Tories look content as Labour tears itself apart with the relish of a lion

Chris Moncrieff
Chris Moncrieff

While some of its members seem hell-bent on tearing the Labour Party apart with the grim relish of a ravenous lion, gorging on the corpse of a zebra, the Tories, by contrast, appear relatively content, so far, with their new leader Theresa May.

But the hard-as-nails European Union grandees will be looking forward with apprehension, not to say trepidation, to the forthcoming battles they will have with Theresa over Brexit.

She is rated by an opinion poll as the most popular politician in the country.

She will not be as raucous as her predecessor Margaret Thatcher, but she will be just as stubborn and defiant. She will not bang the table, nor will she ominously wave her handbag around, yet she will be no less firm to ensure that Britain gets a fair deal.

David Cameron used to return from negotiations in Brussels claiming all manner of concessions and triumphs, some of which were hard to identify.

British voters are hoping, indeed expecting, the outcome of the new rounds of talks to be less obscure.

Meanwhile, back to Labour’s chaotic position.

With Jeremy Corbyn and his deputy Tom Watson metaphorically scratching each other’s eyes out, rank-and-file Labour Members must wonder where on earth the party is heading when their top brass are squabbling like school children.

Some of its members have poured hundreds of pounds into the already bulging wallets of well-heeled lawyers, simply to obtain the original position of who is eligible or not to vote in their leadership election. No wonder you never see an underfed lawyer.

There are too many interfering do-gooders in the world, and it is becoming increasingly necessary to curb these spendthrifts, if not actually to cull them.

The latest example is down to Nick Clegg when he was deputy Prime Minister in the coalition government. He successfully insisted on a family immigration detention centre, complete with children’s facilities, near Crawley in Sussex.

This project, which has cost the taxpayer millions of pounds, is to be closed down, having managed just 16 deportations in two years.

The Government has decided it should be closed because there are far more cost-effective ways of detaining families who have been refused asylum or who have been found living illegally in the UK.

Clegg said at the time, when he was pushing its case, that it was a necessary part of a civilised, but effective immigration system. But others would say it was a shocking waste of taxpayers’ money.

This scandal is on a par with the £750,000 creche, advocated by the Speaker, John Bercow, to be used by the children of parliamentarians, but which has been grossly underused.

What is badly needed at Westminster, and elsewhere, are a few hard-headed businessmen to stop the provision of all these worthy-sounding but ill-used facilities at gargantuan expense.

It is disgraceful to think that hard-earned public money is being poured down the drain in this shameful way.

You have to take your hat off to the Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron who bangs on relentlessly about what a LibDem government would do in power. Commendable all this may be, but it is apie in the sky.

The LibDem MPs in the Commons now number just a woeful eight out of 660 or so. Thus the fulfilment of these promises is remote and probably unattainable in this millennium.

The late Charles Kennedy, who was ousted as leader by an unpleasant smear campaign, would be horrified to see the state of the party. He was its best ever leader, having boosted its Commons membership into the 50s. Since he was booted out, it has plummeted to little more than an ineffective rump.

If you thought Labour was making a dog’s breakfast over its leadership election, Ukip’s attempts to find a successor to Nigel Farage seem even more strewn with obstacles.

Farage, now sporting a luxuriant moustache, has already resigned once, and was then brought back to the helm. Is the same going to happen again this time?

Incidentally, Farage now claims to have wiped out the extreme right-wing parties from the British political landscape. Whether that boast is true or not, no one can judge for sure. But Farage certainly had the last laugh over David Cameron, who never expected this party of “fruitcakes” to achieve the impact it did on the EU referendum.