Updated: Jun 15, 2020
By Adam Taylor
Westminster 2019. There is a tangible apprehension in the air. MP’s gather in the House of Commons chamber. Not one seat is left vacant. Not one inch of open floor is left to stand in. Not one honourable member feels at ease. Ten minutes remain before a motion of no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government is put before the House. The impending vote could collapse the incumbent administration and usher in a general election. After two and a half years of uncertainty, the country has had to endure stagnant economic growth, paralysed levels of investment and a constant current of confusion as to the future direction of the nation. MP’s, in backing the motion, could yet create more stagnation, more paralysis and more confusion. A weakened Conservative government tentatively holds out for a hero.
Enter Michael Gove. Edinburgh born, Aberdeenshire raised, Oxford educated. The man who was vilified as Environment Secretary, cast aside as Chief Whip and then largely ignored as Lord Chancellor is thrown into the belly of the beast that is the House of Commons chamber, bursting with over 600 MP’s baying for blood. But Michael Gove is ready.
What follows is a ten-minute display of ardency, charisma and sheer politically fuelled passion from a member of a party which has been missing a sense of unity for two years now. Clearly if there was ever a cause to unite the Tory party, then it was the threat of a Corbyn government.
In a passionate plea to all those who value the nation having a strong economy, strong defence and strong personal freedoms, Gove delivered blow after blow against the leader of the Labour Party sitting on a red-faced opposition front bench. The scarlet faces of the Shadow Cabinet failed to withhold their embarrassment of the fact that Labour backbenchers were rather enjoying Gove’s tirade of on-point quips against their leader. This was not only because of the incredible oratory of the Environment Secretary but also due to the fact that they would sooner see Gordon Brown return to Downing Street than have Corbyn in No.10. The thought of a far left, socialist, Marxist Government sends shivers down the spine of centre-left Labour MP’s, particularly with their local Momentum faction breathing down their necks and threatening deselection until they conform to Corbyn’s grand plan. A point brilliantly illustrated by Michael Gove as he identified to the House the fact that the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson, failed to once mention Jeremy Corbyn in his speech directly before that of Gove’s. The pair both think, according to Gove, that Jeremy Corbyn “is about the worst possible person to lead the Labour party – him (Tom Watson) much more so.” As the roar of approval from Conservative MP’s reverberates off every surface in the chamber any last remaining hope of a Labour victory in the forthcoming motion has long since vanished.
Having exposed the lack of respect that Corbyn commands from his own parliamentarians due to his weak leadership and radical policies, Gove now assesses the terrifying prospect of a Corbyn premiership. After pointing out that the current Conservative government meets the 2% target of NATO on defence spending and invests in national security, Gove humiliates Corbyn by referencing a speech he gave in 2012. Quoting Corbyn he states, “Why do countries boast about the size of their armies? That is quite wrong. Why don’t we emulate Costa Rica, which has no army at all?” The reaction to this quotation by the Conservative benches no doubt concours with the reaction that the average Brit sitting at home and hearing this for the first time would have – “Shame!” How can Corbyn consider for one mere moment the thought of these Isles not being protected from external threats? How can he think that it is in anyway moral for the British government to fail to protect British citizens? Has it not crossed his utterly shameless, sinister, senseless mind the consequences of such a policy given Putin, ISIS and North Korea? As Michael Gove so eloquently put, “no way can this country ever allow that man to be our Prime Minister and in charge of our national security!”
As this masterclass in how to dismantle and discredit a possible future Prime Minister draws to a close a naïve Labour MP, Danielle Rowley, attempts a saving jab at Gove, discourteously interjecting on him with a point of order. Before she has even managed to finish her point, she is shut down by the Speaker for her contributions being utterly unwelcome and entirely useless. This allows Gove to finish the job to a backdrop of happy customers on the Tory backbenches whom make clear their own objections to a pointless point of order with one quite rightly stating to Labour MP’s, “you’re losing the argument.”
In ending his speech, Michael Gove makes possibly the simplest statement of his masterly monologue thus far, but which is at the same time the most important and quite frankly unchallengeable. Pointing to Mr Corbyn he states, “We cannot have confidence in him to lead.” The end.
All this begs the question “How much has the labour party changed under Keir Starmer?” Have the radicals, the communists, the identity politicians and the unpatriotic elements been side-lined? Has Anti Semitism been addressed? Does the party finally have a position on Brexit (not that it can do anything about it)? Finally has the party realised that there is more the UK than the metropolitan elite in London and has it worked out ,at last why, it lost so many seats (including labour strongholds) to what it coins deceptively a far right government. It may be too early to tell but what is clear is that Corbynism has been soundly rejected. Keir Starmer would do well to distance himself from this dark spot on the history of the labour party.