We all sense it. The calm before the storm. Before you can say ‘Facilitated customs arrangement’, Westminster will reconvene to face down its greatest challenge of the 21st century.
The British prime minister, his majority now hanging by a gossamer thin thread, refuses to rule out suspending Parliament to get the UK out of Europe without a deal. Legal challenges are afoot, a no confidence motion looms and a snap election hangs in the air like a grey Corbynite rain cloud.
If we are to be burdened by a third general election in five years, September’s conferences are where the parties mould their manifestos. The chosen setting for this year’s Labour shindig has become the beach head in the battle against a uniquely bitter breed of anti-Zionist activist whose binary bigotry is reserved for the Jewish state, alone among all 194 others.
The English riviera resort loved for its diversity is now infamous for the opposite, with bus-loads of one-eyed anti-Israel agitators set to head down the M23 (belting out that classic Village People sing-a-long, ‘It’s fun to pray on the IHRA, It’s fun to pray on the IHRA…”).
In the back row, where all the vape-smoking, chewing-gum-under-the-seat trouble makers lurk, sits cuddly Ken ‘Hitler supported Zionism’ Livingstone, Jackie ‘Jews financed the slave trade’ Walker and Jew-baiting Chris ‘We’re too apologetic’ Williamson. Joining them for the ride will be former MK Haneen ‘Tel Aviv is occupied territory’ Zouabi and Asa ‘the CST is linked to Mossad’ Winstanley.
These people, like the Labour leader, are ideologues surrounded by ideologues who would sell their own grandma if it raised a few quid for Iranian TV or a Gaza flotilla. They will never be reasoned out of a position it doesn’t seem they were ever reasoned into in the first place.
The surreal sea of Palestinian flags at last year’s Labour conference bore witness to a party fuelled by a virulent tribalism that binds together those who hate Israel and, often by transparent extension, Jews. Its leader could be prime minister within weeks.
Hold on to your hats. It’s going to be a bumpy, grumpy, ugly autumn.