The silly season continues with silly proposals from our politicians. Take the one from Caroline Lucas MP (Greens). She proposed that the fabled ‘Government of National Unity’ to replace Johnson after a VoNC, should be made up exclusively of women … ! The reaction of other MPs was short and brutal: “Caroline Lucas is ridiculed for proposing an all-female national unity government to stop No Deal Brexit” – the report is not paywalled so you can enjoy reading the reactions here.
Mind you, the silliness is not restricted to MPs. While Labour is now also preparing for a possible GE by telling their members to cancel their travel plans for September (more on that below), a Labour group has come up with a paper proposing to make grouse shooting illegal:
“Labour will promise today to open a review into whether grouse shooting should be illegal, arguing that the country sport is destroying plant life and killing many animals. In a provocative move to mark the Glorious Twelfth, the start of the four-month season, Labour says that “driven” grouse shooting is being subsidised by the taxpayer and causing untold ecological damage. It has called for a review, suggesting that killing grouse could be replaced by “simulated shooting and wildlife tourism”. (link, paywalled)
Grouse shooting is truly a most pressing political concern! It’s certainly far more important than Brexit or Remain. Ah well, it’s the silly season … Meanwhile, Labour MPs are told to stay at home in September:
“Labour MPs have been told to cancel all travel in early September in anticipation of Jeremy Corbyn tabling a motion of no confidence in the Government. […] The move appears to confirm that Labour will attempt to bring down the Government within days of MPs returning from their summer holidays, in order to provide enough time to try and block a no-deal Brexit.” (paywalled link)
Some reports out just now may have influenced Corbyn to get ready for an early GE. One is that time is running out for Remain MPs to stop No Deal Brexit in the HoC:
“The Institute for Government has claimed that “time is running out” for the Remainers who are attempting to delay Brexit, and that “simply voting against” no-deal cannot stop Boris Johnson. In a new paper, the think tank concludes that many of the previous avenues to stopping no-deal are no longer available to MPs, with Downing Street simply able to “ignore” their opposition in Parliament. Whilst a group of cross-party rebels have previously frustrated the Government’s plans by amending key Brexit Bills, the paper points out that there is “very little” additional legislation required to deliver Brexit by Hallowe’en. The IfG added that even if MPs succeeded in “amending or voting down” new laws, “it would only limit the government’s powers” rather than achieving their aim of preventing “no-deal itself”.”(paywalled link).
A short, non-paywalled report is here. Something else which might have influenced Corbyn is a new ‘plan’ by Remain MPs, drawn up by Remain plotters in the HoC who have not been idle.
Their latest concoction has been signed off, allegedly, by Mr Grieve and Ms Beckett and was handed around to about 300 Remain MPs, Labour included:
“MPs are drawing up plans to compel Boris Johnson to break his “do or die” pledge and force him to request an 11th-hour Brexit extension from the European Union. […] Under the proposals set out in the document, which has been circulated to Labour and Tory rebels, MPs plan to:
- Block any attempt by Mr Johnson to call an election before October 31 unless the prime minister agrees to a Brexit extension for the poll to take place.
- Use a vote of confidence in the days leading up to Brexit to take control of the parliamentary timetable and change the law to compel Mr Johnson to request an Article 50 extension from European leaders.” (link, paywalled)
The hoary old ploy of getting another extension is being dusted down again. Well, they did manage that in March this year, so why not have another go:
“The document suggests that rather than try to form a new government MPs could use this period to change the law, compelling the prime minister to extend Article 50 to allow either an election or a referendum to take place. […] One source said […] that it would be much easier to use the 14-day period to change the law to force Mr Johnson to ask for a Brexit extension, probably at the last European summit before Article 50 runs out, on October 17.’ (link, paywalled)
It is unclear at the moment if Corbyn would support this and then go for a post-extension GE or if he plans to force a September GE on the country in the hope of winning. A Labour government would demand a ‘Labour extension’, a ‘Labour Brexit’, or worse …
RemainCentral, a.k.a The Times, has been told by obliging Remain MPs how they believe their plan will work in practice. It is very entertaining:
“They plan, at first, to lie in wait. A parliamentary majority will only coalesce around a move to stop no deal, they reason, once it becomes unambiguously clear that the government’s renegotiation is doomed, and MPs who oppose no-deal are forced to stare straight into the abyss. At that point, Remain supporters intend to throw their weight behind a motion of no confidence in Boris Johnson’s government, hoping to win it with the help of Remain-minded Tories such as the former chancellor Philip Hammond, former justice secretary David Gauke and Dominic Grieve, the former attorney-general.” (link, paywalled)
To me this reads like a rather puerile attempt of cocking a snook at ‘authority’. There’s more:
“If they did succeed, the country would enter waters that have been uncharted since the passage of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act in 2011. This provides for a fortnight of parliamentary chaos in which different political factions would try to secure the confidence of a majority of the Commons, and so prove themselves able to form a government. Boris Johnson would be expected to remain prime minister as a caretaker for those two weeks, in office but not in power until he could demonstrate that he had the support of MPs.” (link, paywalled)
During these two weeks of chaos they hope to achieve their fond desire in this way:
“During that fortnight, Remainers hope to apply to John Bercow, the Speaker, for an emergency debate on Brexit. They are counting on Mr Bercow — thought to have sympathies with the Remain side — to find a creative interpretation of parliamentary rules, allowing them to use the debate to wrest control of parliament’s time from the government. They would then use that time to pass legislation which compelled the prime minister to seek an extension of the Article 50 negotiation period from the EU, delaying Brexit and averting a no-deal exit on October 31.” (link, paywalled)
And voila – there it is: alleviate the ‘turmoil’ by another extension! It strikes me as odd that these Remainers have overlooked the current Leader of the House who will have a say in how Mr Bercow can ‘interpret creatively’ the rules in the HoC. Next they bring a lovely, highfalutin political argument:
“When October comes, Remainers want to put forward their own argument from democratic principle: that the 2016 referendum provided no mandate for no-deal, and that Mr Johnson must secure the public’s support for that course if he wants to pursue it.” (link, paywalled)
They again disregard that they themselves voted for the relevant Law, having been given the mandate in the 2017 GE. Since a GE before Brexit would see the rise and rise of the LibDems for Remain and TBP for Leave, the HoC Remainers hope that their latest plot would make Johnson think twice about a GE:
“Some Remainers therefore quietly hope that Mr Johnson, not wanting his premiership to be written off as the shortest in history, might ultimately plump for a second referendum instead, attempting to postpone his reckoning at the ballot box. That would, of course, threaten the unity of the Conservative Party.” (link, paywalled)
I think one needs to be a Remain MP to believe that this is a brilliant plan! Our alleged ‘betters’, the Remain MPs who hold us Leave voters in such contempt, assume that it’ll be business as usual, with us voters falling back into tribal groups, should they get their plan through the HoC. Neither the rise in LibDem Remain votes nor the existence of TBP seem to enter into their calculations.
This is why we Leavers must stand firm. Should there be a GE we must shed our customary Party affiliations where necessary. We must be ready to show Remain once and for all that, having voted for Brexit in 2016, we will vote for it now, Party rosettes be damned.
We cannot afford to squabble amongst ourselves. If we lose Brexit because we let ourselves be herded back into the old, Establishment Party ‘reservations’, then we have only ourselves to blame if Remain wins. Heed this warning, and
Photo by Duchess Flux