The Uncuts: 2018 political awards (part III)

Best Demonstration of the Power of a Union: Leo Varadkar

2018 was the year that Tory and Labour Brexiteers alike saw the power of being in a union. Blowhards such as Andrew Bridgen or Kate Hoey might have dismissed Ireland’s interests when compared to the mighty United Kingdom, but the solidarity of the EU 27 behind Leo Varadkar and Ireland’s red lines on a hard border showed how collective action protects the sovereignty of the individual.

Of all the many flaws in Theresa May’s proposed deal with the EU, she has come to grief with her backbenchers over the backstop – the commitment to avoid a hard border between south and north by keeping Northern Ireland in the customs union and key parts of the single market, if needed. The backstop exists because the EU did not trade away Ireland’s priorities in negotiating with the UK.

There were ample opportunities – everything from extra financial contributions to preferential trade arrangements were reportedly offered by the UK – but the point of a union is unity. Leo Varadkar and his team made this case skilfully and persuasively in Brussels. The British, by all accounts, did not.

The result is that Leo Varadkar has what he wants while Theresa May continues to scramble about, ringing EU leaders ahead of January’s meaningful vote, hoping for something, anything, that might give her a way out of the backstop.

It won’t be forthcoming.

Most Indefatigable Labour MP: Luciana Berger

The Patchwork Foundation, a new organisation aiming to make politics more accessible to young people from disadvantaged and minority communities, named Luciana Berger as Labour People’s Choice MP of the Year. Berger, though, is less popular with anti-Semites, as she detailed in a speech to the Commons in April, drawing applause from fellow MPs. The abuse that Berger endures is as troubling as her stoicism is impressive. Appallingly, Berger is far from unique among MPs in receiving this kind of hateful treatment. We profoundly hope that a new year brings a new civility.

Most Shameless Political Honour: Sir John Redwood

Sir John Redwood. Let that sink in. Not only are there are no limits to Theresa May’s desperation, it is also at times like these that Uncut recalls our admiration for Keith Hill. For whom, the political honours jamboree was too much.

Best Brexit Journalism: Peter Foster (Daily Telegraph) and Tony Connelly (RTE)

One of the underwritten and frankly ignored aspects of Brexit has been just how bad so much of the reporting has been. Breathless nonsense from the mouths of unicorn-believing fantasists, touting acronyms like Max Fac has been faithfully written up across the British press as representative of reality.

In fairness, this has principally been the preserve of many (but not all) UK politics correspondents who have applied their domestic modus operandi – having a drink with friendly MPs/Ministers/shadow Ministers, getting a quote, writing it up and filing – to Brexit, with farcial results.

The Europe and Brussels correspondents have generally struck a very different tone and Uncut’s judges wanted to recognise this stark divide and commend two practicitioners: Peter Foster of the Telegraph and Tony Connelly of RTE.

Even though much of the Telegraph’s comment coverage has been suffused with the most egregious Brexit barminess, Peter Foster’s despatches and twitter posts have hewed to reality, cutting through the nonsense to tell us what is actually happening.

By the same token, Tony Connelly has been materially ahead of the competition in breaking what’s happening about the most contentious aspect of negotiations – the backstop. Admittedly, it’s more straight-forward if you can speak to the principals involved on the Irish side and get a factual read-out of what’s happened, but even so, his reports have been instrumental in puncturing Brexiteer balloons rapidly inflated with expectations of breakthroughs or Irish retreats.

May the good service continue through 2019.

Tags: , , , ,

5 Responses to “The Uncuts: 2018 political awards (part III)”

  1. Anne says:

    Most incompetent Transport minister award must go to failing Grayling for being responsible for the appalling railway service and now awarding Seaborne ferries with a contract worth 13.8 million of taxpayers money – corruption is rampant in this Tory government.

  2. Anne says:

    Happy New Year to Labour Uncut. May 2019 bring us a general election – ASAP!

  3. John P Reid says:

    Keith Hill hardly liked, admittedly alot for Brexit, plus thinking his safe seat he could ignore the poor, l ft politics ans gave us Chuka Ammuna, as for John Redwood, is he gonna vote for Maya deal?, for the reward of a knight hood, ROFL

  4. Alf says:

    Luciana Berger is unpopular with the members because she is Tory-lite. No other reason.

  5. John P Reid says:

    In what way did Kate Hoey dismiss Ireland’s interests? All that will happen is people will buy things on one border and take them across the other, same as they do in Glasgow where booze costs less in Newcastle

Leave a Reply