STEVE ANGLESEY rounds up the losers and losers (because there are no winners) of another crazy seven days on Planet Brexit
10 Russell Brand
Asked on Newsnight if he supports Brexit, the increasingly precious former comedian replied: ‘To be honest, I source my emotional connection to politics beyond those kind of parameters.’ Sadly, Rusty later slipped back into his bad old ways when he described Jacob Rees-Mogg as ‘winky Thatcher.’
9 Anne Marie Waters
The UKIP leadership favourite warmed up for this weekend’s conference approvingly retweeting a photo showing the worst trio since Fast Food Rockers – Frauke Petry of Germany’s alt-right AfD party out at dinner with Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen.
So that’s open fangirling for a woman who said German border guards should ‘use firearms if necessary’ to stop illegal border crossings, for a man convicted of inciting discrimination in the Netherlands and for a woman who compared seeing Muslims praying in the streets of Paris to the Nazi occupation of France. Just a sneak preview of how the ‘Kippers will look under Anne Marie ‘I am not a racist or a neo-fascist’ Waters!
The online bank for migrants and expats has leased Vote Leave’s infamous campaign bus and painted it blue as part of an advertising campaign promoting the ideas that customers will be able to transfer 350 million euros between UK and EU-based accounts with no fee. All right, there have been far worse PR stunts, but Monese make this list purely for delaying the Tragic Bus from reaching what should be its final destination: Parked outside Boris Johnson’s house, with its original red livery and slogan, wheelless and with its engine on fire, forever.
7 Theresa May
Her Florence speech included the line: ‘I want to repeat to the 600,000 Italians in the UK that we want you to stay.’
Actual number of Italian nationals living in the UK in 2016, according to official statistics published in August? Just 233,000. After the foreign student overstayers, another example of fantasy migrant numbers from May.
6 Woody Johnson
Donald Trump’s new ambassador to the UK came out for Brexit (‘I feel comfortable that you made the right decision’) in a Telegraph interview in which he claimed his orange-faced, tiny-handed boss ‘does not get a fair press… it is a very organised effort by the media to undermine him every step of the way.’
This was unfortunate timing as, a few hours after the interview was concluded, Trump began his attacks on African-American NFL players who kneel in protest during pre-game national anthems. The team Johnson owns, the New York Jets, linked arms in solidarity with their colleagues and against Trump before Sunday’s win over the Miami Dolphins. Even the ambassador’s brother Christopher, now in day-to-day control of the team while Woody is in London, felt it necessary to join in.
5 Michael Gove
Should psychiatrists examine the environment secretary for evidence of Stockholm syndrome? Thanks to Tim Shipman in the Sunday Times, we learn that in the rubble of the Tories’ election disaster on June 9, he texted Boris Johnson with the message ‘we should talk’. He heard nothing back but the next day was contacted by a journalist who’d been told that he had reached out to BoJo.
How did this clear evidence of spinning and treachery go down with Gove? Did it confirm for him that, as he said a year ago, Johnson was unfit to lead the country? It did not. Instead Gove told a friend, ‘I suppose I’ll have to support him.’
4 Grant Shapps
Those who thought the former Tory chairman’s reputation couldn’t get any lower than it was during the bullying scandal which forced his resignation in November 2015 were amused when, shortly after the referendum, Remain campaigner Grant came out as a Brexiteer. ‘I have embraced the new direction of the country. I am backing Brexit all the way, as hard as you like,’ he wrote, in cringeworthy style.
And now, a remarkable new low courtesy of the Times’ Katie Perrior, who informs us that Shapps loves a bit of karaoke during Conservative conferences and ‘is outstanding at gangsta rap. He can also sing a full rendition of The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air.’
3 Nigel Farage
The once and future ‘Kipper king inadvertently referred to his followers as ‘the great unwashed’ during a live BBC interview. Farage told Daily Politics that Theresa May’s speech in Florence was ‘a big two fingers up to 17.4million, the great unwashed who wanted Brexit.’
Hardly flattering to UKIP supporters, and nicotine-stained man-frog Farage will be showing his disdain for his own people again this weekend if, as expected, he launches a new party in response to Anne Marie Waters’ likely victory in the UKIP leadership election.
2 Peter Parsons
Blessed with Van Gogh’s ear for music, this rapping pensioner has racked up 10,000 YouTube views for his remarkable The Brexit Song (We’ll Be Strong).
Somewhat ironically set to a cheesy Eurobeat backing track, it contains non-rhyming couplets like ‘we’re going round in circles, don’t know where to go/but we don’t need nobody else to trade around the world’ and ‘Brexit, oh Brexit/we’re leaving the European single market’. Listen – if you dare – online at theneweuropean.co.uk.
1 Andrew Bridgen
‘The media is failing to report Brexit properly,’ complained the hardline Tory MP for North West Leicestershire, to his local paper earlier this month.
Happily, what the media HAS reported properly are Bridgen’s gripes about the cost of wreaths he buys every Remembrance Sunday to pay tribute to local people who died defending the country. Asking a court to overturn the £1,100 maintenance he pays to the mother of his two children each month, he moaned, ‘It is now de rigueur that MPs can’t put in claims for wreaths or travel. £175 on wreaths it will cost me, £200 [including travel] to be the MP of North West Leicestershire on Remembrance Sunday. There are huge costs to being an MP which can never be claimed for. I haven’t had a holiday this year.’
Just a reminder that, as an MP, Andrew Bridgen earns £75,000 a year, plus housing and travel allowances.