It was a nice touch that MPs sat in each other’s seats in the Commons during the tributes to Jo Cox on Monday. I hope it helped remind Tories where they’ll be sitting permanently after 2020 if they don’t bind the party’s wounds on Friday. If Remain wins, then everyone must coalesce around David Cameron; if it’s Leave then Michael Gove. These things were managed much better before 1965 when the Queen decided on Tory leaders. For all his reservations about the premiership, Gove wouldn’t refuse Her Majesty’s request to form a government, not in the year of her 90th birthday.
How do you think Jeremy Corbyn voted in the privacy of the booth? Might he have kept his 100 per cent record of rebellion by even rebelling against himself, and voting Leave in line with his long-held anti-EU beliefs? It won’t be long before politicians start tweeting selfies with their ballot papers; a ghastly development, obviously, but I’d like to have seen his.
I live in a split marriage. My wife Susan Gilchrist, global CEO of Brunswick Group, is a firm Remainer in the way top international business types so often seem to be, while I’m an equally firm Leaver. I suspect there are a lot of other split marriages too; though I’ve tended to notice it’s usually the wife who’s the Leaver. Susan and I have pledged to reunite on Friday in peace, love and reconciliation. Like the Tory party.
Back in 1995 I wrote a novel called The Aachen Memorandum which predicted a referendum on British membership of the EU in 2015 (not that far out, all things considered) and that it would be won fraudulently by the pro-Remain government by 51.9 per cent to 48.1 per cent. It attempted to be a whodunnit, a futuristic dystopia, a thriller and a comedy all at once, and failed so badly on all levels that I now beg friends not to read it.