“Our Agincourt” – image courtesy of John Hart (here)
We ought to know by now that those who most loudly screech about not being listened to are the ones who never listen themselves. We saw female MPs making this their only point in the interminable debates in the HoC, culminating in that unconstitutional take-over by Ms Cooper (L) and Sir Oliver Letwin (T).
The same happened in the debate yesterday in the House of Lords where actual hereditary Lords are in a tiny minority – 90 out of 782 – thanks to the ‘reform’ of Labour PM Blair. It is now a place full of politicians put to grass and of ‘party donors’ who were able to buy their way in.
Still, this is the Second Chamber which must pass legislation coming from the HoC, and that’s what the Remain HoC was expecting, having passed the Cooper/Letwin Bill in an unconstitutional sitting by one vote, that vote being cast by a convicted, tagged criminal on day release – but mentioning that is somehow disrespectful … (here and here, paywalled).
The HoL, as Remain as the HoC, was also expected to drive this Bill through in yesterday’s one sitting. What struck me was the feverish fervour with which the Labour/Remain peers went ahead. It was the same sort of political bulldozing we saw in the HoC on Wednesday.
One Tory peer after the other pointed out the huge damage to Constitution and procedure this HoC Bill had created in the first place. One after the other pointed out that by ramming this Bill through the damage to the HoL and the peers themselves would be incalculable. One after the other pointed out that this Bill was defective, and that even the author, Oliver Letwin, said he expected the Lords to correct those deficiencies, obviously expecting at least some debate.
All to no avail: Labour Peers wanted to steamroller this bill through in one day, and that was that. Here’s a report, with video of one ancient Peeress being confused. Well, I found the proceedings somewhat confusing as well but, after having watched, must say that those who still have all their marbles were sharp, to the point, and unlike the MPs in ‘the other place’ did speak freely: no reading of speeches out loud from a piece of paper.
In the end the Bill got read, but wasn’t driven through. The Lords now have to meet again on this Bill on Monday. This delay was due to the excellent filibustering of the Tory peers – I recognised some of the Old Warhorses like Michael Howard and Nigel Lawson – but of course both the Labour Peers and the Remain MSM are aghast and angry that these peers tried to filibuster! What a horrible thing to do:
“Brexiteer Lords attempted last night to talk out a bill that could force Theresa May to ask for a long extension to Article 50 next week. After MPs backed a bill brought by Yvette Cooper on Wednesday by one vote, Labour introduced a timetabling motion to allow the legislation to be completed in one sitting of the Lords. However, peers opposed to a Brexit delay and backed by the government tried to filibuster the bill by introducing a raft of amendments and speaking at length on each one. It meant that Lords did not move on to discussing the bill until after 7pm — nearly eight hours after they began their debate. A deal was struck between government and opposition whips under which the debate will stretch into Monday, a partial victory for the Brexiteers led by Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, the former Scottish secretary.” (paywalled link)
Meanwhile on ‘the other side of the House’, the situation is as confused and confusing as ever. Ms May’s ‘delegates’ (Remainers all) were still talking to the Labour delegates (Remainers all) to reach some sort of something. Of course, the real power, Whitehell, was represented in the form of Mr Olly Robbins, to see that the sheep didn’t stray too far off the grass …
While Tory grassroots and even some MPs and even – the horror! – some Ministers are aghast and angered by this May ploy, they are still dithering and chatting about what to do while time rolls on – see e.g. here, or see the latest ‘warning’ article by Jacob Rees-Mogg (paywalled, here). One would like to tell them, in crude language, to sh*t or get off the pot, but they have isolated themselves from us to such an extent that we might as well inhabit different planets.
Meanwhile Ms May will be busy writing letters today – one to Mr Corbyn, one to the EU. Her desperate attempts to reach a compromise with Mr Corbyn illustrate how far she and her Remain ministers have sold us out:
“Senior ministers told their Labour counterparts yesterday that Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the European Union already includes a customs union “in all but name”. In a disclosure that will infuriate Tory backbenchers, a team of ministers led by Mrs May’s deputy, David Lidington, attempted to persuade Labour to back the deal because the small print already contains many of their demands. The claim was made during four and a half hours of talks yesterday between senior Tory and Labour ministers in an attempt to thrash out a joint approach to Brexit that could command a majority in the House of Commons.” (paywalled link)
Moreover, since a certain Mr Phil Hammond opined yesterday that a 2nd Referendum would be a good way forward, we read that yes, this is an option they also presented:
“A team of four ministers led by David Lidington, the Cabinet Office minister, held four and a half hours of talks with their Labour counterparts on Thursday during which the idea of offering a second referendum was discussed as an option. […] Government sources played down the idea that such a plan had been agreed, as Downing Street rebuked Philip Hammond for suggesting that Parliament should have another chance to vote on a second referendum.” (link, paywalled)
Obviously, letting cats out of bags is not appreciated … Even without having reached a compromise with Corbyn as of yet, Ms May will now write to the EU and ask for an extension to Article 50 (here). It doesn’t matter one bit that even her Attorney General is cautioning against it – or is ‘in open revolt’, according to RemainCentral, the Times (paywalled):
“Cabinet members were in open revolt yesterday. Geoffrey Cox, the attorney-general, told the BBC that the extension was likely to be “longer than just a few weeks or months”. He said that Mrs May “would have little choice but to accept the extension that she’s offered” as a result of legislation passing through the Lords last night that would enable MPs to force her to seek more time.”.
We must take a leaf out of Ms May’s ‘playbook’. Just as she is banging her head against brickwalls to get her WA through, we must do the same: keep emailing our MPs and our local and the national papers.
The mood outside the Westminster Bubble is hardening, people want the No Deal Brexit, as I reported yesterday. Be relentless – it’s up to us and to us alone!