The UK is mired in the worst constitutional crisis since, well, since last week. The UK has the worst Prime Minister in history since the last one, or the one before that. This is the safe, stable, and internationally respected UK that Scotland was told it could be a partner in if it voted No in 2014. In 2014 we were told that we were a much loved and equal partner in a family of nations, and in 2019 we’re told that our votes don’t matter and we should be stockpiling food.
The only reason that the UK is not the most laughable developed country in the world is because as a force 5 hurricane is set to strike the coast of Florida, and there was another mass shooting in Texas – during which a 17 month old baby was shot in the face – the American president chooses to spend his time picking fights on Twitter with an actor from a sitcom. This is not much of a recommendation for the international stature of the UK, but it’s the sole straw that there is to cling on to.
It appears that the attempts of the UK government to sideline Parliament have only boosted the resolve of MPs who are opposed to a no-deal Brexit. The Prime Minister’s office then tried intimidation and let it be known that any Conservative MP who doesn’t support Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s drive for a no-deal Brexit will have the whip removed and will be expelled from the party. This is pretty rich coming from a man who serially rebelled against Theresa May. But then the story of Johnson’s life is that it’s one rule everyone else and another rule that he gets to make up as he goes along for him.
Yet the threat doesn’t seem to have worked. Those Tory MPs who are implacably opposed are still opposed. It seem that, and colour us amazeballs, there are around two dozen Tory MPs who are prepared to put the interests of the UK before the interests of the Conservative party. This means that, despite all his tantrum efforts, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is going to lose his first vote as PM.
Unsurprisingly, there are no Scottish Conservatives amongst the Conservative rebels. Not one. Zero. Not even David I’d Resign But I Got Sacked First Mundell. 13 MPs and not a backbone between them. I’d call that pathetic, but that would be unfair to the truly pathetic, like a three legged starving puppy with mange that has been abandoned in a sewer. At least the puppy didn’t choose to be abandoned in a sewer, Scotland’s Tory MPs rushed into the sewer with unseemly enthusiasm and appear to be wallowing in it. Unlike with the puppy, there will be damn few of us motivated to rescue them. The Prime Minister has in fact got a rescued dog, who is being introduced to Downing Street today in an effort to get some awwww factor into politics, as opposed to arrgh factor. Still, at least a live dog makes a change from a dead cat.
We now have a government in Westminster which is refusing to rule out ignoring any legislation passed by MPs to block a no deal Brexit. Just think about that for a second. There is no normal functioning democracy where it should even be thinkable that a government would choose to ignore a law that was passed by parliament. And yet this is quite possible for this Westminster government. They have previous for it. They’ve already decided to ignore the bill passed by the Scottish parliament approving another independence referendum. Funnily enough ignoring that parliamentary decision didn’t provoke the same degree of democratic outrage amongst many of those who are now getting all worked up about the Conservatives doing the same thing to them.
There are reports today that there’s an unscheduled cabinet meeting this afternoon, following which Johnson will address Conservative MPs in Downing Street garden at 6 pm. Let’s hope it’s raining. Something is clearly afoot, and Westminster and social media is awash with rumours that he’s about to call an early General Election.
According to a Government spokescrawler, the cabinet meeting is being held in order to discuss “the government’s response to MPs seeking to take control of legislative agenda away from government and handing it to the opposition and Corbyn without the consent of the people.” Apparently they made that statement with a perfectly straight face. I don’t recall the people giving consent to Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson becoming Prime Minister, and I don’t recall the people giving consent to a no-deal Brexit. Parliament can only take control of the legislative agenda away from the government if there is a majority of MPs in Parliament to do so, and unlike the current Prime Minister who was elected solely by Conservative party members, those MPs were elected by the actual people.
The opposition parties are giving a cautious welcome to the idea of an early General Election. However no one can rule out the possibility that a Prime Minister who is most notable for being conniving and scheming might attempt to call an election shortly after the date that the UK is due to fall out of the EU, and could be planning a longer election campaign in order to prevent the other parties from blocking a no-deal. Nicola Sturgeon has welcomed the idea of an early General Election, but only if it is to be held before October 31.
On Sunday Labour’s Keir Starmer said that his party had been thinking long and hard about an early General Election, but thought that Labour would not support it if it was to be held after Brexit day. The priority, he said, was to avoid a no-deal Brexit. However on Monday Jeremy Corbyn said that his party would support an early General Election under any circumstances. Johnson might be planning a big trap, marking it with a huge sign saying “Here’s a trap”, and Jeremy Corbyn would march into it anyway. There’s leadership for you. Or there’s the typical confusion of the Labour party. Take your pick.
No doubt by this evening all will have changed again. This blog post will have a shorter shelf life than the time it takes from Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson making an announcement and the discovery that he’s been telling a lie. That’s how much stability and certainty there is in British politics these days. If there is to be an early General Election, Scotland needs to wipe out the Tories and return a large majority of SNP MPs elected on a clear mandate for another referendum. It’s the only way out of this mess.
My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.
You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
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