Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Corbyn failing the test?

by Frank Schnittger Fri May 17th, 2019 at 02:39:44 PM EST

In a kindness to all concerned, Jeremy Corbyn has finally put an end to the the Conservative Labour talks aimed at finding a common solution to the parliamentary impasse on Brexit.  Everyone knew that both sides were simply playing for time, but it would have been farcical to continue after Theresa May had announced that her premiership was nearing its end.

Nevertheless his letter to her calling time on their joint efforts showed considerable more class than did her riposte. He thanked those involved in the talks for their detailed, constructive, and good faith efforts but said that the remaining differences between the parties combined with the instability of the government had made it impossible for them to succeed. For her part, May blamed divisions in Labour over a second referendum for the breakdown.

The reality is that Labour had offered her a lifeline to continue in office past the local and European elections, and if she really wanted a deal she could have had one. It would have meant compromising on her objections to a continued close relationship with the Customs Union and Single Market, and, in all probability, a second referendum to validate the deal. Without that there is no way Labour could be sure the next Tory PM would deliver on the deal.


But it is doubtful whether being kind to May has helped Labour in the opinion polling leading up to the European Parliament Elections. The latest polls show Labour slumping to 15% support - almost 20% behind the Brexit party on 35% and just behind the Lib Dems on 16%. It is little consolation to Labour that the Conservatives are in fifth place on 9%, behind the Greens on 10%.

Peter Kellner, in the Guardian, provides a detailed analysis of the latest You Gov poll:

Let's start with all those who voted Labour in 2017. The shift is clear. Defections to remain parties - the Liberal Democrats in particular - rose sharply, while those to leave parties did not. In late April, defections divided two to one in favour of remain parties; by last week, that had risen to three to one. More of those who voted Labour two years ago now plan to switch to one of the remain parties than plan to stay loyal to Labour.

That is not all. If we divide Labour's 2017 voters into remainers and leavers from 2016, we find - not surprisingly - that the change between the two surveys can be explained completely by those who voted remain. In late April 53% of Labour remainers said they'd now vote Labour, and 45% would vote for another remain party. Last week the number staying with Labour had dropped to 40%, and 57% said they'd look to other remain parties.

As for Labour leave voters, the picture is more intriguing. One-third remain loyal in both surveys, with half defecting to leave parties. But one in 10 Labour leave voters now support remain parties. This is consistent with the findings of other surveys: that a significant minority of Labour leave voters, but not Labour remain voters, are having second thoughts about the wisdom of Brexit.

That said, it remains the case that a fair number of Labour leave voters still want Brexit and plan to switch their support next week, overwhelmingly to the Brexit party. But this should be put in context. In the 2016 referendum, Labour supporters divided two to one in favour of remain. Today the ratio is three to one. This means the number of Labour remain defectors to remain parties is three times as large as Labour leave defectors to leave parties - and has continued to grow.

The bottom line is that Labour is haemorrhaging votes to both the committed Leave and Remain parties, although overwhelmingly and increasingly to the latter. Those who still want to Leave will switch to voting Brexit Party (12%); those who want to remain will vote Lib Dem (21%), Green (15%) or ChangeUK (5%).  In trying to keep both Leave and Remain voting Labour supporters on board, Corbyn has ended up in satisfying almost no one.

He has also damaged the Labour party brand by more closely associating it with a failing Conservative government and Prime Minister. The YouGov data shows precisely 0% of voters switching from Labour to the Conservatives.  What's the point, if they are both intent on pursuing similar policies?

It is probably too late, at this stage, to arrest the Labour decline by switching to a more clear cut Remain policy. Remain voters have simply lost patience with Labour's prevarication on the Second referendum issue. Even 10% of Labour Leave voters have simply changed their minds and have switched to supporting Remain parties.

There may not be a crisis of leadership in the Labour party at the moment, but there should be. 15% support at a time of unprecedented government unpopularity would be a disastrous result. I argued in Corbyn's Moment of Truth that "The real question mark over Corbyn is not his economic ideology or democratic credentials. It is whether he has the leadership abilities to pull Labour and the UK out of this mess."

It now looks likely he is going to fail that test. Only an unambiguous commitment to hold a second referendum on May's deal (or failing that, on the next Tory leader's NO deal Brexit) could save the Labour party now, and even then, it is probably too late to save it for these European elections. Even polling for the next general election is showing Labour and the Tories tied on 25% each with the Brexit party looming in the background on 18%, and the Lib Dems on 16%. Labour's place in the duopoly of power in Westminster is anything but secure.

Unless Corbyn is playing a long game, has written off the European elections, and is hoping to defeat a Boris Johnson led no deal supporting government at a general election in the autumn, his strategy makes no sense at all. My guess is that enough Tories will defect should Johnson be elected Leader that he will fail to secure election as Prime Minister and be forced to call a general election on that basis.

But its a high risk game, and there is no certainty that Corbyn would win it. Writing in the Guardian, Mary Kaldor argues:

Is there time to recover and move away from the brink? Labour is still the only party that can bring leavers and remainers together - and not through a vague attempt to triangulate with Brexiteers. It must take a firm position on remaining in the EU and combine this with a strategy to reform Europe and to end austerity: this would tackle the root causes of Brexit.

The remain parties, at least the Liberal Democrats and Change UK, merely offer a return to the status quo. The only way to take votes from the Brexit party is by making a credible commitment to employment, housing, and public services - and by refusing to pander to racist sentiment.

There is still a way for Labour to stop this Brexit juggernaut. If it ends the talks with the government, calls for a confirmatory vote on any deal and throws the well-oiled party machine into the election campaign, it is just possible that we can avoid the total meltdown that would result from the Brexit party triumphing on 23 May.

Regrettably, she seems to be arguing more out of hope than conviction. The European elections are in less than a weeks time...

Display:
Frank: Without that there is no way Labour could be sure the next Tory PM would deliver on the deal.

Especially if the next PM is BoJo.

by Bernard on Fri May 17th, 2019 at 07:09:34 PM EST
I expect BoJo to win the Tory leadership contest, but wonder if the HOC will elect him PM...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 17th, 2019 at 08:41:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What would happen then? New elections?
by Bernard on Sat May 18th, 2019 at 12:58:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which Johnson wins. In which case, the only solution is Brecht's in Die Lösung.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat May 18th, 2019 at 01:04:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
= the government should dissolve the people and elect another one.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sun May 19th, 2019 at 08:07:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian, with the rest of the UK press, is still running an unprecedented anti-Corbyn smear and fear campaign.

It's even worse on social media where there's an organised campaign to peel off Corbyn supporters from Remain to the LibDems and give Farage a clear victory.

The reality is that the LDs are more interested in stopping Labour than they are in stopping Farage. They'll happily take second place in the elections even if it means a clear majority for Farage.

The only upside I can see is that if Farage wins - likely - he'll run his own MPs in a GE.

At best this will split the far-right vote and create big problems for the Tories. At worst it will give a combined Brexit/Tory party enough of a majority to force No Deal through.

Personally I am appalled by the venal self-serving stupidity of CHUK and the LibDems, and even more appalled by the stupidity of Remain voters who can't see how easily they're being played here.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 18th, 2019 at 04:22:21 PM EST
Honestly it's astounding to me that anybody would ever vote Lib-Dem again after CleggsyBear's time in government.

That said:

On the one hand, Corbyn seems -- as far I can make out -- to have a problem of his own making, in that he seems to be fundamentally against the EU but not quite willing to say it and say what he'd like to do.

On the other, Labour voters don't appear to know what they want either.  So Corbyn's trying to balance groups that simply can't be balanced.

Same is obviously true of the Tories and May (more so really).

The whole thing just seems like a mess.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue May 21st, 2019 at 01:12:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What choice to Remainer Labour voters have - except to abstain or vote Lib Dem (21%), Green (15%) or ChangeUK (5%) -  when Corbyn is still pursuing a Brexit deal and is not being entirely clear whether he will put that deal to a public vote? Not a very exciting range of options for most, but needs must...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 21st, 2019 at 05:09:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They have no choice at all since the result of the election has no bearing on the future relationship with the EU.
by generic on Tue May 21st, 2019 at 05:45:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Labour Remainers should vote Labour as usual, because the primary goal in this election is to do as much damage to the Brexit Party as possible.

If the Brexit Party wins a relative landslide, Labour's Brexit policy - whatever it turns out to be - stands every chance of becoming an irrelevance.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue May 21st, 2019 at 09:16:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Labour's policy, "whatever it turns out to be" is an irrelevance now, because most of their potential voters are choosing to vote for clearly defined Leave or Remain parties. Arguably a vote for the Lib Dems, 6% ahead of Labour in latest YouGov poll is a more definitive vote for Remain than a vote for a Labour party which no one quite knows where it will end up.

By your own logic, a vote for the Lib Dems is the way to do as much damage as possible to the Brexit Party right now. See also the trend...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed May 22nd, 2019 at 09:23:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can pick and chose your polls for any result you want though:


(though of course I admit that Labour's polling is down)

I still fail to see how a vote at the European election influences anything with the possible exception of a BREXIT blowout. Will Theresa May feel morally obliged to run a second referendum? Boris Johnson? Nearly all of Labour already voted for a second referendum. There were something like 40 defections? How many of those would switch the vote even if Corbyn whipped until his hands fell off?

by generic on Wed May 22nd, 2019 at 09:57:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is why I focus on the trend of all polls, although even that didn't help me much with the last US Presidential election.

Personally I think the outcome is very hard to predict because turnout is hard to predict. Will Remainers treat it as a proxy referendum on membership and so turn out in force? Are hard core Brexiteers the most angry and motivated to turn out? We know many Tories won't bother to vote, but what about most Labour supporters?

As for impact/influence, a runaway victory for the Brexit party would provide BoJo with the mandate he needs for a no deal Brexit. Conversely, if the combined Remainer parties out poll the combined Leaver parties, that would increase pressure for a formal second referendum.

The final result is no more binding on the political parties than the Brexit referendum was, but we saw how much political influence that has had. Either way, I think May's deal is dead, especially if the Brexit party out polls the Tories and Labour combined - a distinct possibility.

It will be no deal or no Brexit, and that could be determined by how well the Remainer parties do.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed May 22nd, 2019 at 10:33:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, that's not going to happen. British politics is Winner Takes All and there is zero point pretending there's a vague aspirational coalition of Remain intention when no such coalition exists, formally or otherwise.

The British media certainly aren't go to read it like that.

It is absolutely guaranteed that if - when? - Farage wins by a big majority over the runner-up party, he will claim a mandate for No Deal.

And the Tory media and some of the supposedly not-so-Tory media will echo that.

The only way to prevent that would have been to allow Labour to beat TBR. But the LDs have run a very effective spoiler campaign, so that's not going to happen now.

They're clearly happy with second place, and second place is the best they'll get - which may appear to be good news for them, but it's going to be an utter PR disaster for Remain.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed May 22nd, 2019 at 01:13:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea well obviously anyone who gets 35% has an overall mandate for whatever they want. Just how stupid can the British people be?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed May 22nd, 2019 at 02:19:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not as stupid as the French, evidently. 24% is enough for us.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed May 22nd, 2019 at 03:20:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the magic of FPTP and Winner Takes All.

Voters literally do not understand PR in the UK. There is no public concept of power-sharing or consensus negotiation.

It's all about winners and losers - which is why we have the (now majority) Remain voters being ignored, while Leavers bang on about how they won a referendum and Westminster has to do everything they want.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed May 22nd, 2019 at 04:07:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The French never seem to get it either. The EU election is being frantically pitched by Macron and Le Pen as a knockout contest between the two of them; when it is in fact a mutually-beneficial tango.

This has been amazingly effective in demobilizing left-wing voters (or at least, those who had any motivation left after Hollande's abysmal presidency)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu May 23rd, 2019 at 12:04:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But that is the point: The non-binding referendum only became The Will of The People™ because May offered a vision forward for the Tories after Cameron dropped the ball: Use Brexit to absorb the far-right back into the party and wipe out Labour in a moment of weakness. Everything else followed from there.
So the question of mandates doesn't really arise. The question is what can they get away with?
by generic on Wed May 22nd, 2019 at 01:16:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think there is also a second side to this: Usually you'd expect the centrist media to switch immediately from this referendum is of the utmost importance, read all about it in these pages, to well it was advisory and doesn't mean much. Sure, the right wing money boys want to see the country burn and loot the corpse, but the ruling class faction broadly collected behind the Blairites want buisness as usual. So why did they sit on their hands here? The main story they were pushing at the time was that Corbyn lost the referendum and had to go. Can't simultaneously argue that it didn't mean anything.
by generic on Wed May 22nd, 2019 at 05:50:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a lot of questions in there.

Corbyn's usp is that he he is truthful, more than most politicians his word is his bond. He said at the outset that he would respect the democratic decision of the British people in the referendum by and he has stuck to his guns.

Yes, the referendum was stupid, not just in terms of the inane question or how corrupted it was, but because it was trying to fix a schism that existed more in the Tory party than in the country. Yet, rather than healing the wound, the referendum has metastisized this scratch into a chasm that runs right down the country.

However, for many of the people, whichever way they voted, this is now a settled result and they have expected the politicians to deliver.

Whatever the propaganda from the Tories and the media, Corbyn has kept his faith with those people. He has NOT betrayed them.

However, that was then. This is now. You are exactly right that there is no longer a significant Labour Leave/Remain coalition to appease. The last two years have fractured any pretence that these two blocs can have anything in common until the EU question is settled.

As for the referendum, I agree with Another Angry Voice that until the conditions that created the leave vote are fixed, another go-round is as idiotic a risk as the first one.


    And for the last year or so they've been utterly fixated on the idea of re-running the EU referendum despite absolutely no reforms to properly punish electoral cheats and liars, no new regulations for online social media dark ads, and no real outreach to left-behind communities to explain that it was Tory austerity fanaticism that trashed their wages, living standards, and communities since 2010, not immigrants and the EU (with absolutely no acknowledgement of the fact that losing another roll of the dice with the Tories still in power would create an inescapable double-mandate for ruinous hard-right economy-tanking, chaos-causing, job-destroying Tory administered Brexit farce).

An awful lot of people in the liberal media are so economically insulated from real world issues (wage repression in-work benefit cuts, sanctions, workfare, disability denial, child poverty, public service cuts, the housing crisis, exploitative employment practices, food banks ...) that they simply can't grasp what's actually going on in the UK, why people are so angry, and why "more of the same" just won't cut it any more.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat May 18th, 2019 at 05:12:56 PM EST
Still, all of what I said above is by the by. May will step down in June and there will be a new Prime Minister. Frankly, and disastrously, it is looking certain that the new one will be an arch-Brexiteer, probably Boris. Yes, there will be defection from the Tories, but personally I doubt it will reach double figures.

Given the rhetoric currently flying around, it's seemingly likely that they will then simply run the clock down to the end of October and leave with no deal. Simply because the only deal available requires an Irish backstop which a majority of leavers have persuaded themselves in unacceptable.

In this scenario, Corbyn's view is irrelevant, for reasons I've detailed before. Which is fortunate because it means that the Tories will own this idiocy in its entirety.

And maybe we need to leave. There is a real crisis of political legitimacy in the country. Westminster has, for years, decades, debated and discussed thingswithout any seeming input from the majority of the country. After the crash of 2008, the tax evading/avoiding City 1% were bailed out, but the bills for that were passed on to the taxpayers. SMEs were driven out of business, mortages became unaffordable, wages stagnated but the unregulated rental sector operated by and for the 1% pushed rents through the roof. For which the government punished the poor by capping the amount of benefit available for rents.

Yes, we can say that the Leave vote was about all of the above and so much more, but these people will feel betrayed if their views are ignored. And there is only one place they will run if that happens, and that's into the welcoming arms of Nigel Farage. No deal will be bad, but a country run by a coalition of Farage and Boris will be even more of a dystopian nightmare. and then we will definitely leave.

So, maybe we need to leave now. Not because it's a good thing, it's not, but because it will quickly be seen to have been a mistake and we can begin to repar the damage more quickly. But if we fudge it and stay in, I doublt we'll be able to return for a generation.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat May 18th, 2019 at 05:42:16 PM EST
I understand the logic and feelings behind your comments above, but there are two sides to the Brexit equation and I doubt the EU would ever consider letting the UK back in after all that has happened. If you leave, it will be for good, come what may, and post Brexit relations may not even be very close or friendly if it ends up being a no deal Brexit. The UK may not become the North Korea of Europe (Gordon Brown), but it will come to be seen as a Trojan horse for a hostile USA in Europe.

So yes, there may be a crisis of political legitimacy if the UK stays in, but that problem may be more fixable than trying to reverse Brexit once Britain has left...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat May 18th, 2019 at 08:59:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK has  always been America's trojan horse, at least since thatcher.

We are the ones who spread the neoliberal poison. We are the ones who always put little blocks and impediments in every useful regulatory initiative. We were the ones preaching the US prosperity gospel in Brussels.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 19th, 2019 at 07:13:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK may not become the North Korea of Europe (Gordon Brown), but it will come to be seen as a Trojan horse for a hostile USA in Europe.
It may well become like Belarus, an authoritarian satellite of Russia outside the Council of Europe's Convention on Human Rights.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 21st, 2019 at 02:34:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Helen: And maybe we need to leave. There is a real crisis of political legitimacy in the country.

I don't quite see the connection there. Leaving isn't going to fix the problem of political legitimacy, unless you buy the raucous propaganda that says less than 52% is "the will of the people", and that the other half are not the people. You're not going to get any political legitimacy out of that deal.

There's a crisis of political legitimacy in France too, see gilets jaunes. Americans who support Trump reckon there's one in the US, too. We could list other "Western liberal democracies", Italy, for instance. But fixing the problem calls for changes in the system of political representation that would clear out the lobbies of the corporate rich and bring in the voices of the mass of people that are left out. In no way an entirely fabricated issue like "Leave" is going to do that. The unemployed of Merthyr or the Potteries will just get one more well-heeled kick in the teeth out of it.

Agreed, "Remain" isn't any more legitimate than "Leave" (fabricated issue etc...). But fixing the problem of political legitimacy in our worn-out democracies would mean a lot of hard, honest work, and no one in politics has been up for that for decades. (Minister, just go on mouthing the hollow words and making the customary gestures, and forget about the monster growing under your desk, OK?).

Add that neoliberalism has given us endless austerity, and you have the ideal conditions for the growth of fascism. "Leave" won't fix that.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sun May 19th, 2019 at 09:07:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Leave will fix the problem of political legitimacy in the same way that Weimar fixed its self-esteem issues by electing Hitler and destroying itself.

There will be no UK and probably no England by the time this is over. There may not even be much of an inhabitable area.

Assuming things don't get that bad, we'll have the traditional post-colonial fascist dictatorship, and it will be overthrown by the traditional popular uprising in x decades - x most likely being some random number between 1 and 5.

I have no idea what state the EU will be in then. If it's still functioning along more or less the same lines the Republic of Greater Britain will doubtless be keen to rejoin, and the EU is unlikely to have any serious objections.

Meanwhile this problem is caused by both personal and political senility. Batty old pensioners are the primary drivers, both in parliament and out of it. Poverty is certainly a contributor, but only to the extent that it gives working class xenophobes an easy - wrong - solution to their problems.

The bulk of Leavers are the over-55s - bitter, angry about their own personal decline, and apparently masochistic. Their numbers are thinning daily.

The question now is whether Boris plans to respect Parliament - in which case we're staying in, because No Deal isn't going to pass - or whether he's simply going to declare himself Dung Hill Emperor and get on with that fascism thing.

Given Bannon's influence, my guess is we'll see a Farage/Boris coalition. Hurrah.

(I'm glad I got out when I could.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun May 19th, 2019 at 11:31:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You got out? I must have missed that.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 21st, 2019 at 02:35:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep - now on the mainland. Sometimes it's even sunny.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue May 21st, 2019 at 09:18:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bwahahaha you've fallen for May's Cunning Plan haven't you?

This Is What She Intended All Along...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon May 20th, 2019 at 03:18:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Corbyn's mission is to change the UK and Labour, despite the massive resistance within his own party, capital interests and the media. To do that he needs first and foremost to hang on as Labour leader, and then win a general election. Unless a bad result in the EP election causes him to fall as a party leader or fail to win the next general election, he hasn't failed the test.

Also the poll where Labour got 15% isn't showing much of a decline, as the same pollster has had them at 16% in their last two polls. Said pollster - Yougov - has a history of massaging their numbers and presenting different numbers to different audience. They also have an inherently flawed method in their self-recruiting web panels. In short a shady web-poll, clad in the imagery of a proper pollster.

by fjallstrom on Sun May 19th, 2019 at 11:44:22 AM EST
The soft Brexit option would have been the sensible compromise but for whatever reason that boat has sailed. Within the process, Labour could have declared itself as the Remain party, representing the interests of the Remain voters during Brexit. Since Brexit is a Tory idea/project/conniption and Labour voters/supporters/members are mostly Remain, it would have been an elegant way to translate the referendum result into parliamentary action. While mostly avoiding the blame for the inevitable consequences of Brexit. But it was not to be. Hindsight...

As for Corbyn's ambitions, I understand that because of the rise of the SNP (and according Labour losses in Scotland) it's virtually impossible for Labour to get a majority in parliament without some kind of center appeal. SNP and especially LD would be wary to enter a coalition compromising themselves with Brexit unless there is a second ref. The UKChange&whatnot nine day wonders (what are they called now?) are a non-factor.

Meanwhile, the Faragists will always be around. Obviously more if Brexit doesnt go ahead. But they will always have something to complain about. Which is what they really want. The 10-15% sediment is a permanent feature. And also the Brexit division in society. That stupid talk of 'healing' and 'uniting' the country or even parties like the Tories or Labour is not helpful. So go on with Brexit, preferably soft. But it will take a generation and a lot of natural personnel change to make England normal again.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Sun May 19th, 2019 at 12:55:02 PM EST
Corbyn's test is to separate from the Tories (in contrast to Blair) and look reasonable (in contrast to the daily defamations in the corporate whore media), the goal being to leave the Tories in government as long as possible so they may really most sincerely hang themselves.  Let's face it, trying to be the government in the UK right now is like trying to pick up a turd by the clean end (BoJo has a delusional advantage here; he believes he IS the clean end.).  In the meantime, what is actually being lost?  Some EP seats?  Oh well.  Those MEPs are instant lame ducks, and whether Remainer or Brexiteer, they will look very silly trying to accomplish anything.  And after Brexit happens, both CHUD..er..CHUK and the Lib Dems will lose their distinctive issue and will return to their brilliant impersonation of a flounder flopping around too far from the water's edge.  Not a look calculated to attract voters, as the Lib Dems have proved for years.
by rifek on Mon May 20th, 2019 at 12:13:09 AM EST
I suspect you are right and that Corbyn has dismissed the EP elections as a matter of no importance right now, but that is to ignore the momentum they could give to Farage and BoJo. If Farage "wins" the EP elections with 30% the media will studiously ignore the fact that Remainer parties got more than that and will focus on Labour being humiliated despite the fact that the Tories polled far worse.

Momentum for a second referendum could stall, and disgruntled Tory MPs could fall in behind a BoJo premiership where he can simply run the clock down to a no deal Brexit. Perhaps that is what Corbyn wants, but I doubt that is what a growing majority of Britons want.

But hey, they don't matter much anyway do they? Despite the pretence at "populism".

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon May 20th, 2019 at 12:39:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm more and more convinced that the primary aim of the LDs has always been to keep Labour out of power. They'll use any pretext to help that, and Brexit is an exceedingly effective one.

Remain on FB is currently being carpet-bombed by "Labour is a Brexit Party" posts, which suggests a handy false equivalence between Labour's nuanced - and probably unachievable, certainly without a PV - Brexit goals, and Tory/TBP Fuck You No Deal.

And it's working. Farage is set to walk it, and of course that puts No Deal back on the table.

It's hard to work out which LDs are paid trolls and which are just a bit stupid and gullible, but fanatically zealous in their self-harming pursuit of a Remain result that will make No Deal more likely.

Of course I could be wrong about all of this, but I'm really not seeing how "The Remain Party" coming a distant second to "The Brexit Party" helps Remain in any way.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon May 20th, 2019 at 10:59:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Criticising Lib Dems for being Lib Dems and trying to maximise their vote by hoovering up disgruntled Remainers is hardly a valid criticism. If Corbyn wanted to go after Remainer votes, he knows what he has to do - unequivocally support a second referendum.

The Lib Dems are essentially a status quo party but Labour's change agenda - such as it is - is being drowned out by the Brexit issue which currently Trumps all else. With the Tories also likely to go radical no deal Brexit under a new leader, there may actually be a huge opportunity for a status quo centre ground party to replace either Labour or the Tories in the Westminster duopoly, just as the Brexit Party threatens to do to the Tories.

Corbyn has been absolutely consistent - he wants a general election and may very well get one if Boris fails to muster a Commons majority. If the Brexit party is more successful at splitting the right wing vote than the Lib Dems are at pealing off Labour supporters, then Corbyn will win that one if he promises a second referendum on any new BREXIT deal which Labour manages to negotiate. The SNP could help him make up the numbers...

He can then claim a democratic mandate for whatever the electorate decides and get on with implementing the rest of Labours anti-austerity programme.  In this scenario, the EP elections are little more than a glorified  opinion poll with the potential to almost destroy the Tories. Farage will crow that he is the next prime Minister in waiting and hard Brexiteers could desert the Tories in a general election as well.

Lots of ifs and buts, and very risky. I think he should have taken the EP elections much more seriously and offered a second referendum now. But its probably too late to make that offer now and he will just have to take a Brexit party win on the chin. The latest opinion polls put him way out in front of the Lib Dems and within striking distance of the Brexit party in any case...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon May 20th, 2019 at 12:29:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Conservatives take power at Bolton Council as agreement reached | The Bolton News
THE Conservatives will lead Bolton Council as smaller parties make a deal to appoint David Greenhalgh as council leader.

But for the whole country. Again.

by generic on Mon May 20th, 2019 at 01:30:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And also for the fact that according to Cable, the current LibDem Remain Masterplan seems to be to support May's Deal and hope a PV amendment attached to it will pass.

It's absolutely fair to criticise them for all of this. Of course they're playing party politics, but that's hardly an excuse when there's so much at stake.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon May 20th, 2019 at 01:50:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There may be local factors at play, but the Lib Dems supporting the Conservatives to keep Labour out is not a good look when translated to the national level. It reminds voters of the Lib Dem Conservative coalition many Lib Dems would rather the voters forgot.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon May 20th, 2019 at 02:09:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I see a slightly different scenario playing out over the summer; to whit-

May will be destroyed at the next vote for her idiot deal. Although there will be an attempt at making a decent fight of it, BoJo will be crowned king of the shit-heap within weeks.

At which point, the Tory party will suffer a major split. The membership are fairly solid brexit and I imagine you could look to 200 solid hard right no-deal leavers within the Parliamentary party with around 50-100 fsm knows) committed leavers who will follow the pack.

Which leaves 20 odd (Amber Rudd, Rory Stewart and a few others) looking at each other and wondering where they go from there. Especially when (not if) Boris decides he's gonna tack harder to the popullist right to attempt to hoover up the Farage-ist voters.

I suspect they're gonna abandon ship and join the LibDems. Strong rumours that Heidi Allen, who left the Tories to join TInGe/ChangeUK/CUcK  will be soon leaving to join the LibDems as well. I suspect Tinge may soon disappear with almost all of them, realising their bid to change the dynamic has failed, will decide they stand far more chance of retaining their seat in parliament if they are LibDems.

The LibDems may need to recognise that their main usp will become "Business First" where business is actually manufacturing and SMEs. So they'll need to abandon their Danny alexander-led push into the City and start talking to people outside of london.

So, as we roll towards October we'll have a nationalist Tory party no longer able to get a majoirty in the Commons (expecially as the DUP know a no deal stance is gonna hurt their own base hardest), a business LibDem and Labour. I reckon Boris will face a no-confidence motion and will lose it. Election in november with the EU more or less saying that if a brexit party wins, it's no deal the next day. That's gonna concentrate minds somewhat.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon May 20th, 2019 at 02:16:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Election in november with the EU more or less saying that if a brexit party wins, it's no deal the next day.

That's not how it works. I don't think there is any mechanism to shorten an A50 period except a withdrawal agreement going into force.

Still think it's 50-50 that Boris issues an A50 revocation immediately on taking power, blaming May and Corbyn for fucking it up.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon May 20th, 2019 at 02:41:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well,you've surprised me there. Let just say you could be a rich man if you put a euro on that bet in a bookies and it happened.

I think if he did that he'd be lynched, by his own party.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon May 20th, 2019 at 02:47:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would put nothing past Boris. He could claim to be revoking A.50 to give himself two years to negotiate a better deal. Then when the EU even refuses to meet him to discuss renegotiating the deal he would claim that he will disrupt EU business until such time as they beg to reopen negotiations. When the EU still studiously ignores him - and sends middle ranking civil servants to discuss "technical details" or "clarifications", Boris will claim a great victory.

Still don't think it will happen. But as I said "Boris is Boris".

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon May 20th, 2019 at 03:35:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm assuming Boris is Bannon's man, so this is not going to happen.

Brexit is an oligarch project, and while Boris is shameless to his public, behind the scenes he knows who his bosses are. (In fact he considers himself one of them, although of course he isn't.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon May 20th, 2019 at 05:32:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh come on, he'll cast it as not letting those bloody Europeans throw us out, we'll show them who's boss and shake his tousled hair and all the blue rinses will go weak at the knees.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue May 21st, 2019 at 07:21:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
re- the A50 thing.

The extension runs out at the end of October. I can see the EU allowing a time out for the election, which would probably happen in early Nov by my reckoning. But they would only countenance a further extension if a remain party won.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon May 20th, 2019 at 02:50:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Tories are going to jump ship in October, I don't see why they wouldn't do it in July when Boris is looking to be elected PM. Some may be bought off with promises of Cabinet positions and vague promises to renegotiate the deal but most, I suspect, will know they won't last after Brexit day.

So we could have a weird situation where Boris is elected Tory leader but cannot win election as PM, which means May is still "caretaker" PM when the election is being held - a sort of Zombie undead overseeing the whole process...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon May 20th, 2019 at 03:45:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boris is elected Tory leader but cannot win election as PM, .....

I may have misunderstood the point you have made a couple of times about Boris being elected by "The Commons" but, as I understand it, if Boris is selected as one of two by the Tory MPs (from a field currently of about 16) and then chosen as leader from those two by the 120,000 or so ageing party members, he is the PM; there is no separate election of PM. The procedure is described here.

Unless the field is whittled down, this procedure could take several weeks - more wasting time that we don't have.

Boris does then have to select a cabinet and maintain the confidence of the cabinet and his fellow MPs!.

by oldremainmer48 on Mon May 20th, 2019 at 04:08:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No. As I understand it the election of a new Tory leader and of a new PM are entirely separate and distinct events with different electorates for each.

Under current rules Tory MP's whittle down the list of contenders to two, and these last two are then voted on by the party membership to determine the new Tory leader.

That leader then seeks to win election as PM where the electorate is the whole house of Commons. The new Tory leader doesn't simply inherit the office of Prime Minister from his predecessor as Tory leader. Theresa May remains acting PM until a successor IS elected.

If no one can win a majority of the House of Commons, a general election is probably the only way to resolve the impasse, although it is possible for the Tory leadership to nominate someone else for the office of PM and that person can become PM if they can persuade the Queen asks him/her to form a government and they win a vote in the House of Commons.

Given the egos involved, that is most unlikely to happen.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon May 20th, 2019 at 09:06:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as I know, there is no formal Parliamentary election of the PM. The party leader who appears most likely to be able to command a majority in support of her government is invited by the monarch to form that government. If the majority is in fact tenuous, the Opposition will quickly exploit that fact and bring the government down.

Example:

(Wikipedia): On 13 July 2016, two days after becoming Leader of the Conservative Party, May was appointed Prime Minister by Queen Elizabeth II, becoming only the second female British Prime Minister after Margaret Thatcher.

After all, this is a monarchy.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Tue May 21st, 2019 at 07:38:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AFAIK The Queen may ask Boris to form a government, but that government must then win a vote of confidence in the House of Commons for it to actually take office/remain in office - the difference may be a matter of days. I am not clear whether a person who has been asked to form a government but fails to achieve a Commons majority for his government remains as PM in a caretaker capacity - as it would be open to the Queen to ask someone else to form a government in that circumstance. As no one else is likely to be able to form a government with a majority, a general election seems the almost inevitable outcome.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 21st, 2019 at 05:33:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't believe there is any obligation to table a confidence motion. The Government has to show it can get its legislation through Parliament and can deal with necessary business. If it has difficulty doing this, the Opposition will table a no-confidence motion. If this is carried, the Government has 14 days in which to win a vote "That this House has confidence in Her Majesty's Government".

Other votes which may demonstrate confidence / no confidence are the Queen's Speech and the Budget.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Tue May 21st, 2019 at 07:14:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why wouldn't the opposition table vote of no confidence straight away, in order to test whether BoJo had a majority in the House behind him? AFAIK there is no requirement for Labour to wait until BoJo can't pass a major piece of legislation like the Budget - which won't be until the Autumn anyway...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 21st, 2019 at 10:17:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That would be a matter of judgement for the Opposition. If they think they're in with a chance of victory, if they want to clear up who really supports the government, then they could go with the no-confidence motion immediately. Logically, it's what would happen if the Gov majority was apparently flimsy.

For this reason, there are "consultations" before the monarch calls a person to the Palace to ask them to form a government. It has to be shown that the proposed PM can really command a majority, even as slim as May's. In other words, if May hadn't negotiated with the DUP (even for just "confidence and supply"), she wouldn't have been appointed.

If Parliament is well and truly hung, there will have to be another election.

That's the best of my understanding, taking into account that the UK constitution is largely a matter of convention, not of written rules.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed May 22nd, 2019 at 06:29:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea - convention is a great guide, until it isn't...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed May 22nd, 2019 at 10:35:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps the Speaker will come up with a coherent process? That would be fun. And give him a bit of a legacy. The Bercow process.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed May 22nd, 2019 at 01:53:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: Labour will try to force a vote of no confidence in the next prime minister as soon as they take office, John McDonnell said, as Conservative candidates throw their hats into the ring to succeed Theresa May.


I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sat May 25th, 2019 at 11:35:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Mon May 20th, 2019 at 12:14:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon May 20th, 2019 at 12:32:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At least take the time to familiarise yourself with a parties program before unfairly maligning them:
by generic on Tue May 21st, 2019 at 09:25:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Wed May 22nd, 2019 at 04:21:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair enough, I suppose, if you take the view that Brexit will lead to a break-up of the UK...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed May 22nd, 2019 at 06:23:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Well, you see, it wasn't the message we were going for originally, but it polled a lot better, you see, so we just decided to go with it."
by Zwackus on Thu May 23rd, 2019 at 02:26:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just a dog-whistle to DUP voters.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Thu May 23rd, 2019 at 07:32:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Didn't realise there were so many potential DUP voters in Britain. (ChangeUK don't have any candidates in N. Ireland...)

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 23rd, 2019 at 02:40:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The photo on the right seems to be chanelling the Who.
But maybe the Sex Pistols would be better?

Anna Soubry in the UK!

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu May 23rd, 2019 at 12:10:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Literally the fun police:

by generic on Tue May 21st, 2019 at 09:22:18 PM EST
by generic on Wed May 22nd, 2019 at 06:14:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]

Top Diaries