EU election is barmy, farcical, scandalous, and an act of enforced squander

Chris Moncrieff
Chris Moncrieff

How barmy is this? And how scandalous, too?

The Government is being forced to pour millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money down the drain in order to take part in the forthcoming EU parliamentary elections – the last thing in the world it wanted to do.

And why? Because according to the despotic grandees in Brussels, we are legally bound to do so – even though, if Brexit is ever concluded, the UK’s new MEPs may never be able to take their parliamentary seats.

This wasteful farce merely underlines the truth of those hallowed words of the Charles Dickens character Mr Bumble in Oliver Twist: “The law is a ass... a idiot.”

This is merely the latest – and not necessarily the last – humiliation for the United Kingdom in the sad and sorry saga of Brexit.

Over the years, Governments of all complexions have wasted billions of pounds of public money, often through sheer incompetence or failure to think policies through properly.

Differently in this case, everyone knows in advance that this is simply going to become a vast bonfire of public money – a shameful act of wastefulness that is being forced upon us.

Some argue that the benefits of this are to show roughly the percentage of voters pro or anti-Brexit.

But that is not the point.

We had a referendum to tell us that – and that is the basis on which all our negotiations should stand, however long it takes.

No wonder the electorate is in a fury about the seeming incompetence of UK politicians to stand up to the Brussels negotiators, who must be smirking over this latest embarrassment to the UK.

• The Prime Minister, at the time of writing, has not yet given any precise details about the timing of her plan to quit the Tory leadership and, of course, 10 Downing Street.

One is tempted to ask who on Earth would want to take on that job now, with the Conservative Party almost in a state of civil war, while the nation is plagued with the seemingly never-ending tragi-comedy of Brexit.

Yet, lo and behold, there are no fewer than 17 people who, in one way or other, have expressed a desire to succeed her, like lambs to the slaughter you might say.

Boris Johnson, who diplomatically seems to have reverted to the old short-back-and-sides treatment at the barbers rather than his trade-mark unruly mop, appears top of the list with people like Michael Gove and Dominic Raab hot on his heels.

Another would-be leader, Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, complains: “You have to put yourself forward – no one else will.”

Hardly surprising when most of her mates are hankering after the same prize, too

• Jeremy Corbyn has dropped a pretty broad hint on how he will conduct Labour’s general election campaign, whenever that comes around.

The party’s recent announcement that they plan, once in power, to hugely increase the living wage for teenage workers, indicates pretty strongly that Labour will once again be targeting youth in its campaign.

This was the tactic which paid off so handsomely for Labour – and left the Prime Minister with so much grief – when she recklessly called a general election in 2017.

Her wholly mistaken view was that Labour, under its newish hard-line left-wing leader, would be annihilated and that the Tories would emerge with a massively increased Commons majority.

Neither of the major parties had set their sights so wholeheartedly on youth because it was felt they rarely bothered to vote anyway.

But the outcome in 2017 was that Corbyn was acclaimed virtually as a Rock God, while Theresa May wept copiously.

She would be well advised to keep a healthy supply of tissues in her handbag for the next election – if she is still there, that is.