Yesterday was the Queen’s Speech, the kick off of another glorious session of parliament. It was understandably an understated slate of legislation put forth. Some Tories didn’t see it that way, the understandable part of it I mean, namely one former DWP Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.
“Whether it is the Trade Union Bill or the BBC Charter proposals, it seems nothing must stand in the way of winning the referendum. Yet to compound that, now it appears the much-vaunted Sovereignty Bill, key to the argument that the PM had secured a reform of the EU, has been tossed aside as well.”
This is a very telling statement. If IDS thought that Leave were on course for victory, or even if he thought it was going to be close and could go either way, he wouldn’t have said this. Or rather, he would have phrased it completely differently. For instance, why is a Sovereignty Bill of any importance if we’re about to leave the EU in a few weeks time? Sure, post-Brexit we’d need to make clear what our relationship with the ECJ would be, but that is surely part of the whole figuring out what the hell we’re going to do outside of the EU deal and thus not prone to micromanagement as this moment. Cameron not touching it for now is actually respectful of his Eurosceptic colleagues. To have put forward a Sovereignty Bill five weeks out from the EU referendum would have been a demonstration of unbelievable hubris. But I can see how the backbenchers would see it differently.
The psychology of everything Iain Duncan Smith said yesterday about the Queen’s Speech was naked. He went on to complain about most of it, but it can all be easily summarised: Leave is going to lose, it is all David Cameron’s fault, and I’m not going to forget about it, ever. He had a go at pauses on key legislation, seemingly forgetting for the moment that the referendum will presumably cause the Tory whips nightmares for an unspecified period following June 23rd, and given the Tories are going to be in government until we colonise Mars, there’s no real impetus to rush things. Particularly when you remember once again that the Conservatives have a tiny majority to work with at present.
The defeatism of IDS yesterday really shocked me. I recall listening to him speak and thinking “is he really that convinced he’s going to lose?” The worst thing for me now is, I don’t know whether to take this as a sure sign that it’s all done and dusted for Remain, or rather everyone in Westminster is in the clouds about it, including the Leave MPs. Five more weeks.