Brexit and Trump win have rocked the establishment on both sides of Atlantic

Chris Moncrieff
Chris Moncrieff

The Brexit vote and the emergence of Donald Trump as the US presidential election winner have turned the world of politics on its head and inside-out.

Establishment figures in both countries are now flailing about, wondering what went wrong and desperate to restore their traditional power in society.

And in the United Kingdom, this has taken the form of a prolonged campaign by the Remainers to reverse or rerun the June referendum which resulted in a handsome win for those who want to quit the European Union.

And if that is not a disgraceful attack on what they are pleased to call democracy, I don’t know what is.

I have a lot of time for Sir John Major. He is clear, concise and generous. And I think his premiership will be seen in the future in a far more kindly light than it is today.

But I am afraid I cannot share his view about the “tyranny of the majority” in relation to Brexit. It was a substantial victory for Brexiteers and must be allowed to stand. Sir Winston Churchill used to say that a majority of one vote was enough!

Tony Blair has now joined in, implying that Brexit could be beaten. What arrogance it is to suggest that millions of British voters did not understand what they were voting for.

Thank goodness the Prime Minister is unswayed by this campaign and is insisting the British public will get what they voted for.

The idea that the clear result of a referendum, approved by Parliament, should be overturned as a result of a campaign by bad losers, is abhorrent.

Could we be reading about “Mr President Pence” before the end of this decade?

I ask this question because some experienced and heavyweight political observers - not people given to sensationalism - are seriously suggesting that because President-elect Donald Trump’s business activities are so multifarious and universal, that he may, with the best will in the world, find it difficult, if not impossible, to operate properly in the White House without trespassing on his own personal interests.

It is therefore being suggested that should he (even inadvertently) breach the presidential rules over “personal interest”, then he could face impeachment, which might see him out of office before the end of the first four years of what he hopes will be an eight-year presidency.

And should that happen, Vice-President-elect Mike Pence would be the most likely person to occupy the Oval Office.

This is not so fanciful as it may sound. Even so, Trump is a pastmaster at dealing with such problems.

Watch this space!

Top Tories, including even the Prime Minister and Chancellor Philip Hammond have been ticked off by a fellow Conservative MP for making jokes about Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary.

For heaven’s sake!

Jake Berry, a Johnson ally, has claimed, no doubt with wagging finger, that such jokes damage Johnson’s standing in the world and thus also Britain’s international reputation.

That, of course, is absolute codswallop. Boris has established his political reputation, at least in part, by making constant jokes himself about his colleagues. He cannot expect to be, nor would he want to be, immune from such banter himself.

None of it is malicious - it is all light-hearted and friendly. Mr Berry should lighten up and pursue more sensible activities than indulge in this kind of claptrap.

It is just as well that the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell does not have eyes in the back of his head.

Otherwise, he would have spotted something hugely disturbing and unflattering because the very moment he rose in the House of Commons to reply to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement last week, out came scores of mobile phones among Labour MPs, obviously more interested in what was on their screens than listening to McDonnell’s important speech.

Such a development would have been unheard of 30 years ago. But the onward march of the mobile phone has been so relentless that even the Parliamentary authorities have had to surrender to it.

But the phones have to be silent and their appearance should not “impair decorum” it was decided in 2007.

Parliament has always been a very conservative place and it has never been easy to introduce changes.

Not all that many years ago, female MPs had to wear skirts, and could not enter the chamber in trousers. But that rule was ended by the then Speaker, the late Dr Horace King.

Cruellest comment of the week: “He is the sort of person who lights up a room when he leaves it.” That was what Labour’s former Home Secretary Alan Johnson said about the dry-as-dust Chancellor Philip Hammond.