A few months ago I discovered the brilliant series by political commentator Steve Richards on Youtube, where we are treated to unscripted commentary on the great politicians of the past 60 years and the great political themes. I would write in to congratulate him, but I am sure Mr Richards is far too busy with the Great and the Good.
The latest video just this month has the theme, “The Prime Ministers We Never Had”. For some reason during the description of Neil Kinnock there was nothing about him being a windbag, or falling over on Brighton beach. But it was the Michael Portillo part which ironically gave an insight into a wider theme, one which has been haunting politics and the UK – leaving Europe. To put it bluntly, any politician in the past 40 years who has tied their mast to an anti-Europe / Brexit stance has been ruined. Even worse, as we have seen with the Referendum in 2016, even when Brexiteers win, they somehow manage to lose.
Of course, the greatest casualty of being a Brexiteer was Mrs Thatcher. No sooner had the words, “No, No, No!” left her mouth that the wheels were in motion for her downfall. Cleverest of the lot was Harold Wilson who kept schtum on the then European Community vote, and hence was able to fall on his sword in the manner and time of his choosing.
Most foolish of them all was David Cameron with his Project Fear vote, after which he resigned. As it turned out he could have slithered on. The People’s Vote march reminded us yesterday, all he needed to do was to call another General Election, and he would have won. Even Theresa May won – just.
But perhaps the greatest evidence for Brexiteers appearing to be guaranteed losers has been and still is Nigel Farage. You could not have a more populist contender for his cause, and yet somehow he could still not get elected to Parliament, and has managed to fritter away his influence after heading off to the phone-in long grass. It remains to be seen whether the current Brexiteer-in-Chief Jacob Rees-Mogg can do any better? History suggests that he too is doomed, along with his cause.
It just seems that Remainers have the most comfortable political careers, the best media profiles, and like Sir Nick Clegg at Facebook, the best political afterlife. Just why, remains only a mild mystery.