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WE ARE in the middle of a deep political crisis prompted by the “prorogation” of Parliament. But the man who drew up Boris Johnson’s prorogation plan remains in the background.
Which will suit the Tories, because the rogue behind prorogation is actually a Brexit Party supporter. Johnson’s big gamble is based on a scheme from further to the right of the Tory Party.
Prorogation, suspending Parliament, to get through Brexit has been hovering around the right wing since January.
Johnson has gone for a low-fat version of “Plan Prorogue.” Instead of completely suspending Parliament so the Cabinet could push through Brexit without MPs being able to get involved, he is using prorogation to severely limit the time MPs can discuss Brexit.
Johnson wanted to squeeze MPs’ votes on Brexit so as to force them to choose between his no-deal crash-out of the EU and putting Jeremy Corbyn into government.
The plan looks to have backfired. It led to big protests, with demonstrators calling prorogation a “coup” to force through no deal.
In turn this led to 21 Tory MPs opposing Johnson’s move, even at the cost of being forced out of the party.
Prorogation split his party and unified the opposition.
Given prorogation has not looked so clever, Johnson and co have kept quiet about where they got the idea. This is how it happened.
A Tory backbencher, Desmond Swayne, proposed prorogation to then PM Theresa May this January — but only as a joke.
Swayne told May: “To guarantee Brexit, the Prime Minister should prorogue Parliament until April — tempting, isn’t it?”
May got that this was a cheeky wisecrack. She said she would not be “tempted” to prorogue because missing her regular parliamentary chats with Swayne would make her “very sad.”
So far, so haha.
But then a very right-wing commentator called Gerald Warner made a serious case for Brexit-by-prorogation in a very right-wing online magazine called Reaction.
So prorogation is a plan launched by a magazine which is quite literally aimed at reactionaries.
Warner is a supporter of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. He is currently praising the “radical and imaginative approach” of “Nigel Farage’s people” and claiming “the Tory Party may be on its last legs.”
So the hard-right prorogation plan that has split the Tories actually comes from outside, and to the right of the party.
Warner was a Tory in the 1990s, serving as a special adviser to then Tory Scottish secretary Michael Forsyth.
But Warner was so repelled by David Cameron’s “modernising” that by 2010 he argued that “the only hope for the Conservative Party” was the Tories losing an election.
According to one interview, Warner wanted Cameron to lose so the Tories would stop championing the “homosexualist movement.”
Worse than that, Warner claimed Cameron had led the Tories so far left that the Conservative Party was now promoting the “cultural Marxist agenda of the Frankfurt School.”
The idea that Cameron was a “cultural Marxist” sounds absurd, but it is also sinister. Believing something called “cultural Marxism” is undermining Western society is a conspiracy theory believed by the far right — for example, appearing in the manifesto of Brenton Tarrant, who murdered 51 people in mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand this year.
Warner’s argument on prorogation was picked up in turn by William Rees-Mogg. The Tories have every interest in not admitting that the prorogation plan in fact originates from Warner.
The last thing they want known is that their over-the-top scheme, which is already splitting their party, actually came from the weirder thinkers to the right of the Tories.
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