Johnson’s removal will not alter the British democratic deficit

Boris Johnson’s self-inflicted troubles have not gone away, no matter how much the Prime Law-breaker tries to wrest back control of the narrative by play acting as a global statesman and buggering off for photo ops in India or in Ukraine, because he is now in such a state of disrepute that he feels more secure in an actual war zone than he does in Westminster. With rumours of more police fines yet to come and reports that the much delayed Sue Gray report will be damning in its account of Johnson’s behaviour and excoriating about the boozy culture of entitlement over which he presided in Downing Street, back bench Conservative MPs are once again making noises about unseating Johnson as they nervously anticipate Conservative losses at the local elections due a week on Thursday.

Of course what really motivates these Tories is not a desire to ensure the highest standards of behaviour from those who hold high offices of state, it is, as it always has been, to protect their own careers and to maintain the Conservative party as the party of power and influence. A bad performance for the Conservatives next week will tell those anxious Conservative back benchers that their party’s grasp on power, patronage, and influence is slipping. That will be especially true if the party polls poorly in those councils in the midlands and north of England, where victory for the Tories in the 2019 General Election was instrumental in securing the large Commons majority that Johnson enjoys.

That will be what motivates them to move against Johnson and unseat him from number 10, not any sudden discovery of moral standards or concern that the most powerful man in the UK is a serial liar and repeated law breaker with nothing but contempt for the rules and standards that everyone else is expected to abide by. If the Conservatives do better than expected in those electorally important regions of England, the Tories will be falling over to persuade us that Johnson’s law breaking and lies are a trivial matter and that it is churlish and unchivalrous of us not to accept his performative apologies and allow him to get away with it.

Meanwhile there will be more full scale deflection and whataboutery. We have already seen this with the frantic and frankly pathetic attempts of the Conservatives and their fellow travellers in the right wing British nationalist press to assert that there is a moral, legal, and political equivalence between Nicola Sturgeon forgetting to put her face mask on for a whole six seconds and Johnson’s repeated and deliberate law breaking and his constant and incessant lying about it after the story came to light. There’s going to be a lot more of that ahead. Apologists for Johnson tell us that this is not the timed to unseat him “because there’s a war on”. There has been a war on almost every year for the past three hundred years, mostly because of British imperialism and colonialism or its greed for power and other people’s resources.

But even if the Tory party does finally move against Johnson, they will only replace him with someone just as mendacious and morally bankrupt. The system which put such a manifestly unsuitable individual as Johnson into power will remain intact and his removal will only serve to ensure that system remains intact, not to reform it, and certainly not to replace it with a more robustly democratic way of choosing a British Prime Minister. It is a signal fact which illustrates the fundamentally undemocratic character of the British state that Conservative Prime Ministers are typically removed by their own party and a successor chosen by the Conservative party in an effort to perpetuate Conservative rule, rather than being turfed out of office by the electorate.

Since 1945, only three Conservative PMs have left power after losing a General Election. Alec Douglas Home in 1964, Ted Heath in 1974 and John Major in 1997, all the rest have either been removed by the Conservative party or have resigned after realising that they could no longer count on the support of Conservative MPs. That was back when Conservative ministers actually resigned after they had screwed up. There was Winston Churchill in 1955, Anthony Eden in 1957, Harold Macmillan in 1963, Margaret Thatcher in 1990, David Cameron in 2016 and Theresa May in 2019. In all these cases a successor was chosen by the Conservative party with no input from the public despite the fact that under the Westminster system the Prime Minister enjoys almost unlimited power without the checks and balances and limitations on the executive found in democratic states with a written constitution.

If the Conservatives do remove Johnson they will choose a successor from within their own ranks, and the entire British undemocratic circus will continue. Those of us who are subject to the self-serving rule of the Conservative party will once again be mere passive spectators as the Tories make their calculations about the best way to maintain their power, and to preserve intact the privileges and wealth of that small minority in whose interests they govern.

The excesses, lies, entitlement and contempt which we see with Johnson will not cease once the Tories calculate that they must remove him in order to maintain their grip on power. They will simply continue with whoever it is that they find to replace him. Anyone chosen by the Conservatives will have been a party to and complicit in, the lies, corruption, authoritarianism, and deceit which has characterised the Tory party under Johnson. Johnson might be brought down by partygate but any successor will have seen what Johnson was able to get away with, which was a considerable assault on the UK’s fragile democracy, and will continue in a similar vein.

Meet the new boss, the same as the old boss. The UK is rotten, and is incapable of reforming itself. Labour is just as guilty as the Conservatives. Here we are in 2022, and the UK still has an unelected second Parliamentary chamber and an electoral system which can give a party a huge and crushing Commons majority on just 43.6% of the popular vote. Both the two main UK parties are equally in thrall to the absolute power and unlimited patronage that the Westminster system offers to the victor in a general election, both have a vested interest in keeping things as they are.

The UK is a pretend democracy where corruption, lies and law breaking go unpunished and in which there are no means of holding power to account beyond a grossly unfair electoral system. Even the fixed term Parliaments Act is easily subverted, and the Prime Minister retains the power to call a General Election when he or she calculates that it’s in their party’s interests to do so.

This is a system which is never going to change because when you get the power to change it your self-interest depends on you keeping things the same. Scotland cannot change things. Scotland can only ensure its democracy by becoming independent. Independence opens the road to choices which would otherwise not be possible, that’s the point of independence, democracy and accountability are not possible on the Westminster road.

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44 comments on “Johnson’s removal will not alter the British democratic deficit

  1. James Mills says:

    Correct , Paul ! The Westminster system is the root cause of the increasing lack of democracy facing ,particularly , Scotland , Wales and N.I.

    This week we have a member of the ”Peoples Party ( sic ) ” in the HoL stating that he is actively seeking ways to deny Scotland the chance to implement the manifesto of the party that has won every election in Scotland since 2007 .

    Regardless of who is pulling the strings at Westminster , Tory or Labourtory , the increasing disconnect from Scottish aspirations will continue .

    The Scottish Labour branch is desperately seeking the support of voters by offering them the enticing prospect of regressing to a time when Labour troughers ruled the roost at local and national level , lining the pockets of their friends with council contracts , and filled the HoL with those who had served themselves and their party to enjoy a well -earned retirement sinecure – at our expense .

    Today I received a missive from The Scottish Labour party ( sic ) exhorting me to send a message to Nicola Sturgeon in the local elections by voting against independence ???
    It may have been more effective had I not been reeling from the shock of being assaulted by the frightening sight of Jackie Baillie grinning grotesquely at me from the front of the leaflet !

    ( A Scottish Labour Party leaflet – printed in England ! )

  2. stuart colligan says:

    It would take the English populace to educate themselves to reform that place, and start electing MP’s that actually give a damn obout people, other than just their own self Interests.
    The media have got that covered though, and still have most of their population brainwashed.
    To almost anywhere else in the world, what needs to be done, would be blatantly obvious, but in england, despite the tories being blatant about their corruption and offshore bank accounts and etc. This remains to be either “to close to call” or another Tory victory, with a substantial tory majority!

    Don’t the english realise yet,that those small computers they carry about everywhere with them, is not just for texting their mates or taking and sharing photos of their dinners with each other, but is also capable of picking up news from all around the world, which will give them a much better and clearer profile/perspective of themselves and the governments that they elect to represent all of us.
    The sooner Scotland tears up that treaty of union and gets us away from this mess, the better.

    I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this where they live, but I live slap bang in the middle of the central belt, and already this area is being crowded out with english immigrants/accents, if you close your eyes and stand in the High St. You’d think you’d moved about 300 miles South! At this rate, it won’t be long until they’re electing each other into Holyrood and Turning Holyrood into westminster Mk.2 !

    • Alex Montrose says:

      There’s an article in todays Courier fb page, ‘ Forfar and Kirrie GPs say they cannot cope with any more new homes’, various Angus posters have said it’s the same in, Carnoustie, Montrose and Monifieth, thousands of new homes are going up in Angus, all in the £200K to £500K bracket, there can’t be that much local demand for this type of housing?

      • Fable says:

        Inverness is the same..where are the good paying jobs and extra money to pay for all these it all that fabled money tree because I’d like to find it!

    • Fable says:

      Not just central belt..just back from Inverness holiday..!, do we have enough yes voters to actually get what we want

    • I speak with an English accent but I’ll be voting yes as soon as we get a referendum.

  3. Alex Clark says:

    The purpose of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 was to remove the power of the Prime Minister to call an election at any time that was thought suited the ruling party best. This was seen as an unfair advantage to the incumbent Prime Minister and the 2011 Act was meant to end that unfair advantage.

    Parliament though didn’t like that and the Tories with the support of the opposition passed the Early Parliamentary General Election Act 2019 which bypassed the FTPA and allowed for the 2019 general election to go ahead in December 2019.

    After the Tories won the election they set about repealing the FTPA and “The Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Act” was granted Royal Assent just a few weeks ago on 24 March 2022, repealing the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.

    So once again the Prime Minister can call an election at a time of his choosing and any progress made for more democratic election timing under the 2011 act has been wiped out and is no more.

    • Legerwood says:

      I think Mrs May also rode a coach and horses through the fixed term Act when she called the 2017 election. The next GE if the Act had been followed was not due until 2020 or thereabouts.

  4. Nicely summarised and I couldn’t dispute a word of it.

    Key to the Tory predicament is that the corrupt British system has elevated the PM to ‘dear leader’ authoritarian presidential status as you allude to. To distract from the damage being wrought on society by English political parties, the whole thing is made into a clash of personalities by the media, including the English BBC. That way whoever is in power can just carry on with the right-wing pro-brexit agenda. It’s just the figureheads come and go, as do their gaggle of kleptocrats.

    But that means it is sort of Johnson who was given the mandate in 2019, and not the party. If he’s ousted, so out goes the mandate. And it’s not just Starmer and Sturgeon that would pounce on this, milking it to the max, but any Tories opposed to whoever is elected his successor.

    Whoever replaces Johnson will be in a weaker position than him unless they can rapidly turn around Tory fortunes sufficient to call and win a UK general election in short order. They can’t really charge ahead with a new approach as they don’t have a mandate for that having never won an election.

    Hence Johnson actually feels quite comfortable in fort No 10, and less under threat than it might ostensibly appear. He’s going to try and milk the system for as long as he can because, as you say, it’s not actually in Tory interests to replace him unless they are sure doing so can win them a snap GE.

    • Alex Clark says:

      Key to the Tory’s decision in replacing Johnson will not be that they pick a leader who will win them the next election. It’s that they choose a new leader who is more likely to win the next election rather than stick with Johnson if they believe that he is certain to lose them it.

    • Yes Alex, I agree. However, they don’t really have anyone popular and don’t want an election right now, which they’d really need to get some sort of mandate for a new leader. For all Johnson is an erse, he’s doing all the sort of stuff they like transporting foreiginers to concentration camps while helping them line their pockets. Hence their reluctance to move on him. And they have time due to the huge majority they have.

      Also the polls are not even that bad for them; they show a hung parliament with Labour needing the SNP to get a majority. Starmer’s not exactly very popular either!

      As things stand, Johnson and cabinet are taking the bulk of the flak for Tory performance, and he’ll be blamed for the trouncing they’ll get in the coming local elections. So it’s better for the party to keep this going until such times as they feel their own ‘base’ voters are so angry they want him gone. But they want to stretch this out in the hope they can see some recovery and get a new leader prepped for a snap GE win is my feeling.

      I suspect they were hoping for Sunak to be the ‘squeaky clean’ replacement, but that’s all shot to hell now.

      As Paul says, it is all about survival, and nothing about trying to do what’s best for the country.

  5. Bob Lamont says:

    Excellent article, but if I may paraphrase “Of course what really motivates these BLUE OR RED Tories is not a desire to ensure the highest standards of behaviour from those who hold high offices of state, it is, as it always has been, to protect their own careers and to maintain the THEIR party as the party of power”- It may have always been thus, but the extent to which the public were left behind has never been quite so obvious.

    Since ca 2010 the Tories have become ever more extreme in their views whilst chillingly Labour and even the LDs became incapable or unwilling to propose an alternative – Your “Meet the new boss, the same as the old boss. The UK is rotten, and is incapable of reforming itself. Labour is just as guilty as the Conservatives” hits the nail firmly on the head.

    Your final two paragraphs eloquently summarises Scotland’s dilemma, to continue to be playthings of a Mafia who will carry on regardless, or to strike the bonds which tie us.

    There is not a single Tory, Labour or LD MP who can get the UK out of this mess the rest of us find ourselves in, yet all of them are responsible for this whatever the current headline – And let us not forget the role of the media in all of this, HMS James Cook in particular from a Scottish perspective.

    Time to go….

  6. Sorry, but slighty off-topic. However, I think appropriate after Rory the ‘we are all basically English’ Tory’s recently intervention*.

    Also lovely to hear.

    Watch as author Billy Kay delivers heartfelt speech in Scots to MSPs

    AUTHOR, broadcaster and Scots activist Billy Kay delivered a historic speech to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, focusing on the importance of the language.

    Kay thanked SNP MSP Emma Harper for inviting him to deliver the Chamber’s “Time for Reflection” message in his mother tongue – marking the first time the segment had been given entirely in Scots.

    Rory Stewart: ‘Insane’ to think of Borders and Cumbria as in different countries

    • Capella says:

      That was a breath of fresh air. Thx for posting.

    • Dr Jim says:

      What? no translation or subtitles for the English political parties and their Scottish servants in the chamber? I’m minded of Kate Forbes delivering a speech in the Gaelic with the odd intervention by SNP members because none of the English party members could understand a word she said without translation

      A good reminder that it’s the Scottish parliament and we respect our own culture as well as speaking English for the benefit of those who cannot speak any of our languages

  7. Capella says:

    I’ve always considered the Tory Party to be the English National Party. They are entitled to have their own national party, however immoral and incompetent they choose to be. But they are not entitled to cause other people to suffer through their appalling greed, arrogance and lust for power. There is only one way for us to end our position as “collateral damage”. Repeal the Act of Union.

  8. Welsh_Siôn says:

    Today’s Graun:

    Is Wales following Scotland in a bid for independence?

    Richard Wyn Jones

    • I note the author’s description of our fight for Self Determination as a ‘preoccupation’, and Northern Ireland’s bloody war as ‘troubles’ with a small ‘t’.
      The Reign of terror in the North of Ireland surely warrants a capital ‘T’ at the very least.
      30 years, 3,500 deaths…’troubles’?
      While we Scots may be engrossed in the Independence push, there is room in this Old Warhorse’s mind for other things, like food on the table, heat, light, and Clydebank Football Club, which are as preoccupying intermittently as Independence.

      When Scotland and Northern Ireland leave, Wales will quickly follow.
      Then Wee Merrie England can take on the ‘globe’ and prove just how ‘world leading’ John Bull really is.
      It’s comin’ yet for a’ that.


  9. stewartb says:

    O/T Just had the postman drop the weekly pile of junk mail through my letterbox – the supermarket’s brochure, the optician’s brochure, a furniture shop’s sale brochure etc, etc. You know the sort of thing – a collection of bits and pieces all tucked inside one of the collection of brochures of A4 size. Today’s was different as the prominent, outer brochure was a folded A3 leaflet from the Labour Party in Scotland.

    I usually put this pile of junk mail directly in the bin but today I separated out and read the Labour leaflet, of which more in a moment. I then went to bin the rest when by pure chance I spotted an SNP campaign leaflet – an A3 sheet folded to a smaller, A5 size – tucked in amongst the commercial marketing stuff.

    It’s a smart looking leaflet but in contrast to the way that the Labour leaflet was delivered – as the immediately noticeable ‘cover’ of the pile of paper- the SNP leaflet could easily be missed and ditched along with the junk. Not great!

    The Labour leaflet is ‘remarkable’:

    – a front page listing supposed cost of living rises totalling £2,620, including a £295 mortgage increase. You will find no information to justify the figures: the implication is for example that every household has a mortgage and every mortgage bill is rising by the same amount!

    – the front page also tells us that we could save £1,000 by voting for Labour in the upcoming elections – on an inside page this saving rises to ‘over £1,000!

    – it’s bad enough that Labour in Scotland is suggesting that its success in Scottish council elections will lead directly to actions that are ONLY within the powers of the Scottish Parliament and government. This Labour campaign promise goes even further: it is promising that Labour council election success will lead to actions that are ONLY within the powers of the Westminster parliament and government.

    The Labour in Scotland election campaign is quite simply and flagrantly disingenuous – delivered with the intent to deceive!

  10. stewartb says:

    Dear oh dear! The BBC 1 6pm News – the ‘big’ important news where they are – just showed its most senior political journalist in Scotland, James Cook in a Glasgow taxi experiencing a pot-hole!

    A barely concealed hatchet job on the current city administration on this and other issues.

    Does the BBC plan similar pieces in the coming days on Sheffield, Newcastle, Portsmouth, Swansea, Belfast etc. etc. etc.- London even?

    Perhaps the BBC’s judgement of ‘newsworthiness’ is based on a particular factor that DOES NOT FEATURE in local authorities outside Scotland! What might that be?

    • Bob Lamont says:

      His baronacy ?
      I’ve seen the emails….

    • Capella says:

      Funnily enough, I heard him on Radio Scotland this morning on his Govan adventure. He pointedly mentioned that it was an SNP constituency. He got into the taxi and said he was going to Ibrox. First question he asked was, “HOW BAD ARE THE POTHOLES?”
      Is that a leading question?
      Anyway – I switched off as my bullshit meter broke down.

      • When did you stop beating your wife?

        Glenn Campbell was on ‘ferry fiasco’ duty tonight.
        When is he going to report on the Brexit shell fish crisis on the isle of his birth?

  11. Dr Jim says:

    STVs Scotland tonight was at it as well with their Tony Blair tribute show and wasn’t he wonderful Gordon Brown, except for the fact that they collapse their whole tribute to these *titans* of Labour by the follow up statement that England voters didn’t *take to* Gordon Brown then neglect to explain the couple of reasons why they didn’t *take to* Gordon (he’s a bloody Scotsman) Brown and the other rather obvious one of a collapsed economy loaded with PFI debt, which was actually the lesser of the two reasons

  12. Bob Lamont says:

    Oh dear, the HMS James Cook propagandists must be furious a P&O ferry breakdown screwed up their CalMac/SNP campaign over the Ardrossan-Brodick ferry story, which in turn allowed them to drag up the Ferguson fiasco ad nauseum.

  13. Bob Lamont says:

    And as for Labour, oh dear, oh dear… Sarwar’s dentistry know-how may enable him to remove his own foot without need of anaesthetic

  14. Capella says:

    Ha ha! Ferguson Marine have feel-good press release! I think The National has misspelt the title though.
    Ferguson Maine ferry milestone reached as main hull nearly complete

    FERGUSON Marine yesterday announced the completion of a major milestone in the build of one of the dual fuel ferries currently under construction.

    Hull 802, as the vessel is currently known, was fitted with its large bow unit which is the largest single unit added to the ferry’s steel hull, completing the bow structure.

    This week will mark a key moment in the vessel’s progress when the final units are lifted into place, completing the main hull and steelwork and making way for the installation of the ferry’s aluminium superstructure, which is all the units that sit above the main deck.

    BBC reporters racing to cover this as we speak.

  15. Capella says:

    As the Labour leaflet so accurately reports (England and Wales edition) – the Tories are costing most of us over £2,000 a year extra. Big pay rise for MPs, benefit cuts for the poorest.

    SNP slam Tories as millions go hungry in cost-of-living crisis

    Figures released by the Trussell Trust show that more than 2.1m parcels were distributed to people over the last 12 months in the UK, with its Scottish network providing more than 197,000 food parcels to people across Scotland from April 1, 2021 to March 21, 2022.

    More than 70,000 parcels were provided for Scots children in that same period, with the charity warning demand is set to soar. It also warned the figures do not yet reflect the impact of the energy price cap, which rose this month.

    The charity said it’s witnessing signs of an accelerating crisis across Scotland, following the £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit and the soaring rise in living costs.

  16. After #AberdeenAlbagate and now #Dougitransgate (see the day’s National), I finally decided to post about this, which I came across the other day.

    I find it ironic that it was highlighted by the Tories’ own inquiry, but it really is absolutely key to whole issue, and if someone doesn’t already fully understand this, they should.

    The [UK] health secretary has been considering changing the law to allow a review of GIDS being led Dr Hilary Cass, former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health…

    …The health secretary’s move follows interim findings of Dr Cass’s report into GIDS.

    She found a lack of expert agreement around what constitutes gender dysphoria…

    And therein (third sentence) lies the fundamental problem at the heart of things. Currently, the 2 conditions for the issue of a GRC are impossible to meet, as neither are scientifically defined.

    There is neither (1) a clear definition of what constitutes ‘living as a man/woman’ (without resorting to epic levels of sexism), nor (2) what constitutes gender dysphoria, with many trans people not being dysphoric (suffering mental distress).

    This is why the proposed GRA reforms are not remotely ‘ideological’, but aimed at addressing the stark logical fallacy of the current approach, which is medically unsound (as per BMA views), and based on the entirely undefined and undefinable (without e.g. resorting to gross sexism).

    But some don’t want you to know this sadly.

    Self-id is accepted for a host of human traits, including our national identity / ethnicity (as often discussed here), sexual orientation and religious beliefs, all of which are protected characteristics under the equality act.

    And the latter is likewise key. I am offered protection under the law from anti-Scottish racism, yet I don’t need to prove I self-id as Scottish, and neither does Stuart Campbell. While I don’t have any legal documentation proving I’m Scot, and Rory the ‘We are all English but just with tartan trews’ Tory might think I’m mentally ill to see a border at Gretna, I don’t need a medical diagnosis of Scottishness to be legally accepted as that in court when it comes to discrimination. And neither does my local MSP who has an English birth certificate…

    Same for Joanna Cherry. She campaigns for lesbian rights, but has never had to prove she’s a lesbian, including e.g. getting a doctor’s diagnosis to that effect. And I note that in the not too distant past, homosexuality was considered an illness.

    While the accommodation of trans people in society does unquestionably throw up issues on sex based rights, sporting fairness etc, these are entirely separate issues from the GRC process itself, and must be dealt with as such.

    Anyway, the purpose of this post was not to derail the thread with debate on this topic, but that article does highlight something that everyone needs to understand if they don’t already.

    As a believer in logical/scientific evidence-based policy, this is the basis of my own view on this sensitive subject, which has, entirely expectedly, cropped up again as the dividers seek to divide ahead of the coming council elections..

    That’s all.

    • Dr Jim says:

      Perhaps if human rights were simplified in their application to all giving no advantage or disadvantage over others and no imposition of individual usage of cases to facilitate gain in society rather than the continuous creation of exploitative legal addendums to each new variety of alteration desire or taste in human behaviour we might find acceptance to difference in society an easier transition

      As long as folk understand that no law can make anybody like or dislike a thing just because it’s a law, I don’t like blue cars, but I wouldn’t go round kicking the doors in because other folk happen to have one

    • Sure Jim, the wider issue has complexities. It’s why so ripe for right-wingers to dog-whistle about from England, preying on people’s fears and misunderstandings. I hope my point on the logic behind the reforms is understood, because malicious forces don’t want people to think logically.

      Anyway, I see Paul has just posted an article in which Scottish national identity is key; something Rory the Tory does not feel it seems. I self-id as Scottish, but I can’t honestly prove that to anyone (I’m afraid I don’t drink Irn Bru, nor eat shortbread for example!), nor is it medically diagnosable. The best I can do is provide a sworn statement to that effect, and ask people take my word for it. 🙂

  17. Well this (the trolling) was predictable.

    Author has the perfect response for trolls attacking his Scots speech to the Scottish parliament

    But I took issue with the article talking about ‘unionists’ as that implies they are Scottish people who back the union. I think we can conclude that people who genuinely mock Scots/Scots speakers are not Scottish in nationality.

    I imagine the nationality of the trolls involved would be British and/or English. Unlikely to be Welsh, Cornish or N. Irish for obvious reasons.

    In fact in N. Ireland, the British there are very proud of their Ulster Scots language. Considering this, it’s hard to imagine any truly British (in a respect for the 4 nations sense) people mocking the Scots language given it’s a language native to the most British of brits. In which case, that leaves just one likely nationality for the trolls…

  18. stewartb says:

    O/T The House of Commons Library has just published a briefing on the Elections Bill 2021-22 currently going through Westminster. This is the Bill that proposes to introduce voter ID; to change how oversight of the Electoral Commission operates; and to make it easier for overseas voters to register and extend eligibility by removing the 15-year limit on overseas voter registration for UK general elections.

    House of Commons Library (27 April 2022) Elections Bill 2021-22: Progress of the Bill ( )

    On overseas voters: ‘The Government argued that all British citizens living abroad should have a vote and a voice in Parliament.’

    The HoCL paper explains the aim: ‘To remove the 15-year limit on overseas voters being able to register for UK parliamentary elections. This would introduce ‘votes for life’ for expats and would also reform the eligibility and registration process to include more expats and make it easier to renew registrations.’

    The HoCL summarises evidence to Public Bill Committee on the proposed legislation. In particular it reports that: ‘Representatives of the three main UK-wide political parties, Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats’ overseas branches welcomed the provisions on overseas voters.’

    But it makes some notable observations (with my emphasis): ‘The representatives highlighted problems with relying on postal services to deliver and return postal votes. They said proxy votes are not always an answer as MANY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN AWAY FOR A LONG PERIOD AND WILL NOT BE ABLE TO FIND SOMEONE TO ACT AS A PROXY.’

    And: ‘For those newly eligible to register under these proposals, MANY MAY NOT REMEMBER THE LAST PLACE THEY WERE REGISTERED TO VOTE.’

    So have I got this right? When considering my single precious vote in a GE in the context of what this Bill is now proposing, its status and influence will be precisely the same as an economic migrant from the UK who may be:

    (a) unable to locate a single person here who could vote for them by proxy; and/or

    (b) doesn’t even remember which constituency they used to live in; and of course

    (c) may now have no ‘skin’ in the UK apart perhaps from nostalgia – not impacted by the UK’s tax or social security system; not impacted by the state of health, social care, education, the environment here etc, etc; and

    (d) may be relying on political views formed many years ago and sustained whilst living remote from the UK.

    Notwithstanding all of this, such individuals will have a vote in the UK – for the rest of their lives, however long that proves to be – of precisely equal status to the vote of someone living in the UK who is fully reliant on government from Westminster. Whilst I can understand attachment to one’s place of origin, I find the concept (specifically) of ‘votes’ for life’ for non-residents very problematic – scope to exert lifelong personal influence through the ballot box potentially without short, medium or perhaps even long term personal consequences?

  19. Welsh_Siôn says:

    Dateline 27 April – NOT 1 April.

    Scrap ‘socialist’ May Day bank holiday an create ‘Acts of Union Day’ says Telegraph assistant editor

    27 Apr 2022 3 minute Read

    The Telegraph‘s assistant editor has called for the “socialist” May Day bank holiday to be scrapped and an ‘Acts of Union Day’ to be created in its stead.

    Philip Johnston noted that the United Kingdom came into being on 1 May and that it should be used as a day to celebrate the Union.

    He was responding to calls for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee to become a yearly bank holiday called ‘Thank Holiday’, which he said was too “sentimental”.

    “Why not scrap the socialist May bank holiday, and use the first of May to honour the Acts of Union instead?” Philip Johnston asked.



    What Wales and Scotland need are ‘Independence Days’ …

    • Golfnut says:

      It’s telling that they never refer to the Treaty of Union, it’s the Treaty, at least as far as Scotland is concerned that created the union, the Act’s only ratified the Treaty. Let’s remind people as often as possible that it’s the Treaty that I the important any document.

  20. Lovely. This is what happens when you recruit from the orange order to chase British Tory votes rather than Scottish ones.

    Labour candidate in Ardrossan disciplined over ‘anti-Catholic’ tweet

    Warning: This article contains strong language some readers may find offensive.

    A LABOUR candidate has been forced to attend anti-racism training after “racist” tweets of hers were uncovered by The National.

    Tweets were revealed in which council hopeful Amanda Kerr referred to “taigs” – an anti-Irish slur – and appeared to have referred to a Westminster politician as a “rodent”.

    • Hamish100 says:

      Yet Labour has used sectarian messaging in the past in Ayrshire. I know the claim that the SNP are anti-catholic has been used.
      I am hopeful that in the future this nonsense will be history. The candidate doesn’t need training she’s needs to be removed by the Labour Party if they have any standards.

  21. If there is a god, please may it be a North Britain MP caught watching porn on his ‘phone in the House of Commons.

  22. Hamish100 says:

    For a cabinet minister to complain about someone sitting next to them then is it not likely to be another minister or senior Tory aide?

    Surely even tories must be amazed at the amount of sleaze and graft in the Tory party.

    Still where is Gove and his acolytes? What is being plotted.

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