Jo Swinson Goes A Funny Tinge 394

My own position on Brexit is more nuanced than is currently fashionable (more below), but I am strongly against a no deal Brexit. Jo Swinson’s successful deflation of Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal for a caretaker administration purely to organise a general election, makes no deal much more probable.

It says a great deal about Swinson that she is emphatically in favour of a caretaker government led by arch Blairite Harriet Harman. Let us remind ourselves of Harman’s voting record:

If the Liberal Democrats are refusing to work with somebody, you would expect it to be the person who shared Cabinet responsibility for initiating illegally the death of millions in the Middle East. It is also worth recalling that while Acting Leader of the Labour Party Harman instructed her MPs to abstain on both Tory benefit cuts and Theresa May’s “Hostile Environment” immigration policy.

Yet Swinson actively promotes warmonger Harman as caretaker PM and would refuse to work with Jeremy Corbyn, who is apparently anathema to Liberals because he espouses social democratic economic policies and rejects neo-imperialist aggression abroad. I am confident my old friend Charlie Kennedy would have taken a different view.

Swinson was one of the Lib Dems who was least uncomfortable in coalition with the Tories, and her attitude now is based entirely on the wishes of Chuka Umunna and other actual and potential Blairite defectors to the Lib Dems. Swinson is more interested in playing to the Blairite visceral hatred of Corbyn than she is in stopping no deal Brexit, and it is proof if any were needed that the arrival of Blairite and Tory defectors is moving the Lib Dems still further to the right. I see not a single hint of the party’s old radicalism or principle.

The SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens have shown maturity and common sense in welcoming Corbyn’s initiative, with due reservations and caveats. Had the Lib Dems done so too, it would have encouraged Tory rebels to join in an all-party initiatvie. Swinson’s refusal to work with Corbyn, on the grounds that Tory rebels would also refuse, was as she well knew a self-fulfilling prophecy. By making it about Corbyn, Swinson made it impossible for Tory MPs to go along when the Lib Dems had refused.

Institutional and personal loyalties are very difficult things to shake off. The Tory Party has become a far right movement whose primary policies are motivated by nothing but racist hatred of immigrants. It is extremely hard for decent people like Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve to accept that this has happened and it is irreversible.

If Westminster cannot stop hard Brexit and it goes ahead, it will be enabled by Swinson’s ambition, the hatreds of Blairites, and the failure of decent Tories to process psychologically what has happened to their party.

I suspect that the chaos caused by hard Brexit would be much less than generally predicted after three weeks, but that the economic situation caused by no deal would be very much worse than generally predicted after three years. Priti Patel’s announcement that free movement will end on 31 October is a nonsense. Over 80% of lorries arriving at Dover have non-British, EU drivers. Instituting immigration controls would be a physical impossibility.

My own euro-enthusiasm was dealt a fatal blow when the Spanish paramilitaries clubbed grandmothers lining up to vote in Catalonia, and all three constituent parts of the EU – Parliament, Council and Commission – rushed to congratulate the Francoist government in Madrid on upholding the Rule of Law.

I would therefore be content to live in a country which had a relationship with the EU similar to Norway or Switzerland, but was politically separate. I am entirely in favour of free movement, which I believe has been one of the greatest advances for liberty in my lifetime, and I support the single market. I also believe in democracy and am strongly convinced that England and Wales ought to leave the EU, because that is how they voted, while Scotland and Northern Ireland should remain in the EU, because that is how they voted.

On second referenda, I do not believe it is democratic to have one before the result has been respected and it has been tried. Thus the result of the Scottish referendum was respected, continuing in the Union has been tried, and proven not to be what was promised. After five years of respecting the result, it is perfectly legitimate to vote again.

The EU referendum is different. The people of England and Wales voted to leave and have not had the chance to try that for five years and see if it works out. I believe it would be undemocratic to have another vote before the result has been respected. Another referendum in England and Wales after five years out of the EU seems to me perfectly reasonable.

I appreciate none of those thoughts correspond with the generally held and remarkably polarised viewpoints of Leavers and Remainers, or sets of positions you might find from a political party or in mainstream media articles. The entire point of this blog is to ask you to consider different ways of thinking about things. I do not in the least insist or expect you to agree with me. But courteous consideration of the arguments is always welcome, even where opinions sharply differ from mine.


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394 thoughts on “Jo Swinson Goes A Funny Tinge

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  • N_

    As well as her support for mass murder in Iraq, another foul stain on Harriet Harman’s record is her support while she was at the National Council of Civil Liberties for the “right” of paedophiles to have their “preference” respected. And here we are not talking about the molestation and assault by adult men of 14-year-old girls, which would be vile enough. We are talking about paedophiles in the literal sense, the kind of men about whose interests and activities “information” was “exchanged” by the Paedophile Information Exchange.

    Interestingly the powerful two-part film “Johnny Go Home”, shown on ITV in 1975 and which some remember more than 40 years later how they were affected by, is nowadays extremely hard to get hold of. You won’t find it on Youtube, and I doubt you’d find it in any of the usual torrents places. Some who were named or shown on the screen were clearly “protected” – and they still are.

  • Sharp Ears

    Just saying. An eligibility form to vote has just arrived from the local council, Only had one about six weeks ago. Are the gangsters-in-charge preparing for a GE? The council was Tory controlled needless to say but now the LDs have the majority and therefore appoint the ‘leader’.

    • Dungroanin

      Mines Labour. Got the same AND a email too!
      When I inquired last year I was told it do with central registration!
      If a ‘central government’ body has acess to a unified database knowing which persons regularly avoid voting …

  • Sharp Ears

    The Campaign Against the Arms Trade ask for our support to stop the Arms Fair being held at Excel in September and to stop the Saudi bombing of Yemen using UK manufactured weaponry
    22 Aug 2019

    ‘Since the Saudi-led bombing of Yemen began, the UK government has licensed at least £5.3 billion of weapons to the Saudi regime. This June, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Government acted unlawfully in licensing arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

    Despite the Court’s ruling, the UK government wants to keep the arms sales flowing. The government has invited a Saudi Arabian military delegation to London to shop for more weapons

    Join the #StopDSEI week of action this September, to say: Stop Arming Saudi, Stop the arms fair!’ 1.55

    • George

      And I suppose that’s just the tip of a very ugly iceberg. Perhaps 90% (at least) of all political mouthpieces are just representatives of money talking.

  • michael norton

    A little question, the LibDems now have one forty sixth of the seats ( 2.153%) in the House of Commons
    but how on Earth do they have one eighth ( 12.226%) of the seats in the House of Lords

    Why are they so ludicrously over represented in the House of Lords?

  • TFS

    Any chance, that once JC is head of a caretaker government, he finds himself at the end of a No Confidence Vote?

    • Ken Kenn

      Oh yes – that’s possible.

      But the one’s who vote him out had better have a plan B in place.

      i.e. another Temporary PM.

      I will predict this:

      If Corbyn is voted out or fails to command a majority there will be no election called.

      Remember : if your biggest fear is the possibility of a Corbyn led Labour government – the last thing you want is an election.

      Ironically Johnson might call one, but he is not in a safe seat relatively speaking.

      Corby would win his easily – Johnson might not.

  • Sharp Ears

    A Charlie Mullins of Pimlico Plumbers gets behind Swinson?

    ‘A former high-profile Conservative donor has said that he will help boost an election war chest being built by Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat leader.

    Ms Swinson has met potential donors in recent weeks after setting a target to raise more than £10 million for a snap election campaign. The figure dwarfs the £6 million that the party spent on the 2017 poll.

    Charlie Mullins, the millionaire businessman behind Pimlico Plumbers, said that he had switched after donating to the Conservative Party. “It is because of Jo Swinson,” he said. “She is a breath of fresh air. And it is exciting to have someone with so much enthusiasm wanting to prevent Brexit.

    “She is the complete opposite to Boris. He is trying to do everything…’


    In the Times today behind the paywall.

  • michael norton

    Labour front bencher Barry Gardiner accuses Lib Dem Supreme Leader of wanting to drag Queen Elizabeth into political crisis.

    Jo Swinson was being “extremely petulant” when she dismissed Jeremy Corbyn’s call to make him prime minister to block a No-Deal Brexit, according to the Labour front bencher Barry Gardiner.

    In comments likely to ratchet up tensions between the two parties before a meeting Corbyn has called of parliamentary opponents of No Deal, Gardiner accused the Liberal Democrat leader of wanting to propel the Queen into a constitutional crisis.

    It is my guess that if Boris Johnson, asks Queen Elizabeth for permission to prorogue parliament
    and she agrees, then parliament will be proroged and Cliff Edge Brexit, will happen at mid night on Halloween, soon after Queen Elizabeth will seek abdication, thus taking the political fall.

      • michael norton

        The point is, when Boris Johnson and his leg man Jacob William Rees-Mogg go to have audience with the queen, she will already be in the know as to what they will ask, she will grant them the prorogue and in a short time offer to abdicate, this will be seen as her falling on her sword, taking one for the team.
        The fuss around this will be loud and tend to overshadow the prorogue, thus allowing Full Brexit to happen.
        The queen has almost certainly had enough by now and will be ready to follow the Duke of Edinburgh into the wilderness.

        • Hatuey

          Michael, you really are a fantasist. The royals aren’t going anywhere. History shows that those types hang on until the bitter end.

          And anyone who thinks the Royal Family doesn’t have massive influence over politics, society, and the media in this country — way beyond what is formally suggested — is a certifiable crackpot. And while we are on the subject, anyone that thinks Diana died in a random car accident is also a crackpot.

          Not that I really care about any of that, don’t get me wrong… we have fatter fish to fry.

        • michael norton

          The Queen will agree to the prorogue and fall on her sword, this kerfuffle will b a short time of smoke and morrors, then the heir will step up to the mark Prince Charles.
          Brexit will have happened and a new time will be upon the United Kingdom.
          The LibDem people will resume to licking their wounds and their numbers in the Commons will reduce at the forthcoming General Election.

  • michael norton

    Jeremy Corbyn risks scuppering no-confidence vote, says Jo Swinson
    Jo Swinson said
    “The discussions should examine how to seize control of Commons business,
    oust Mr Johnson and install an emergency government of national unity”.

    In her letter to Mr Corbyn, Ms Swinson added: “Insisting you lead that emergency government will therefore jeopardise the chances of a no confidence vote gaining enough support to pass in the first place.

    For someone so young and inexperienced, Jo would seem to have high self worth, which I suggest, is self delusionary.

    • Ken Kenn

      The latest Lib Dem opinion courtesy of Ed Vazey:

      ” We’re now ready to form a government ”

      ” We have a great team to get the UK back on track, restore confidence, stop Brexit, and tackle its causes. ”

      We know the Lib Dims don’t want to work with a Corbyn led labour Party.

      Ergo; Davey is more than hinting that the Lib Dims are willing to work with the Tory party.

      Even the Johnson led Tory Party.

      That’s the only conclusion I can forsee.

      If that is the stance then No Deal it is and no GE will take place in the near future.

      Unless the still incumbent Johnson calls one.

      On November the 1st of course.

      If there ever is an election the Lib Dims the Can’t quite Remember the Name Party will be wiped out as will the Tories in Scotland.

      The Remain voters will vote accordingly I’m sure.

      One very big reason for all the above mentioned to avoid a GE like the plague.

      Problem – if I know that, Johnson knows that.

      Next chance 2022.

      • michael norton

        Well it does hint that Jo Swinson is barking at the moon.

        The Donald has Bigged Boris Johnson up to the skies, they have been in cahoots for some time, Boris was Donald’s choice.
        The Donald has not stopped going on about what a great deal, the biggest ever will happen once the U.K. is out of the clutches of the E.U. This he surmises will take finality next Summer.

        So, the road map is Boris seeks an audience with the queen.
        The queen agrees to prorogue the House of Commons, No Deal Brexit happens, by legal default at midnight on 31/10/2019, then
        the House of Commons is re-opened.
        Boris is faced to endure a motion put forward by Jeremy Corbyn of No Confidence.

        Either Boris wins, in which case he bravely marches on to wild acclamation by his back benches
        or he loses, if he loses he will ask the queen, if she is still the monarch to grant a new General Election.

        By this time we have left every bit of the European Union, so what will Jo Swinson be telling her voters, I’ll get you back in the E.U.?

        Remain have lost the plot, it is almost over.

        • Komodo

          Don’t know if this would work –
          1. Boris intentionally provokes a no-confidence vote, say, a week into October
          2. Fourteen days elapse with no motion of confidence to prevent:
          3. Parliament being dissolved (statutorily), pending a general election 25 days from that date (statutorily)
          4. During which there isn’t squat Parliament can do to prevent our exit on the 31st…

          Pass the popcorn ( we grow plenty of maize here, and the US is probably eager to sell us its surplus).

          • michael norton

            Komodo, yes that is easily possible.
            It seems the Sourby lot, the Green M.P. woman the Welsh and Scottish Nats and the LibDem lot and some Labour M.P. will do Boris down at the first chance they get because they are spitting feathers as they think Boris has them over a barrel.
            However this mish-mash-plot will need virtually all Labour M.P. to stand firm behind their leader Jeremy Corbyn, now some have openly screamed his is anti Jewish and that will not do for Jewish M.P.
            A lot of once Labour M.P. people have already split the crazy scene, Jared Cain O’Mara, Frank Field, Chris Williamson, Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey,
            then some are very keen on Brexit like Kate Hoey and others, so it is not a done deal.

            SAo, J.C. will have to rely on turn coats.

          • Komodo

            Damn. I’ve been pre-empted. Boris is seeking prorogation. Much simpler, and the message to the EU couldn’t be clearer. Though I’m afraid that if the backstop issue can be fudged, he will claim success and we’ll get May’s partial exit rather than getting out properly.

    • duplicitousdemocracy

      Since the YouGov company was started by a current Conservative MP and a prospective Conservative MP which ended in failure, it would be shocking if they said much different. During Corbyn’s tenure, Labour have only ever been ahead by a few points according to YouGov.

  • michael norton

    Another one bites the dust
    Sir Norman Lamb LibDem M.P. for North Norfolk, is to stand down at next election.
    Lamb worked for a year as a researcher for disgraced Labour MP Greville Janner in the early 1980s.
    Lamb has a waffer thin majority over the conservatives.

  • Arby

    I found this article to be interesting and informative. Brexit was all so simple when it was brand new. And I had, and have, much learning to do.

      • michael norton

        Yet another one bites the dust.
        Sir Vince Cable to stand down as LibDem Twickenham MP

        So of their current 14 M.P.s, two are recent turncoats who should not be trusted and two long termers are off.
        The LibDems may have a problem if there is a General Election, they could find themselves back in single figures.

  • michael norton

    LibDems cling on in Shetland of oil
    Ms Wishart said she was honoured “to make a little bit of history by becoming the first female parliamentarian in Shetland” after a “roller-coaster” campaign.

    “Shetland has once again rejected Scottish nationalism and shown that it has not been taken in by the bullying tactics,” she said.

    “My work will start on Monday to get the Scottish government to take action on its empty promises for fair ferry funding, to improve nursery provision, mental health care, broadband – the key strands of my positive campaign for Shetland.”

    The LibDems have lost ground to the S.N.P. but still a reasonable majority, first woman in Shetland.

    • kathy

      “The LibDems have lost ground to the S.N.P. but still a reasonable majority, first woman in Shetland.”

      That has nothing to do with her. It is only because the Shetlanders have been voting libdem since the dawn of time.

  • michael norton

    Jo Swinson might be feeling rather smug at the moment, as long as another General Election is not called,
    as she now has 16 M.E.P.s
    and 16 M.P.s.

    In a recent interview with Andrew Neil she said she wants the U.K. to remain in the E.U.
    she does not want Jeremy Corbyn to be a caretaker Prime minister
    and she does not want a General Election, she likes things as they are with a steady trickle of turncoat M.P.s coming into the LibDems grasp.

  • michael norton

    Ms. Angela Smith is the third M.P. to join the Lib Dems in a week, after Luciana Berger and Philip Lee defected.

    She quit Labour in February to form the Change UK party with six other MPs.

    The Lib Dem lot are accreting a lot of dross.

    • michael norton

      Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said the opposition parties would continue to co-operate to “make sure we do our job”.

      Government sources said those trying to recall Parliament were seeking to pre-empt the appeal.

      No 10 also denied reports that sources had been critical of the Scottish judges.

      Justice Secretary Robert Buckland later tweeted he had “total confidence” in the court’s independence. While it awaited the verdict of the Supreme Court, No 10 said it stood by its justification for curtailing the current Parliament session.

      It said it had been the longest in almost 400 years, that Parliament had in recent months become “one of the least active” and that the PM wanted to put a “proper domestic legislative programme” before MPs.

      Jo Swinson, seems to be enjoying her honey period.
      Boris Johnson has not been so lucky.

      • michael norton

        Jo Swinson thinks we should scrap Brexit.

        Maybe she also thinks we should scrap Democracy?

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