Beyond the Brexit Debacle 592


If we focus only on the near term and on Brexit, we are doing precisely what Boris Johnson wishes. But the ramifications of the last few weeks will have effects on politics on the British Isles that are far more far reaching than even the question of EU membership. Let us think about those.

In a remarkably short period of time, the Conservative Party has radically changed. Seven year Conservative Prime Minister John Major is today taking this Conservative government to court, alleging ill intent in advice given to the Queen. Figures like Ken Clarke and Phil Hammond, who to this date have been real senior figures in Tory history, are actually threatened with expulsion.

Even Thatcher accepted that the Tory Party had a wing that tended to be closer to liberal or social democratic ideas, and never tried to throw her “wets” out of parliament. Dominic Grieve told the BBC today that he did not recognise what No.10 is doing as within the traditions of the Conservative Party. That perception is correct. What Boris Johnson is doing is changing the Conservative Party into something fundamentally other.

One fascinating development is Johnson and Javid’s rhetorical break with the traditional Tory right, instead to make populist public spending promises. Promises of 20,000 more policemen, and oodles more funding for schools, colleges and the NHS, are not the usual watchwords of the Tory right. It may surprise you to learn that I am inclined to think that these promises may not just be empty rhetoric, but this bit of populism may have real intent behind it. How this squares with more traditional Tories on public spending like McVey or Patel, or with Johnson’s promises on tax cuts, remains to be seen. But the switch to a more statist right in the economic as well as the civil sphere – something moving closer to the classic fascist model – might be one of the changes we are seeing.

My expectation is that this circle will be squared by a rigorous “good spending/bad spending” divide. Police, prisons, border control agents and of course the military will all be “good” public spending. So will education and the NHS because they are popular. This will be balanced by vigorous attacks on “bad” public spending – especially on welfare benefits, but also overseas aid, devolved administrations and local government.

How this will work out for the Tories electorally is a conundrum. The Tory base rural vote is predominantly Brexit and will probably be little affected. Johnson appears to be prepared to write off the more urbane and middle class vote and thus simply give up on Tory chances places likine Richmond or Bath. His hope must be that the combination of popular public spending messages on the NHS and education, plus the continued harnessing of anti-immigrant xenophobia, will win enough urban votes in Birmingham, Sunderland and Blackburn.

That seems to me very high risk. To take on Jeremy Corbyn in a general election on the basis of who can most credibly promise increased public spending seems strange ground to choose. Plus no matter how much you ramp up the xenophobia or how many upgraded hospitals you promise, the cultural obstacles to getting the people of Hartlepool to put their cross against a Tory remain enormous. The pundits talk as though the Brexit Party vote and the Tory Party vote are interchangeable and it all hinges on whether Farage stands candidates. That is simply wrong. There are many thousands of people in Hartlepool and towns like it who would vote Brexit but won’t vote Tory.

I suspect Johnson and Cummings have blundered into a first past the post trap by being too clever. They have alienated enough educated and liberal Tory voters to lose seats, while replacing them with voters who respond to the populism, but in areas where they won’t be able to take many seats. Tory gains will be limited largely to the Midlands, but outbalanced by losses. In essence, they may get a plurality of the vote but spread too evenly, and FPTP will see them losing ground to the SNP in Scotland, Labour in the bigger cities and the Lib Dems in rich suburbs and county towns.

That analysis stands whether the election is next month or any time to 2022.

If you choose to change a political party fundamentally, you need to be sure that the new version is more popular. Concentrating on the one issue of Brexit, and calculating that he could hoover up all Brexit voters, is likely to be Johnson’s downfall. He appears engaged in a colossal act of hubris.

In Scotland, all of this is still more reason to get out of the toxic politics of the United Kingdom. Nicola Sturgeon should announce now that if there is an early Westminster election, the SNP will fight that election on the basis that victory will result in a declaration of Independence, and Scotland will not then be exiting the European Union at all. The SNP desperately needs to focus on Independence and not on the position of the UK within the EU or on the powers of the Westminster parliament.

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592 thoughts on “Beyond the Brexit Debacle

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  • N_

    Rumour from within the last hour has it that Dominic Cummings may be summoned to the DCMS select committee and that if he fails to present himself then Parliament may send the Serjeant at Arms to arrest him, either at his home or at his place of work (10 Downing Street).

    And yes, Parliament does have this authority.

    • N_

      As I have said before, Cummings has “I’ve got it coming to me” written on his forehead.

      He was sent this letter by the Select Committee today. The Committee has obviously taken legal advice on this.

      Perhaps they could ask him who funded his business ventures in Russia?

        • Iain Stewart

          I was impressed to learn that OOFT is “a sound made when impressed by something” in Internet slang rather than an rude acronym like WALOFS.

      • Peter

        It’s not quite right that Cummings refused to attend a DCMS select committee. As I understand it, he offered to attend as long as all present – the committee members as well as he himself – swore an oath to be completely honest during the session. They, of course, declined, though no doubt they would say they did so because his ‘offer’ was an affront to … whatever.

        The select committee sessions aren’t always the august affairs that you might imagine or hope them to be and can frequently turn into jumped up kangaroo courts – the questioning of Ken Livingstone on antisemitism being one such example.

        You can watch that here: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/55be8924-0d03-4b3e-a966-687266bddfe2

        Click the button the right to go straight to the Livingstone contribution. Chuka Umunna’s ‘questioning’ of him was particularly repellant, I thought (see that from 16:05:20).

        Cummings no doubt learned from that and his own experience at the Treasury select committee.

        Should you be so inclined, you can see all three hours of that here: https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/fe18cb0b-fae5-4778-b00f-b05fde360ed6

        It’s nothing if not interesting and I have to say that I particularly enjoyed his skewering of Wes Streeting (see at 17:23:00).

  • eg

    I have heard it mooted that Corbyn’s plan is to let the Tories immolate themselves.

    Quite aside whether or not that is his plan, is that what we are seeing regardless?

    • Shatnersrug

      The tories immolated themselves over Europe nearly 30 years ago, it’s just taken that long for them to realise. And now they know. I’d expect things to get worse before they get better because they won’t die quietly. But it’s true Jeremy has exploited their weakness, no thanks to the idiot remainers who have attempted to thwart (and failed) again and again.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      Don’t go there even in jest. I have envisaged for some time now the reaction among the hardcore “gammons” if their precious hard Brexit is denied them and self-immolation on College Green like some Vietnamese monk is within the realms of possibility.

      • Dungroanin

        Panic!

        Yup there is mass panic as the bods in the bunker
        – Panic!

        Some of my best brexiteer friends are incandescent with rage

        “It said ‘out’never mind that the brexiteers leaders were saying ‘Norway’ they only had ‘ahhrrrttt’ on the vote”!

        They are melting down into their inner Alf Garnett’s.

        I would laugh, but i’m worried they might have a heart attack trying to pick up the bar stool to smack me with.

    • Ros Thorpe

      When you consider if with logic and ignore the baying media, he’s trussed them up so nicely that self immolation may look like an attractive option to them. I’m happy to provide any kindling needed.

      • Shatnersrug

        Peston is crying “it’s Chaos” which of course it is in his Tory world as it comes tumbling down.

        • Jo1

          Isn’t he the worst journalist ever? Gives Johnson an easy ride, defends him throughout the programme and attacks everybody else. Appalling. Our journalists are even less trustworthy than some politicians.

          • Dungroanin

            Bbc trained on our taxes. Deployed to ITV. Eddie Mair got deployed to LBC to be Fartages warm up act every afternoon. I hear they are even digging up Paxman. Obviously Laura is a spent force and needs help. How long before the Dimbelbums are summoned?

            The last days of Empire.

  • N_

    Well it could be a crashout before All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day – either after a Tory election victory or without an election.

    But there’s a third possibility. Is the following the Cummings-Kremlin-MI6-White House plan?

    1) Run an election and install a weak government under Jeremy Corbyn that relies on support from the SNP, LibDems, Plaid Cymru, Anna Soubry if she still has a seat, and the Brighton Snot.

    2) Let it negotiate a deal which keeps Britain in the customs union and “aligns” it with the single market, in other words a “Brexit In Name Only” (BINO). All the time, get the Tory press to shout “surrender”, “foreign scum”, “invasion” and things like that.

    3) Let the government stage a referendum with BINO and Remain as the two options. Get the press to say the referendum is “fake“.

    4) Guess what happens next.

    There is mileage left yet in stoking up the knuckledraggers by showing them how the middle-class race-mixers are ignoring their wishes. Ignore the wishes some more. Rub it in their faces. Then the reaction will be even more powerful

    • Shatnersrug

      What will happen is boris Johnson will be forced to cancel article 50 and that will be the end of the Tory party. But only if idiot remainers don’t fuck it up. They’re a useless bunch.

      Just remember Brexit was a Tory policy a Tory schism and a Tory made catastrophe, only an idiot would let them off the hook

  • fwl

    The EU demand that there be a physical border.

    Why don’t Eire and the UK / NI delegate that task entirely to the EU?

      • fwl

        Thanks John, but I never know where to find the accents on the keyboard. Anyway if Gaelic is anything like Cymraeg then its hallmark is mercurial fluidity.

        What I was getting at is who would be most opposed to a border at which the UK played no role (or at least were not physically present).

        Would those who desire union of the entire island mind: they might be if they might see any border as a backward step.

        Would the Ulster unionists mind: they might do as they might see it as a weakening of their ties with the UK.

        So both sides might be somewhat concerned, but it would not have the fingerprints of the UK state on it.

        Could it work?

        Presumably the EU would be bonkers if they required it to be the sort of border where all are stopped for no one would stand for that. Therefore only intelligence would lead to stops. Thus in turn the EU would have to work with the state in NI and Eire. This might be difficult i.e. it it meant it still had some sort of UK fingerprint on the border.

        Who would pay for it? Presumably the EU could take a cut of the tariffs or else UK funds them? How much of a border would it be?

        Anyway why not consider this? Ask the Taoiseach and the EU?

    • Laguerre

      I’m sure the illegal immigrants will be very happy. They learn slowly, depending on what news percolates down to them, but once they hear they can move into the UK without control, they’ll be at it. Of course they’re foolish, what you hear in an African village, or Iranian Kurds ( the main people crossing the Channel), is not accurate, but once you’re committed, succeed or die, you have to go ahead.

      • N_

        “Illegal immigrant” is a confusing term because most of those who have come to Britain and now live here without lawful immigration status entered the country lawfully and not by dinghy onto some Kent or Essex beach.

        Cracking down on the fake language schools and other outfits that sell student visas etc. would be akin to the government cracking down on illegal drugs, or on fraudulent solicitors, or loansharking.

        • Laguerre

          The question, though, is those who enter illegally, and choose the path of NI. Me I find this choice not well thought out, but once committed, it’s succeed or die, so they’re forced to go ahead.

          The majority are not refugees. I remember a story about a Senegalese village, where every young male had left in order to make the crossing to Europe, except this one guy who’d failed and returned. The obvious solution is to do something locally and make it worthwhile to stay.

          In the case of small boats crossing the Channel, it’s mainly Iranian Kurds. Life in Iran is not that bad (I was there a few months ago), and you have to wonder why it’s happening. Well the US, with UK support, has been attempting to provoke regime change, and supporting any minority separatism is par for the course. I presumed therefore that if it’s mainly Iranian Kurds, it’s a useful effect, and suits British policy to have something to complain about. I haven’t yet discovered a better explanation.

        • Old Mark

          most of those who have come to Britain and now live here without lawful immigration status entered the country lawfully.

          Err.. so they are overstayers and their status now is that of illegal immigrant.

          You are right about one thing in your 2nd paragraph- applying the pc term ‘undocumented migrant’ to illigal immigrants is tantamount, as the actor James Woods once quipped, to preferring that drug dealers be called ‘undocumented pharmacists’.

          • N_

            Err.. so they are overstayers and their status now is that of illegal immigrant.

            Yes they are – that was exactly my point. And they are a far larger group than those who enter illegally. I think we all know the difference here, but many people in Britain don’t, or they haven’t thought about it much.

      • giyane

        Laguerre

        Not accurate because The whole world wants a vision that doesn’t exist.
        The Iraqi Kurds are getting paid now by Baghdad bypassing the barzani oligarchy. Bills can be paid at last and the Salafis can entirely wrongly claim the credit.

        It doesn’t matter which of the parts of british chopped up Kurdistan you belong to, Britain made the problem in the first place and should recompense

    • Dungroanin

      Fwl,
      The EU demands there is NO hard border as in the international treaty known as gfa which they are a co – guarantor. May assured there would be NO hard border and would respect the gfa as co – guarantor and she put it in writing in the WA – that is the back stop is.

      Now of course you know this but insist the opposite.

      Here is a question- seeing as the brexit vote was largely about stopping free movement FROM the EU – how do you expect the UK to stop from Ireland into the UK WITHOUT a passport control (a hard border) at all 250 land crossings from the EU into the UK?????

    • Shatnersrug

      “Please save me Bibi”

      That guy should be arrested the minute his fat arse touches ground the war criminal

    • N_

      It’s reminiscent of Shimon Peres winging his way to Moscow in 2009 the day after the Russian navy boarded and took over the mysteriously off-course vessel the Arctic Sea, close to Cape Verde.

      And the curious thing is there’s another Iranian trade-related, allegedly sanctions-busting, ship-movement story going on right now, with the Grace 1, and which this time has featured Britain. That’s still a live story.

  • Fwl

    How can the House demand that the PM do that which is so contrary to the basic mandate on which he has been elected (by his party) and so contrary to his essential role and to the mandate he believes (rightly or wrongly) he has from the the referendum.

    Presumably he can’t advise the Monarch to sign it off.

    So what then does he resign for another to try, or

    does he say to the House that he can’t do that which it asks him to do and so it must vote on whether it still has confidence in him.

    If he wins that it means the House accepts his decision.

    If he loses the vote then there he calls an election (unless he is somehow prevented from that?).

    • michael norton

      Yes, tricky one.
      The country voted by more than a million votes to leave the E.U.
      Boris was elected by three quarters of the Tory party members to go flat out for Cliff Edge Brexit by Halloween.

      • RandomComment

        This would be the same BJ who was a prominent – if not the pre-eminent – figure in the referendum?

      • fwl

        If you look back at the Government’s 2016 leaflet, which advised that the Government thought the best thing was to remain you can see that it warned very clearly in straightforward language that if people voted to leave then it could take years to sort out a deal. It even suggested it could be 10 years and that during those years goods could be more expensive and that we could not be sure that we could keep benefits. In other words it made clear that if we vote to leave then that could be very bad. It made it plain that the Government took issue with those who said a deal would be easy and said the opposite was the case. Nonetheless the majority taking on board those no deal risks voted to leave.

        • RandomComment

          The whole “people are too stupid to know what they voted for” argument, was laughably destroyed by Parliament’s own vote for Article 50.

        • giyane

          Fwl

          We voted as we voted to get ridvof Cameron who had just trashed the richest country in Africa and was starting on the most sensible country in the Middle East.

          OK we voted with the foaming racists which has been a bit off putting for a few moderate thinking people, but not as totally off putting as the installation of fascist islamist proxies one country away from Europe.

          I think you’ll find those racist oiks would prefer a few immigrants turning up here than an army of Islamist warriors.

          Calm down dear. You’re with the netanyahoo.

      • giyane

        MN

        Leaving the EU is not the same as leaving free movement of goods and people.
        It’ll take a couple of months for Corbyn to renegotiate it but that’s no problem.
        Then there can be a second referendum on goods and a third on people. Cameron, May , johnson and the other tosser can all resign one by one.
        Leaving the EU is easy prays. Trouble is that’s not why they want Brexit
        They need to repatriate all the common shared values of the EU which stick in the bullets of the Alt right Tory ERG wing.

    • Yr Hen Gof

      That tiny proportion of the electorate is incredibly well represented in parliament, should followers of Islam be as proportionately well represented, they’d have over 200 Muslim M.P.s.
      Naturally that generous representation does not include those M.P.s who declare themselves as ‘Friends of’ and might therefore be expected to add whatever influence they might have.

    • Shatnersrug

      280,000 well that’s going to swing a vote. How many of our MPs have taken money from the Israeli embassy exactly.

  • Jones

    Theresa May’s ‘deal’ is going to be voted on yet again after Kinnocks amendment, wonder how May will vote now on her own deal, after the days events and prime ministers pantomine question ‘avoidance’ time please someone try to convince me that when i woke this morning i did ‘not’ find myself in a lunatic asylum.

    • fwl

      Jones: can you explain the Kinnock amendment and what has just happened there?

      Things are happening a little quickly and I didn’t follow what happened there or what that amendment was, nor what happened to the other amendments?

      Was that an accidental yes vote due to the shortage of no tellers, or was it a stitch up and if so by who?

      • Jones

        no mistake government did not provide tellers, just the normal everyday dirty tricks of back stabbing politicians.

  • RandomComment

    Hypothetically, can we assume the Scots would support Brexit, if it included independence for their country?

    • Mist001

      In my case, certainly although I support Brexit in the first place. Unfortunately for Scotland, Independence doesn’t seem to be Sturgeons priority so would probably campaign for people not to support Brexit.

      • RandomComment

        Yes, I too believe, given the choice, she would choose not to support Brexit, even if it meant Scottish Independence. If so, it means the movement is largely being used as a tool to further EU goals.

        • Jo1

          Actually, Scotland was heavily pro Remain and I would certainly not change my view. I don’t believe Brexit is good for any part of the UK. It concerns me that the campaign was so flawed and full of lies. I would still care about that.

          • RandomComment

            Jo1, we know Scotland was pro-Remain 😉

            If I understand you correctly, this means that you support EU integration over Scottish Independence. What you “believe” is irrelevant. Deny people their right to make their own mistakes (as *you* see it) and you are no democrat, nor friend of the people (whom you profess to speak for)

            Out of the 17.4 million people who vetoed to leave an abusive relationship (as they saw), I would suspect – sorry believe – that most of them don’t care about the Union, only democracy – which, by your very own words – you don’t care for, unless they agree with your personal ideology.

            Thanks for playing 😉

          • JOML

            Randomcomment
            When you go for a divorce, it’s not your ex-partner’s business who you decide to subsequently hook up with, if anyone. Are you saying you shouldn’t go for a divorce unless you agree to remain single thereafter?

          • Iain Stewart

            These ingenious analogies are more amusing than helpful, and if you’re a Catholic then I suppose “agree to remain single” is what you would be expected to do, but Scotland and England are actually not a married couple (nor a broken down car in a repair shop as someone else suggested here). OK we’ve been together for years, had a lot of laughs, some tears, but the thrill has gone, baby!

          • RandomComment

            These ingenious analogies are more amusing than helpful,

            TYG. I’m only here for the light relief. Everyone’s made their minds up already.

          • Jo1

            Random Comment

            Please don’t tell me what I think.

            Your entire post is nonsense. I’ll leave you to your meaningless story telling.

      • Hatuey

        I don’t see how voting to dissolve a Tory government and to facilitate a general election could be considered anything other than the right and responsible thing for the SNP to do.

        Of course, we can discuss that later ;|

    • Terence Callachan

      Scotland as said was remain
      Scotland would not give up independence to remain in the EU simply because it would never get the offer of that, England could have had the brexit it wants if it had allowed Scotland and Northern Ireland to remain in the EU but England wants it all, England wants brexit but it also wants to retain control of Scotland wales and Northern Ireland .
      England will impose brexit on Scotland
      Scotland will vote in favour of Scottish independence
      Then Northern Ireland will vote in favour of unification

      • Old Mark

        England wants brexit but it also wants to retain control of Scotland wales and Northern Ireland .

        As far as NI is concerned that statement is , quoting our present PM, a ‘pyramid of piffle’. If our relationship with the EU (and thus RoI) changes significantly after 1 November then under the Good Friday Agreement there are very strong grounds for instigation a border poll on the status of NI. The modalities of such a referendum would (under the GFI) need to be discussed with RoI, but most people in England would wish to see such discussions concluded swiftly, and would be pleased if such a poll resulted in a united Ireland, to be achieved within the shortest possible (say 3 years) transition period following said poll.

        If Scotland wished to follow down this path after NI the English wouldn’t be wildly enthusiastic (as they are in the case of NI), just merely indifferent.

        • Iain Stewart

          “Most people in England…”
          What a lot of fascinating conversations you must have had, finding out the opinions of most of the people in England! Do please continue to keep the rest of us informed.

          • Old Mark

            Iain Stewart

            Your compatriot Callachan makes a completely ex cathedra statement about England wanting ‘to retain control of Scotland wales and Northern Ireland ‘.

            I respond with a similar ex cathedra statement about public opinion down here and you utter the lamest effort at sarcasm I’ve heard all year – ‘Do please continue to keep the rest of us informed’.

            Nice one!

        • Terry callachan

          You say “ if England’s relationship with the EU changes “
          I agree to an extent
          But it has not changed yet
          Brexit has not yet happened
          It may never happen
          Who knows ?
          Will the GFA be broken ?
          We have yet to see if it will

          So for all you say I have to point out that as things stand I am correct and you are wrong.
          As things stand England wants to keep control of Scotland wales and Northern Ireland and it wants to have brexit as well
          It cannot have both

          Will it sacrifice control of Scotland wales and Northern Ireland to get brexit ?
          It hasn’t done so up to now and that is why brexit is still ongoing three years after the brexit referendum

          If anyone blethers a lot of piffle, it’s Boris Johnson
          Believe him at your peril

  • TonyT12

    Why not simply combine the Conservative Party in its new ERG-managed form with the Brexit Party? They have so much in common there is no longer a paper’s width of difference between them policy-wise. NoDeal at any cost is all they want. NoDeal at any cost is all their funders want. It would solve the Conservative Party’s cashflow in the blink of an eye to combine both parties’ Hedge Fund and banker sponsors. Within a couple of weeks after NoDeal they can sign everything up with Donald Trump and show Brussels two fingers. Who cares about Ireland? Neither Johnson nor Farage has a solution for the border except to blame the bureaucrats in Brussels and we shan’t be having anything more to do with them.

    Johnson would get what he wants once the General Election gets scheduled which is inevitable, with Nigel Farage at his side as Brexit Secretary, Home Secretary or Chancellor. Dominic Cummings and Arron Banks can be joint chairmen. The Daily Mail, Express, Sun, Times, Sky News, Daily Telegraph, Nick Ferrari on LBC would all be beside themselves.

    The Cons-ERG-o-Brexit Party. It has a nice ring about it.

    • fwl

      You put your finger on the biggest worry of all. Johnson is alinging the Conservatives with the Brexit party so that together they can more efficiently process their votes than Labour, Liberals, Greens, SNP and Plain are likely to be able to do.

      My worry is that the Brexit party is a different beast to the Conservatives. The original Referendum Party, UKIP and now the Brexit Party were / are all small parties in which control is / was tightly held within a limited company by a few shareholders whereas most “members” are not members but volunteer donor puppets.

      By contrast the Conservatives and Labour parties are unincorporated members associations in which all the members are in control in accordance with the contract between them.

      In other words both Labour and Conservative have a fundamentally democratic set up whereas Brexit does not. Brexit has a controlling shareholder who is Farage. It is not acceptable to have that sort of one man band within running distance of the keys of power.

      As interesting as current parliamentary procedure and tactics are the way in which Boris’s government is behaving to get its way (i.e. closing parliament and banishing Tory grandees such as Nicholas Soames) suggests that he is not just siding up to Brexit to reach some sort of informal general election stitch up but he is also constitutionally mutating the Conservative party into a party not just of the right but of the night and the long knives.

      Brexit is important but it is not so important that we throw everything out to get there.

      • Terry callachan

        There are many Labour voters in England who will never ever vote Tory in any circumstances but they would vote for a brexit party

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        So these conservative MPs that Borris has kicked out, have they been kicked out of the parliamentary party, the national party or their local conservative association or all three? Does Borris have the power to do this under Conservative Party rules? What happens if their local association re-selects them?

        • N_

          I don’t think he has the authority to kick them out of the local association, but he appears to have the power. He does have the authority to stop them standing for re-election under the Tory brand.

          I heard the chair of Kenneth Clarke’s association say basically “That’s the rules, innit? You vote against the government and you get kicked out”. I was surprised someone in such a position could be so ignorant about the field he is employed in. Boris Johnson himself has defied a three-line-whip and didn’t get kicked out. A large number of Tory MPs have defied the whips this year. Imagine going on the radio and talking about what is supposed to be your own professional field and making such a d*ckhead of yourself.

    • PhilW

      Because long-time Labour voters wont vote for Conservatives, but might well vote for the Brexit party. Two different brand names for essentially the same thing from a single supplier.

      • fwl

        Anyone voting for the Brexit Party needs to think long and hard before doing so. It’s not a members’ party. It’s a one man band. A labour voter who believes in democracy would be better off voting Conservative (as strange may sound) simply because the Conservative party has been a democratic entity. I say “has been” because things may be changing. Will be interesting to see how Philip Hammond responds to recent events and attempts to disenfranchise local parties and their members.

        In Taiwan the Kuomintang lost power when they sought to completely centralise power and disenfranchise its local party members. The local elites rebelled and the KMT lost power.

        • N_

          “It’s a one man band.”

          And Nigel Farage is a man who packs a lot of prestige, possibly even more prestige (meaning a lot in quite a few minds, rather than quite a bit in a lot of minds – there’s a difference) than any other active British politician. That’s how he created the party in January and enjoyed a runaway victory in the EU election in May. He won many more votes than Labour and the Conservatives combined.

          Few think long and hard about how they will vote. The quibble isn’t with “long and hard” (no sniggering at the back) but with “think”. It’s primarily emotional – even for middle class tossers who kid themselves that they’re governed by their “intellects”.

      • Terry callachan

        Not quite PhilW, we could end up seeing the conservatives sticking to a no deal brexit and the brexit party fighting for any deal brexit in a general election or a referendum and another brexit referendum could have several vote options regarding brexit which would split the vote and mean the winner could be a party with as little as 25% of the vote, what then ?

    • N_

      There’s a name – Arron Banks.

      Did the National Crime Agency complete its investigation into multiple criminal allegations against him in connection with the Leave.EU campaign? If so, has it been formally decided not to prosecute?

  • Laguerre

    The Johnson plan is not looking good. Sack Cummings, then either revoke or accept something like May’s WA.

    • Laguerre

      Not surprised to see the tweet reported in the Graun from Lionel Barber:

      “Am hearing many Tory MPs, including majority of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet, believe expelling two former Chancellors, moderates and long serving Tories like @NSoames was huge error.”

      Johnson et al have cut their support entirely.

      • N_

        Is Nicholas “Wardrobe Key” Soames still a close friend of Prince Charles?

        Got to wonder whether there might be a generational divide over Brexit inside the royal family. The monarch played an important role in the Leave campaign. I seem to recall her youngest son saying something pro-Remain. But her eldest son?

        • giyane

          N_

          I assumed this Soames was the son of wardrobe key.in one of those continuity nepotism repeats that happens in the HoC.

          So youre saying the indestructible Tory status quo have just been purged aka MBS. Netanyahoo has popped in to congratulate the coup.

  • Deb O'Nair

    Team Johnson has totally imploded after two days in parliament, no amount of spin or constitutional shenanigans can save him now.

    • TonyT12

      There is one big difference between Trump and Johnson, for all the comparisons.

      Trump would have fired an advisor as toxic as Dominic Cummings on the spot for multiple failures, Johnson has not because he is clueless and without strategy if Cummings goes. The present chaos + humiliation of the P.M., his party, and the Commons is a joint effort of Cummings (bad ideas, and unaccountable) and Johnson (no ideas and drowning in meaningless rhetoric).

      Margaret Thatcher, as an aside, would have had none of this, but that is another story.

      • Shatnersrug

        There’s another stark difference – trump won his position, Johnson slithered into it. It really isn’t a good look to be the 3rd unelected prime minister

      • Shatnersrug

        Thatcher didn’t tolerate interferences from the Israeli embassy. She threw out diplomats and threatened to close it. Boris has begged Bibi come and help him out of a pickle.

        • Jo1

          Maybe he wants him to remind the Fifth Column in the PLP that they’re meant to be helping to bring Corbyn down!

    • N_

      Team Johnson is haemorrhaging respect in all directions. Who even trusts them, let alone respects them? This can’t go on much longer.

  • Sharp Ears

    This seems appropriate with which to end the day –

    ‘Don’t you love farce?
    My fault, I fear
    I thought that you’d want what I want
    Sorry, my dear!
    But where are the clowns
    Send in the clowns
    Don’t bother, they’re here

    Isn’t it rich?
    Isn’t it queer?
    Losing my timing this late in my career
    But where are the clowns?
    There ought to be clowns
    Well, maybe next year.’

  • Sharp Ears

    O/T Johnson has visitors arriving. What a busy life he leads.
    4 Sep 2019 19.12

    The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is travelling to London on Thursday to meet Boris Johnson, on a visit that had not been briefed in advance by either side.

    Netanyahu this week cancelled a scheduled trip to India, citing commitments at home surrounding the imminent general election in Israel.

    In London, he will also meet the US defence secretary, Mark Esper, according to the prime minister’s office. Esper’s visit has been well trailed and coincides with a visit to the UK by the US vice-president, Mike Pence.

    Johnson is also due to meet Pence in Downing Street on Thursday.
    /..
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/04/benjamin-netanyahu-to-meet-boris-johnson-on-surprise-visit-to-london

  • Mist001

    I bet that Johnson will get the support he needs for a General Election from the SNP. Sturgeon is on record as saying that she won’t hold another independence referendum without a section 30 order. She also publicly announced two days ago that she was going to seek a section 30 order with a view to holding a second independence referendum next year.

    Having spent the last three years trying to stop Brexit and indeed, is on record saying that stopping no deal Brexit is the number one priority of the SNP, she will have to do one of two things:

    1: She will have to gamble on Labour winning the next GE so she’ll throw her lot in with Labour and in return, get a section 30 order.

    OR…….

    2: She will have to gamble on Boris Johnson by supporting his efforts to get Brexit over the line and in return, she’ll get a section 30 order.

    There’s no other way that she’ll get a section 30 order. She has to do one of the two.

    Two things wrong though:

    If she does a deal with Johnson, then that goes against everything she has said and done about Brexit over the past three years. I don’t think that would bother her though, she’d just play her usual ‘acting in the best interests of the people of Scotland’ card. The reason it’s a gamble with Johnson is because of his recent record, he’s just as likely to agree to a section 30 order and then shut down Holyrood the next day.

    The other thing wrong is that she’ll be throwing her hat into the ring supporting Labour. I have my doubts, but surely even she must know that Labour have virtually no chance of winning the next GE. The worrying thing is that I think she’s probably about the only person on the planet who believes that Labour might actually win.

    To summarise. I think she is hoodwinking/tricking/misleading the Scottish people again with her statements about seeking a section 30 order and holding a referendum next year. She doesn’t want one but has to be seen doing something to keep the membership onside and keep the money coming in but she’s doing so in the pretty safe knowledge that she has no chance of getting a section 30 order in either case and can simply turn around and say that it’s not her fault, she did try and words to that effect.

    • Terry callachan

      But you miss the important point.
      The Scottish government only have a mandate to hold a Scottish independence referendum if there is a major change of circumstances for example Scotland being taken out of the EU against its will.

      Until brexit actually happens there will be no Scottish independence referendum.

      Nicola Sturgeon rightly wants an amicable separation that’s what the S30 order gives.
      Nicola Sturgeon does not want a no deal Scottish independence
      A deal with England is essential for the same reason a brexit deal with the EU is essential it encourages discussion and agreement about the way forward and the finer workable points of separation .

      Nicola Sturgeon asks for a S30 from england whenever Westminster is in full throttle mode in the hope that England’s fervour for closing itself off will include a decision to separate from Scotland .

      A S30 is not essential it merely preferred .
      Sensible people would see that a deal is not essential for brexit but it is preferred .

    • N_

      @Mist001: votes from 434 MPs are needed to call a general election. CON + SNP + DUP wouldn’t get close to that figure.

    • Hatuey

      “She will have to gamble on Boris Johnson by supporting his efforts to get Brexit over the line and in return, she’ll get a section 30 order… There’s no other way that she’ll get a section 30 order”

      There’s another scenario that you haven’t considered. Once the law is in place making no deal impossible, opportunity presents itself.

      289 + 35 = 324

      The winning line in most scenarios is 326. As I understand the DUP deal, they’d be forced to “supply” support in certain areas… even if they didn’t, though, picking up 2 votes elsewhere will be easy enough.

      Fasten your seat belts.

      • N_

        @Habbabkuk-ptuey

        The winning line in most scenarios is 326.

        It’s not 326 in the scenario that Mist001 was discussing, namely calling a general election, in which it’s 434 (the smallest integer greater than two-thirds of 650).

        It’s not 326 in any other even remotely likely scenario either, given that Sinn Fein (7) don’t take their seats and the Speaker (1) doesn’t vote and nor do the Deputy Speakers (3). That makes it 320.

        • Hatuey

          lol

          You simply don’t understand the possibilities.

          I’m not talking about the FTPA which I have read inside out.

          Anyway, do your own research. You’ll find out anyway, soon enough.

        • Hatuey

          One other thing Mist said which is erroneous and/or based on misunderstanding;

          “he’s just as likely to agree to a section 30 order and then shut down Holyrood the next day.”

          Go back to the numbers. 50% +1 is all it takes to pass legislation for a section 30. It could be done in 5 minutes, if all those involved were in a cooperative frame of mind. In other words, it needn’t be based on trust/hope; it could be delivered right away, or next week.

          And in actual fact, for your information, there would be nothing wrong with legislation that temporarily set aside the FTPA and proposed and set a date for a general election, all on the same piece of paper. An amendment granting a section 30 could easily be stapled to that too.

          The FTPA can be dismissed with basic (simple majority) legislation.

          They don’t tell you stuff like that in the Beano eh…

  • Terry callachan

    Surely not a declaration of war on Iran ?
    With netinyahu and the US defence secretary in town , maybe ?
    Would a declaration of war stifle the remainers plans ?
    Would Boris Johnson go to war to achieve no deal brexit !

  • N_

    Their Tory lordships and ladyships have abandoned their filibuster.

    Did any of their Tory colleagues in that House vote in favour of the Benn bill? If so, will they be expelled from the Partei too?

  • N_

    In a typical piece of thuggo-snobbery, Boris Johnson says he issued an “invitation” to Jeremy Corbyn to fight a general election, which Corbyn supposedly “refused”.

    Listen, Johnson. You don’t “invite” Opposition MPs to vote with your wretched and collapsing governmennt, OK? You may only REQUEST them to. You’re sounding like your nightclub buddy Dominic Cummings. And nobody “refused”. You can only refuse what someone TELLS you to do. If they ASK you, saying no is called “DECLINING”. WTF did they teach you at Eton?

    Was Louche Jacob Lies Down part of a package with the Johnson Says “Shit” at the Despatch Box ? I suspect it was. And the package is very Trumpian. But I still have a sneaking doubt that Rees-Mogg is so stupid. Could he really be? It damages his “I’ve Got Good Manners and Welcome Hearty Debate” brand a lot. That image has already seared its way into many many minds. Few in any part of society will respect him for it.

    • michael norton

      The Lords have passed the No Deal Brexit law,
      so back to the Commons, possibly Monday.
      The Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition Jeremy Corbyn has said they will agree to a General Election,
      if the No Deal Brexit Law is passed.
      So, there may be just enough time before the Prorogue kicks in, to call a General Election before Halloween.
      In thiscase all bets are off.
      I am not sure of the count these days but Boris Johnson probably has a minority government with 21 down, utterly unsustainable in the medium term, he is already, essentially, in a coalition with the D.U.P. is isn’t realistically any one else ( with M.P.s) that he could group with to form a more workable administration.
      It is a very tall order to get another 22 plus Conservative parliamentry candidates stood up in three weeks.

      • Deb O'Nair

        Best let the GE wait until after 31st October, people should be given the chance to have a good look at the PM so that they know what they are voting for (or not). He’ll probably have resigned by then as his “do or die” bluster will hanging around his neck like a dead albatross.

  • N_

    “They” are trying to paint Dominic Cummings as acting under the influence of alcohol, or in other words as a p*sshead. That’s two stories now: he was reportedly in the parliamentary press corridor with a glass of red wine in his claw, and now Evgeny Lebedev’s London rag edited by George Osborne says that Cummings “stank of booze” during a confrontation with Jeremy Corbyn last night, in which he is said to have taunted the Labour leader, who was on the phone at the time.

    I have no idea whether he actually is a p*sshead. But the idea has certainly been put out there.

    I wonder whether he’s going to tell the DCMS select committee to f*** off? This could come to a head over the next few days. Just as the Benn bill nears enactment 🙂

    Lock him up!

    • Jo1

      I’m surprised that Cummings is even allowed in the building given he was found to be in contempt of Parliament.

  • Sharp Ears

    ‘After dramatically losing his majority, being hamstrung by parliament and sacking several of his party’s prominent MPs things are looking “very bleak” for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Alex Salmond tells RT.
    Johnson’s plans appear to be unravelling fast after MPs voted to take control of parliament in a bid to avoid a no-deal exit from the European Union on Tuesday night.

    The former First Minister of Scotland explained that Johnson’s plan appeared to be provoke opposition parties into a general election, however that started to fall asunder when Labour smelled a rat and refused to go along with the election gambit on Johnson’s terms. ‘

    https://www.rt.com/uk/468011-alex-salmond-brexit-chaos-johnson/

    Corbyn 1 Johnson 0

    Johnson can go off with his tail between his legs.

  • Brett Angel

    Following Benn’s victory and Kinnock’s ‘mistake’ it can safely be presumed that the right wing of the labour party (bliarites) are in the ascendancy and will now seek another selection for party leader – the labour party, like the tories and libdems can now look forward to being completely wiped out at the next general election …. no? The treachery of the HoC is there for all to see – if they look …. ut are the people sufficiently awake to see the big picture … ??????

    • michael norton

      A new, unexpected General Election, before Halloween, would certainly clear the decks of many traitors, both on the Labour benches and on the Tory benches, clean sweep.
      The Labour party would then be under Jeremy Corbyn’s control and the Tory party under Boris Johnson’s control
      but how the seats will go, is anybodies guess?

      • Michael

        They’ll never risk Corbyn in power over Boris, not now they’ve stopped Brexit. He blew his chance last night. He said no to an election so he could overthrow an earlier vote, all the while using doublespeak to call it democracy.

        Still, I can look forward to watching this shithole country being razed to the ground. Democratically, of course. One man, one torch.

  • michael norton

    Emmanuel Macron could doom Remainers’ effort to stop a No Deal Brexit going through,
    by refusing to grant an extension to the U.K.
    This comes after M.P.s backed a bill aimed at blocking a No Deal Brexit

    Ho Ho Ho

    all they other 27 member states must agree an extention, for an extention to be agreed.
    If just one country, baulks, say France, then it is over the cliff we go, on Halloween.

    • OnlyHalfAaLooney

      The EU’s position has been that an extension would be granted if the political circumstances changed in the UK, for example, if the UK were to hold a second referendum or a general election. What has now happened is probably what the EU leaders have been hoping for.

      In any case, if necessary, the UK can still simply withdraw art. 50 notification and remain in the EU.

    • Peter

      @ michael norton: “If just one country, baulks, say France, then it is over the cliff we go…”

      There is some suggesting that even with the current legislation enacted that Johnson could go to the October summit and encourage one of the more eurosceptic leaders, eg Viktor Orbán, to veto the application for extension thus leading to the scenario you (and Johnson) envisage.

      It is certainly becoming very clear that he has a face for anything.

      Mark “don’t trust”.

    • Dungroanin

      Oh dear relying on the banker plant in the EU to ensure the hard brexit!!!

      That is clutching at straws.

      While we are members tge CJEU would rule on the variation of A50 expiry. Seeing as it has already been varied, an impending national vote are the exact circumstances that would allow for a further extension and it would be long enough to take us to the new year – which I believe is when many of the new EU tax regulations become effective!

      Panic !!!!!!!

  • lineofsnowflake

    After yesterdays ravings Corbyn should table a motion for drug and drink testing before entering the commoners.

    8Ball Boris had the ‘attentive’ eyes of a mentally challenged greyhound that just hoovered up a whole kennels worth of marching powder and the random incoherent rantings to match.

    I’d imagine the majority of the house would have to steer clear of the doors for a few months whilst ‘detoxing’. Go on craig, head down to Westminster gates and ask every public and civil servant entering if they’d volunteer a blood and hair sample in the name of democratic accountability. A live feed on periscope would be a laugh.

    Corbyn would be one of the very few let enter the place. Win Win.

    • Deb O'Nair

      Ian Duncan Smith (the governments chief nose picker) looked and sounded half-pissed, swaying on his feet and occasionally slurring.

    • Jo

      Surely part of the plot is for Boris to continue to expose his own true character sufficiently to finally get him out of politics and kind of say …is this the best the cons can do…?

    • Bramble

      By the people, I suppose you mean the Brexiteers. Who are far from being all the people. Parliament, not the ERG, represents all the people and they have every right to challenge an extremist government in our name.

    • OnlyHalfAaLooney

      Brexiteers like to use “the people” and “will of the people” in ways I find very reminiscent of the rhetoric and propaganda used by dictatorial fascist and communist regimes.

      The fact is, in a democratic country, you can’t really be sure of the “will of the voters” let alone “the people”. All you can really say is that they voted this way or that way. And “the will of half the people” doesn’t sound nearly as good does it?

      Have you all forgotten “Ein Volk, ein Wille, ein Fuehrer”?

      We should also remember Goebbels’ infamous statement: “It will always remain one of democracy’s best jokes that it provided its mortal enemies with the means by which it was destroyed.”

      What you are actually claiming is that we should do away with democracy because democracy isn’t democratic enough!

  • James Chater

    Your analysis is reasonable only if you assume Johnson is behaving rationally. I doubt, given his record of lying, that he intends to keep his promises of more spending. Also, are you saying that Scotland should declare independence without another referendum?

    • Deb O'Nair

      Johnson had been on a kamikaze mission for a no-deal but he took off from the runway and proceeded to fly straight into the control tower, his mission self-terminated before it had even begun.

  • Republicofscotland

    Meanwhile number cruncher Sir John Curtis has said that it can no longer be presumed that Scotland would vote no to independence.

    For Curtis to publicly say that, must surely be a sign that the winds of change are favouring independence now.

    • Jo1

      RoS
      Said it before, will keep saying it. I don’t trust the numbers folk and, lately, I actually don’t trust Curtice either. He’s become quite the media darling and isn’t above doing Party-politics.

      I don’t see his views as proof of anything. People need to ignore polls. Only one poll matters and that’s when counts are done. I’ve responded to the phrase, “seats are in the bag”, elsewhere on this thread. Complacency is the real enemy. There’s a lot to play out yet.

      • Republicofscotland

        Oh I agree on Curtis, he was used by the Britnats to great effect to show yes was still lagging in the polls awhile back. I just thought now the polls look like swinging in our favour why not return the favour, use their favourite (unionist pollster) against them.

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