How far will Labour split?

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Today came the news that seven former Labour MPs have decided to quit the party they have represented for years and formed a new ‘Independent Group’ within Parliament where they stand as Independents. In a press conference this morning, each of them offered damning indictments of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, describing it as ‘institutionally racist,’ anti-Western and pro-Brexit. The seven MPs, who include Luciana Berger and Chuka Umunna, have said that they will stand on a platform of pro-Western, anti-Brexit, and against ‘left-wing intellectuals’ and for working class people. The name of Harold Wilson was mentioned many times, explaining why the policies that Wilson espoused in the ‘60 and ‘70s had been removed in the wake of the ‘hard-left’ takeover of the party in recent years.

Rumours of a split in the Labour Party have been growing for over a year now, with continual stories of disgruntled and polarised moderates being forced out either by the Momentum lobby or taking the decision themselves. Barrow MP John Woodcock had already left the party, having said that he did not think Corbyn was the right person to be Prime Minister. Frank Field, John Mann and Kate Hoey have also distanced themselves from the party over Brexit in the last few years, but with their strongly Eurosceptic views, they are unlikely to join the new group any time soon. Whether the Independent Group can win over more supporters from inside the party ranks remains to be seen, although it is common knowledge that many inside the party are angry with the current position that Corbyn is heading towards. Some are not ready to take the risk of leaving if there seats could be made at risk, but there will be increasing pressure from those who have left to persuade others to leave a party they feel has been lost to the whims of a hard-left cable.

Anger over Brexit has driven many in the Labour Party to their extremes, and the tepid response of Corbyn caused the leadership election in 2016. Corbyn lost the support of the majority of his Parliamentary Party, and he still does not command authority among many who sit on his benches. If substantial numbers start to go against the leadership, the chances of Labour getting a clear majority for anything, let alone a general election, will look to be decreasing. The new rebels will have to learn the lessons of the SDP, who ultimately failed to drum up enough support electorally, and their numbers will have to rise to become a major force in British politics. The schism inside the Labour Party, at a time when it should be preparing for power, is only going to get wider.

Theresa May will always put party before country

Theresa May is, to rather misuse a phrase, a died-in-the-wool conservative, small c and little c. She was brought up in the quaint world of vicarage tea parties and the world-renowned and state-endorsed indoctrination of religion and tradition into young people in her Middle England school education. She became a member of the Tory Party as teenager, with her mother also a keen supporter, and her unwavering devotion to One-Nation Conservatism has been as dogmatic as it is damaging ever since, especially as we enter the high noon of the Brexit debacle.

Theresa May has never questioned what motivates her. She may not be inspired by much, and she does not exactly return the favour very often, but she holds to entrenched views that have not changed since her days as a grammar school girl in the early ’70s. In her pitch to Tory grandees in July 2016, she never set out a grand list of her heroes, merely stating that she thought she was the best person to lead the Conservative Party. She was used to leaving much of the policy work and political strategy to Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, who both left after the disastrous 2017 election campaign. If she does have particular causes that spur her into action, they would include her anti-slavery campaign her desire for justice and social mobility, to a suitably Conservative extent. Those causes have been left deserted in the midst of the Brexit mess she has presided over in the last two years. Her ‘burning injustices’, spoken of in her inception speech on the steps of No10 in 2016, have been left to dry as ashes in the wake of an unquenchable and equally forlorn desire to unite the Tory Party and ultimately the country around a position. Neither is ever possible, especially on an issue such as Europe, and the Maybot has not yet realised it. She refuses to wake up to this simple fact at her own, and her precious party’s, electoral peril.

In the 2017 election campaign, which she called for the sole purpose of gaining complete support for her non-existent Brexit strategy, the Prime Minister proclaimed that there was no such thing as Maysim as a doctrine. By doing so she assured the electorate that she really had no viable ideas for how to rule one of the world’s largest economies and that she abused her political decisions on a scrap of aluminium, dressed up as clear and central, ‘reasonable’ conservatism. The British people realised this, and voted to give authority over approximately zog.

Nevertheless, May has continued stubbornly along her way, still assured in the desire that because what she wants is done dutifully, it must be in the ‘national interest.’ Mrs May has made herself the political equivalent of a check-list, forever ticking off the appropriate boxes in the vain of hope of appeasing those who swarm around her. Her colossal intransigence is irrepressible, she will never be moved from her iron fortress. This will mean that the issues of the country, which could be solved by a Tory-splitting election or second referendum, will never take place under her leadership. She could not bare to go down in the history books as the woman who let down her own party by failing to get through her flagship policy, whether the nation desires or needs it or not.

May’s devotion to the cause of conservatism, which has not alluded to much either than political arrogance over the last two years, is kept up despite the wind battering its dishevelled flag. It will always stay up, but whether she can stay on as its barer remains to be seen.

In one’s weaker moments, you can almost come to see the attraction of a political style that has never changed, or ever will. It gives some a sense of security, even inevitability, whether the concept or result is any good or not. The current government has an exceptional record for either confusing, delaying or manipulating whatever decision is made or proposal rejected. Ultimately, this come from the woman at the top, who has never showed the public her cards, or offered a chance of being revealed her inner motives. They only rest in a cherry-picked conservatism, which she holds to like a child to its beloved toy. Her ability to stick to it to the end is not helping the cause of the country’s interest in any way.

This article originally appeared on Medium, here. 

Donald Tusk was right – The Brexiteers never had a real exit plan

 

There is a wonderfully bitter irony that has encapsulated those who own the Brexit debate. All of their previous agitations, that the elite was ruling Britain from Brussels, that ‘snowflakes’ were censoring all debate, have been turned on their head in the face of the ongoing debacle in Westminster. Some of the prejudices that consumed so many in 2016 have not changed, however: No matter how divided the main parties are in the Commons, the EU are always the bigger evil, no matter who hopeless our negotiating strategy, there is still a conspiracy to defy the will of the people seething out of Brussels. Previous convictions have been forgotten, old allegiances slashed, in the vain of hope of coming out of the quagmire with a vague sense of duty and respectability intact.

It was no surprise, therefore, that this week Donald Tusk duly became the bogeyman of the Brexiteers, those forever looking for a devilish figure to heap their misgivings about the Union upon. Tusk originally called the idea of a referendum ‘stupid,’ and did not mince his words with David Cameron over the subject in early 2016. Tusk’s remarks that there is a ‘special place in hell’ for those who promoted and had no clue how to implement it were overdue. They nevertheless have caused uproar, with the predictable rabble foaming at the mouth over the ‘Eurocrat’s’ choice of words. They ignore the fact that Brexiteer Geoffrey Cox used a reference to Dante’s Inferno when commanding others to back the Prime Minister’s ill-fated Withdrawal Agreement. When it is the EU saying it, it must be dismissed as elitist nonsense, you see. Their language is now ‘undiplomatic’ and ‘unacceptable.’ That is coming from a Government that tells migrants they are ‘citizens of nowhere’ and has a Defence Secretary who tells foes to ‘go away and shut up.’ Cordial language is not the May administration’s particular strongpoint.

Imagine for one second that the sides were switched round. That is was those in Brussels who were internally squabbling over a minor detail over a customs checks at a border. Imagine that the UK was totally united over its position and had set out a coherent negotiating strategy when the formal talks began. Imagine that it was Jean Claude-Juncker that was telling Britain that they were arrogant bureaucrats and that the sooner we get rid of you the better. That situation was always impossible, because the government never had an exit plan, in the vain hope that a train of vengeance that had been going for decades would suddenly stop in the face of Mark Carney’s bland economic warnings. Brexiteers never expected to win either, and if they did, they knew that they could always rely on others to do the dirty work of implementing it as they commentate on the ‘betrayal’ of their cause. Their talent for saying ‘nothing to do with me, guv’ has led to the political impasse we see in Westminster today and it is to the detriment of our entire political class that they ignore it. Bitter feuds with the EU and forlorn hopes that an ‘eleventh-hour’ solution will save the day show a complete lack of responsibility that has engulfed the Tory Party. Brexit has managed to get those who would have previously come together over common causes to be defined over every part of their views of the Brexit convulsion and to create unbreakable trenches along party lines.

While the clock tick ominously down to the 29th March, the real reality of a no-deal Brexit becomes ever clearer to the eye. In the face of this, those who told us of their hopes and dreams in a Brexit utopia are running scared of the fact that they never had a workable solution. They ignore this simple fact and its consequences at their own peril.

This article was originally published on Medium late last week. You can view it in its original form here.  I mean, Hitch knows why, but there you go.

BBC’s This Week to be stopped

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The BBC programme This Week is to be replaced when it finishes its current run in July, with long-time presenter Andrew Neil to stand down from late-night presenting. The programme was a very popular mix of humour and discussion, with visitors able to debate matters considerately, after the constant babbling of the dreadful Question Time just before hand.

Gerry is sore displeased. 

Minister: ERG should leave the Tories

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The Business Minister Richard Harrington has said that the European Research Group who have defeated Theresa May on so many occasions are ‘not Conservatives’ and that they should quit the party, and join the new Brexit party headed by Nigel Farage. The minister accused them of ‘treachery,’ this coming just after Theresa may lost another vote on her Brexit strategy last night.

He’s right of course, but the comments are quite harsh, Gerry thinks…