You can't move for commentary on Ivan Rogers resignation currently, but it's worth reading his resignation letter in full, as it reveals a number of startling facts about the state of our Brexit negotiations.Read More
There is a whole host of political analysis around at the moment, and I must admit that even as someone who lives and breathes politics I haven't been able to keep up. However, great events often lead to greater coverage and analysis and that is definitely the case here.
So if you're looking for some reading material this Sunday to try and make sense of everything that has happened, I'd suggest you start with the following:
- Tim Shipman for the Sunday Times on the Week of the Long Knives in the Tory Party.
- Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian reminds us we shouldn't forget what Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have done to the country.
- James Lyons, again for the Sunday Times, has the inside track on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour coup.
- Stephen Bush in the New Statesman talks about how all of the above is providing a nice distraction for people who can't bear to think about how damaging Brexit will actually be.
I could have included a dozen other pieces in here, as there has been a plethora of superb analysis done in the last week.
Have a favourite piece that I missed? Add it in the comments below!
Since his decision to back 'Brexit', the Westminster machine has become obsessed over the future direction on Boris Johnson's career, and how each move plays into his grand plan. However much he denies it, it is an open secret that BoJo covets the top prize and I am firmly of the belief that he'll now attain it.
Regardless of the way the referendum goes, I don't believe David Cameron will be a position to lead his party for a great deal of time afterwards (or any time at all, if the UK votes to leave). Let's look at the two possible outcomes:
If the UK votes to leave, Cameron will be totally humiliated. It would be impossible for him to continue as PM, having fought so strongly for a remain vote. He will resign swiftly afterwards and trigger a leadership contest, the rules of which I'll come to in a second.
Now let's imagine the UK votes to stay. In order for the Prime Minister to survive the referendum, the result needs to be a significant victory for his side. However, all signs are that it will be a close vote rather than a landslide victory. Much more akin to the Scottish Referendum than the one conducted on the voting system in 2011.
And now look where we are already. Cabinet Ministers are openly attacking the Prime Minister, one of his closest allies is now heading up the rival campaign and there are more still than three months to go until election day.
Having just been through a coalition and a General Election as a Liberal Democrat, I am more than familiar with the fire and brimstone that Conservatives can unleash when anyone gets in the way of their goals. If you think the campaign is bitter and divisive for the Tory party now, imagine what it'll look like ten days before polling day when a new poll puts the sides anywhere near close to each other. It will be blue on blue with smatterings of red.
Even if David Cameron eventually wins that fight, it will prove to be a Pyrrhic victory for him personally. His party will be so divided by the campaign that any hope of uniting them and continuing with business as usual will be lost. YouGov figures out this week show that 69% of people believe the Conservative party are divided already, which is higher than Labour's 65%. Does anyone really believe that the next three months of bitter infighting and negative campaigning is going to make that figure get any better?
The Prime Minister will survive for longer than if the result goes badly for him, but the overall result will eventually be the same.
Enter Boris, with his blonde barnet and love of whiff whaff.
It's worth remembering at this point that the route to being the next Prime Minister is not through the country, but through the Tory leadership process. And it is through understanding this process that Boris' decision to back Brexit makes perfect sense.
Any replacement for Cameron has to pass two hurdles; the first is to get selected as one of two candidates by Conservative MPs; the second is to be elected in the subsequent head to head by Conservative party members.
Conservative MPs are divided currently on the EU (in other news, bears defecate in wooded areas and Pope is religious). Upwards of 140 Tory MPs are backing Brexit, and given this contest will be fought in the shadow of the referendum, it is very likely that they would want a eurosceptic on the ballot paper.
The best case scenario is that Boris is the figurehead of a victorious leave campaign. The worst is that he is the only leadership candidate who was willing to face down the PM and stand with his eurosceptic colleagues.
Either way, Boris has now ingratiated himself with a group of MPs large enough to ensure that he is likely to end up on the ballot paper. This is especially true when you remember that his primary leadership rivals, Theresa May and George Osborne, are both backing the PM, as are other outside contenders such as Sajid Javid and Nicky Morgan.
So that's how Boris gets on the ballot paper. And once he's done that, he simply has to win a vote with members of the Conservative Party.
Boris is one of the rarest beasts in the world. He is a popular politician. He is popular among the wider electorate but, crucially for this scenario, he is very popular with Conservative party members. Indeed, he is already ahead of many of his rivals when members are asked who they want to be the next leader of the party. The latest ConservativeHome Survey shows a clear lead for Boris among Tory party members, while a YouGov poll showed 43% of them would vote for Boris. He also comfortable wins a hypothetical battle with George Osborne, the most likely other candidate on the ballot paper at this stage.
It is also worth remembering that Conservative Party members are more eurosceptic that the MPs who will have nominated Boris, so the fact this election battle will happen in the shadows of an EU referendum, Boris' popularity among the grassroots will be buoyed by his stance.
Even if you don't believe the EU referendum will result in the PM losing his job, he has already made it clear that he plans to stand down before 2020 anyway, and therefore the Tory leadership process will be the route for the next Prime Minister, whether that be this year or slightly further down the line and all of the support Boris has garnered through his actions will not magically disappear.
If you believe that there is going to shortly be an opening for the role of Prime Minister, which I do, then it is not difficult to paint a picture where Johnson rides his Boris Bike through the gates of Number 10 before the year is out.
All hail King Boris.