The anger of those who watched yesterday’s debate in the HoC was something to behold. I’ve never seen people online become so ice-cold angry. I myself am still seething. That debate and vote was on a Motion from the PM, to dissolve Parliament using the FTPA, to get a GE. As expected, that failed: Ayes: 299 – Noes: 70, thus not achieving the not majority required under the FTPA, so the Noes have it.
Today, No 10 will present the Swinson Gimmick Bill (described in yesterday’s column) and it looks to be another event designed to make Leavers’ blood pressure rise. Here is today’s Order Paper – note that the aim is to push it through all stages today in an all-day session. Well, that’ll be fun!
You can find a non-paywalled report on yesterday’s proceedings here. The MSM reports generally focus on one point, namely that ‘Johnson failed’. That he failed simply because the Remain Parliament will not vote for anything he comes up with is apparently negligible. The fact – and it is a fact, the various sessions are all archived on the Parliament TV Channel – that the opposition, especially Labour, didn’t want a GE and do not want Brexit is somehow now Johnson’s fault.
Above all – the Remain Harlots of all parties have the majority and have been doing their utmost, with the help of the Speaker, to thwart any advance the PM might make to get some sort of Brexit. They have forced the PM to go to Brussels with No Deal off the table and beg for an extension – remember that Benn Surrender Act!. That is disregarded by the MSM. Btw – it emerged during the debate in helpful tweets that Tusk had sent a draft letter just before the debate got under way (here) and that Johnson had signed his acceptance letter (here).
Johnson presented his Motion and in good old parliamentary practice the leaders of the opposition parties spoke against it. It was surreal. The opposition benches were practically empty – Labour MPs were going to abstain – but the few who were there in support of their leaders were virtually foaming at their mouths, demanding Johnson apologise for using the word ‘humbug’ those many days and weeks ago.
Corbyn gave another of his ‘yeah but no but yeah but no’ speeches, the main argument being that Johnson lied and was not to be trusted … and: “NHS! Austerity! People’s Brexit”, as if he were already addressing a rally of the faithful. But of course a GE was out of the question unless there’s that extension and No Deal off the table. Tory MPs shouted “sack us then, sack us then”!
One reason for rejecting this FTPA Motion was the date, the GE being set to take place on the 12th of December: it would ‘disenfranchise students’ who couldn’t vote at Uni – no explanation as to why they can’t vote at their home address … Also, because it would be dark the elderly and disabled wouldn’t dare to come out!
As far as I’m aware, the UK hasn’t moved beyond the Arctic Circle, so we do have quite some hours of daylight where the old and disabled, who don’t tend to work 9-5, have ample time to get to the polling stations. Oh – those polling stations: some are in schools where it would disrupt Christmas festivities. Yes, an MP actually used the word “Christmas’ in the HoC!
You might recall that the Swinson Gimmick proposes an earlier GE date: December 9th. That’s a Monday, so is against our traditional Thursday Polling Day. How a difference of three days in December would not ‘disenfranchise’ all those Corbyn named – well, they’re MPs, so don’t expect any sensible explanation! Interestingly, Ms Swinson was quizzed over those dates and ‘squirmed’ – see here – giving a nice, political non-answer.
If you wonder why it is that the opposition, denouncing Johnson as liar, as failure and not trustworthy still didn’t vote to get rid of his government: it’s because they are determined to make the government dance to their tunes. That is the aim of that Swinson Gimmick.
Since that Bill is going to be pushed through today there will be amendments, first and foremost one to extend the voting age to 16-year olds. A Welsh MP demanded that ought to be extended to all EU citizens and even overseas immigrants. One comment poster wrote that it’s “desperately and openly trying to rig an election.” Indeed!
After Corbyn we had the SNP Leader with his constant Braveheart impression, and the LibDem Leader, both giving their reasons why they could not vote for that FTPA motion regardless of Johnson being an untrustworthy liar: they want to ‘grasp the keys to No 10’ for themselves. Ms Swinson aims to become the next PM – yes, she said so! The SNP wants another referendum for Scotland. Both Ms Swinson and Mr Blackford also attacked Labour in no uncertain terms. It was extraordinary, especially since both must rely on Labour to support their Gimmick Bill.
Then Sir John Redwood spoke, saying that Parliament is misjudging the mood of the public – that a GE now is about more than Brexit, it’s about Parliament and government having lost the trust of the people. You can watch a video clip of his speech on this tweet. An observer remarked: “No one there is listening, John!”.
Interestingly, the parliamentary sketch writers sensed that this Remain Parliament is doomed, no matter what happens today, especially as it’s not even certain that Johnson might get this Swinson Gimmick Bill through today’s session. Their usual ‘tongue-in-cheek’ bravado has given way to gloom, unfunny and not worth quoting. Richard Littlejohn in the DM makes some worthwhile points though
“So forgive me for wondering whether a fresh election will actually break the Brexit impasse. Anything can happen during the course of a five-week campaign. Even if Boris wins a majority, plenty of hardline Remainers will get re-elected, determined to stop Brexit at any cost, in concert with the overwhelmingly pro-EU Lords and extra-parliamentary actors like Gina Miller. Who would bet against another attempt to halt Leave ending up before the Supreme Court?” (link)
It would indeed be naive and foolish to believe that a GE would induce the ex-parliamentary Remain cabal to stop their efforts! Littlejohn concludes:
“Meanwhile, we face the depressing prospect of selfie-snapping politicians peddling their lies and monopolising the airwaves in the run-up to Christmas, competing with carol singers on our doorsteps. And at the end of it, whatever the result, what guarantee is there that the politicians will take any notice of what the people want? If the evidence of the past decade is anything to go by, none at all. Once back in their Bubble, it will be business as usual.” (link)
True – if we let them! If we – as some suggested – don’t vote from sheer disgust. This would of course hand the victory to the Remainers. Interestingly, the Tories are underestimating the sheer fury they have kicked off. The following may have been valid until yesterday evening:
“Mr Farage’s party lags well behind the Conservatives in the general election polls, but many Tory MPs are fearful that the new group could win enough votes in certain seats to allow Labour to come through the middle and win.” (link, paywalled)
However, observing the cold anger, the outrage in online comments, I suggest in all humility that the Tories, just as Labour, are underestimating us, the electorate. I expect a surge in the polls for TBP, especially when reading a comment like this: “The BP are looking at an open goal now. Back of the net for Nigel.“ – one of many written in a similar vein.
The Tory High command better remember that we, the electorate, are not idiots: “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”. We’ve not forgotten the 2017 GE! A 2019 GE will be about Leave or Remain – and we know that none of the establishment parties will stand for Leave, for Brexit. Keep that in mind when watching today’s HoC session, and