By Ben Pensant
There are few people more likely to boil my piss than Tories, Centrists and Daily Mail hacks. Maggie Thatcher, Alastair Campbell-end, Richard Littlecock…the damage done to society by these three hateful groups is so severe I feel like reporting myself to Sussex Police for writing their names down. So I was as surprised as anyone last week when I found myself joining the centre left in singing the praises of James Chapman, the Tory Centrist and former Daily Mail hack who electrified social media with his bold plans to form a new political party dedicated to standing up for democracy by overturning democracy.
The thing is, once I’d picked my jaw off the floor and checked my pulse it made perfect sense. Allow me to explain. As a staunch Corbynite – I own three Momentum mugs, five pairs of Jezza pyjamas and a life-size bust of Diane Abbott’s head – I have a hard time dealing with die-hard Remainers. For while I share their view that the EU is just fab, leaving it will be an utter disaster and the 17 million thick xenophobes who voted for it deserve to be disembowelled, I’m regularly appalled by their failure to understand Jezza’s clever plan to foil Brexit and overturn the referendum result by supporting Brexit and respecting the referendum result.
But I’m always happy to give credit where its due. And every now and then I’m reminded that there are passionate voices on the centre every inch as bitter, unforgiving and downright intolerant as us. I’m more than willing to – for now – be the bigger man, let bygones be bygones and bond with my enemies over our mutual contempt for people who vote differently to us. And in Chapman we may just have found a figurehead for those of us who believe in progressive values such as freedom, diversity and re-running referendums until we get the result we want.
Because despite being in line to be first against the wall when the Day Of Jeremy arrives, I have to hand it to Centrists: when it comes to Brexit – and Brexit voters – they could give The Morning Star a lesson in deploying wildly hysterical language to demean people they disagree with.
Some Remainers think it’s just the Tory right and the Corbynite left with a monopoly on bigotry and abuse but they’re being far too modest – there’s plenty of room for bigotry and abuse on the centre too; just ask anyone who’s ever read a column by Matthew Parris – who has repeatedly stated 17 million people he’s never met are racist – or a copy of The New European – whose hilarious first front cover featured a cartoon dog calling those same 17 million people ‘idiots’.
‘Someone needs to oppose the extremists holding sway to left and right’ pleaded one of Chapman’s new fans, a concern that would be understandable were it not for the growing number of extremists on the centre evening things up. Luckily enough, on Twitter this led to a multitude of good-natured debates and exchanges – which in turn led to a multitude of good-natured strops and blockings – among leftists and centrists over which faction is the most intolerant. Granted, rabid Remainers and Kool Aid Corbynites debating who’s the most intolerant is like Max Clifford and Rolf Harris arguing over who’s the biggest sex-pest but you can’t fault their passion. And trust me, you don’t get more passionate than James Chapman.
For anyone wondering who this mysterious crusader is, before Chapman joined Anna Soubry and Kenneth Clarke on the official list of Tories it’s okay for liberals to like, he was chief of staff to David Davis. He resigned in a blaze of publicity, was blue-pilled by The Guardian then went on holiday to Greece from where he’s been getting pissed and Tweeting pure gold ever since.
This pure gold has predominantly involved calling for a new political party to be formed with the sole purpose of stopping Brexit, a call greeted enthusiastically by liberals, not least because it’s far easier to keep track of the politicians who hate democracy if they’re all in one party.
As he put it himself while opening his sixth bottle of wine: ‘Past time for sensible MPs in all parties to admit Brexit is a catastrophe, come together In a new party if need be, and reverse it #euroref19’. Initial responses came from thick-as-pigshit Leave voters whose concerns Chapman effortlessly batted away by ignoring their points and focussing on their predictably poor grammar and punctuation – no mean feat considering his own Tweet above featured an erroneous capital letter.
As the Ouzo continued to flow so did Chapman’s creativity, the feisty genius coining an original and highly ironic name for this ‘revolutionary’ new party: The Democrats. ‘A new home for you is coming’ he assured his acolytes, tapping in to the destitution and loneliness felt by Remainer Britain with only BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky News, half of Fleet Street, most of social media and virtually every actor and comedian with a third home in Florence on their side. And with Chapman’s not-at-all cult-like ‘#Join Us #Democrats’ hashtag trending, he went on to bullishly outline the key policies that would inform his new party. Key policies which appeared to involve imprisoning opponents and censoring journalists:
‘Let’s be honest, if we had electoral law leading Brexiters would be now be in jail #wheresmy350aweekBoris’ he raged, cleverly latching on to the modern left-wing principle that people who lie or disagree with us should be thrown in jail. Understandably, he wouldn’t be drawn on whether Remain campaigners like his good friend George Osborne would follow Johnson into chokey for saying Brexit would cause a recession within months, nor did he explain how much it would cost and how many new prisons would have to be built if every politician in the land was put on trial for telling porkies.
Unsurprisingly, this got Remain Twitter’s collective knickers wetter than a Newsnight appearance by Ian Dunt, with progressives far and wide applauding a man for endorsing the internment of political opponents. But if you thought that was admirably Stalinist, check out his stark warning to Paul Staines after Guido Fawkes re-published an Instagram photo of Chapman with his arse out:
‘Apparently @guidofawkes has posted a naked picture of me. Whatever turns you on, Paul. The Democrats will close you down when we implement Leveson’ he purred, showing remarkable confidence that his made-up political party will not only one day exist but will also somehow be powerful enough to shut down websites he doesn’t like.
And in case anyone thinks threatening to censor the press is a somewhat inconsistent position for a journalist to hold, Chapman’s media supporters were on hand to assure us this wasn’t the case, with even vile Corbyn-smearer Marina Hyde applauding Chapman’s ‘bravery’. Because as anyone who’s ever chased a criminal, fought in a war or rescued a child from a burning building knows all too well, there are few things more brave than lying on a sun-lounger, downing Sambuca shots and calling people names on the internet.
Which is why Chapman has changed the face of British politics in less than a week, cementing his place in Remainer hearts as the super-hero the centre deserves. He may not wear a mask or a cape – though judging his apparent love of a good session he’s no stranger to occasionally believing he can fly – but his heroism is of an altogether more illiberal hue; you won’t read about it in comics but mark my words, his exploits will be all over the history books of the future.
As a concerned Remainer wrote on Twitter, bemoaning the lack of centrist leadership to fight the hard-Brexiters and staunch Corbynites: ‘There’s little sign of moderates influencing direction. Extremists appear in charge’. Indeed they do, though as we all know, one extreme is evil while the other is ace. But either way, the time has come for someone to man up and make the moderate case for ignoring democracy. And it appears that someone is Chapman. He may be a Tory but I can think of few better alternatives to extremism than a party led by a man who wants to silence and incarcerate opponents.
All things considered, it’s hard not to see why regressive leftists would get weak at the knees over James, especially after he followed up his decidedly-Corbynite friendly pledges on censorship and internment by admitting he’d rather see St Jezza in power than Ian Duncan Smith. Good lad. Because despite his right-wing past it’s clear that James, mindful of the shit-storm that will erupt after Jezza takes power, is cleverly pulling out the stops to feature in the Dear Leader’s plans. It won’t save him, of course – his previous employment at the Mail is reason enough to see him strung up with barbed wire on Hampstead Heath – but his endearing fondness for crushing dissent may just see his wife given a cushy job as the McDonnells’ personal handmaid. And who knows, maybe St Jezza will show some kind, gentle leniency and allow her to keep one of her children.
Until then, if he keeps impressing us and makes the Democrats a force to be reckoned with the PM may even grant Chapman and co complete freedom to overturn Brexit, freeing up Corbyn to focus on the really important stuff: nationalising the railways, borrowing billions to save the NHS and depleting the armed forces to such a degree they make the Walmington-on-sea Home Guard look like The Roman Army. Meanwhile Chapman can comfort himself with the knowledge that he gave his all for the government that killed him.
Now that’s what I call a super man.
(Photo: Olaf Gradin)