A question of trust

meltdown
I wasn’t able to blog yesterday, as I was off in Dunfermline doing an event about Scottish languages as part of the Outwith Festival. But nothing much happened in Parliament yesterday anyway. Nothing much except Lyin’ Bastert Johnson losing his very first vote in the Commons by a much larger margin than had been expected as MPs voted to wrest control of Commons business away from the Government in order to debate a bill to force the PM to request an extension to Article 50 and avoid a no-deal Brexit. The Government lost its working majority when one Conservative backbencher strode across the floor of the House and became a Lib Dem, and then LBJ’s own whip’s office removed the Conservative whip from the 21 Conservative MPs who had voted against him, meaning that he now leads a government which doesn’t even come close to having a majority, not even with the support of the DUP. The Government’s majority is now -43. That’s minus 43. So no, nothing much happened at all. Just another day in the meltdown that passes for British politics.

Yesterday should have been an abject lesson for LBJ about what happens when you are a serial liar. He lied to the country and to his own party when he said that he wasn’t looking at prorogation, then he went ahead and did it anyway. Interviewed on Sky News this morning, one of the former Tory MPs who had been booted out of the party for rebelling by a man who has rebelled constantly mused that trust had broken down. The 21 Conservative MPs who voted against the Government yesterday just don’t believe a word that their own Prime Minister says any more. They don’t believe him when he says that he’s trying to get a Brexit deal. They don’t believe him when he says that he doesn’t want a no-deal Brexit. They don’t believe him when he says that his negotiating position is being undermined by MPs who are trying to prevent a no-deal. They don’t believe him when he says that the purpose of the prorogation is so he can introduce a new programme of legislation and not in order to prevent the Commons taking action against a no-deal Brexit. He’s brought all this upon himself.

The 21 Conservative MPs who had the whip removed yesterday, meaning that they are no longer effectively members of the Parliamentary Conservative party, weren’t just a random bunch of malcontents. They weren’t like the awkward squad of hardline Brextremists who have rebelled on numerous occasions. These were former cabinet ministers, including two former chancellors. These were Conservatives who have held some of the highest posts in government. One of them was a leadership contender just a few weeks ago. Most of them have never voted against their own party before. This is a drastic remoulding of the Conservative party into a right wing populist English nationalist party. Those Scottish Tory MPs who are acquiescing in this dangerous and damaging process should hang their heads in shame. Or they should if any of them possessed the gene for shame, which they clearly don’t.

Having taken control of Parliamentary business, the next step is for MPs to debate later today – and fingers crossed pass – a bill which forces the Prime Minister to seek an extension to Article 50 until January 31 2020. What was worrying was that LBJ’s choice of words when he was confronted with this possibility left it open as to whether he’d delay seeking royal consent to any bill passed by Parliament to seek an extension to Brexit. If he did, the tattered remnants of the UK constitution would explode. Because no one trusts him as it is.

LBJ has said that if his government loses today’s vote, then he’s going to seek an early General Election. Under normal circumstances the opposition parties would be falling over themselves to make that happen. But these are not normal circumstances. MPs do not trust him – there’s that trust word again – to use the Royal Prerogative yet again after Parliament has voted for a General Election by more normal means to delay that election until after Brexit has happened, or to hold it too late for the next government to be able to prevent it.

That’s why Labour, the SNP, and the other opposition parties have united to say that they won’t vote for a General Election until a no-deal Brexit is firmly off the table. That would force LBJ into the humiliating position of being legally compelled to go to Brussels to ask for an extension to Article 50, unable to get a General Election, trapped on the flypaper of lies that he himself has created.

The opposition parties want a General Election. The SNP is particularly keen on an election, as all the polls in Scotland show that they are quite likely to end up with 50 seats and to all but wipe out the Tories and Labour in Scotland. That’s going to make it very difficult for the anti-independence parties to argue that Scotland doesn’t want another independence referendum, especially if the SNP leadership takes the advice that just about the entire Yes movement has been screaming at them and puts independence and Scotland’s right to choose front and foremost in its manifesto.

However what the opposition parties don’t want is a General Election on Johnson’s terms. It’s all a question of trust, and a man who even lies about what his name is can’t be trusted. The opposition is determined to ensure that he doesn’t get his way. There will certainly be a General Election soon, no government which faces an combined opposition with 43 seats more than the government and its allies can possibly survive. The only question is the circumstances, and whether the opposition parties and the rebel Tory MPs can succeed in taking a no-deal Brexit off the table while that election takes place. We’ll find out later this evening.

But while all this is going on, just remember that this farce is only happening in the first place because the UK has no written constitution, and because British democracy is seriously threatened by politicians who lack all scruples and who cannot be trusted. The only way that Scotland can guarantee its democracy is through independence. We ought to have learned by the events of the past couple of years that Westminster isn’t going to do it for us. The question of democracy and constitutional safeguards is going to be front and foremost in the independence referendum to come. Westminster’s failures have made that a priority. It’s a question of trust.


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36 comments on “A question of trust

  1. Anne Martin says:

    Is there any guarantee that the EU would grant another extension, if it was asked for?

    • Bob Lamont says:

      Given the meltdown, an imminent GE and potentially a less extreme bunch of lunatics, probably they would.

    • benmadigan says:

      No there isn’t any guarantee of the EU granting an extension.

      They did say they would in case of a GE or another Referendum but the last one was granted under terms the UK hasn’t respected.So . . .?

      The EU will act in its own best interests.

      Here is their latest document
      https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/com-2019-394-final_en.pdf

    • Luigi says:

      If the other EU members are smart, they will refuse, watch the UK implode and later graciously accept a desperate English application for a much degraded membership on EU terms, when it all goes to pot and they come abegging back to the EU. And they will. 🙂

      Just had a woicked though – what if wee Scotland was one of the meber countries deciding if desperate England is allowed back into the club. Wouldn’;t that be sweet? Could happen. Could well happen. lol. 🙂

      • It shall happen, Luigi.
        Some time in the mid ‘twenties, an English Party in Take Back Control England will have it in its rUK GE manifesto: Rejoin the EU.

        I caught Johnson’s first PMQ.
        Ye gods, he’s visibly cracking up in front of our eyes.
        Scotland pays the highest taxes in Europe he shrieked, mis-spokenly.

        The strategy is clear.
        He moved from ‘I don’t want a GE’ yesterday, to ‘I want a GE.’ today, on the 15th October no less.

        His Chancellor presented a budget which will be voted down, and force the issue.

        The EU aren’t daft.

        Their ultimate goal is for the UK to remain within the Community, or part of EFTA.

        Failing that, it’s No Deal, and unlike Johnson who refuses to divulge anything, the EU has declared that it has built in No Deal into their Emergency Funding, and reaffirmed that there is no more wriggle room; the WA stands, backstop and all.

        There is a wee naughty streak in me tempted to hope that EngWaland leave with No Deal and we sit back and watch the carnage.

        But the civilised me overrides this ‘Hell slap it up ’em. ‘ attitude.

        But we are running out of patience with ‘our friends and partners’ Down There.

    • Daisy Walker says:

      No, not really, and if they do, we will have a re run of this months activities all over again come the next deadline.

  2. Andrew Carruthers says:

    Always a enlightened pleasure reading your blogs WGD.

  3. Bob Lamont says:

    Superb as always, but a little surprised following your earlier Pratchett references you failed to quote Bergholt Stuttley Johnson – I’m convinced the current incumbent of No10 was Pratchett’s model for the character – https://wiki.lspace.org/mediawiki/Bergholt_Stuttley_Johnson
    “Bloody Stupid” Johnson simply fits like a glove…

  4. Luigi says:

    It’s not trust in LBJ that is the issue. he never had it in the first place. It seems the entire country is scunnered byu the uselessness of Westminster politicians to sort out this mess. They have had three years of trying. And what if they get their extension to January 2020? What happens then? More of the same impasse methinks. More of the same nonsense. This cou;ld go on and on. Aye, the people are fair scunnered. We live in dangerous times.

    • Anne says:

      “That effrontery so sordid/should be cherished and rewarded/Is a fact to be applauded/As public life goes on/Let honour be accorded/That he pulled off such a con/Let it be lauded/The Bojo phenomenon…….Kit and the Widow.

  5. Craig P says:

    Surely LABdPJ?

  6. Petra says:

    I heard a BBC newscaster say, this morning, that if LBJ won the election he could then put forward legislation to overturn all that had gone beforehand in relation to a No Deal Brexit.

    • Legerwood says:

      It is utter madness. They cannot seem to keep to any course of action/opinion for any length of time.
      OT but I see Rev Campbell has removed the link to Scot goes Pop from WoS page and, strangely, the link to Prof Robertson’s site has gone too.

      • scrandoonyeah says:

        If you don’t agree with him he does a bojo and lets loose ‘A Purge’

      • Petra says:

        There’s something profoundly disconcerting, extremely worrying indeed, when people who hold such power, whether it be politicians, journalists, media presenters or bloggers, find themselves in the position to choose how much information to impart or more so suppress. Lie through your teeth and purge your party of opposition. Use propaganda strategies to brainwash the masses or block posts, ban individuals and remove Yes supporting links from your site. I could say more but suffice to say that it’s time, high time, for people to waken up and smell the coffee.

        https://scotgoespop.blogspot.com

  7. Dave tewart says:

    The mogg proclamation,
    One government can’t tie the hands of the next, rule of law or not.
    The law can be changed, I’ve lived through this process for over Fifty years.
    It’s illegal to do this, now it’s not, oh now it’s illegal again.
    Democracy can be like that.
    The negotiation period hasn’t even started yet, our parliament can’t even work out the leaving date. Then oris has to negotiate the Trading arrangements with a group of nations who don’t trust him either.
    But the rump tory party think he should get the benefit of the Doubt.
    All the tory MPs from Scotland voted with him, work that one out, only one got a job in HIS majesty’s government, lizzie doesn’t count.

  8. Macart says:

    Nail on head. Yer on a roll. 🙂

    Westminster acting like …. Westminster. And ALL on public view.

    This’d be one of those Q.E.D. moment folks.

    • Robert Harrison says:

      Yet despite all that there are those that still will rather have them in Westminster dictate to us than Scotland being an independent nation.

  9. Welsh Sion says:

    Off topic or on topic – you decide.

    Just thinking aloud.

    Let’s not forget that into this incredible stooshie that Cameron’s autobiography is due to be published soon. Wondering how its contents will impact on the latest ‘events’.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      It will sell on that basis but be more than heavily nuanced from what “Dodgy Dave” may have said under some semblance of honesty or serious influence of narcotics or alcohol…

  10. Brilliant post sir. I admire your clarity.

  11. John McLeod says:

    When the General Election comes, we need to be willing to do everything possible to make sure that it adheres to a proper democratic process. Some of the threats: unlawful campaign funding (dark money), unlawful use of social media, SNP not being represented in debates and TV panels, Scotland being saturated by UK-wide media that hypes up the Brexit Party. We badly need a really efficient SNP rebuttal unit to call out these abuses immediately they happen. Bloggers can only do so much.

  12. Terry callachan says:

    I think the EU will allow an extension they have nothing to lose, if they refuse an extension they will be blamed for preventing a solution to the Irish backstop

    An extension will not reverse brexit
    It might stop no deal brexit
    But the Irish backstop will always be a point of disagreement in Westminster because so many people in England just don’t care enough to actually find out what is likely to happen in Northern Ireland if the GFA is abandoned

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