Gunpowder Plot in 1605 – In 2019 we do things differently
It’s Guy Fawkes Day – a suitable day for dissolving Parliament at midnight today! Yesterday though it was fun and games in the House of Peacocks. The MPs had to elect a new Speaker which they duly did. There was also ‘fun and games’ as TBP unveiled their PPC to the press just before that event, with a rousing speech by Nigel Farage.
First, let’s cast a final look at the current HoP (House of Peacocks). Their days are numbered because at 00.01am this Parliament is officially dissolved. Good riddance. One MP whose seat will not be contested is that of the new speaker – who, thankfully, was elected after four runs. It is Sir Lindsay Hoyle (Lab), a former deputy speaker. We’ve often observed that the Chamber quietened down immediately as soon as he stepped up when the former speaker left the chair.
Here are the arcana – I know you like to know how they do things in that august chamber! Kenneth Clarke as ‘father of the house’, i.e. longest-serving MP, was the ‘speaker’ on this occasion, and yes, he did get to say ‘order order’, and ‘lock the doors’, and at the end ‘the ayes have it’.
There were seven candidates who each had to give a little speech from the back benches. The balloting was done on paper, in the lobbies (the ‘ayes’ and the ‘noes’ lobby). After the first ballot, the two candidates with the least votes were shed. Candidates then were given the opportunity to withdraw, and the whole thing started again. Since new ballots had to be printed for each turn, since MPs had to vote and since the new ballots had to be counted, the whole thing went on – and on – and on. Here’s my report:
- 1st ballot: Ms Harman 72, Bryant 98, Ms Hillier 10, Hoyle 211, Ms Laing 113, Leigh 12, Ms Winterton 46. Proceed to further ballot, because none got 50%. Hillier and Winterton out.
- 2nd ballot: Bryant 120; Harman 59; Hoyle: 244; Elinor Laing: 122; Winterton: 30. No member got 50%, so another ballot, Winterton out, Harman withdraws.
- 3rd ballot: Bryant 169; Hoyle 267; Laing 127; two spoilt ballot papers! Gasps! Laing is out.
- 4th and final ballot: Bryant 213 ; Hoyle 325; again: two spoilt ballots.
According to tradition, Hoyle was dragged to the chair. Mr Clarke had to ask the MPs if they agreed, and, on acclaim, pronounced: “the Ayes have it”. Mr Hoyle is now Mr Speaker, and his first words were “No clapping now” – which the MPs duly disregarded, for once. You can read a non-paywalled report here, paywalled ones are here and here.
From tomorrow onwards the theme will be the GE, in full industrial strength. Our MSM have already started, with the inevitable attack on Nigel Farage and TBP. We’re being peppered with polls showing the TBP cannot possibly win. Here is a non-paywalled report on TBP’s launch, paywalled reports are here and here.
But why are the Tories so fussed about TBP? Is it just about losing votes? Benedict Spence in the DT points out a problem which the Tories are creating for themselves by going after TBP. Observing that the Tories know they need to win the Leave votes in the ‘Labour heartlands’, he warns:
“For many Left-wing leavers, if the price of Brexit is enabling a Tory government, that may be too much for them to take; The Brexit Party comes with no such strings attached. Plenty may write it off as little more than a protest vote, or a pressure group, but why would that make people any less likely to vote for it? Protests are called to force change, after all, and what was Brexit if not a protest — a howl against the way the country was being run, and the direction it was going in? The sense of apathy towards the established parties was already set in stone — why not apply pressure to them by giving the vote to someone else?” (paywalled link)
Indeed why not! There’s more to which the ‘Tory good boys’ should pay attention. It’s called the ‘Law of Unintended Consequences’. Spence writes:
“[…] despite the pleading of many pundits and politicians for people not to waste a pro-Brexit vote on a party that cannot hope to win, to many this will sound like the thing Brexiteers have accused Remainers of for so long: Condescension, entitlement, the elites throwing a strop because normal people refuse to do as they are told. Perversely, the effort to discredit Farage may end up helping him — if the Tories go after him so viciously, it proves that he is no friend of theirs, making him instantly more appealing to many in those seats.” (paywalled link)
Labour has been swanning ahead – so far completely under the MSM’s radar. Leave or Remain – no difference: the ‘news’ is Farage, TBP, and the Tories’ attacks on them. It’s not even about policies – it’s only “TBP will wreck our Brexit” while disregarding the Labour Brexit policy and indeed most Labour policies.
Perhaps this may change in the coming days and weeks because there is one huge stink brewing: the threatened strike of the Royal Mail postal workers – just in time for the GE and the expected huge volume of postal votes. Non-paywalled reports are here and here, paywalled ones are here and here. The Times and DT report in a measured tone but make no bones about the fact that this is a politically motivated strike:
“The Communications Workers Union (CWU) on Monday revealed its latest strategy in industrial action was to refuse to deliver postal votes or campaign material unless the Royal Mail agrees a new deal on jobs and conditions. Returning officers warned that people planning to vote by post should consider whether to opt for a proxy vote instead amid fears millions of votes could go uncounted. Andrea Leadsom, the Business Minister, suggested the Communication Workers Union had deliberately timed the action to boost Labour’s chances at the ballot box. Studies have suggested that elderly people are more likely to request a postal vote, while nearly half of Tory voters are aged 65 or over.” (paywalled link)
Amazing, isn’t it: like the Tories, the Labour-supporting CWU believes that this will hurt the Tories because their ‘elderly voters’ are using the postal ballot – when we all know which group of the electorate is using postal votes practically exclusively!
Why, you might ask, are those groups not condemning that strike? Because returning officers are suggesting that proxy voting could be used instead … and it doesn’t take a political genius to foresee the possibilities of even more fraudulent voting – for the party in the red corner. Richard Littlejohn in the DM paints a grim picture:
“Although Royal Mail bosses say they will prioritise election material, including polling cards and ballot papers, widespread disruption would appear inevitable. We now face the depressing prospect of the election result being challenged by those who claim they have been denied the right to vote. […] It’s a prospect militant union leaders are relishing. One told a meeting at the weekend: ‘They won’t only say we stole Christmas, we’ll probably steal Brexit off them as well.’ (link)
Indeed, and that’s why Corbyn hasn’t reined in those union bosses: he and his advisors must calculate that damaging Christmas for their voters pales into insignificance when he can get into No 10 by any means possible. But perhaps this strike might turn out to be ‘a good thing’ after all. Littlejohn writes:
“Of course, if the strike does go ahead, there is one surefire way of preventing the election being disrupted. And that’s by getting rid of all postal voting, except for a few exceptions, such as the infirm and members of the military serving overseas. The whole system is completely out of hand and wide open to abuse. At the last general election, a staggering 8.4 million people voted by post — almost a fifth of the electorate. The same number of voters are expected to apply for postal ballots this time. You won’t convince me that the vast majority of them are incapable of getting to polling stations, which open from 7am to 10pm.” (link)
Odd that this doesn’t elicit more outrage in the MSM, but then, they are fixated on Farage while busily overlooking Corbyn. Their main aim is to scupper Brexit either directly by supporting, overtly or covertly, Lab and LibDem or by getting Johnson back in to push through his BRINO, sorry, mustn’t say that: his LINO.
That’s the state of affairs on this Guy Fawkes Day when Parliament will be dissolved. Tomorrow the GE truly kicks off. Meanwhile: keep vigilant, don’t believe the MSM or their polls and