Writing this Diary in September 2015, I predicted Donald Trump would win the White House — and was ridiculed by political ‘experts’ for being so dumb. Now, I predict that President Trump will be re-elected in 2020. Why? First, because the Democrats are being dragged so far left by ranting young firebrand socialists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez they can’t possibly beat a guy who’s got the US economy purring, job numbers flying, Isis fleeing and China blinking. Second, because the Trump-bashing mainstream US media undermined their collective credibility with over-the-top 24/7 coverage that Special Counsel Robert Mueller would find Trump colluded with Russia to fix the 2016 election — only for Mueller to clear him. My friend Donald’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But he’s a brilliant campaigner who’s won every political contest he’s entered, and when your opponents are this prone to self-harming, it makes winning so much easier.
I voted Remain, and still don’t think Brexit is a good idea. However, if there were to be a second EU referendum, I would vote Leave. Not because I’ve experienced some Damascene conversion to the Brexit cause — I haven’t met anyone who has changed their mind about it and suspect these people don’t exist outside Alastair Campbell’s hysterical Remoaner mind — but because I would be so furious at a second referendum happening at all. What’s going on now is a disgrace: a House of Commons packed with Remainer MPs trying everything in its power to reverse the 2016 result or dilute Brexit so much that it ceases to resemble anything that Leavers voted for. I find this assault on our democracy far more sinister than anything that might befall us in the event of a no-deal departure from Europe, not least because those shouting loudest about what a disaster no deal would be — like Campbell and Tony Blair — all once assured me that if Britain didn’t join the euro, it would also be a disaster, and in fact it was the best thing we never did. Also, let’s not forget these were the same people who dragged us into the calamitous war with Iraq — without even contemplating the notion of a ‘People’s Vote’. As for the patronising idea that no Leavers knew what they were voting for, I simply say this: they all assumed voting Leave meant ‘leaving the European Union’, as stated on the ballot paper, not partly staying in it. So the much-scorned ‘crashing out with no deal’ option is most in line with what people probably thought they were getting.
Twitter regularly emails me to say a formal complaint has been lodged about something I’ve posted. This week, it concerned a tweet that read: ‘Prime Minister Theresa May says she’ll resign if her terrible Brexit withdrawal deal is passed. In other words, it’s so bad she has to fire herself to get it through. Her humiliation, and the country’s humiliation, is complete. What a pitiful fiasco.’ Twitter concluded this didn’t violate its rules, which is not entirely surprising given every word was true. I’m more intrigued about the identity of the complainant. I have 6.6 million followers but can think of only one person in the world who might have objected to what I wrote — and that’s Theresa May.
One of myriad criticisms of the hapless, hopeless, helpless Mrs May is that she doesn’t seem to have any awareness of the chaos erupting right in front of her eyes. I’ve personally witnessed this weird trait. At a Spectator party in July 2016, I introduced her to my wife but gesticulated rather too dramatically and knocked a glass of champagne all over Celia’s head and dress. Mrs May witnessed this without any change of expression or comment. I credited her at the time with possessing a commendable calm amid any storm. Now I think she just never noticed.
The PM should have adopted the same attitude to Brexit that she takes to baking scones. When she last appeared on Good Morning Britain, I asked her if she made them with soft or hard butter. ‘It’s easier if it’s hard,’ she replied. ‘If it’s hard you can get a good rub-in; if it’s too soft, it can get a bit claggy.’
The Daily Telegraph now has so many poshly named columnists, from Sophia Money-Coutts and Hamish de Bretton-Gordon to Boudicca Fox-Leonard and Harry de Quetteville, that a new social media game has been created to work out your own Telegraph byline. It involves taking the names of your first pet, the road you grew up on and an object in front of you. Mine thus became Rocky Oxbottom-Megaphone, which is so fantastically empowering I may actually have to adopt it as my new journalistic moniker.
This article was originally published in The Spectator magazine.