Brexit is no joke, says Chris Moncrieff

The Brexit talks are getting uglier by the day. And the UK's case is not helped by the unruly band of fifth-column anti-Brexiteer Tories who, many would suggest, are giving succour and comfort to the EU's flint-like team of negotiators.

‘Withering’ – Donald Tusk
‘Withering’ – Donald Tusk

Why should the UK be punished and threatened with eye-watering fines for doing what is entirely its right, namely leaving the EU?

Indeed, Brussels is shamefully starting to treat the negotiations as some kind of bad joke. When Brexit Secretary David Davis said the UK had been the only ones making concessions so far, the EU grandee, Donald Tusk, made this withering (or so he thought) reply: “I appreciate Mr Davis’s English sense of humour.”

The UK team needs to be much fiercer, with table-banging and foghorn diplomacy – that, it seems, is the only way to have any effect on these money-grabbing Eurocrats.

And it might help, too, if the Tory critics of Brexit started to honour, rather than refuted, the decision of the British people at the EU referendum.

n I can fully understand the fury - I don't think that is too strong a word - of the Scottish Labour Party's top brass at the surprise news that the outgoing leader Kezia Dugdale, without a by-your-leave, has shot off to Australia to take part in I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!

It is hard to disagree with their view that Ms Dugdale’s place is in the Scottish Parliament, rather than dining out on kangaroo testicles and other such delicacies in the Australian jungle. Nor am I surprised there was talk of suspending her from the party, although Jeremy Corbyn, to my utter astonishment, does not think that is the right course of action. In 2012, the Conservative Party at Westminster suspended MP Nadine Dorries for taking part in the reality series, although she was reinstated the following year.

Anas Sarwar, an unsuccessful candidate to succeed Ms Dugdale as leader, has commented: “Now she has made that decision, I want us to have that phone bank running to make sure that she eats every bug possible, is in the pit with the rats as much as possible, so she fully enjoys that experience and is raring to go when she comes back.”

How very comradely.

n Once again, the busybodies are at it, trying to interfere with the way local party committees select their parliamentary candidates.

It is the Electoral Commission this time who are whingeing about the types of candidates who fought the last general election. They complain that an overwhelming majority of candidates were white and male. So what?

The Commission’s survey also found people with disabilities were ‘under-represented’ on the ballot papers, and and that a ‘staggering’ 86 per cent of those standing were white, compared to one per cent each from Pakistani, Bangladeshi and black African or Caribbean heritage.

These were only a few of their criticisms. They want to see a Commons picked by quotas. What rubbish!

These people want to change the way people vote, in some cases on the basis of the colour of their skin. And here was I, foolishly assuming the last thing we should worry about is the ethnic origin of candidates.

A few years ago, the electorate voted overwhelmingly to retain the first-past-the-post form of parliamentary elections. But, of course, officialdom thinks it knows better than anybody else.

They should dump their nefarious plans for social engineering and do something useful instead.

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