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Smith Square Review – 18 August 2017

Chap-tain goes down with his ship

Former Government adviser James Chapman continued his unfortunate solo Greek odyssey this week, with a new flurry of Tweets making allegations against former colleagues, MPs and ministers. Former friend or not, apparently no one was safe from Chapman’s poisonous Twitter pen.

Chief amongst the rogue adviser’s targets was his former boss, Brexit Secretary of State David Davis. In one particularly extraordinary series of over 250 Tweets, Davis was accused of being work-shy, a liar, a heavy drinker and a bore. This was followed up by Chapman remarkably calling Theresa May a nazi and accusing the BBC’s Andrew Neil of being a string-pulling, back-stage Brexiteer.

Whilst this Twitter adventure has undoubtedly gained Chapman much publicity, with his Twitter following swelling to over 52,000, it is worth wondering whether such furious bridge burning will assist Mr Chapman’s new career as a Government lobbyist.

In any event, the hurling of Mr Chapman’s excoriating allegations came to an abrupt end in the early hours of Thursday morning. Following a series of cryptic messages suggesting his Twitter account had been blocked, there has been complete radio silence from Chapman. Has he lost his phone? Has his mobile data allowance been exhausted? Or perhaps he accidently dropped his phone into one of the buckets of Ouzo he was presumably consuming whilst engaging in his Twitter warfare? Whatever the story, both friends and opponents of Mr Chapman will be hoping that this is now the end of his unfortunate one-man Greek kamikaze mission and of project #thedemocrats.


The Sun sets on Sarah Champion

Sarah Champion proved that recess does not have to be all dull this week. She woke political journalists from their summer slumber with a bang, resigning her post as Shadow Secretary of State Women and Equalities.

A veteran in Corbyn Cabinet terms (having been in the position for 10 months), Champion was a vocal supporter of the Labour Party’s new direction, but came unstuck due to an article she wrote for the Sun last weekend.

The piece, which argues that the Britain has a ‘problem’ with Pakistani men raping white girls, was met with heavy criticism, with opponents of the article claiming that she was stereotyping a whole ethnic group.

The situation worsened after a seperate article in the paper, which referred to an impending “Muslim Problem”, quoted Champion favourably. 

Champion initally claimed that the article she sent to the Sun had been altered. However, the Sun responded that in fact, her aide was reportedly ‘thrilled’ with the piece and approved it before it ran. In fact, the only changes she made was the photo of Champion, which was swapped 5 times.

We hope the one we’ve used is ok for you, Sarah. 


Custom made for you, Sir

Another week, another Brexit split in Westminster as politicians argued over the terms of a transition deal with the EU.

A delicate cabinet truce between warring Conservative cliques was shattered earlier this week when the government published its new strategy paper, ‘Future Customs Arrangements’.

Brexit Secretary David Davis and Chancellor Phillip Hammond clashed with Leave headbangers Liam Fox and Boris Johnson, the International Trade and Foreign Secretaries over the length of the transition period. The business community favour a transition period to allow them to prepare for Brexit, though ardent Leavers view this as just staying in the EU by proxy.

Opposition leaders lined up to criticise the governments “constructive ambiguity”. They claimed that the report failed to shine any light over what the temporary customs union detailed in their paper would look like, how much it would cost, or whether or not the UK could negotiate and implement any new trade deals with other non-EU countries during the temporary customs deal period. However, it is worth noting that they may not have much of a plan themselves.


Hey now, you’re a Mogg star

Which Twitter user follows just the UK Prime Minister, the Conservatives, and their sister? That’s right, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, and apparently the Conservative’s future leader, because pigs just might fly these days.

The prospect of the Sir-Walter-Raleigh-quoting member for North East Somerset standing in the contest has caused enough alarm for rival contenders such as Heidi Allen MP to publically shoot down the idea. Indeed, such is the Mogg’s appeal, current Minister Jesse Norman even said this week that he would be an “outstanding candidate“.

However, it’s not so much the moggumental bragging about his privileged upbringing that means he is unlikely to be universally popular, but rather his extreme Europhobia. Even for Leave supporters, Mogg could be too hot to handle, and there is a risk that he would draw the party even further into the Brexit quagmire it’s currently up to its eyeballs in.

However, it’s August, stories are thin on the ground, and one suspects that Tories will figure out that Rees-Mogg’s apparent aspirations are the result of summer boredom. 

Pity the poor mogg who, ink-redibly, had ‘Mogmentum’ tattooed onto his chest this week in a fit of zeal. This is already yesterday’s news.


Souvenir of the week

Everyone loved last years referendum campaign, right? We can’t be the only people who are thinking ‘if only I could relive those months and months of monotonous ill-informed debate’ – right? Well the dream might be about to come true, with the Nigel Farage Movie rumoured to be in the pipeline. Now that’s a film for all the family.