Multiple Crises in Democracy 398


There is a strong strand of belief among the political class that Boris Johnson has no intention of taking the UK out of the EU. His aim was to see off Cameron and install himself in No. 10, after which he will discover that leaving the EU is proving far too dangerous and call for a second referendum. I suspect that this credits Johnson with a Machiavellian genius he is far from possessing, though as a prediction of future events it is in with a chance. (Personally I am hoping for Theresa May, the reaction to whose elevation will speed up Scottish Independence).

The United Kingdom’s democracy is far from perfect. The massive anachronism of the House of Lords, the vast executive powers based on Crown prerogative, the blatant unfairness of the first past the post system, the lack of a pluralist media… I could go on and on. Referenda are a rare bolt-on to what is already a mess.

The demonstrable public contempt of the public for the political class has been mirrored these last few days by the demonstrable contempt of the political class for the public. This has been obvious in the response to the Brexit vote, and in the Labour parliamentary party’s move against Corbyn. Both are evidence that the political class feel that they should not be directed by a wider public. Alastair Campbell in discussing Brexit effectively dismissed the public as stupid and gullible.

I am not just pro-EU, I am an euro-federalist. But we have a referendum result, and it is not being respected. Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty should, in respect to the verdict of the people, be invoked in weeks not months. For the Conservative Party to view its leadership election as taking priority disrespects both the British people and the rest of the EU, who are kept in uncertainty.

The voters should be obeyed with facility. When there is a general election, the incumbent PM moves out in the early hours of the morning. There is no sign of haste to obey the public here. It is not a good attitude.

However, opinion can change. The truth is that by the time leaving the EU becomes effective in a bit over two years, over 1 million of the electorate will have died and over 800,000 new people will have come on to the electoral roll. If the margin of victory had been 5 or 6 million that would not have been relevant. But as it is the churnaround will be greater than the majority. That is not perhaps in itself sufficient argunent for a second referendum, but if the opinion polls show firm evidence of a switch in public opinion during the next 24 months, it could become important.

The question of when a second referendum on a subject might be held is a fraught one. But however the idea of further public ballots might be described, it is not undemocratic. Which leads me on to Indyref2 in Scotland. The idea is being mooted that Nicola Sturgeon may be able to secure some deal for Scotland with the EU, whereby Scotland is still part of the UK outside the EU but retains its EU privileges.

I have been puzzling over this one. I have a strong background in the subject, having been for four years First Secretary (Political and Economic) in the British Embassy in Warsaw with the specific responsibility for Poland’s EU accession. I cannot for the life of me think of any really substantive such arrangements that could work without Scottish Independence. If Scotland remains in the Union and the UK leaves the EU, there is nothing Scotland can gain by way of special relationship which is other than window dressing.

Besides which, even if a unique bargain could be struck and some special status obtained, it is indisputable that this would still constitute a “material change”. In respect for the mandate on which the SNP were very specifically elected, if the UK leaves the EU, that must still trigger a referendum on full independence.

Indyref2 must now be a given.

The Labour crisis is a result of that party’s lack of internal democracy. In the SNP, every MP and MSP must seek reselection as the candidate for every election. Sitting MSPs and MPS can be and are regularly deposed by party members without fuss.

In the Labour Party, the system has been designed to put in MPs for life. Members have no right to challenge them. An extraordinary number of the right wing MPs were parachuted in from HQ and have no connection whatsoever to the northern constituencies they represent. It is fascinating that two thirds of the Shadow Cabinet members who resigned yesterday ostensibly over Corbyn’s insufficient EU enthusiasm, represent constituencies which voted for Brexit. This might call into some doubt their own campaigning effectiveness.

Everybody knows that the Labour parliamentary party is well to the right of both the membership and the trade unions, and has been itching to get rid of Corbyn from day one. For those who have constantly stabbed him in the back for a year to criticise his effectiveness in fighting their opponents is ridiculous.

For England and Wales, Corbyn represents the only challenge to the neo-liberal values of the political class, which has succeeded in capturing an important institution. Corbyn represents a chance that democracy may have meaning, in the sense of actually presenting alternative views and policies to the electorate. The establishment is now in the end game of removing this “threat” to ensure that the next general election again just gives the English and Welsh a choice of which colour of Tory you want.

Those who see the Labour Party as just a career path (90% of its MPs and employees) really don’t care what it stands for as long as it gets into power. Power means money. Ask Tony Blair.

I do hope Corbyn hangs on. Even if he does lose the general election (by no means a given) he can provide an invaluable service by reawakening the notion that democracy should present the voters with a real choice, not just a change of troughing promoting the same ideology.


398 thoughts on “Multiple Crises in Democracy

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    • Republicofscotland

      Manda.

      Corbyn has one of the largest mandates of any Labour leader, I think the people would just vote him back in again in the event of a leadership contest. The people see that Corbyn is a left leaning leader who’s trying to steer Labour away from its right wing Blairite faction and back to its roots again.

      If Corbyn can keep a calm head, and a full shadow cabinet, the public will carry him through the turmoil. If I were him I wouldn’t give a monkeys who resigned from the cabinet, I’d hold on and steer the ship to calmer waters, after all the Jonah’s had jumped ship.

      • Manda

        Oh I agree. I was just posting the link for those interested that couldn’t be there like me.

        I do worry the Blairites have other dirty tricks up their sleeves though, including some that have already been ‘primed’.

      • Ultraviolet

        Corbyn won with over half the vote in the first round of voting just nine months ago. Since then, the party has won all the bye-elections it has fought with increased margins, it polled more than all other parties at the local elections, with a significantly improved performance on 2015, and the membership has doubled.

        But the PLP is making it crystal clear that it simply will not stand for Corbyn as leader. They desperately want to go back to what the electorate and the membership has overwhelmingly rejected.

        I really want to support Corbyn, and will continue to do so.

        But at what point do we conclude that the damage is too great, that we are wasting our time trying to reform the Labour party, and we would be better off jumping ship for the Greens?

        • Republicofscotland

          I see your frustration, but if the Blairites oust Corbyn, how long will the heart of the Labour party be lost for, ten years? twenty years? more? Id say this is a one time chance to change the course of the Labour party. It won’t be easy it will be messy, if you want the real Labour party back, then youll need to fight for it, stick with Corbyn.

        • Shatnersrug

          You’re believing what you see in the papers – they lie. Come and take part with us – I’ve just got back from Parliament square – Jeremy and John MacDonnel were amazing – he’s already appointed a new shadow cabinet – the first for 20 years with NO Blairites in it. We’ve had demos up and down the country. Have no illusions – democracy is all but dead – Corbyn and the the new front bench are planning on giving it the kiss of life – but this won’t me some Jesus like figure swooping in and winning the press over – this will be done door by door, town by town – today was incredible. There will be moves to remove Blairites perminantly.

          The Labour Party is back and JC is going nowhere.

          • Alan

            !0,000 apparently turned up to support him tonight. I quote:

            The event took place during a Parliamentary Labour Party meeting that included a vote on a no confidence motion against the Labour Party leader. Following the meeting, Mr Corbyn came from inside the Houses of Parliament to address the crowd, which police estimates put at 10,000 people.

            I’ll wager all the Blairites together couldn’t get 10,000 to attend their meetings.

          • Clark

            I was in Parliament square. I couldn’t get close enough to hear the speeches, but it was good to see so many there, and good to see Jeremy Corbyn addressing the crowd.

    • Darth

      Laura Kuenssberg said on BBC: “We can’t really say what the numbers at the pro Corbyn demo were”.

      Says it all.

      • Habbabkuk (encouraging interesting and diverse views)

        RoS

        Just in case some people didn’t read your link, this is how it ends:

        “However Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault dismissed talk of border changes as ‘rubbish’, saying: ‘People should be responsible, not engage in demagoguery.’”

        There you go!

        • Republicofscotland

          Habb.

          It’s no secret that Hollande wants to make it difficult for the UK over its Brexit decision, in the long term why would the French try to stop immigrants entering the UK, it wouldn’t be in their interests to do so.

        • Laguerre

          “Just in case some people didn’t read your link, this is how it ends:
          “However Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault dismissed talk of border changes as ‘rubbish’, saying: ‘People should be responsible, not engage in demagoguery.’”

          Of course, people deny today what they are going to do tomorrow. I don’t think the French have decided yet what to do about the Treaty of Le Touquet. There’s a lot of pressure from the people in the Pas de Calais to be rid of the Jungle, and the endless problems with the migrants. Why should they suffer them?

          If negotiations with Britain go well, Ayrault’s position may be maintained. If they go badly, and/or if there’s an electoral problem in France (quite likely), things could switch. French presidential elections 2017 are just over the horizon.

      • Habbabkuk (encouraging interesting and diverse views)

        To be noted, moreover, that the Mayor of Calais is a socialist in a region where the Front National is posing a threat to the traditional socialist hegemony and that the minister you refer to is Monsieur Macron, who just happens to be one of the guys who would like to replace Monsieur Hollande as the socialist candidate in the forthcoming French Presidential election.

        It’s surprising that such an acute political analyst as yourself didn’t pick up on that. 🙂

        • Republicofscotland

          Im sure Monsieur Macron, will be playing to the gallery more and more in the run up to the French elections, hoping to garner votes from all corners. However after the election it will be a different matter.

          Just why would France stop immigrants or refugees from trying to enter the UK, I’m sure the French budget is under enough pressure as it is without adding to it, by providing for thousands of refugees/immigrants.

        • Laguerre

          The mayor of Calais is a conservative. “Membre du mouvement Les Républicains, elle est maire de Calais depuis 2008, ” according to Wiki.

      • Alan

        Of course you can’t blame the French for their actions especially when Brits are telling the EU to f*ck off, wouldn’t you agree Michael ?

        If they are refugees, and they have arrived in France, then France is supposed to process them; that’s the usual routine. Britain only has to process refugees who end up in Britain. For far too long the French have been playing this game.

    • Monteverdi

      The word ‘ may ‘ being the weak point in your post plus your innocent belief that the Referendum had anything to do with this long pre planned coup first exposed in the Daily Telegraph of 13th June the link to which I’ve provided further down this thread.

  • jay

    What is it about the right wing?bliarite temdency in labour that makes them think they are right in all they do? 2 election defeats, slaughter in Scotland, poor local election returns and a brexit does not prove new labour and its entrails are wanted by anybody. is there no mechanism to sack the lot of them rather than have this fancy media charade of resignations? The tory party is the natural home of new labour so why don’t they just bugger off?

    • michael norton

      I do not think the Liberal Democrats are as popular
      as once they were, you see, they were caught out telling porkie pies

    • Shatnersrug

      The Blairites are a hand selected Tnt Peter Mandelson – the plan was to turn labour in to a Democrat party of the U.K. Where they worked for lobbyists with slightly more progressive agenda than the Tories. It has now all but failed the PLP are plotting but they have not a hope in hell.

  • Habbabkuk (encouraging interesting and diverse views)

    It’s perhaps time to nail, once and for all, all this rubbish being written about second referendums. The sort of rubbish which asserts that if people have “voted the wrong way” they are “forced” to vote again and again until they give the “right” answer.

    Let’s take the Danish referendum of the Maastricht Treat as an example.

    The Danes , consulted by their govt, voted narrowly to reject the Maastricht Treaty.

    What then happened was the following: the Danish govt engaged in an intensive exercise to find out what features and implications of that Treaty were worrying a large number of the Danish people. The reasons having been established, the Danish govt negotiated with the other members of the European Communities (as was) to find solutions to Danish worries. The solutions found were agreed at the Edinburgh European Council in December 1992 (they mainly took the form of various additional Protocols and declarations attached to the original Maastricht Treaty and thus carrying the same legal weight as the Treaty itself)

    The Maastricht Treaty, as supplemented, was then submitted to the Danish people in a second referendum and was accepted by them.

    This illustrates that both the Danish government and the European Communities, far from “forcing” the electorate to vote again and again until the “right” result was obtained, were in fact responding democratically and flexibly to accomodate to the extent possible the wishes of the Danish electorate.

    • Loony

      The only thing you nail is that the approach of the EU would appear to be contrary to that of UK custom and practice.

      The two approaches are different and probably irreconcilable. The only effective long term solutions are for the UK to withdraw from the EU or the UK to amend its own laws and abandon its customs and practices so as to become compatible with the EU.

      As of this moment the UK has elected to leave the UK. This decision has been reached in accordance with UK law and UK custom and practice.

      If you do not like the situation you should perhaps remember that the UK has been a member of the EEC (latterly EU) for over 40 years. Throughout all of this period the UK had an opportunity to amend its own laws and consign its own practices to history so as to make itself compatible with the EU. That it did not do so is hardly the fault or responsibility of the voters that constituted the 2016 Referendum electorate.

      • Loony

        Just in case you were thinking of attempting to ridicule my view, please bear in mind that no less a figure than Martin Schultz has just said very much the same thing, with admiral brevity

        “The British have violated the rules. It is not EU philosophy that the crown can decide its fate”

      • Ba'al Zevul

        Hmmm. All that was missing from the picture, then, was the UK government’s attempt to find out what the causes of concern were, deal with them and get a mandate to accept the reforms. Instead, Cameron swanned off to Brussels before the referendum could express the major issues, failed to get enough to pre-empt them, was given an assurance that no more would be forthcoming, held the referendum anyway, and lost. Shot self in foot, IOW. But,as the entire exercise was designed to see off the eurosceptics in his own party, and prevent them from teaming up with Farage, at least we can give him credit for not agitating for best of three….

    • glenn_uk

      Rather sad, then, that the EU is so intractable when it comes to migration, just to name one item. There are a great many which could be aired, but just look at that one. There is no way the EU would compromise with migration rights, because they are so bent on it that nothing – not even the serious likelihood of the break-up of the EU itself – is allowed to interfere with its imposition.

      Never mind that a country might be very heavily populated already, and the wishes of that population and government be damned. They simply do not count, when it comes to significant changes in the very nature of their own country.

      Does this sound as if the EU is responding “democratically and flexibly to accommodate to the extent possible the wishes” of our electorate, in this instance?

      • Ba'al Zevul

        It’s very difficult saying anything about migration, or more accurately migrant labour, without being called a racist, usually by the likes of PollyToynbee, who do not live in agricultural areas in which people who don’t speak English are competing for poorly-paid jobs and ever-more expensive accommodation with the locals. Or where the industrial base was wiped out decades ago and its former skilled workers and their kids are competing with migrant labour for jobs in warehouses on pay designed to attract unemployed Bulgarians.

        Sure, UKIP has had a genuinely racist profile during its history, and it’s attracted a few genuinely prejudiced monobrows to its banner. But that is very far from the whole story. The basic bitch is with the free movement of labour undercutting accepted rates for the job, and with their requirement for diminishing local resources. Which is nothing to do with race, since migrant labour is as likely to be Caucasian as well as any other variety of human – more so within the EU.

        • Tony M

          Ba’al Zevul:

          “usually by the likes of PollyToynbee, who do not live in agricultural areas in which people who don’t speak English are competing for poorly-paid jobs and ever-more expensive accommodation …

          But those are exactly the circumstances in which Polly Toynbee does live, in Tuscany.

          • Alan

            But those are exactly the circumstances in which Polly Toynbee does live, in Tuscany.

            Then what the hell is she doing telling us how to live in the UK?

          • glenn_uk

            I imagine this is something which rankled with many potential LEAVE voters – being told to sit down, shut up, and stop being so racist – by people who either live in the London bubble or swan around in the more agreeable parts of Europe.

            Such pundits wouldn’t dream of living in densely populated, grim housing estates up north, nor similarly blighted areas of modern and otherwise prosperous European countries. How about some of the more deprived parts of Romania, or former Eastern Bloc countries? Not a bit of it. But bring some of that over to the UK – but not where I live don’t forget! – and that shouldn’t be a problem for anyone except racist, stupid, old people. Mock and dismiss them – that’ll sort them out.

            A lot of Britain has to pay a pretty hefty price, for those at the upper echelons of society to float around Europe but only the most agreeable parts. When they’re told it’s racism – and nothing but – to object to such an arrangement, it should not be too surprising that the masses voted against more of the same.

            Corbyn should be praised for the result not being greater than 70-30 in favour of LEAVE.

    • Suhayl Saadi

      Excellent point, Habbabkuk.

      This whole Referendum campaign in the UK and the result and the chaotic aftermath has been so depressing and enraging. I do think that only in Scotland has there been any coherence from the Scottish Govt/politicians in general. The absurd focus on, ‘migrants’ and now the hatred that appears to have been given license, is unforgivable.

      • Alan

        This whole Referendum campaign in the UK and the result and the chaotic aftermath has been so depressing and enraging.

        My you do allow things to upset you easily, don’t you? Like Habbakook says, you have to keep calm and carry on.

      • Anon1

        Suhayl is overdrawn on his racism card. He can’t accept the people’s will to want to make their own laws, by their own elected representatives. He hates democracy.

    • Macky

      What a nonsense comparison; apples & oranges again !

      Comparing a referendum to accept or decline additional conditions in a association that you are already a member of, is fundamentally different to a referendum on that very membership itself; the former is a matter that could be subject to fine tuning as you are in a position to press for the any amendments, but the latter is a binary yes or no choice on the very principle of belonging to an association in the first place. Even more absurd if you have already been a member for decades and have already spent virtually all that time fine tuning or opting out from the bits you didn’t like anyway; the people who voted for BREXIT did so on the very principle of membership, not because of any lack of fine tuning !

    • fwl

      A second referendum id a possibility, but would need the EU to renounce closer integration and set out proposals for reform.

      • Macky

        If you are expecting the EU to alter its core objectives & structures, then you will have a very very long wait; and in that case the EU might as well disband & start-up again as a totally new association, that would work ! :D.

  • Monteverdi

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/13/labour-rebels-hope-to-topple-jeremy-corbyn-in-24-hour-blitz-afte/

    Anybody who is still deceiving themselves that this is a spontaneous revolt against Corbyn need only read this article [ above ] from the Daily Telegraph dated 13th June well before the Referendum Vote or known outcome . This was a pre-planned coup brazenly admitted where pre-planned tactics were openly published and are now being played out before our collective eyes.
    That so many MP’s involved in this planned charade have not been named and shamed and allowed to spout off in the media about Corbyn’s performance in the Referendum as their phony pretext of revolt shows a media overwhelmingly involved and colluding in this deceitful plot.

    • Habbabkuk (encouraging interesting and diverse views)

      Buon giorno, Pulcinella, come sta la commedia dell’arte?

    • John Spencer-Davis

      Thank you, Monteverdi. This has just come out from Momentum on Labour List – perhaps where you got it from.

      I think it’s so interesting I’ll post it again – giving you the credit of course.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

      Monty, Corbyn MUST go because he would stand in the way of the attack on Syria that Israel and its stooges in the EU and USA so devoutly desire. There is almost complete congruity between the vilest Blairites and the strongest apologists for Israel, starting with Blairzebub himself.

  • gyges01

    The following came to me by email,


    I’ve made a petition – will you sign it?

    Click this link to sign the petition:
    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/149256/sponsors/oLwNOR3tKzpSE7ZMkXm

    My petition:

    Have a referendum in England to see if we want Scotland to remain in the U.K.

    I feel quite insulted that whilst Scotish people are constantly discussing whether they want to stay in the UK, English people have not been asked if they want Scotland to remain in the UK. Surely it’s only democratic to have a similar referendum in England? ”

    Would you sign it if it meant that the English would be given the chance to vote on whether or not the Scots could be part of the Union?

    • Alan

      I’m signing that! I’m sick of hearing “Scotland the Brave” whining and a wailing.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain

        That one of the prime requirements for a true Blairite is total, slavish, devotion to Israel is hardly news. The same is true of the US political farce, here in Australia and in much of the EU. It is hard to imagine that the UK could be greater stooges than France, as well, not to forget Germany.

      • Tom

        I wouldn’t be surprised if this is misdirection, just like the Obama visit. It seems to me that the US and Israel want to stir up as much trouble as they can in the EU, partly out of jealousy/antagonism towards the Germans, and partly because they are fearful of a strong, liberal power bloc. I have little doubt they were all for Brexit, and indeed the Leave campaign seemed suspiciously well organised, considering that just a year ago it was virtually a Farage one-man show.

    • Shatnersrug

      Hi macky – I’ve been in parliament square today supporting Jeremy – 10,000 people and the atmosphere was electric. I cannot see how the Blairites will oust him no matter what drivel the guardian and BBC write, any vote of no confidence would lead to a leadership campaign on which the sitting leader is automatically placed – this has been confirmed by Labour lawyers – we in momentum and the Labour Party are ready to vote for Jeremy st the drop of a hat. We cobbled 10,000 people together in parliament square today and have recruited more new labour members – the Blairites are in trouble.

      • Macky

        Yes lucky you, I could only watch it live;I really think they haven’t got a chance against JC, the people have got his back ! 🙂

        • Shatnersrug

          I keep hearing “general election in October” – even from conservative home, but I don’t understand on what grounds there needs to be one – it didn’t automatically trigger a GE when thatcher resigned nor when Blair passed over to Brown – did I miss something? Or is this just folks getting carried away?

          • ray

            shatnisrug I think you missed the whole World watching Labour and the tory party finishing the way politics is done in future wouldnt worry about the Blaireites you all finished we got long memories for traitors seen the lisbon treaty yet gents. only got until next year before Britain was given away and the whole world saw it. byeeeeeeeeeeeeee

      • Mulga Mumblebrain

        Shatnerssyrup, when are you lot going to cleanse the Labour seats of the Blairite Quislings? The gloves are OFF, now, and hesitate and it will be you who lose-and the world. Corbyn could yet be the camel that started the breaking down of the neo-liberal pigs’ house of straw. I do hope he has adequate personal protection.

  • Laguerre

    It should not be forgotten that it was Britain under Blair in 2004 that pushed for the expansion of the EU to 28, and created the problem we are faced with today. As far as I remember at the time, the intention was to weaken the EU, and turn it into a free-trade area. Blair succeeded in the weakening part. Unfortunate that the rest of Europe agreed.

    The present French idea seems to be a two-speed Europe, with a core area who go for integration, and an outer area, whose relationship is more distant. I could see it happening, when a meeting is called of “founder members” to the exclusion of others..

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

      Laguerre, the expansion of the EU was part of the preparation to expand NATO to Russia’s borders, in order to bring Russia down, split it into fragments, like the USSR and Yugoslavia and loot its resources through a string of Yeltsin-type Quislings.

  • YouKnowMyName

    Comparing the British internecine-exit from the mildly annoying EU to the decline & fall of the Soviet Union . . .fast forward to recovery time

    It took Russia about a decade to rebuild some order, directed by a macho kgb operative. They had LOTS of oil, land, resources, a few main frenemies, not 27!

    Unfortunately, UK has already run out of everything, there’s apparently no ex-Mi gets ready to wrestle bears whilst wearing a thong, (that I know about), Charles Farr, Scarlett, Ormand, Lobban et al seem happier in business/committees/typing rather than solving this Pandora-box shituation within the next decade. Boris – didnt Boris already subtly buy the riot-cannons as part of his path to power? Isn’t there someone with a bit more ‘guile’ like http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2012/sep/23/paddy-ashdown-spoils-afternoon-prime-minister (awkward bastard, trained to kill mandarins?)

    I’m no expert , but I’d guess at mass deadly riots in many UK cities in the next 5 years, especially if wazzocks like the Blairites carry on regardless with their current bizzaro sideshow. . .

  • mike

    What’s this ? A former miner, two black women, a former NHS physiotherapist, and sundry other civilians in the new shadow cabinet? And half of them are from the (gulp) north of England?

    It gets worse – none of them have been to Oxbridge !

    Oh no, oh dear. We can’t have that. I’m all for diversity, but it has to be of the right kind.

    So the Westminster bubble says no to this regional rabble.

    Independently wealthy PPE Islingtonians only, please, ideally with no experiences outwith the SpAd demographic. I mean, next they’ll be saying the Parliamentary Labour Party is meant to be representative of Society At Large. Ghastly idea.

    Meeting Kuenssberg at The Goring to stop all this nonsense. She’ll do us a favour on Chilcott too, once we send this scruffy old Trot back to the British Library…

        • Laguerre

          Poor idea. They’re more interested in personal politics than the interest of the country.

        • Resident Dissident

          I think you will find that quite a lot of them are not Blairites. Interesting how people use labels as a lazy alternative to arguing their case – somehow thinking that it might convince those whose minds are not already made up. Do you really believe that there is no room in British politics for something between the politics of Jeremy Corbyn and the Conservative Party and its recent Liberal allies? Is the whole political philosophy of social democracy now redundant and confined to the darkness?

          Remember how Mrs Thatcher said there was no alternative – aren’t you really just playing the same game?

          • Mulga Mumblebrain

            The Blairite Gadarenes are not ‘between’ Corbyn and the Tories, but are Tories themselves, no longer even in disguise. And they just jumped ship in mid-ocean. Good riddance.

  • Resident Dissident

    There is no doubt that Brexiters now have a mandate to implement their plan for withdrawal from the EU – but that mandate will disappear pretty quick unless they can demonstrate that they have a coherent plan for doing so.

    And all the sign are that things are unravelling pretty quick.

    I wonder how many those voting leave thought that they signed up for this
    “There will still be intense and intensifying European cooperation and partnership in a huge number of fields: the arts, the sciences, the universities, and on improving the environment. EU citizens living in this country will have their rights fully protected, and the same goes for British citizens living in the EU.

    British people will still be able to go and work in the EU; to live; to travel; to study; to buy homes and to settle down. As the German equivalent of the CBI – the BDI – has very sensibly reminded us, there will continue to be free trade, and access to the single market. Britain is and always will be a great European power, offering top-table opinions and giving leadership on everything from foreign policy to defence to counter-terrorism and intelligence-sharing – all the things we need to do together to make our world safer.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/26/i-cannot-stress-too-much-that-britain-is-part-of-europe–and-alw/

    Interesting to know how Boris intends to get free movement for the British without offering the same to EU citizens.

    • Laguerre

      “And all the sign are that things are unravelling pretty quick.”

      Couldn’t agree more. Things are descending into a sort of madness, where everyone is against everyone else, without thought of the interests of the country.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain

        Laguerre, but that is good, because the neo-liberal, neo-feudal, geo-politically aggressive Atlanticist project is pure Evil and totally self-destructive. Better chaos that may signal a healing catharsis, than proceeding down the road to total disaster, for Europe and the world.

        • Laguerre

          “Better chaos that may signal a healing catharsis,”

          No I don’t think so. The problem is that the politicians (mainly Tory, but not all) are not yet ready to give up their personal ambitions for the sake of the country. Or cannot adapt their personal ambitions to the needs of the country.

        • Resident Dissident

          The ends justify the means yet again for our pocket revolutionaries – broken eggs, omelettes, betrayals, Great terrors and gulags to follow in short order.

      • Suhayl Saadi

        This is what happens when the politics of hysteria reign. The entire EU Referendum campaign was emblematic of a kind of political psychosis where the complex matter was treated as though it were a simple equation to do with ‘migrants’ (which seemed to comprise ‘foreigners’, both refugees from nearby conflicts which we either caused or helped to engender and people moving from other parts of the EU). In this morass, the tabloids played a really shameful role.

        This even simpler equation did not seem to get any traction at all: ‘Migrants’ did not cause the post-2008 economic recession and redistribution of wealth form poor to rich termed, ‘austerity’. Deregulation of the international banking system and the ideology of neoliberalism in the New lab and Con-Dem Govts caused it.

        The appeal to the lowest common denominator – hatred of the Other – won out. Does it not always, when backed by such a resounding chorus?

        • Anon1

          The majority of voters were for freedom, democracy and sovereignty. Suck it up, Suhayl. You lost.

        • Loony

          You are correct that the referendum campaign was both puerile and simplistic. That does not mean that all voters voted on the basis of puerility and prejudice.

          It is wholly wrong to conclude, as you seem to, that the aggregate vote was connected to “hatred of the other”

          If you think people in the UK hate migrants then you need to explain why they are coming, and coming in increasing number. Ordinarily people do not migrate to lands where people hate them.

          Could it be that, with regard to European migrants,they are being driven from their homes largely against their will by economic forces unleashed by the structure of the EU. Voting to leave the EU creates pressure on the EU either to reform or to collapse. This in turn should alleviate the pressure being placed on the populations of southern Europe and allow them to exercise an effective free choice as to whether they wish to stay in their home countries.

          With regard to refugees from outside of Europe then there is a clear obligation to help. Do you really think that current policy achieves this purpose. Why is there no attempt made to separate refugees from economic migrants? Why should these two groups of people be treated in the same manner.

          As there are 2.8 billion people in the world who live on less than $2/day there is in effect a limitless supply of economic migrants. Clearly all of these people cannot come to Europe, so should there not be a policy that recognizes this fact.

          With regard to refugees why are they being forced to make perilous journeys by both land and sea prior to the EU offering meaningful assistance? It is about 10 times cheaper to assist refugees outside of Europe than inside of Europe. So why is this not being done – especially as it means you could help 10 times as many people. Why does Europe not provide transportation for the refugees with medical conditions or other issues that could be best dealt with inside of Europe.

          Any attempt to address these issues is ordinarily forestalled by reflexive cries of racism and all debate is forestalled. And who are the people hurt most by this silencing of debate by people so keen to demonstrate their anti-racist credentials. Why migrants and refugees together with poor indigenous communities. The anti-racist seem to think their job is done the moment they dump these refugees into communities long since abandoned by the political classes.

          You don’t like racism, so you tell me how to address these issues. Here is a clue: The answer is not to yell racist and go and buy a copy of the Guardian and bemoan the ignorance of the masses.

        • Alan

          “The appeal to the lowest common denominator – hatred of the Other – won out. Does it not always, when backed by such a resounding chorus?”

          The hard truth about the EU:

          http://www.counterfire.org/articles/book-reviews/18374-fortress-europe-inside-the-war-against-immigration

          Razor Wire. When you arrive in Calais, the first thing that strikes you leaving the Eurotunnel is the fences. All topped by vicious looking razor wire. Fence after fence. Short fences and tall heaped up on each other, sometimes less than a meter apart. They spark all sorts of imaginings. What made the authorities want to erect yet another razor wire fence, right there?

          You quickly realise you’re looking at a battlefield. With all the fluid and abstract logic that implies. A battlefield dotted with the mechanisms of a war being waged against the free movement of so-called aliens. A landscape through which the free movement of goods and commodities is conspicuous. Double-decker trains stacked with luxury cars rumble by unchecked. Oblivious to the barriers designed for obstructing and slicing into bodies.

          This is the same EU that remainers like to pretend is the home of freedom and democracy. Oh yes, and let’s talk about Greece as those remainers are so worried about our economy:

          https://off-guardian.org/2016/06/27/life-in-a-modern-day-debt-colony-the-truth-about-greece/

          In May, likely for the first time in the post-war history of the Western world, a national parliament willingly ceded wha remained of its country’s sovereignty, essentially voting itself obsolete. This development, however, did not make headlines in the global news cycle and was also ignored by most of the purportedly “leftist” media.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      I certainly didn’t think there’d be a huge change, RD, and I’m on record as saying so. It isn’t in the globalisers’ interest to allow independent states to secede from their wealth-creation scheme, and the same people will end up running us. The utter destruction of Corbyn is of course a prerequisite, but in a couple of years’ time we’ll be selling each other cups of coffee and damning the unemployed again without a care in the world, apart from the bolshie element moaning about executive pay in chatrooms. Estate agents and derivatives traders will experience a major recovery, and growth (though not the majority of wage packets) will, er, grow exponentially.

      Until it all goes tits-up again.

    • Resident Dissident

      So what is your plan for Brexit?

      Interesting how RT is now following Marine Le Pen so avidly – nothing to do with the loan that Putin gave to her party?

        • Resident Dissident

          Never stopped you from commenting on British affairs in the past.- or is the aim only to be destructive in relation to the UK rather than constructive.

      • Laguerre

        “Interesting how RT is now following Marine Le Pen so avidly – nothing to do with the loan that Putin gave to her party?”

        Evidently facts are not your thing. It was a commercial loan. Le Pen is not pro-Russian. Other than in the paranoidal mania of the right-wing west.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain

          Did you hear that Putin killed Cock Robin? Did the Ripper murders, too. Makes your milk curdle, and chooks stop laying.

        • bevin

          Paranoid indeed, Putin’s government is considerably to the right of the Tory party. The split is not between right and left but between imperialism and its victims, of whom Russia is one of the most important.
          Le Pen does not much differ, it appears to me, politically from Putin and might well be inclined to the view that France needs to distance itself from the US as well as the EU.
          In fact much of the dispute in the Cold War was between rival powers with the Soviet bloc resisting the hegemonic ambitions of the US and its satellites: much of the appeal of the French Communist Party was its independence from US influence, which is one reason why the Front National attracts the votes of many old PCFers.

        • Resident Dissident

          “It was a commercial loan”

          “The split is not between right and left but between imperialism and its victims, of whom Russia is one of the most important.”

          And facts are not my thing? But at least you got one thing right – Putin’s government is considerably to the right of the Tory party.

    • Laguerre

      “Daily Mail reports what a joke that petition for a new referendum is”

      Habba, earlier, is right. Three million for, 77K detected fakes. Not really in question.

      Do you know the Daily Mail?

      • michael norton

        It is irrelevant nonsense,
        if ten million twats signed it,
        it would still be irrelevant nonsense.
        The die is cast – we’re off.

      • Tom

        I expect the fakes were planted deliberately and then leaked to allies in the press. The Daily Mail doesn’t like the public uniting, as its purpose as a newspaper is to turn British people against each other so its masters can rule unchallenged.

  • Becky Cohen

    “There is a strong strand of belief among the political class that Boris Johnson has no intention of taking the UK out of the EU. His aim was to see off Cameron and install himself in No. 10”

    A coup d’état by the Bullingdon Junta. Do we really think we’re any better than an old style Latin American banana republic?

  • Methuselah Now

    How can it be made clear (put it in your social media feed), that those who instigated this coup, and have taken part in the shadow resignations, after a new leadership poll, if their side loses and corbyn is re-elected, they should do the honourable thing and resign from parliament.

    MN

  • Mark Golding

    I do hope Corbyn hangs on. Even if he does lose the general election (by no means a given) he can provide an invaluable service by reawakening the notion that democracy should present the voters with a real choice, not just a change of troughing promoting the same ideology.
    Deepest thanks Craig

    • Alan

      Jeremy will hang on. What they don’t tell you in the press

      DENNIS SKINNER spoke for Labour members across Britain yesterday, sticking two fingers up at the MPs who have thrown the party into chaos by launching a coup against Jeremy Corbyn.

      Mr Corbyn was greeted with a frosty silence from plotting backbenchers as he arrived in the Commons for an urgent statement on the fallout from the EU referendum.

      But the Beast of Bolsover staged a powerful show of solidarity with the embattled leader that may rank among his most memorable contributions to Parliament.

      Breaking all parliamentary protocol, the veteran MP of 46 years left his familiar perch to the left of Labour’s front bench and approached the despatch box to shake Mr Corbyn’s hand and slap him on the shoulder.

      Returning to his seat, he then flashed the V-sign to the MPs who deserted the shadow cabinet in a co-ordinated bid to bring down Mr Corbyn.

      His instinctive display of frustration at the state of his party came after the second day of mass resignations which had seen 20 leave the shadow cabinet by the time the Star went to press.

      The news spread rapidly online and provided a huge morale boost to Mr Corbyn on the day he began the fightback against the coup.

      The leader attempted to move on from the mass resignations designed to destabilise him by appointing allies to 10 key positions, assembling a more left-wing and female front bench.

      Emily Thornberry replaced Hilary Benn, who began the coup at 1am on Sunday morning, as shadow foreign secretary, while she was replaced in the defence brief by former soldier Clive Lewis.

      Diane Abbott, who served as a shadow health minister under Ed Miliband, took the health portfolio and Kate Osamor replaced her as shadow international development secretary.

      Andy McDonald, who was promoted to shadow transport secretary, said he believed MPs who quit the shadow cabinet did not make their decision based on the EU referendum result.

      The Middlesborough MP said: “I think from the off there was a significant proportion of the Parliamentary Labour Party that was opposed to Jeremy’s leadership. I think this has presented an opportunity and I think it has been seized.

      “We’ve lost some talented people but we’ve also got a lot of talented people who are willing to step forward.”

      A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said they would fill the remaining posts by last night, adding that it would include some “surprising names.”

      But Green MP Caroline Lucas responded to speculation that she’d be among the surprises, saying there was “no truth” to the rumours.

      The Brighton MP’s spokesman did say that “in particular she is keen to talk with other parties about the prospect of an electoral pact to beat the Tories in an early general election.”

      Mr Corbyn will today face a vote of no confidence among parliamentarians after a fractious meeting with Labour MPs and peers in Parliament last night.

      Critics hoped to forced Mr Corbyn to stand down but he was expected to tell MPs that they will have to beat him in a fresh leadership election.

      “I was elected by hundreds of thousands of Labour Party members and supporters with an overwhelming mandate for a different kind of politics,” he said in a statement responding to the coup.

      “I regret there have been resignations today from my shadow cabinet. But I am not going to betray the trust of those who voted for me — or the millions of supporters across the country who need Labour to represent them.”

      The Momentum campaign group staged a protest outside Parliament during the meeting to show solidarity with Mr Corbyn.

      Spokesman Sam Tarry said: “It will still be an overwhelming win for him in a leadership contest. I think everyone knows that.

      “What worries me is that the people in the PLP who have been resigning also know that. So what is their end game? It’s just crazy.”

      https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-13da-Take-That

  • Tsar Nicholas

    This anti-Corbyn coup makes me wonder if there’s a war in the offing.

    Russia attacking US assets in Syria (so-called moderate terrorists) and a letter from 51 state department “diplomats” calling for the ouster of Assad even if it means war with Russia.

    Plus today’s meeting between Hammond and kerry. Mmm . . .

    • Loony

      There is definitely a war in the offing. I can’t see how Jeremy Corbyn is relevant to this as he clearly has no power to stop it whether he is Leader of the Labour Party or not.

      Maybe these Labour people are so attached to the EU that they are seeking to provoke some kind of crisis so as to facilitate the “punishment of the people” phase of the operation. Or maybe as the author of this blog suggests it mostly about seeking to protect the war criminals that hide in their ranks

      Whatever they are up to they have a problem in that they are greedy, corrupt, incompetent and lazy. They therefore run the very real risk of losing control

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

      Tsar, NOTHING is more certain. Syria and/or Iran are going to be hit, soon. Israel wants it, Bibi is slavering for it, and the Israel Firsters have their marching-orders. Corbyn would be an obstacle, particularly if Chilcot is less than a full white-wash. A nice little war could be highly useful in whipping the EU rabble back into line, and making the various Exit campaigns treasonous, a veritable surrender to ‘Evil Putin’, the ‘mad mullahs’ or ‘barrel bomb Assad’. One can even imagine that Jo Cox was picked for the ritual sacrifice because of ger politically useful, if mad, opinions on attacking Syria in defiance of the UN Security Council and Russian airforce presence.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    God knows there’s been little enough to laugh about. Take a look at the latest resignation letter (from one Reviscom1, comments on Labour List:
    http://labourlist.org/2016/06/what-happens-next-in-the-leadership-challenge/)
    ——-
    Dear Jeremy

    It is with regret that I am tendering my resignation from the Shadow Cabinet.

    It has become apparent that under your leadership the Party has lost touch with the everyday concerns of the British public. In particular, I feel that the Leave result in the recent referendum will generate intense anger amongst the people who voted in that referendum. The electorate was counting on us to persuade the electorate to vote Remain, and the fact that the electorate voted Leave will alienate the electorate and make it impossible to for us to win the next election.

    We now face one of the most ruthless and incompetent Conservative governments in history and we need a strong opposition to hold them to account. After much deliberation I have concluded that the best way to provide such opposition is for the entire Shadow Cabinet to resign and for the Labour Party to hold a leadership contest, focusing media coverage back upon ourselves rather than the Government.

    I admire you as a friend and colleague, but do not feel you are capable of providing the strong leadership necessary to guide the party through these difficult times. This lack of leadership has been painfully apparent over the course of a number of decisive events, such as the Conservative U-Turn on Tax Credits, the Conservative U-Turn on Pension Changes, the Conservative U-Turn on Disability Benefits, the Conservative U-Turn on Police Cuts, the Conservative U-Turn on running Saudi Prisons, the Conservative U-Turn on Academies and the collapse of George Osborne’s Budget. In all these cases, I feel we would have been able to provide more effective opposition under a leader committed to abstaining on Tory austerity measures.

    I must also tell you I am disappointed in your stubborn refusal to proffer your own resignation in light of the demands of so many of your senior colleagues. I would implore you to show strong leadership by doing exactly what they tell you without further delay.

    Yours in Friendship

    Ronald Bladen
    In association with McDonalds Restaurants
    ——-

    • Alan

      Fair enough! I’ll be getting my burgers from Burger King. McDonalds can swivel!

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Like to tell us what ‘Ronald Bladen’s’ shadow Cabinet title is? The text supports the assumption that it was written tongue-in cheek. Hoax or ironic comment. (A Ronald Bladen was a minimalist artist of UK extraction, working in the US. He died in 1988.)

      • John Spencer-Davis

        Of course, it’s a joke – sorry, thought that was plain enough.

  • James

    £350 Million Per Weekto the NHS.

    Hilarious.

    Still, I’m £9K and change up on the day.
    A slow hand clap to “the UK”.
    Well Done

    Awaiting the betting market putting a price on “Scotland Out of the UK”.
    I’ll back that at short odds.

  • kevin

    Why do you support Eu? IMF manipulation WBO protecting & still rewarding bankers (×200) of their salary. US owning germany & so basically controlling Eu. TTIP, Austerity agendas, persecution of whistleblowers, illegal bombing campaigns all over place, suppression of free speech their propagandist media, manipulation of states & expansionism.
    Its the new empire IMO.
    The very fact a 2nd ref is bn touted is no surprise at all. #Holland #Ireland #Greece its disgraceful to suggest we should hav a Ref everytime the turnover is a certain number we would b bobbin back n forth like yoyos, unless it goes the way of in then it will be settled for a generation or a lifetime?

  • Bert.

    I am already saying that we should have a second referendum on the matter of EU membership.

    I am a great believer in democracy and that the will of the people should be followed no matter how wrong they may be; and I do think the result is a catastrophic error.

    The reason for this is simple; say no to the referendum result is to say no to democracy and, quite simply, our democracy may be tragically flawed but almost everything else is a whole lot worse. So I’ll stick with democracy.

    But there seems to me to be a very good reason for a second referendum: the leave campaigners have gone back on several key claims since the result was declared: the £350M/week for the NHS is no longer £350M/week to go to the NHS. Control of our borders will be recovered but this will not mean any dramatic reduction in immigration.

    I would suggest to the reader that the leave campaign was presaged on three planks: the £350M/week for the NHS; the control of immigration; and being able to negotiate independent trade deals around the world.

    The first two of these have already been put in question by various members of the leave campaign.

    Put simply we have been LIED to. (What else is new?) That, in my humble view, is grounds for a new referendum.

    Bert.

    • michael norton

      Time for Nigel Farage to take the helm

      Just heard that Turd Osborne on the wireless, he said the government never did have a plan, if the vote went for out.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      We were lied to by both sides. And will continue to be, second referendum or, (please god!) not.

    • Resident Dissident

      While I sympathise with what you say I do think we have to wait and see whether there is a feasible plan that has a chance of delivering what the Brexiters offered. If and once it becomes firmly established that there is no such plan – then that would be time for a second referendum.

  • James

    There wasn’t a “debate” in which anyone could vote in a referendum.

    Just months of mud slinging and lies….
    …and of course, the sprinkling of “personalities”.

    I was shocked when Remain” wheeled out David Beckham !
    And that’s how “bad” this most serious “debate” became.

    I have to say though, the other “Dave” played a blinder.
    Immediately the result became known….he resigned.
    He passed “the buck” over to Boris and Farage. And they prompted ran away.

    Boris knew at that point, he was doomed. Out played by his “school pal”. Check Mate, in one move.
    So who will be the PM that oversees the break up of the UK ?

    It of course won’t be Farage. He is too busy “back pedalling” over his famous £350 Million claim.
    The weekend came and Farage was already saying “I never said that”.
    Is he really that stupid ? We live in the modern age. Everything is recorded.
    So, now we have Farage, on Question Time, clearly saying, the money would go to “Schools, hospitals, GP’s”.
    Over to you Farage.

    Anyway, the deed is done. And onward we must go.
    And just think of all the money that will be earnt in negotiating all these new “trade deals” and re-writing all these new “laws”…..which will essentially be the same laws and deals, just under a different name.
    For some lawyers and politicians, this will be a prosperous time…..
    …..an we will be asked “How’s the new boss” ? The answer “He’s okay I guess….same as the old boss”.

    • michael norton

      It warms the cockles of your heart

      No more UK CASH COW: Panicking EU to lose 15 per cent of budget funding due to Brexit
      FEAR is spreading through the European Union after it was revealed the UK’s contribution to the bloc’s main budget will mean a HUGE 15 per cent cash shortfall from 2020.
      http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/683847/Distraught-EU-15-per-cent-EU-budget-funding-Britain-vote-Brexit-referendum
      Since Britons voted in favour of a Brexit last week ministers have begun assessing financial consequences, one of which being Britain’s big annual spend towards the budget.

      It has now been calculated Britain has been putting up 15 per cent of the overall EU budget which is mainly spent on farmers in poorer member states.

      EU Regional Policy Commissioner Corina Cretu warned on Monday this gap will have to be plugged over the next four years.

      No dear, start to plan to plug ( the U.K. sized hole) up the hole NOW.
      We, the people of the United Kingdom are no longer your cash cow.

      Don’t give the thieves another penny.

      • michael norton

        FRENCH Hinkley Point C nuclear power station likely to become £18billion casualty of Brexit vote, says government advisor

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3663424/Nuclear-power-station-likely-18billion-casualty-Brexit-vote-says-government-advisor.html#ixzz4CrhhzVOY

        Dr Paul Dorfman, an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Energy Institute, University College London, said EDF, a majority FRENCH-owned company, is ‘extremely unlikely’ to invest given the current economic climate.

        The long-delayed £18billion project was due to have Hinkley Point C power station producing 7 per cent of the UK’s electricity by 2017.

        I wonder if Francois Hollande will get upset?

        • michael norton

          The E.U.Elite to anything within their power
          ANYTHING

          to stop other countries defecting.

      • nevermind

        You are right, UK contributions to the EU will seize, but so will the business in the City of London Boris hurts most. Thats were the real thieves live Michael, in the City of London, they have deceived and thieved for decades, moved hundreds of billions past the exchequer. The only one paying now is the English tax payer, once Scotland’s Indyref2 has been completed.

        From today there will be no more informal talks with any EU officials, say Junker and Merkel, no pre talks or conditions, all by the book for when Cameron invokes article 50. They are preparing whilst this Government is split, squabbling with no plan and or action, only today did they announce a crack team of civil servants, and we will pay for their extra perks, to engage for when it eventually will happen.

        How many more Billions will industry and companies daring to trade here loose in the next 48 hrs. Michael.? Do you think the dithering is a quality one should keep up or is that ‘taking control of one’s country’?

        Negotiations will not be lead along lines of pick and choose, she said, ‘when you leave this family you can’t expect to forget about your duties whilst wanting all the privileges.’

        http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/regierungserklaerung-von-angela-merkel-keine-vorverhandlungen-keine-rosinenpickerei-beim-brexit-a-1100148.html

  • Manda

    I must say I have been impressed with Paul Mason. I don’t agree with all his views, especially on foreign policy but he has come out fighting strongly for democracy, social/economic justice and Corbyn. Owen Jones, on the other hand, is as I would have expected.
    Richard Burgon, previously unknown to me, has impressed me too, real passion and commitment from him is great to see.

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