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Life looked rosy for the Liberal Democrats at their party conference in September 2019.

Buoyed by her election as leader, Jo Swinson, a Scot, appeared on the Andrew Marr Show on September 15. The Daily Mail reported on the programme and the party’s policies on Brexit:

The clear stance on Brexit was cemented when members at the Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth voted overwhelmingly to support a motion to revoke Article 50 it the party gains a majority in a general election.

The move would stop Brexit in its tracks without the need for a second referendum.

“The policy we are debating at conference today is very clear,” Ms Swinson told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

“If the Liberal Democrats win a majority at the next election, if people put into government – as a majority government – the ‘Stop Brexit’ party, then stopping Brexit is exactly what people will get. Yes, we will revoke Article 50.”

The East Dunbartonshire MP added: “We have argued that a specific Brexit deal should be put to a People’s Vote to give clarity.

We still argue for that. But if we end up at a general election then I think we need to be straightforward with people and give them an option for all this Brexit chaos to stop.

I recognise not everyone agrees with the Lib Dems on this. (But) it is genuinely what we think is right for the country.”

Is cancelling a referendum result ‘liberal’ or ‘democratic’?

Some voters did not think it was:

Tweets began appearing about her voting record as an MP in David Cameron’s and Nick Clegg’s coalition government (2010-2015). Swinson voted with the Conservatives more often than the leading Conservative MPs of the day:

She went further than most.

However, those were but minor distractions that never hit the media. On September 19, the Daily Mail reported (emphases mine):

Jo Swinson’s party jumped from 19 per cent to 23 per cent to leapfrog Jeremy Corbyn‘s bitterly divided outfit, according to the YouGov vote tracker. 

It came after the party used its annual conference at the weekend to vow to revoke Article 50 and keep the UK in the EU if it won a general election.

Meanwhile former prime minister Tony Blair said today that UK political parties should be worried about the Lib Dems as there is a ‘great level of frustration’ about the direction Labour and the Tories are taking.

Ms Swinson used the speech to lashed out at ‘insular, closed and selfish’ Brexiteers as she branded Brexit ‘the fight of our lives for the heart and soul of Britain’.

This was the polling result published that day:

London’s Evening Standard published an exclusive interview with Tony Blair that afternoon. The former Prime Minister told the interviewer ‘you’re making me feel under-dressed’ and gave his thoughts on the Lib Dems:

… the dangers to Labour if its leader blunders into “a Brexit election” have increased following Jo Swinson’s first conference as Liberal Democrat leader this week. Her promise of a “very, very clear revoke” could be “attractive” and he thought a “resurgent” centre party could squeeze Labour.

On September 30, Twitter activists had researched Swinson’s husband, who works for a pro-EU organisation called Transparency International:

On October 9, Swinson went to Brussels to meet with EU politicians, including Guy Verhofstadt, who has travelled to England to participate in a few Lib Dem events, including their 2019 party conference:

Here is a bit more about Swinson’s visit. Lib Dem MP Tom Brake is in the far left photo:

She also met our EU negotiator Michel Barnier that day. He negotiates with the government, not opposition MPs. She has some brass neck, but, then, again, she wasn’t the only one bending the ears of EU officials:

On Wednesday, October 30, Swinson appeared on the BBC, where veteran journalist Andrew Neil gave her a grilling for insisting she could become Britain’s next Prime Minister. I watched it. It was a breathtaking half hour. The Express reported the principal soundbite around which the rest of the interview revolved:

Speaking on BBC Two’s the Andrew Neil Show, Ms Swinson said: “I’m standing as a candidate to be Prime Minister, Andrew.”

He interjected: “No one stands as a candidate to be Prime Minister. You’re standing as a candidate in East Dunbarton.”

Ms Swinson continued: “I’m standing as the leader of the Liberal Democrats.

“You’re right, we have a parliamentary democracy system and the leader of the party who secures the most or majority of MPs becomes Prime Minister.”

Oh, my!

She dug herself in deeply during that half hour:

Only two weeks later — one week into the general election campaign — Swinson’s delusions of becoming PM were dashed:

Her approval ratings haven’t budged since.

At the party’s manifesto launch on November 20, Swinson pledged to save Britain’s children from a ‘boiling planet’. You cannot make this stuff up:

Some found her rhetoric unconvincing:

Two days later, Home Secretary Priti Patel took strong exception to Swinson’s illiberal and undemocratic approach to Brexit, based on what she had said on the BBC’s Question Time:

Swinson had said on more than one occasion, the first time in an ITV interview, that she would revoke Article 50 on Day 1 of her premiership, because that is within the remit of the Prime Minister.

The BBC’s Andrew Marr decided not to ask her about that statement. The Mail on Sunday‘s Dan Hodges, Glenda Jackson’s son, wanted to be sure:

That day, Hodges had written a columm for the Mail on Sunday about how Swinson was ‘killing the Liberal Democrats’, particularly in the south west, where they always do well:

True. And the slogan on the Lib Dem leaflets is:

STOP BREXIT

in large upper-case letters.

Negative slogans are nearly always the least persuasive.

She began turning off voters in earnest:

Many men have said, rather politely, that Swinson would do well to wear, as one put it, ‘more business-like attire’. Where do one’s eyes go when looking at her? We would like to look more at her face without the other obvious distraction, which women have noticed, too. A Chanel-style jacket would certainly help.

She also made a huge mis-step by putting a huge photo of her face on the side of the Lib Dem battle bus:

Then Andrew Neil chimed in. Oh, boy, did Neil nail it:

On Wednesday, December 4, she made a second appearance on Andrew Neil’s show. She seemed more realistic but, by now, it no longer matters for her or for the Lib Dems. They have sunk like a stone:

She’ll be lucky if they pick up one more MP.

Neil quizzed her on her past voting record, which she now admits was a mistake. He then asked if we couldn’t trust her to make good judgements in the past, how could we do so now? Fair point, well made:

ITV’s political editor Robert Peston sounded the death knell for the Lib Dems on December 5:

This is the latest polling. Lib Dems are down three points:

Of course, all of us pontificating on and projecting their result next week could be wrong, but, somehow, I doubt it.

Lib Dems: same as they ever were, Jo or no Jo.

Friday, November 29, 2019, began as a normal day in the general election campaign.

Tom Harwood, who works with Guido Fawkes, ably outlines what the political parties were up to until the afternoon, when a terror attack took place on London Bridge, effectively halting the campaign for 24 hours:

Guido’s accompanying column received a lot of comments, including the following.

On Brexit, a reader quoted an MEP on the necessity of No Deal (emphases mine):

Ben Habib MEP: “There is perhaps only one way the Conservative Party could comply with its pledge to be out of Transition by the end of 2020 with a deal along the lines set out in its manifesto. That is if it is prepared to take the UK out of Transition without a deal. It remains as true today as it did in 2016 that, to get a good deal, the UK must be prepared to leave with no deal.”

Labour pledged more madness. Only a few days after they promised to plant 2 billion — yes, you read that correctly — trees in Britain, they came up with a massive housing pledge. Another reader discussed Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s plan:

John Mcd threw the kitchen sink in with his environmental pitch today not only Labour building more houses than their is bricks on the planet, every house will have solar panels and heat exchangers. No longer grasping, just saying anything because they just ignore the facts.

Another reader discussed what would happen if Labour’s — McDonnell’s — plans for corporations came to fruition:

McDonnell intends to steal 10% of a company’s share capital and give it away. Either he steals existing capital or a company creates more shares. Either way the value of the company remains the same but now everyone’s shares will be worth less either because there are more shares or the shares have been given to someone else. So, anyone paying into a Defined Contribution Pension Fund and there are millions doing just that, will suddenly find that their savings are worth a lot less than before the capital restructuring. Someone tell the voters.

Another comment examined the Liberal Democrats‘ Jo Swinson’s perorations on climate change:

‘Climate Change’ – we can’t “fight it by leaving the EU”. 🤔

What won’t we be able to do as an EU state in relation to climate change – that we otherwise can do as a member ?

Given the fact that China produces more C02 emissions that the EU Britain and the US combined – what is it that we are supposed to do ?

Has Swinson thought this through ? Or is it just a risible hollow slogan for yoghurt knitters in the middle classes ?

Someone pointed out what the 2017 terror attack — also on London Bridge — did to the Conservatives‘ chances days later in the June 8 election:

… the problem is that the Tories are allowing Labour and the others to constantly raise the NHS, climate, trust, WASPIs and everything else besides, in an effort to sideline the Brexit debate. And I’m worried that it’s working! Tories need to get the agenda back on message ASAP. Also, I presume that I don’t need to point out the disturbing similarity to the 2017 campaign in what we’ve witnessed unfold on London Bridge today, and that it signalled the beginning of the end for Theresa May’s majority as soon as Labour used those atrocities to introduce reduced police numbers into the debate. I’m nervous. Very, very nervous!

That concerns me, too. However, Boris Johnson is not Theresa May. He’s campaigning across the country every day.

Moving on to Twitter, someone pointed out that a fatal incident has occurred before each of the last three plebiscites in Britain:

Friday afternoon took a dark and bloody turn as events unfolded at London Bridge.

Cambridge University was holding a conference at Fishmongers’ Hall near London Bridge. The subject of the conference was prisoner rehabilitation.

Attending the conference on day release wearing an electronic tag was 28-year-old Usman Khan, who, as the Press Association (PA) reports:

was a convicted terrorist released half-way through a 16-year prison sentence for a plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange.

Last Friday:

Usman Khan killed a man and a woman in the knife rampage on Friday afternoon and injured three other people, who are being treated in hospital.

The 28-year-old, who was on licence and wearing an electronic monitoring tag, was attending a conference on prisoner rehabilitation organised by University of Cambridge-associated Learning Together at Fishmongers’ Hall and reportedly “threatened to blow up” the building.

Armed with two knives and wearing a fake suicide vest, Khan was tackled by members of the public before he was shot dead by police on London Bridge next to the Hall.

Video footage posted online shows Khan being taken to the ground as one man sprays him with a fire extinguisher and another, reportedly a Polish chef, lunges towards him with a narwhal tusk believed to have been taken from the wall inside the Hall.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said he had been living in the Staffordshire area and that police were “not actively seeking anyone else” over the attack.

Why do police always say that? Often, in the weeks that follow, it turns out there was a plot involving more than one person, including some that had no prior police record but were aiders and abetters.

What about the attack that same day in the Netherlands? This is what happened in The Hague:

Returning to London Bridge, no doubt this is the first time many of us have heard of a narwhal tusk, but you can see below what they look like in nature on this species of whale, also known as the unicorn whale. The tusk protrudes from a canine tooth. The narwhal lives in Arctic waters.

A narwhal tusk was hanging in Fishmongers’ Hall. A quick-thinking man deployed it against the terrorist:

Here’s a dramatic video of events as they happened. The second tweet shows Fishmongers’ Hall. One of the pikes shown below was used in subduing the terrorist:

Here is a video of what happened on London Bridge when the police arrived. Fishmongers’ Hall is pictured in the second tweet:

Understandably, everyone would like to see the men who subdued the terrorist given an honour or reward of some sort. However, one of them was also a prisoner on day release, attending the Cambridge University conference. James Ford had committed a horrific murder in cold blood in 2003 and was given a life sentence in 2004. Hmm:

The Mirror reported:

James Ford, 42, was jailed for life in 2004 for the murder of 21-year-old Amanda Champion, who was found strangled with her throat cut in Ashford, Kent, in July 2003 …

Ford found himself embroiled on the London Bridge attack as he helped bring down the knife man while out on day release from his life sentence.

Ford is understood to be in the final days of his sentence at HMP Standford Hill, an open prison in Kent.

It’s believed Khan was tackled by ex-offenders inside Fishmongers’ Hall – who had all been invited to a conference on rehabilitation.

Source say Khan began “lashing out” in a downstairs room of the hall but was grabbed by the conference-goers and bundled out of the front door as he tried to go upstairs.

Those who tackled Khan on the street were not ex-offenders.

Ford’s victim’s aunt Angela Cox has told how she was contacted yesterday by Kent Police who informed her Ford had been involved in the terror attack as a member of the public, reports the Mail.

Angela, 65, said she was “angry” Ford was out on day release after the horrific murder of her niece – who had the mental age of a 15-year-old.

She said: “He is not a hero. He is a murderer out on day release, which us as a family didn’t know anything about. He murdered a disabled girl. He is not a hero, absolutely not.

They let him out without even telling us. Any of my family could have been in London and just bumped into him.”

Angela described how a police liaison officer had called her yesterday asking if she was aware of the London incident before revealing Ford had been captured on TV.

The still-heartbroken aunt said the officer told her “don’t worry” before saying Ford was at the scene and “being classed as a hero”.

Former factory worker Ford has never revealed his motive for killing Amanda.

At the time of his jailing, a judge told him: “What you did was an act of wickedness.

“You clearly have an interest in the macabre and also an obsession with death including murder by throat cutting.”

On to people who should be classed properly as heroes, we have the Polish kitchen porter employed at Fishmongers’ Hall who allegedly grabbed the narwhal tusk. By December 3, it transpired that Lukasz Koczocik was indeed one of the pursuers, but not the man brandishing the tusk. Lukasz was the man with the pike. The attacker stabbed him five times. Fortunately, the heroic kitchen worker was released from hospital on Saturday. He has been nominated for an official honour in Poland:

It seems the tusk got broken:

Not surprisingly, questions arose about the terrorist’s early release:

As with Labour (1997-2010), the Conservative government has had its part to play in law and order failures:

You can see from the following that Usman Khan did not act alone in 2010. Several other men were involved, some released since their 2012 conviction:

On that basis, I do wonder if police did the right thing in saying they are not looking for other suspects at this time with regard to Friday’s incident.

Again, what about the attack in the Netherlands that day? This RT article has one description of the suspect; Euronews has another. Dutch police said then there is no terrorist motive. On November 30, with a suspect in custody, they said it is ‘too early to speculate’ as they are investigating ‘several scenarios’.

Perhaps these statements are meant to keep the public calm while police investigate further.

Yet, we find time and time again that terrorism is the motive and that, especially in France, more than one person is involved somewhere along the line.

Sentencing and law enforcement soundbites should be reviewed.

Cambridge University was not left unscathed Friday afternoon. Sadly, one of their employees, Jack Merritt, was the first fatality. My condolences go to his family and friends:

The Guardian reported:

Merritt worked as the course coordinator for Learning Together, a programme run by the University of Cambridge’s institute of criminology which had been running a course at Fishmongers’ Hall next to London Bridge on Friday.

Two people were killed and three were injured when 28-year-old Usman Khan launched a knife attack. Khan was arrested in December 2010 and released on licence in December 2018, wearing an electronic tag.

David Merritt posted on Twitter on Saturday: “My son, Jack, who was killed in this attack, would not wish his death to be used as the pretext for more draconian sentences or for detaining people unnecessarily.”

His words came as Boris Johnson, said the system of automatic release from prison was flawed.

A second Cambridge graduate, Saskia Jones, 23, also died in the attack. My condolences to her family and friends at this difficult time.

This was the Prime Minister’s column for the Mail on Sunday:

The early release of dangerous prisoners — terrorists, murderers and the like — needs a thorough rational, not emotional, discussion.

Many of us have been wanting this for several years.

If not now, when?

How many more people, including those who advocate for prisoners, will have to die?

On Tuesday, November 19, 2019, ITV showed the first debate of the election campaign.

Supporters of smaller political parties criticised ITV for inviting only Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, but, in reality, only one of the two will be Britain’s next PM:

At that point, a week before Remembrance Day (hence the poppies), the Liberal Democrats’ Jo Swinson was confident she had a real chance at becoming PM:

Although Conservatives believed Boris should have been harder hitting on Labour policies, he probably pulled back because a) this was early in the campaign and b) he wanted to help convince undecided or low-information voters that Conservatives have the better policies.

Afterwards, ITV News reported on the highlights (emphases mine):

In the opening exchanges, the prime minister warned the UK faced more “dither and delay” under a Labour government.

He said a vote for the Conservatives would be a vote to finally “get Brexit done”.

“If you vote for us, we have a deal that is ready to go. Approved by every one of the 635 Conservatives candidates standing at this election,” he said.

As soon as we can get that deal through Parliament, as we can in the next few weeks, we can get on with the people’s priorities.”

But Mr Corbyn retorted that he could not deliver on what he was promising.

“That idea that the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’ deal can be dealt with and finished by the end of January is such nonsense,” he said.

“What he is proposing is a trade deal which will take at least seven years to negotiate whilst at the same time saying he will negotiate a special trade deal with the European Union.

“The two things are actually incompatible.”

Also:

Mr Corbyn’s shifted focus onto the NHS, claiming the service would be part of trade negotiations with the US.

Mr Corbyn accused the prime minister of conducting “secret meetings” with the US about the NHS and a future trade deal.

The Labour leader said: “What we know of what Mr Johnson has done is a series of secret meetings with the United States in which they were proposing to open up our NHS markets as they call them to American companies.”

To this claim, Mr Johnson replied: “I’m amazed how often this comes up.”

Mr Johnson insisted: “This is an absolute invention, it is completely untrue, there are no circumstances whatever that this Government or any Conservative Government would put the NHS on the table in any trade negotiations.”

That was the week after Prince Andrew’s disastrous interview on the BBC, which had aired the previous Saturday evening. Moderator Julie Etchingham asked the two leaders about the monarchy. I have highlighted what the PM said, because it has been often misquoted since:

Asked if the monarchy is fit for purpose, Mr Corbyn simply replied: “It needs a bit of improvement.”

Mr Johnson answered: “The institution of the monarchy is beyond reproach,”

Ms Etchingham then asked if Prince Andrew is fit for purpose.

Mr Corbyn highlighted how sympathies should be with Jeffrey Epstein’s victims, which Mr Johnson echoed.

Boris never said the monarchy was beyond reproach, meaning individual royals. He remarked on the institution itself.

Corbyn, who has been repeatedly accused of downplaying anti-Semitism in his party, which, oddly, has been rampant since he took over as leader in 2016, brought up Jeffrey Epstein. As everyone following the scandal knows, his surname is pronounced ‘Ep-steen’, but Corbyn deliberately pronounced it ‘Ep-shtein’, putting real emphasis on it.

The former editor-in-chief of The Independent, Simon Kelner, wrote an editorial about it for the i paper, ‘Conscious or not, Jeremy Corbyn’s mispronunciation of Jeffrey Epstein’s name matters to British Jews’. Too right it does:

The question, which we can be sure will never be answered, is this: did Corbyn do it, consciously or unconsciously (they’re both as bad as each other, by the way), to make Epstein sound just a little more sinister and foreign and, relevantly in the context, more Jewish? It’s hard to come up with an answer that doesn’t make the Labour leader appear either malevolent or incompetent. Given the wall-to-wall media coverage devoted to the scandal over recent days, it stretches credulity to suggest that Corbyn hadn’t heard Epstein’s name pronounced correctly multiple times.

it was a very emphatic delivery – is something else entirely, and Corbyn had to go out of his way to summon up the mittel-European pronunciation

I am more of a pedant than I am an anti-Semite hunter, but my synapses were twitching on both counts. I have a high threshold for anti-Semitism, and I have never thought that there was a prima facie case against Corbyn in this respect. In fact, I share some of his views on the politics of the Middle East. But this definitely pulled me up short. Having just watched his epically short-tempered interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy on Channel 4, which was filmed in 2015 but went viral this week, it made me wonder whether Corbyn might just be, to borrow [the BBC’s] Eddie Mair’s epithet about Boris Johnson, a nasty piece of work.

While the mispronunciation of Epstein’s name may not be viewed by the majority of viewers as overtly anti-Semitic, it definitely had a nasty edge. No one is offended on Epstein’s behalf (that would be ludicrous), but if I found it offensive, many, many other Jewish people would have found it more so

Whether I am reading too much into a slip of the tongue is open for debate. But what is not in question is that Jeremy Corbyn should be doing all he can to persuade Jewish voters that, on anti-Semitism, he doesn’t just talk the talk. And what he did here was, apart from anything else, very bad politics.

More on this follows below.

Members of the audience were allowed to ask questions:

The debate ended with a hypothetical question from an audience member about what Christmas presents the two leaders would give each other:

Before their closing remarks, the prime ministerial hopefuls were asked what Christmas presents they would buy for each other.

Mr Corbyn said: “I know Mr Johnson likes a good read, so what I would probably leave under the tree for him would be A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and he could then understand how nasty Scrooge was.”

Responding, Mr Johnson said: “I would probably leave a copy – since you want a literary reference – a copy of my brilliant Brexit deal.”

Pressed by host Ms Etchingham to give a non-political answer, Mr Johnson said: “Mr Corbyn shares my love of plants and trees. I think maybe some damson jam,” to which Mr Corbyn said: “I love damson jam.”

At that point, Boris walked over to Corbyn and invited him to shake hands. It was a spontaneous moment, and it’s a pity that ITV did not report on it. Viewers could see Corbyn backing away from Boris with his outstretched hand. After seconds of hesitation, he extended his own for a limp handshake. Boris’s was much heartier.

What did the general public think? Interestingly, the result was similar to that for the Brexit referendum, which was 52% to 48%:

Leaders of the two main parties take part in debates like tonight’s, in part, to try to win over undecided voters.

A YouGov snap poll suggested 51% of Britons believed Mr Johnson won the debate compared to 49% for Mr Corbyn.

Those who answered “don’t know” were removed from the result, with YouGov adding the figures are so close as to be within the margin of error.

ITV’s political editor Robert Peston told news presenter Alastair Stewart that Jeremy Corbyn needed this debate to present a positive game-changer for Labour, who were trailing in the polls then and continue to do so now. Peston said that it was a draw. People who want Brexit done will vote for Boris. People who are worried about the NHS will vote for Corbyn:

Tom Harwood, who works for Guido Fawkes, said that Labour missed a trick with their claim that the Conservatives would ‘sell the NHS’ to President Trump:

Interestingly, our EU negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier, noticed another of Harwood’s tweets — and ‘liked’ it:

Dear me. Whatever next?

Well, the Labour-supporting newspaper, The Mirror, did not exactly go overboard in favour of Corbyn’s performance. Then, again, Prince Andrew was still making the headlines:

At the weekend, the polls remained static. More than one person thought this was because of the anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. They are the only other political party other than the extreme British National Party to be investigated for it. Shameful:

One week later — Tuesday, November 26 — Corbyn appeared on the BBC for an evening interview with veteran broadcaster Andrew Neil. He looked tired, ‘low energy’ (to borrow a Trumpism) and cranky. Neil took him to town on anti-Semitism, forcing him to admit nearly everyone in Britain would be poorer under Labour as well as false claims about the Conservatives wanting to sell the NHS to Trump:

It was generally agreed that, only days after Prince Andrew managed to give one of the all-time worst interviews on television, Corbyn managed to rival him:

This is how bad it was:

These were some of the newspaper headlines on Wednesday:

Andrew Neil began by asking Corbyn if he thought a particular statement about ‘Rothschild Zionists’ was anti-Semitic. Corbyn refused to say, until after the fourth time Neil repeated it:

Guido Fawkes said (emphasis in the original):

Jeremy Corbyn had to be asked four times before admitting ‘Rothchild Zionists run Israel and world governments’ is an anti-Semitic trope. This’ll undoubtedly put the minds of 80% of British Jews to rest…

Corbyn offered no apology for the anti-Semitism in sections of the Labour Party. This video is subtitled:

Andrew Neil grilled Corbyn on taxing everyone more, not just the wealthy:

Neil exposed the fact that Labour’s costings make no sense. Where’s the money coming from? The reply is not an actual Corbyn quote, by the way:

Labour supporters accused Neil of interrupting Corbyn, but:

The Sun has an excellent summary of the interview:

The next morning, ITV’s Piers Morgan picked up Corbyn’s daft comment on ISIS:

The interview got very good ratings:

With regard to the NHS, Neil scored points there, too.

Even Barry Gardiner, the erudite, effete veteran Labour MP — technically a Labour candidate, now that we are approaching the election — couldn’t defend his leader to Andrew Neil with regard to his questionable statements about the Conservatives wanting to sell the NHS to the United States. This interview took place 24 hours later:

Guido Fawkes commented:

The second excruciating Andrew Neil interview Labour has had to go through took place last night, when Shadow Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner was shown up over Jeremy Corbyn’s blatant fibs to the electorate. Labour are banking on people not being bothered to read the 451 pages they produced. Unfortunately for them, Guido has

With this and snapping at a journalist for mentioning anti-Semitism, Gardiner has not been having a good media round…

Those interested can follow Guido’s link in his first paragraph to see the documents in question.

Jeremy Corbyn is talking a lot of nonsense not only on the NHS but everything else his party proposes.

One thing is for certain: so far, he has been a gift to the Conservatives.

On Friday, November 22, 2019, a special two-hour Question Time was broadcast.

Fiona Bruce, the show’s host, moderated a discussion involving questions from a live audience put forward to the four main party leaders in half-hour segments.

The programme began with Jeremy Corbyn. Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP followed. The last two were Jo Swinson of the Liberal Democrats and Boris Johnson of the Conservative Party.

It was really sad to see that Boris Johnson’s Conservatives are the only political party running on a pro-Brexit platform. Labour favour a watery Brexit with a second referendum. Jo Swinson said in a previous interview on ITV last week that in the (unlikely) event she became Prime Minister, she would revoke Article 50 all by herself on the first day. The SNP are all about Scottish independence and only the Scots can vote for them. They, too, oppose Brexit and would appeal to the EU to allow Scotland to join as a separate nation.

Who won?

On Saturday, November 23, The Express reported on a poll it conducted among readers. Not surprisingly, most participants thought that Boris won (emphases mine):

A total of 50 percent of people believed the Conservative leader stole the show, with less than a quarter of readers (23 percent) convinced Jeremy Corbyn won.

Of the 22,368 people who voted in the poll, 11,307 believed Boris Johnson won – versus just 4,816 people. who voted for Mr Corbyn.

Of the four candidates, Jo Swinson seemed the least popular, with just eight percent – 1,776 people – believing she won the debate.

In fact, more people said they didn’t know who won – with this option being chosen by 1,924 people.

Coming third was Nicola Sturgeon, who teased a “less formal” arrangement with Labour to stop Brexit and end austerity, with 2,545 votes for the SNP leader.

One commenter, ‘fitz’, said the Prime Minister managed to “scrape through” after a tough start.

They said: “Boris had a tough job, but he scraped through ok at the end.

“I do not have any doubts that he will win the election with a modest majority of MPs who will support him.”

I hope that proves to be the case.

Nicola Sturgeon

Nearly all the leaders received tough questions from the audience. Nicola Sturgeon seemed to receive fewer:

I was hoping someone would ask her more about Scotland being financially self-sufficient post-independence without English money provided through what is called the Barnett Formula and what plans she would have for a Scottish currency. The SNP believe they can continue to use the British pound!

But I digress.

Sturgeon was adamant that Scots alone could decide the fate of the Union, which has existed since 1707:

Sturgeon relaxed with a book on the way back to Scotland:

Jo Swinson

Jo Swinson got a verbal blast from a Brexit supporter. The Express reported on the exchange:

Catherine, the audience member, asked: “Is revoking Article 50 confirming to 17.4 million people that you think we’re stupid and don’t know what we voted for?”

The Lib Dem leader said: “You cannot accuse us of not being upfront about wanting to stop Brexit. We have been crystal clear about that from the very beginning.

“Not for one second do I think that means you or anyone like you is stupid. I think it means we disagree.

“I really want us to be in a situation in this country where we can disagree with each other, Catherine.”

Ms Swinson continued: “That means that you want to leave, and I don’t think that makes you a bad person.

“I want to remain in the EU and I hope you think that doens’t make me a bad one.”

The audience member shot back: “You can disagree with me but you lost.

“You don’t get to keep disagreeing with me.”

Well said, Catherine.

On Saturday morning, Chuka Umunna, former Labour MP, now a Lib Dem parliamentary candidate, was asked on a BBC radio programme about Swinson’s Question Time performance and the Lib Dem’s anti-Brexit policy. The Express reports:

Mr Umunna, who standing in the cities of London and Westminster constituency on December 12, insisted the Liberal Democrat position to revoke Article 50 was not a mistake, despite Ms Swinson facing a tough grilling by furious audience members on the special leaders debate last night. The Labour-turned-ChangeUK-turned-Lib Dem politician told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “No, there’s been no mistake made on this policy.”

Mr Umunna added: “It’s absolutely clear – you can’t save the NHS and address the issues in it at the same time as not seeking to stop Brexit, not least because 10 percent of our doctors come from the EU, and 7 percent of our nurses come from the EU.”

What no one from any party has addressed is WHY we have so few British doctors and nurses these days. I do not have an answer myself.

Anyway, The Express article related another audience member’s blast at Swinson on the Question Time special:

Ms Swinson faced yet another awkward encounter when another audience member branded the plan to stop Brexit “undemocratic”.

An audience member said: “You are not saying we will go back to the people, you are unilaterally saying ‘Revoke it.’

It’s undemocratic from somebody who wishes the last three and a half years had never happened.”

A startled Ms Swinson responded by saying the Liberal Democrats had campaigned for a so-called people’s vote for the past three years without getting the support in the House of Commons.

Swinson also received a grilling about her voting record when she was an MP in the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government from 2010-2015. Swinson voted ‘Aye’ to more Conservative policies than Conservative MPs did during those years:

The woman asking that question was no ordinary member of the general public. To some viewers, her face seemed very familiar. They were not wrong. The woman is an actress:

That did not go down well with some viewers, and, in my humble opinion, rightly so:

Returning to Jo Swinson, the questions did no favours for the Lib Dems:

Jeremy Corbyn

Right at the outset, Jeremy Corbyn received a verbal smackdown from a long haired, bearded man:

Then, one of Corbyn’s supporters chimed in:

Corbyn’s position on Brexit has been rather nebulous, so, someone asked him about it:

This is what Corbyn said:

Boris Johnson

Boris confirmed to Fiona Bruce and the audience that he had been watching the programme backstage.

The Left have been hammering at Boris for an alleged lack of integrity. Yet, I cannot think of a single politician who has told the truth 100% of the time. Anyway:

As in the United States with the 2016 election, the Left are alleging that Russia interfered in the Brexit referendum campaign. Before Parliament was dissolved, Boris declined to release an official report about it, saying that, customarily, the Prime Minister reviewed such documents over a matter of weeks rather than days:

Someone brought up former Conservative MP, Dominic Grieve, a muckraking Remainer:

Boris got many more difficult questions.

He handled them well. Here he is on education:

And on Brexit:

Many of the questions and remarks were not fair, because he was not a sitting MP for most of the time the Conservatives have been in government. He was Mayor of London during several of those years, a fact that he put forward to the audience. He also said that he has been Prime Minister for only 120 days!

Overall, he managed a conversational tone with everyone, no matter how obnoxious they were:

Nearly everyone is upset over the blatant bias that Fiona Bruce and Mentorn Productions show on Question Time. Therefore, people overall — outside of Leftist activists — empathised with Boris, such as this journalist:

Boris also got a boost from this viewer:

And these:

The Prime Minister was gracious afterwards:

Conclusion

Outside of the usual bias, the Question Time Leaders Special was good, because it is probably be the only time in this election campaign when party leaders will take questions from a live audience.

For those who would like to read more about the programme as it happened, see the Daily Mail (here and here) as well as The Guardian.

If there weren’t already a Magic Johnson, I would have given Boris that nickname.

Last week, Boris surged in a polling question that Survation fielded about the public’s preferred Prime Minister:

Jeremy Corbyn (red, Labour) and Jo Swinson (yellow, Lib Dems) are trailing miserably. Good!

About that result, Guido Fawkes said (emphasis in the original):

Boris has taken an even more commanding lead in Survation’s preferred Prime Minister polling. The PM is up six points on last month, with the Lib Dems crashing down to place Swinson behind Corbyn, who himself has fallen by two points.

This mirrors Deltapoll’s findings over the weekend that saw the Lib Dems tumble five points to just 11%. Ironically the Tories are worried that if Swinson’s party continues to plummet, the Remain vote won’t be split enough to win back key targets in metropolitan places like London…

Even better!

Here are two results from the weekend.

One model predicts a clear Conservative majority — provided, I would caution, that those who go out on Thursday, December 12 vote True Blue — Conservative:

Two other polls show the Conservatives sailing ahead. Again, nothing happens unless Conservative voters go and vote True Blue on December 12:

But, hold on, here’s a third, from Opinium. ‘Blair territory’ means a wipeout, as in 1997. Again, all depends on True Blue voters going out on December 12:

Going back to earlier in the month, on Tuesday, November 12, the Conservatives launched their first election video of the campaign. Given that this would have been scripted, Boris is a natural in front of the camera and makes this four-minute chat look spontaneous:

On Monday, November 18, a reliable commenter on Guido Fawkes had this to say about the Prime Minister (emphases mine):

One small problem with supranational empires such as the EU is that history tells us that they always, without exception, fail. The Roman Empire, Alexandra the Great, the Persian Empire, Genghis Khan, the Soviet Empire, Timur, the British Empire, the Third Reich, Napoleon, and so on. The reason they fail is because nationalism and patriotism are immensely powerful forces that cannot be overcome. No matter how much subjugation and assimilation is forced on people they will always fight against the imperialists.

A very good book about this effect is The Dream of Rome. It explains how even after hundreds of years of being Romans, with a united language, currency, government and legal system the people still fought and died to get their countries back. This book was written by Boris Johnson.

The very fact that the BBC hate Boris, portraying him as a bumbling idiot and doing everything they can to denigrate him is just brilliant for him. It proves that he is not an evil Globalist like they are.

Some people say that it is in the very nature of Boris that he is good at every job he is given, but it is only when he gets the top job that he excels. We saw this when he was a two term Mayor of London. He did the job brilliantly. The evidence for this is irrefutable, just look at the slow motion train wrecks of his predecessor, Ken Livingstone, and his successor, Sadiq Khan, who were both abject failures who failed to meet the challenges of the job. Those who were close to Boris during his tenure say that his especial brilliance was in putting teams together and getting them to work. Exactly what is needed from a leader in government.

Boris has amazing genes, both his parents are Oxford graduates who have achieved much with their lives. Boris too went to Oxford, winning a scholarship. He read Classics there, which is one of the most intellectually demanding courses and he was elected to be President of the Oxford Union. Boris speaks Latin, French and Italian fluently with good German and Spanish.

Then there are the books. Boris has eleven published books with a twelfth, on Shakespeare, due. His biography of Winston Churchill is especially incisive, readable and well thought of.

Boris is not how the Globalist press portray him. But then they are intellectual pygmies next to him, so he must give them a huge inferiority complex. He is the first true patriot we have had as Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher. And he is almost certainly the best person in Britain for the job.

I fully agree.

Boris has genuine appeal and energy combined with self-effacement and humour. I met him once in 2001 when he was campaigning to become MP for Henley, a constituency in Oxfordshire that he represented very well indeed. Along with a friend of mine, I chatted with Boris for several minutes. He was humble, self-effacing and ineffably courteous, yet, resolute.

He has done much in his career, both as the editor of The Spectator — which has gone downhill since then — and as a politician.

He brought back a newish Brexit deal from Brussels. Everyone said it could not be done, but he did it. No one gives him credit for his time as Foreign Secretary under Theresa May. However, that post gave him an entry point for negotiating with the EU.

Let’s have another couple of Stefan Rousseau’s excellent photographs for the PA (Press Association) to lead us out in a positive mood:

Boris Johnson will seek to represent the country’s best interests and I hope that the voters of his current constituency, Uxbridge & South Ruislip in west London, re-elect him as their MP, so that he can continue his quest as Prime Minister to put the Great back into Britain.

Last week, a reader, prairie123, responded to my post, ‘Brexit Chronicles: the parliamentary drama continues’:

This is very informative, I have been trying to learn more about this situation for a while now, but I have such a firm understanding of how US govt. works, that it’s a little tricky to figure out how British govt. does things. The questions (and shouting matches, etc) during the question portion of that even were insane! I thought there would be more decorum and manners… also the crossing of the floor by Lee – that must have been a BIG deal! He basically just switched parties, correct? Yikes. I hope Boris can win some back, but I have a feeling it’s just time to vote some members out.

I do have some random questions, if could ask you CM: Does the UK have a set time for elections or is it random? Does the House of Lords get voted in/out? Is the majority/minority whip jobs similar to US positions? When the UK joined the EU, did the people get to vote to decide that, or did the govt. just decide it was best? The EU is basically draining the economy of the UK, right? What other negative implications has being a part of the EU brought to the people of the UK, in other words what is so bad about the EU that you don’t like?

Ok, sorry to be a pest, but I really am curious about this. I know there is nothing I can do to help, but just keep Boris Johnson in my prayers and the people of Britain, I hope the politicians will actually do what they said they will do, which is the will of the people!

Thanks CM – have a great day! 🙂

I am most grateful to prairie123 for the questions. Answers follow.

That post discussed the now-former Conservative MP Phillip Lee crossing the floor of the House of Commons to the Liberal Democrats.

… that must have been a BIG deal! He basically just switched parties, correct?

Yes, and it is a big deal whenever it happens when MPs are in session. This was notable as Prime Minister Boris Johnson, also Conservative Party leader, was addressing Parliament at the time:

Does the UK have a set time for elections or is it random?

It used to be more random until the Fixed Term Parliaments Act — FTPA — became law in 2011.

When David Cameron (Conservative) became Prime Minister after the May 2010 election, there was a hung Parliament, with no clear Conservative majority. The Conservatives had 306 MPs and the Liberal Democrats 57 MPs. The Conservatives had to go into coalition with the Liberal Democrats, led at that time by Nick Clegg. Clegg became Deputy Prime Minister.

The purpose of the FTPA was to ensure that neither of the coalition partners — the Conservatives nor the Liberal Democrats — could trigger a snap general election.

In principle, under the FTPA, general elections are now held every five years. In reality, Prime Minister Theresa May, David Cameron’s successor, was able to trigger one in 2017, even though the Conservatives won the 2015 election. (Opposition MPs said she had no mandate to deliver Brexit, and the election was seen as a way of giving her legitimacy.)

Under FTPA, Theresa May needed the Aye votes of two-thirds of sitting MPs in order to trigger an election. She got those votes, and the election went ahead in June 2017. Unfortunately, she came out with less of a majority than before the election.

PM Boris Johnson has tried twice in the past two weeks to trigger a general election. Unfortunately, although the Aye votes were overwhelming, they did not come from two-thirds of sitting MPs. Other MPs abstained or did not vote.

Does the House of Lords get voted in/out?

There is no public vote for members of the House of Lords.

The House of Lords used to be comprised of hereditary peers until Labour, under Tony Blair, enacted reforms between 1997 and 2010. The House of Lords Act 1999 retains only 92 hereditary peers among the Lords Temporal.

There are also Lords Spiritual who are members: 26 bishops from the Church of England.

The majority of the Lords Temporal are life peers who are appointed by the monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister or the House of Lords Appointments Commission.

There is no limit to the number of members of the House of Lords. It is the only upper house of bicameral government in the world to be larger than the lower house.

Are the majority/minority whip jobs similar to US positions?

Yes and no.

In the UK, a whip withdrawn from an MP means that the MP no longer represents his political party in Parliament, even though he can remain as a sitting MP. This is what happened to the rebel Conservative MPs last week. They became independents upon withdrawal of the Conservative whip.

Wikipedia explains:

In British politics, the chief whip of the governing party in the House of Commons is customarily appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury so that the incumbent, who represents the whips in general, has a seat and a voice in the Cabinet. By virtue of holding the office of Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, the government chief whip has an official residence at 12 Downing Street, although the chief whip’s office is currently located at 9 Downing Street. Government whips report to the prime minister on any possible backbench revolts and the general opinion of MPs within the party, and upon the exercise of the patronage, which is used to motivate and reward loyalty.

In the sense of ‘voting instructions’, there are three categories of whip in British politics that are issued on particular business. An expressed instruction on how to vote could constitute a breach of parliamentary privilege, so the party’s wishes are indicated unequivocally but indirectly. These whips are issued to MPs in the form of a letter outlining the parliamentary schedule, with a sentence such as “Your attendance is absolutely essential” next to each debate in which there will be a vote, underlined one, two or three times according to the severity of the whip:

    • A single-line whip is a guide to what the party’s policy would indicate, and notification of when the vote is expected to take place; this is non-binding for attendance or voting.
    • A two-line whip, sometimes known as a double-line whip, is an instruction to attend and vote; partially binding for voting according to the party’s position, attendance required unless prior permission given by the whip.
    • A three-line whip is a strict instruction to attend and vote according to the party’s position, breach of which would normally have serious consequences. Permission to not attend may be given by the whip, but a serious reason is needed. Breach of a three-line whip can lead to expulsion from the parliamentary political group in extreme circumstances, and even to expulsion from the party. Consequently, three-line whips are generally only issued on key issues, such as votes of confidence and supply.[citation needed] The nature of three-line whips and the potential punishments for revolt vary among parties and legislatures.

In the US, the whip has a similar function, but without the drastic consequences that are possible in the UK system:

Both houses of Congress, the House of Representatives and Senate, have majority and minority whips. They in turn have subordinate “regional” whips. While members of Congress often vote along party lines, the influence of the whip is weaker than in the UK system. American politicians generally have considerably more freedom to diverge from the party line and vote according to their own or their constituency’s conscience. One reason is that a considerable amount of money is raised by individual candidates. Furthermore, neither members of Congress, nor any other person, can be expelled from a political party, which are formed simply by open registration. In addition, because preselection of candidates for office is generally done through a primary election that is open to a wide number of voters, candidates who support their constituents’ political positions, rather than those of their party leaders, cannot easily be rejected by their party due to a democratic mandate.

Because members of Congress cannot serve simultaneously in Executive Branch positions, a whip in the United States cannot bargain for votes by using potential promotion or demotion in a sitting administration as an inducement. There is, however, a highly structured committee system in both houses of Congress, and a whip may be able to offer promotion or threaten demotion within that system instead. In the House of Representatives, the influence of a single member individually is relatively small and therefore depends a great deal on the representative’s seniority (i.e., in most cases, on the length of time they have held office).

In the Senate, the majority whip is the third-highest ranking individual in the majority party (the party with the most seats). The majority whip is outranked by the majority leader and, unofficially, the president pro tempore. As the office of president pro tempore is largely honorific and usually given to the longest-serving senator of the majority, the majority whip is in reality the second-ranking senator in the majority conference. Similarly, in the House, the majority whip is outranked by both the majority leader and the speaker. Unlike the Senate’s presiding officer, the Speaker is the leader of his or her party’s caucus in the House.

In both the House and the Senate, the minority whip is the second highest-ranking individual in the minority party (the party with the lesser number of legislators in a legislative body), outranked only by the minority leader.

When the UK joined the EU, did the people get to vote to decide that, or did the govt. just decide it was best?

In the 1960s, the Government had made repeated applications to join the European Common Market — purely a trading bloc without much of today’s bureaucracy — and the UK was finally accepted in 1969.

It took three years to work out the terms, and on January 1, 1972, the UK joined the EC (European Community), along with Denmark and Ireland.

Some Labour MPs disapproved of the terms of the treaty and thought that the matter should be taken to the public in a referendum, and this was part of the Labour Party’s manifesto for the 1974 election, which they won.

The referendum was held in 1975. The Conservatives supported EC membership, and Labour MPs were still divided. Tony Benn was deeply concerned about how EC membership would eventually erode the UK’s sovereignty as a nation. (Today, his grandson Hilary holds the opposite view.)

Yes won by 67.23% of the vote, with a turnout of 64.62%.

You can read more at the following links: History of European Union-United Kingdom relations and 1975 United Kingdom European Communities membership referendum.

The EU is basically draining the economy of the UK, right?

Not really, however, we could be using the annual contributions we make to the EU for our own nation.

What EU membership has done is weaken our manufacturing over the years (details in this post).

As for contributions, we are second behind Germany. We are a net contributor, meaning that we send more to the EU every year than we get back.

On June 1, 2019, the Express reported:

In 2017, the UK was the second largest contributor with €7.43bn (£6.55bn), just behind Germany at €12.8bn (£11.2bn).

Britain will remain a member of the EU until its departure has been negotiated and will continue to contribute to the EU budget until it formally leaves.

On the other end, Poland was the biggest net recipient of the EU budget (getting more back than it contributed in the first place), followed by Greece, Romania, Hungary and Portugal.

Regardless of their ability to contribute, the 27 countries are able to vote on EU policies equally. Is it advisable that countries who sap from the EU coffers receive an equal vote on everything?

On May 29, the BBC published a good analysis of how EU contributions are spent and where they go. As their article explains, figures can be looked at in a few ways.

First, on the poorer countries:

The EU spends the money on a wide range of projects, but about three quarters of the budget every year goes to two main areas: agriculture and development of poorer areas of the EU.

So, poorer countries and those with a lot of farms get more.

Poland was the biggest net recipient of the EU budget (getting more back than it contributed in the first place), followed by Greece, Romania, Hungary and Portugal.

Luxembourg and Belgium, two of the richest EU countries, are also on the list of EU budget net recipients, because they receive a high proportion of the funding for administration as many EU institutions, such as the Commission and the European Parliament, are based there.

Secondly, on the contributions, whilst the BBC quotes the same German and British contribution figures as the Express article, when one analyses the contributions per person, a different picture emerges:

The largest net contributor to the EU budget per capita is the Netherlands, followed by Sweden, Germany, Denmark and the United Kingdom in fifth place, with €112.85 in 2017.

Thirdly, the placement differs again, albeit slightly, when one looks at the contributions in terms of GDP:

The Netherlands pays the biggest proportion of its gross domestic product (GDP) – a measure of the amount produced in an economy in a year. In 2017, its contribution to the EU budget was 0.47% of its GDP.

Germany is second on this list, followed by Sweden and the UK, in fourth place, with 0.32% of GDP contributed in 2017.

As for our final ‘divorce’ settlement, a page on Parliament’s website has excellent information, in part:

The UK will remain a member of the EU until its departure has been negotiated and will continue to contribute to the EU budget until it formally leaves …

The UK Government costs the settlement at around £35 billion-£39 billion. However, the true cost will not be known until all the future payments have been made …

The UK Government says that it may pay to participate in some EU programmes after Brexit. For instance, the UK might contribute to remain in Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme. Exit negotiations will determine the extent of the UK’s future participation in EU programmes and any cost.

What other negative implications has being a part of the EU brought to the people of the UK, in other words what is so bad about the EU that you don’t like?

The main issue is loss of national sovereignty.

Hilary Benn, the Labour MP who has been running serious interference against Brexit, had a grandfather who felt quite the opposite. The late Tony Benn was a legendary Labour MP. Whilst I did not agree with most of his views, his 1975 prediction about membership in the EU came true. He warned that we would lose our sovereignty bit by bit, which we did. He also warned that once in, we would find it very difficult to leave. And so it is proving. I wish he were still alive to talk to his grandson about this issue.

———————————————————————————————————–

I hope this answers some of your questions, prairie123. Thank you very much for your moral support for those of us who wish to leave!

The truth about Remainers wanting Britain to stay in the European Union continues to emerge.

The result is that British voters have become very angry — even Remainers and the normally apathetic.

People are angry because of the false promises those on both sides of the aisle made three years ago:

News items

Late last week, a number of news interviews and articles exposed the continued, wilful intransigence of Remain MPs calling for ‘compromise’, ‘coming together’ and so on — all in a concerted effort to block not only Brexit but also a general election.

Spiked’s Brendan O’Neill appeared on Sky Australia on September 4 to discuss Hilary Benn’s European Union (Withdrawal) (No.6) Bill and the failed vote on a general election:

Meanwhile, in Britain that day, former Conservative MP Michael Portillo rightly said that the 2016 referendum was never about Deal or No Deal. The voter responding to him also remembers then-PM David Cameron’s words correctly:

Brexit Party MEP Dr David Bull said the same on David Vine’s Channel 5 morning talk show. On Friday, September 6, he responds to a Remainer panellist saying that Leave ‘was based on a lie’:

Nor did any of the Leave campaigners say it would be easy:

Well said, Portillo! No leading figure campaigning for Brexit *ever* mentioned a deal of any kind! Nobody said we’d be getting a great, quick, easy deal! Nobody said we’d have to have a deal in order to enjoy the exact same benefits of being the EU! These are all Remoaner lies!

On Thursday, September 5, news emerged that former Conservative MPs, from whom the Party whip had been withdrawn last week, plan to stand as Independent MPs in the next general election. They are Remainers:

The Sun reported not only on the rogue MPs but also on other developments going on at the heart of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government (emphases mine):

They are Philip Hammond, David Gauke, Dominic Grieve, Ed Vaizey, Sam Gyimah, Alistair Burt, Steve Brine, Caroline Nokes, Antoinette Sandbach, Rory Stewart, Margot James and Stephen Hammond.

Even if the rebels fail to win them, the move could split the Tory vote and hand the seats to opposition parties, diminishing the PM’s chances of a majority.

It came as Sir John Major last night demanded the PM reinstate the 21 rebels – and sack controversial aide Dominic Cummings in an extraordinary attack.

The former PM said it defied belief the Tory MPs had been booted out for failing to “parrot the views of a Prime Minister influence by a political anarchist”.

Former Attorney General and rebel leader Mr Grieve told The Sun last night that his decision to stand “depends on the circumstances of the election”.

But Mr Grieve added: “I’m certainly of the view that pulling out of politics during the biggest crisis in recent history would be the wrong thing to do …”

… The development comes as Sajid Javid became the latest senior Tory to join the spiralling Cabinet revolt against the expulsions.

Asked if there was a road to redemption for them, the Chancellor told LBC: “I would hope so. I would like to see them come back at some point” …

It wasn’t good news for Labour that day, either, as voters in Grimsby, in North East Lincolnshire, told BBC Radio 4 that they could not countenance the idea of Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister. Grimsby is a Labour stronghold and has elected a Labour MP consistently since 1945: 74 years!

The Express has the story about the fishing town that also voted overwhelmingly to Leave in 2016. Some residents are considering voting for the Brexit Party:

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, one local said: “Labour are out, I think.

I would definitely say Labour would be gone. Their position on Brexit is and that’s probably why they’re going to be in trouble.

They’ll be seen as the worst of the parties because at least the Lib Dems have come out and said, ‘this is our position.’ Everyone knows the Tory position with Johnson and people.

“I feel Labour is still sort of in the middle and Corbyn’s not going to be, probably, the world’s best prime minister” …

And another local appeared to echo the sentiment, saying: “It’s difficult when you’ve been a paid-up Labour member for years and now we’re really struggling to think, ‘I don’t really want to vote for them.’

“Where does your vote go? We could be Liberals but Conservatives, no. Because if you look at the Conservatives at the top at the minute, they don’t have to worry about what challenges or financial challenges Brexit would bring because they’re all very rich.”

Other locals also signalled they would be willing to switch their vote to the newcomer led by Nigel Farage, whose candidates snatched at least one seat in each constituency at the European parliamentary elections in May – including one seat in Scotland.

A man said: “I was talking to my friend earlier and he said he’d vote Farage.

“Actually, that’s quite a possibility. I’m thinking about it and my friends are, too.”

Boris’s call to the voters

On Thursday, September 5, Boris updated the voters, explaining what their choice is now, given last week’s events in the House of Commons. The short video has subtitles:

An MP speaks

This video clip shows Conservative MP Nigel Evans defending the voters who, in good faith, ticked the Leave box in 2016. What a pity he spoke to nearly empty benches on both sides:

A Conservative MEP sums up

The eloquent MEP Daniel Hannan sums up the current Brexit deadlock — and prorogation — as follows:

A Labour MP for Leave gets threatened

Kate Hoey, Labour MP for Vauxhall (South London), has been an ardent Leave campaigner from the beginning. After her re-election in 2017, she decided not to stand again as a Labour MP in the next general election.

Last week, she voted with the Government against Hilary Benn’s ‘Surrender’ bill:

She also received the following email, which looks as if it came from a bot. Nonetheless, it carries a nasty threat. She received support from the aforementioned Dr David Bull. Language alert:

Labour Leave tweets

Labour Leave point out the hypocrisy of Remainer MPs. ‘SM’ is Single Market and ‘CU’ is Customs Union:

In fact, SM + CU is worse than Remain. We would have no sovereignty — or EU vote.

I am glad to see they took exception to Remain MPs’ extreme characterisations of Leavers last week:

The British speak out — ‘bigger than Brexit’

It is telling that the British public are now clearly angry about the way Parliament has treated them.

This is now bigger than Brexit. It is about how we are governed.

Some Remainers understand what is happening and want MPs to carry out the referendum result.

So do some who were formerly apathetic about politics in general.

The Remainers

This former Remainer is irked by the People’s Vote (FBPE) — second referendum — brigade:

The awakened apathetics

This is a great tweet — followed by similar replies:

Teachers are angry

These are more replies to the man’s tweet about his apathetic wife.

These are important because they are about teachers, most of whom voted to Remain. Yet, even they can see that what’s happening is greater than Brexit. This is about how we are governed, full stop:

Conclusion

The British are ready now for a general election.

Some of us have had two elections this year: local (not everywhere) and for the EU Parliament.

Yes, we were sick of going to the polls so frequently, especially for an EU election, but, based on last week’s antics, we are looking forward to casting our vote.

Consider it a People’s Vote, or a second referendum. It serves the same purpose.

In two votes, MPs stymied Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the afternoon and evening of Wednesday, September 4, 2019.

You can read my earlier report here.

The European Union (Withdrawal) (No.6) Bill

The Hilary Benn – Alistair Burt Bill passed the House of Commons, effectively limiting the chances of No Deal Brexit in favour of yet ANOTHER cap-in-hand request to the EU for yet ANOTHER extension!

Burt, by the way, is a rebel Tory and is now an Independent:

Parliament’s website has a summary of the bill, known officially as the European Union (Withdrawal) (No.6) Bill:

The Bill would require that unless the House of Commons approves a deal with the EU or the House of Commons agrees a no-deal Brexit, the Government must by 19 October 2019 seek an extension to the Article 50 period until 31 January 2020.

In debating it yesterday afternoon, a handful of Conservative MPs loyal to the British public pointed out that some Remainer MPs — unnamed — are in league with Brussels to prevent a No Deal Brexit or any Brexit at all.

They further accused Remainer MPs of playing for time. The more extensions they get, the further away the timeline moves from the 2016 referendum, at which point they could say that it’s time for a second referendum.

There are already some MPs with private estates or farms that receive EU grants. So, they have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Others must have some other dependency on the EU financially, otherwise, they would vote to leave on October 31. At some point, someone will reveal more about this.

In any event, the bill progressed to the House of Lords, which — despite the amendments the Conservative peer Lord True tabled (he lives up to his name) — is scheduled to clear by the end of the day, Friday, September 6. The Lords will then return it, with amendments, to the Commons for further debate on Monday. It is likely to pass into legislation.

On Thursday, September 5, Guido Fawkes reported that, in a twist of events, No. 10 has agreed with opposition MPs that the Lords should be enabled to clear this by Friday. That would indicate that the 100+ amendments that Lord True tabled have either been reduced or eliminated:

… following Boris’s defeat in the [C]ommons, there ha[ve] been reports that far from the 100 hours-worth of debate we were anticipating in the Lords, the Government has conceded defeat and negotiated with the opposition to agree Hilary Benn’s Bill to complete all its stages by Friday – with the bill then going back to the Commons for any further consideration on Monday.

This sounds like a further climbdown on the government’s part, but Guido explains that this could help Boris get more leverage for a snap general election (emphasis in the original):

It looks like the decision was accepted by Boris, who now will want legislation to be passed as quickly as possible, to ensure Labour can’t again duck out of backing a general election next week. Prorogation could be enacted as late as the 12th, allowing Boris to secure his preferred route to an election by the 16th…

We can but see.

More on the bill follows below.

General Election voted down

Last night, Boris brought forward a motion for a general election.

MPs defeated him on this vote, too.

Until 2011, it was relatively easy for a sitting Prime Minister to call for a general election. However, in 2010, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron had to form a coalition government with the leader of the Liberal Democrats at that time, Nick Clegg. The Liberal Democrats are a far smaller party than either the Conservatives or Labour. In order to secure the Liberal Democrats’ position in the coalition, Parliament passed the Fixed Term Parliament Act, under which no general election can be held unless two-thirds of all sitting MPs approve it. The Queen then rubber stamps the decision.

Last night’s vote was overwhelmingly in favour of a general election, however, not all of the MPs voted Aye or No. Some abstained. Others did not vote at all:

The replies to the tweet show that the British public are not happy:

Yes, indeed.

As I write on Thursday, it appears that the Government could be contemplating another motion for an election, to be tabled on Monday:

That said, this is what the Prime Minister said after Thursday’s vote:

The Opposition has opted to show confidence in Her Majesty’s Government.

That is true.

One member of the public summed up the result as follows:

Remainers: Proroguing Parliament is like basically a coup, yah? So Boris is like basically a dictator.

Boris: Let’s ask the people.

Remainers: We changed our minds.

Yes, in effect, a general election would be a People’s Vote on Brexit. The Left has been clamouring for a People’s Vote — a second referendum — for most of this year. A general election would accomplish the same objective.

It is also worth noting that Labour have also been calling for a general election since February 2018, only months after the June 2017 election was held. This video shows all their requests:

The following tweets from The Independent‘s John Rentoul explain Labour’s reasoning for voting against the Government’s motion on Wednesday:

What Boris might be thinking

These two defeats on Boris’s first full day in the Commons look terrible, and indeed they are, however, knowing that he is a keen student of world history going all the way back to the Ancient World, he and his Svengali, Dominic Cummings, no doubt have other cards they intend to play.

On these two votes, some on Twitter offer speculation. One involves Jacob Rees-Mogg’s sister Annunziata, who is a Brexit Party MEP:

It makes sense.

What Boris said last night

Late yesterday evening, the Prime Minister gave a ten-minute interview to ITV’s Robert Peston, in which he discussed his past two days in Parliament:

At the 2:00 mark, he discussed the new Bill, saying that it damages his ability to negotiate a good deal with the EU. He said that it also dictates the letter he is to write for an extension.

You can see the letter here on page 8. Talk about supplication!

It is clear that Remainer MPs are now out in the open about their opposition to No Deal. The public understands what is going on:

Yep!

Boris’s brother resigns

The Prime Minister’s brother, Jo Johnson, has a place in the Cabinet, but has chosen to become a rebel and resign the Party whip.

News broke early Thursday afternoon. Andrew Neil discussed it on his BBC show that day:

The now-former Minister for Universities and Science tweeted:

ITV’s Robert Peston quipped:

Was it a surprise or not?

Someone replied with the referendum result for Johnson’s Kent constituency:

Jo Johnson failed to mention that his constituency of Orpington had a 57.54% estimated LEAVE vote in 2016

Johnson’s resignation was only a matter of time. I was surprised to see him accept his brother’s offer of a Cabinet post in July, considering his Remainer views.

In other news

Boris’s top adviser Dominic Cummings was found in contempt of Parliament in March 2019 for his 2016 role in the Vote Leave campaign, which he chaired. He refused to appear before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee, which accused him of spreading fake news for the campaign.

On Wednesday, Damian Collins MP wrote again to ask him to appear before the committee:

I think Cummings will ignore the request, but I could be wrong.

———————————————————————————————-

And, so, this wraps up a week of excitement in Parliament. What a potboiler this saga is! More to come anon.

There is much to cover in the aftermath of the EU elections held in the UK.

Hell certainly broke loose at the end of May, and I don’t mean Theresa.

Labour

After many months, if not a year, of anti-Semitic slurs coming from some elements of the Labour Party, the EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission) finally took action:

During the BBC’s programme about the EU election results on Sunday, May 27, Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell declared that he had voted for the Liberal Democrats, the largest Remain party. The Labour Party duly expelled him, then decided to review their decision:

Kate Hoey, on the other hand, has played her cards well as the most prominent Leave Labour MP since 2016. She believes that The Brexit Party deserves a seat at the negotiating table:

The Brexit Party

Nigel Farage is absolutely correct about Theresa May’s ‘deal’, or treaty:

Meanwhile, party chairman Richard Tice, one of three newly-elected MEPs for the East of England region, isn’t taking any nonsense:

On May 29, Westmonster reported:

Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice has issued a legal letter to an SNP MEP following allegations of money laundering were made in a Sky News interview on Monday.

Alyn Smith accused the Brexit Party of being “shysters” who were “a shell company for a money laundering front”.

The interview which has been circulated across social media for the last 48 hours was brought to the attention of Tice whose solicitors have now issued Mr Smith with the following letter:

Conservative Party

The race continues for party leader, succeeding Mrs May.

The overall picture of the runners and riders shows gaps in their commitment to delivering Brexit:

Priti Patel has been committed to delivering a proper Brexit since 2016:

She also recognises the despair at grassroots level among the loyal, tireless volunteers:

It won’t be long before we see how this develops for the Conservatives.

I hope true Leavers do well. More to come as the leadership contest narrows.

There is so much news to cover that it is difficult to post on everything in a timely manner.

Throughout the EU election campaign, one party’s online media and messaging shone through: The Brexit Party’s.

Rachel Johnson, Boris Johnson’s sister, knew even before May 23 — election day — that the small party of Remainer independents to which she belonged didn’t stand a chance. Here she is holding a revised Change UK campaign poster with Brexit colours rather than her party’s customary black ‘bar code’ (distinctly uninspiring):

The Brexit Party was Trumpian in its many rallies up and down Britain and for its messaging, particularly on social media.

Therefore, the unsung hero of The Brexit Party is Chief Digital Strategist, Steven Edginton. Hats off to him for a superlative job, starting with nothing:

One of the party’s candidates, Martin Daubney, rightly retweeted Steven’s message, adding his compliments:

The best part is that The Brexit Party’s social media were the most shared by far in the run up to Thursday, May 23:

Wow! Congratulations, Steven, on a job WELL DONE!

I hope he returns for the next General Election.

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