Well… Who’d have thought it?!
After writing the article which is in The European, linked here, I listened transfixed yesterday to live radio coverage of events in Westminster. Nothing can surprise me anymore. If Boris Johnson’s father said his son’s brain had been replaced with a coconut in his last year in Cambridge University – I would believe him. I reckon against three-toed sloth is as likely a candidate for new Prime Minister as anyone else in the country. I don’t believe the rumour that Theresa May is possessed by demons who are obsessed by the Simpsons, although it would explain a thing or two.
This morning on my way to breakfast I bumped into a large kid in a bobble-hat and glasses who was the splitting image of Harry Potter. Now I’m one of the few people in the world who is a non-believer, but I was a bit surprised when he disappeared in cloud of green smoke as I got onto a 25 bus! I did manage to shout, “Fucka You Harry.” – A quote made famous by Pavarotti as he was fined for tax evasion. I felt good, but the other folks in the seats reserved for the old, in-firmed and pregnant were not impressed.
I’ve now finished my omelette and am listening to a 1970’s Carly Simon album on the café hifi. I’m sure all the gentlemen of a certain age remember the cover of her first album. I was of course attracted only by her musical talent and sharp wit, her famous jumper had absolutely no effect on me whatsoever.
Today will be another crazy day in parliament. I personally believe Corbyn has been tricked by Theresa into tabling a vote of no confidence too early. Tories will never desert the flag unless a No Deal is imminent.
Watch this space, there’s certainly plenty to write about at the moment.
Has the UK’s Brexit protest vote finally come up against the buffers of reality?!
As Liberal western democracy crumbles, exemplified by the demise of parliament in the UK, the reigning in of Macron in France and Germany’s slide into coalition pantomime; the internet domination marches on. The money-worshipping PC middle class have only their selfish selves to blame for the recent rise of the extremist right and surge in ignorant nationalism. It’s too late for the thinking classes to patronisingly label the disenfranchised ‘have-nots’ as ignorant numpties. Our welfare state stopped caring about the less well-off years ago when Thatcher promoted the politics of ‘me and my bank balance first’. We now see the comeuppance in the form of a majority ‘fuck you vote’ that has resulted in Brexit. Of course Brexit makes no sense and can only ever happen in name only and has no basis in reality, it’s still given a voice and indeed a weapon to the previously ignored group of people, with nothing to lose. The only positive I can see emerging from this debacle is that maybe politicians will give a much higher priority to the basic needs of human beings, rather than be driven purely by the demands of the economy. ‘Austerity’ was a myth created as an excuse to adopt undemocratic, inhuman political policies and the Brexit vote enabled the forgotten to wield some real power in an era when many believe they can change the world from their smartphones.
But enough of this reality!
Tonight saw ’The Meaningful Vote’ on Theresa May’s EU deal. Thank God at last the UK MPs are finally growing the balls to try and claw back the power of our democratically elected parliament. Government by referendum has been seen to be an unmitigated divisive disaster and hopefully will not be repeated. If you believe, as I do, that eventually facts and truth will prevail, then it was only a matter of time before all the polarised rhetoric would come up against the buffers of reality.
Many people in Great Britain voted not for the ridiculous binary choice of in or out of the EU, but for the right to be heard in a time when successive governments had ignored their interests and indeed their rights to an affordable decent life in a rich western democracy. The Brexit question should never have been asked because it has exacerbated deep social divisions and facilitated an increase in the politics of hatred and suspicion. However, we are dealing with unprecedented political times and so virtually anything is possible before the 29th March.
I would personally like to see the whole ludicrous concept of the UK ‘leaving Europe” swept away on a tide of common sense and practicality. In a world where unhinged dictators are the presidents of rival superpowers and lying is an acceptable political practice, it’s time Old World Europe pulls together to promote the values of truth, decency and care for fellow human beings. As in the school playground, isolated voices of reason get stomped by the bigger bullies and only unity amongst the reasonable majority can combat this happening in the wider adult World. Europe needs a new generation of politicians with courage, statesman-like qualities and the strength to avoid knee-jerk reaction to the pressure of media and internet. At the moment caring Western Democracy is under as much threat as the rainforests.
Today 15th Tuesday January 2019 - The Meaningful Vote.
I’ve been following political developments since first thing this morning. The EU didn’t seem to be able to give Theresa May any additional help. The opposing factions have been demonstrating outside Westminster making a lot of noise. The Brexiteer supporters have been ringing the Liberty Bell continuously. There were many EU flags and people demanding a People’s Referendum in Parliament Square.
The assumption has been that Theresa May‘s deal would be defeated. If she had lost by less than 70 votes it would probably, at this stage, have been seen as a small victory! Parliament, in the person of The Speaker seem determined to take back some of the control of democracy. (The number of amendments allowed to be debated before the main vote was restricted to 4.)
Many British citizens interviewed on television are losing their nerve, they just want to see acceptance of a EU deal however poor it is. They are clearly missing the incredible importance of getting this decision right for them and following generations. I believe a small majority of the people would probably now rather stay in Europe. but after the events of the last two and a half years the ingrained bitterness will be very difficult to overcome. A universally acceptable binary outcome is virtually impossible. We could be heading towards a soft Brexit which would actually be a compromise between the two polarised opinions, but that would seem to be unacceptable to both factions.
This evening, in the calm before the storm, I was having my dinner listening to a live commentary from Westminster on the radio. They were estimating a government loss in the order of 150. (The 1st amendment to the Bill giving the UK the sole right to cancel the Irish backstop was really heavily defeated!) There was a report just before 19:35 that the vote NO lobby was apparently “Heaving with Tories” This was an indication that the margin of defeat for the government was going to be even higher than estimated.
When the result came in at 19:40 it proved to be a landslide defeat for Theresa May’s deal. 432 MPs voted against the deal and only 202 supported it. This was the biggest ever defeat in history for a government in power. At 19:46 Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition, immediately tabled a motion of no confidence In the government. (Junker said, “Time is running out” at 19:57.)
So what next?
The vote of no confidence in the Government will surely fail, because the Tories consistently rally round their Tory flag. Corbyn fell straight into May’s trap by jumping in too quickly. Tories will not vote against their own except at the 11th hour to avoid a No deal!
Labour will now have to make clear their policy on Brexit because they will not get the option of a General Election and therefore Corbyn will be forced by a large number of his own MPs to consider a second referendum of some sort.
The EU have all the strong cards in the negotiation process and amazingly 27 European countries are still more unified that the UK parliament.
There seems no outcome that will make everyone happy. May tried to people please but her red lines of ’No Free Movement’ and not being part of the Customs Union were always going to be contentious. Unfortunately she stuck to these to appease her own right wing Tories. I believe many people voted to be less controlled by the EU, but not to leave all its economic institutions.
So now May’s compromise deal has been comprehensively rejected by all parties, the options seem to be no Brexit, no deal or a very hard Brexit; none of which would make the majority of the electorate happy. Maybe it will have to go back to the people in the form of a referendum to choose between one of these options, because of the parliamentary impasse.
Has the UK’s Brexit protest vote finally come up against the buffers of reality?!
Answer : Not yet. but it’s getting closer!