Incoherence is a virtue, as Philip Hammond
told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday “I’m realistic that we may not be able to get a majority for the Prime Minister’s deal and if that is the case then Parliament will have to decide not just what it’s against, but what it is for. One way or another Parliament is going to have the opportunity this week to decide what it is in favour of, and I hope that it will take that opportunity, if it can’t get behind the Prime Minister’s deal, to say clearly and unambiguously what it can get behind”.
“We’ve got to address the question of what type of Brexit is acceptable to Parliament, what type of way forward Parliament can agree on, so that we can avoid what would be an economic catastrophe of a no-deal exit and also what would be a very big challenge to confidence in our political system if we didn’t exit at all. I’m not sure that there’s a majority in Parliament for a second referendum but it’s a perfectly coherent proposition, many people will be strongly opposed to it, but it’s a coherent proposition and it deserves to be considered along with the other proposals”.
In true remoaner fashion Hammond, in June 2016, confirmed he would support the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, saying “No ifs, no buts, no second referendums. We are leaving the European Union. But it is equally clear to me that the British people did not vote on June 23 to become poorer or less secure”, subjects that were not on the EU Referendum ballot paper. And then his individual brand of incoherence clicked in.
His constituency voted 54.3% leave, 45.7% remain in a turnout of 76%. He had resided in the political knackers yard and sidelined by the prime minister Theresa May. Hammond expected to wake up the day after the 2017 poll to find himself out of a job. Yet here he is, his political reputation exhumed. You couldn’t make it up.
Hammond has carved out a reputation as a “steady as she goes” chancellor. His cold deployment of economic facts in the fevered Brexit debate, and his fiscal rigour, are seen by business leaders as a valuable corrective. Hammond rightly thought he was for the chop [at the election] and now he’s grateful for every day. He doesn’t care if people don’t like him, which many don’t, he will do what he thinks is right for the country.
As Private Eye
describes him, he’s “Spreadsheet Phil, Spreadwealth Phil, and Spreadgloom Phil”, or all things to all people, when it suits him!