in my head always adds just such a sign. Along with a few unprintables.