BREX FACTOR: David Davis’ spicy blunder
- Credit: AFP/Getty Images
STEVE ANGLESEY rounds up his Brexiteers of the week and David Davis' Spice girl revelation.
No wonder the BBC Reality Check correspondent who called out Peter Lilley's lies and distortions the other day was called Chris Morris.
Day after day, it seems like our news has been written by his namesake from The Day Today.
In his newsreader guise, the other Morris once boomed: 'Portillo's teeth removed to boost pound. Nato annulled after delegate swallows treaty. And bouncing elephantiasis woman destroys central Portsmouth.' To which this week has answered: 'President says rakes can stop forest fires. Harry Redknapp faces testicle-eating ordeal. And Spice Girls drafted in to stop Brexit.'
This last piece of absurdity was the work of Old Spice, aka our old mucker David Davis, who opened a Conservative Home website column about Theresa May's deal with the words: 'The Spice Girls had it right when they said: 'Stop right now thank you very much.'' The next 600 words were disappointingly Spiceless, but anyone who has followed DD's career knows he is no one-shit wonder.
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His classic closing line – 'We can stop being 'always on the run', look beyond Brexit and provide the 'human touch' by focusing on issues like housing, education, health and crime' – could only have been improved had Victoria Beckham been belting it out. Acapella.
Has David Davis always been a fan of the Fab Five? Does his antipathy towards the EU stem from the moment he first heard the plangent tones of Mel B declare, 'Set your spirit free / It's theonly way to be'? In his private moments, does he imagine pouring himself into a Union Jack dress and performing his own version of Wannabe ('So here's the story from A to Zee / You wanna get with me / You gotta back the ERG')? And was David's genius plan to seize the women's vote in the 2005 Tory leadership election by posing with two busty supporters wearing 'It's DD For Me' T-shirts really inspired by the lyrics of the military cadence-style Sound Off from the movie Spiceworld ('We know how we got this far / Strength and courage and a Wonderbra')?
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Or, desperate for an intro to yet another dull column about how awful May is and how he would have done everything so much better, did he look over at the telly, see the reformed Spice Girls filling the screen and think, 'this will do'?
Glorious as it is to think of David Davis as a devoted Spice Girls fan (after all, he's spent his carer in the Tory party surrounded by the posh, the scary and several big babies), it's the last scenario that rings true. Latching on to and running with an idea which has only briefly troubled his cerebellum is a mark of the this celebrated detail-free zone.
After all it was David Davis who, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, promised that 'within minutes of a vote for Brexit CEOs would be knocking down chancellor Merkel's door, demanding access to the British market', that trade talks would run parallel with divorce talks, that by summer 2018 we would be in a free trade area 'massively larger than the EU', and probably including America and Australia, that there would be no payments to the EU after March 2019, that we would get a new 'comprehensive free trade agreement and a comprehensive customs union that will deliver the exact same benefits as we have' and that there would be no transition period.
Talking of which, when he wasn't quoting the Spice Girls in his article, Davis was claiming that 'if we need to leave with no deal and negotiate a free trade agreement during the transition period, so be it.' But there can be no transition period without a deal. How could a man who until July was leading our negotiations not understand this?
The answer, unfortunately, is simple. Davis is a wannabe prime minister who won't ever get the job because he can't bearsed doing his homework. If he had bothered this week, he might have realised that it's not a great idea to quote the Spice Girls in an article slating May when the reformed Spice Girls have just come out in support of the prime minister and unity. 'Just support a woman doing the best she can and that's it. Not an easy position,' said Geri Halliwell last week. 'The most important thing is let's stop the divisiveness, come together.' Perhaps DD should reflect that, as Mel C said in the same interview, 'The political stuff's really difficult.' But in his case, the Spices definitely had it right in Too Much: 'Sometimes illusion ain't no revolution.'
Brexiteers of the week
In a sign that their side is convincingly winning the battle of ideas, suspected Leave protestors have pelted a pro-EU stall with eggs in Cheltenham high street.
This was a perfect crime, apart from the fact that the attackers were caught on camera and one of them is alleged to be known locally as a 'vociferous' Brexiteer.
But should police choose to investigate,
there is some good news for the offenders.
The Crown Prosecution Service may no longer able to use the European arrest warrant under an no-deal Brexit, meaning those responsible for this eggy outrage could avoid legal action by leaving Britain and going to live on the continent instead. Which, when you think of it, might be considered punishment enough.
The tiresome controversialist penned a typically sensible Daily Telegraph column criticising Remainers for – erm – wanting to avoid danger and hypothermia. 'I don't want a life in which 'wrapping up warm' and 'staying safe' are the be-all and end-all... there's never been a better time to be alive,' she wittered.
Elsewhere, Burchill confessed: 'I've been a super-lark ever since I gave up drugs a few years back... in recent weeks my 5am starts have become even more exuberant than ever. The reason is a simple one – BREXIT! Say it soft and it's almost like praying. Say it loud and there's music playing. And that music, of course, is Land Of Hope And Glory.
'Brexit! It may be winter outside but in my heart it's spring – spring 2016 and all the fun and joy of Victory Day coming around that bend.'
Alas, the joy of Victory Day appears not to be the only thing which is round the bend.
'It has become very, very clear that not everyone does what they've said they're going to do,' reported the rebellious Wycombe MP sadly on Monday night. And he's right: Baker said he would collect the 48 signatures necessary to topple Theresa May and ended up with fewer letters than there are in a mini tin of Alphabetti Spaghetti.
Blame for this farce is being evenly split: Some MPs blame Baker for 'overplaying his hand' while others blame Baker's personality (tributes include 'he is a self-promoter, sanctimonious and we wish he'd do less talking' and 'he is a self-aggrandising joke, and his colleagues view him as a laughing stock').
But surely poor Steve should have seen this coming? Last year, he contributed a foreword to chum John Butler's book The Golden Revolution: How to Prepare for the Remonetisation of Gold. Presciently, he titled it 'We live in the age of Broken Promises'...
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