OH DEAR

According to the BBC’s  Laura Kuenssberg, one government minister (unnamed) says that Mr Bercow is ‘breaking the constitution’ by stopping May calling yet another vote on her deal.

Given that there is no written constitution (Britain being too important to need one, obviously), and everything appears to be decided by custom and practice, and given that (not in this clip, but elsewhere) Channel Four news, a more reliable source than the BBC, dates this custom, or “convention” back to a time before the United Kingdom existed, 1604, I think that the unnamed government minister was probably wise to demand anonymity.

As the Speaker said, this is not his final ruling on the subject. Presumably, it will be for him and his team of legal and constitutional experts to say whether Mrs May’s proposals for the next “meaningful vote”  are sufficiently “substantially different” from those previously rejected twice, to be acceptable in custom. But it’s surely yet another humiliation for the Maybot that she even had to be told this.

Image result for Theresa May

Either she is very badly advised by the legal people at No 10 or, and I suspect this is more likely, she stubbornly refuses to accept advice from anyone.

Even if a prime or first minister were very clever and had a good grounding in constitutional law, he or she would be ill-advised not to listen to learned advice. Mrs May who has neither of these attributes seems to be very foolish to trust her own and Philip’s judgement.

She also seems to have a very thick skin.

**********

I just saw this on Miguel’s timeline.

No policies, no plan to get us out of the horrific mess we are in what with Brexit and austerity.

But we bloody well HATE the SNP and that should be enough.

68 thoughts on “OH DEAR”

    1. Of course, by tyrannical you mean Democratic, it is a sad day when you compare Tories riding roughshod over the Will of the Scottish people to a democratic chamber in Scotland, so I’d guess your either mischief making or, a very silly man.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. no SNP tyranny but we could indeed do with Bercow, despite being vain and pompous, because at least he stands up for the parliament he sits in and its rights. Unlike Ken MacIntosh.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Tris
    I watched the statement while I was waiting on a plumber who never arrived.
    There were some moans but no one really went mental. I think most of them didn’t actually understand what he was saying to be honest. Parliament can overturn it if a majority vote to suspend the precedent or some shit like that. I saw the Kussemburg tweet and just ignored it as she has a problem with the truth, as we know the BBC do, especially the last couple of days where they have been gloating in their lies from 2014.

    May will just try and bring the vote back somehow, she isn’t very self aware as we know. She will promise the bigots a squillion pounds or something and promise to abolish the Pope for their support. No doubt they will be hating Bercow which is funny. I don’t like the man but I think he sticks to the rules even if he does on occasion get wrapped into the SNP bad stuff. Where now? Who knows really. It’s all a shambles and while people seem to think Brexit will be delayed I’m not so sure. With all the money moving to the EU maybe they will decide enough is enough, you’ve insulted us enough. What a shambles.

    Bruce

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Even political commentators with years of experience are left completely at a loss to say what next.

      I’m going to Glasgow on Saturday to rally to remind the Scottish government that we want out of his shambles NOW.

      Incidentally, the Leader of the House has just indicated that she thinks a Speaker’s Conference on this would not be held with respect. Leadsom now at war with the Speaker.

      Parliament has fallen into a deep hole.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Oh dear, Richard… you are right. And I just booked bus tickets for Saturday…
          Thanks for alerting me. I’ll change them… or get new ones.

          Like

      1. I wish I could go with you to Glasgow, Tris! The indyref2 announcement we’ve all been waiting for is much later than I thought it would be. It is maddening to have it so contingent on the antics of those scary clowns down south, one of whom is the loathsome Leadsom. If she’s trying to stick her oar into the general game-playing and grubby underhand dickering, I don’t suppose anyone much will be trembling in their boots. Not many lumens emanating from that one.

        I don’t rate Bercow very highly either, but I’m glad he’s stuck a spoke in the Maybot’s wheel. I was wondering if he ever would – no sane parliamentary body can afford to allow the Leader, or the Leaderene, to keep on bringing up the same subject time after time until she gets the answer she wants. She’s already using the pork barrel to get or keep the DUP on side, which is a democratic outrage, and apparently canvassing a number of Labour MPs with a view to pork-barreling them into line too, yet another democratic outrage that would have led to calls for her to resign in disgrace in normal times. But then we already knew that the woman has no shame and a hide like a rhinoceros, and that the Tory leadership’s own self-interest trumps democracy, the rule of law and the truth every time.

        Shame, shame, shame on them all.

        I want BoJo, Rees-Smaug or Govey of the eminent Backpfeifengesicht to take over from May, because they are so snottily obnoxious, snidely superior and sickeningly offensive that any of them as PM would guarantee that most of us Scots would vote for independence.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/brexit-theresa-ally-threatens-end-14154450

    So, they could ask the queen to prorogue parliament so that next week there could be a queen’s speech and they could re-introduce the Meaningful Vote for a third time.

    How embarrassing that would be if they lost AGAIN…

    Of course, a halfway decent head of state wouldn’t allow this obvious manipulation of the “constitution” for such manipulative reasons. Do we have one of these?

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Dear Theresa,

    I recognise that this is a critical week for Brexit, ahead of the European Council at the end of the week. It is therefore with concern that I have read press reports over the weekend about offers you may be making to the Democratic Unionist Party, upon whom you rely for a working majority in the House of Commons. As a consequence I wanted to seek clarity and assurance from you at the outset.

    Since the EU referendum in 2016 there has been sustained and consistent damage done to the devolution settlement, and to the idea that the UK is a partnership of equal nations. As you are aware, like Northern Ireland, Scotland voted to remain in the European Union.

    In the past two years however, Scotland’s wishes and national interests have been roundly ignored and at times treated with contempt by the UK Government.

    I now have three further major concerns over what appears, from reports, to be your strategy for securing a majority for your Brexit deal. By according the DUP disproportionate influence, it seems clear that maintaining your majority in the UK Parliament comes before respect for the properly constituted governments across the UK.

    Firstly, there must be no question of one political party – the DUP – being represented in talks on the future trade relationship between the UK and EU when other political parties and Devolved Governments are not. As you are aware, in August 2018, the Scottish Government published a paper in respect of our role in International Trade negotiations. There has been no indication that the UK Government is taking these proposals seriously, although there has since been support for a greater role for devolved administrations in trade negotiations from both the International Trade and Scottish Affairs select Committees in the House of Commons. In addition, there have been no meaningful moves to ensure the devolved governments have a properly enhanced role in the next phase of EU-UK negotiations.

    Secondly, the UK Government’s proposals to the DUP appear to involve a serious curtailment of the powers of the Scottish Parliament. Indeed in seeking to obtain support for your deal in December the UK Government committed, in the event that the Protocol on Northern Ireland is required, “to ensure that there would be no divergence in the rules applied in Great Britain and Northern Ireland in areas covered by the Protocol”. Many of the relevant rules fall within devolved competence and therefore it is not in the gift of the UK Government to unilaterally constrain the powers of the Scottish Parliament in order to strike a deal with the DUP. Continued alignment can only be guaranteed with the full support of the Scottish Government and Parliament. As you will be aware, the Scottish Government continues to be concerned that Scotland will be placed at a disadvantage if your proposals take effect.

    Finally, we continue to see decisions from the UK Government which undermine and discredit the existing UK funding framework and which short-change Scotland. In 2017, The UK Government provided an additional £1 billion to Northern Ireland as part of the confidence and supply agreement between the Conservative Party and the Democratic Unionist Party and recently it allocated another £140 million in Northern Ireland’s 2019-20 Budget. These funds were allocated to devolved matters and it is completely unacceptable that these decisions did not result in additional consequentials for Scotland. The UK Government’s actions mean that Scotland has lost out on equivalent funding of around £3.3 billion. The UK Government cannot continue to favour Northern Ireland over the other devolved administrations for short-term political gain and we expect any future funding to be allocated in a fair and transparent manner.

    I have said and will continue to say that while there is no broad consensus in the UK Parliament for your Brexit deal, the decision ought to be put back to the people in a second EU referendum – that is the responsible and democratic thing to do. However should the UK continue on a path to exiting the EU, then there must be fair and equal treatment of the four nations of the UK in relation to influence over and a role in the negotiations of the future relationship through the properly constituted devolved institutions.

    At present, far from ensuring such fair treatment you appear to be pursuing a path that privileges one political party, further constrains the powers of the Scottish Parliament and short-changes public spending in Scotland. This approach would not be acceptable.

    Nicola Sturgeon

    Liked by 7 people

    1. She’s quite astonishingly, brilliantly, good.

      If anyone can see us through the reefs and rip-tides, then she can.

      I suspect she can.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. She’s missing the “If you don’t start respecting us, we will have no option but to go independent” line.

      When dealing with narcissists you *have* to spell out firm consequences, or they’ll just sit back and ignore you.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. And while we’re on the subject of legal nonsense coming from the Tories, here’s a look into the real nature of the Vienna Convention or How to Pretend that a Back Stop can be abandoned at will … or more probably not :

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Point taken, but this appears to me to be a bit different? The Speaker of the House of Commons is apparently re-claiming authority, viz a viz our beloved Prime Minister? This is frankly abnormal, as far as I remember it.

        Perhaps you recall a Speaker doing that before?

        I don’t.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well, in the House, the Speaker has all the authority, just as the Presiding Officer does in our parliament.

          As the full version of the speech points out, it has not been necessary for a Speaker to make that kind of decision in the last 99 years, because governments have largely taken heed to the convention.

          This government has clearly broken with that tradition.

          Like

          1. This is a case of parliament asserting itself once again. Even just a few years ago the Tories lost a vote on military action in Syria. There was no question of a repeat vote, even after the situation in Syria changed.

            Theresa May has been undermining parliamentary norms for some time now – refusing to bring motions, ignoring parliament, contempt of parliament, refusing to publish evidence vital to economic stability, Henry VIII powers. She’s done this by invoking the will of the people.

            I think Bercow’s intervention is what parliamentary sovereignty actually looks like.

            Liked by 3 people

            1. And without the likes of Gina Millar she would have done even more.

              I was just wondering what the hell else can go wrong for this ill-fated woman. Queen Midas in Reverse?

              I just saw this …

              James Felton

              @JimMFelton
              Following Following @JimMFelton

              Still can’t believe we’re two weeks away from Brexit and we don’t even know if we’re two weeks away from Brexit

              Spot on!

              Like

            2. It is supremely dangerous in any liberal democracy for the Executive to take advantage of “the will of the people” to subvert the normal procedures, checks and balances. We have seen the May regime bypass the legislature, or try to; and we have seen it arrogate to itself powers that rightly belong to the legislature. We have also seen its more odious supporters in the media condemn the judiciary for ruling in favour of the sovereignty of the Parliament, which is what the whole Brexit imbroglio was supposed to be about in the first place.

              I now invoke Godwin’s law and say that the closest parallel to this is when Hitler took came to power in Weimar Germany – the political and legal manoeuvres he engaged in to cement his regime’s hold on power were eerily similar. Most of us do not realize the peril we are in.

              Perhaps less tendentiously, we should recall that the Westminster regime’s placepeople in the European Parliament voted against a motion censuring the fascist Orban regime, and also that Farage recently went on a European tour with a view to persuading the distasteful Hungarian and Polish regimes to veto any attempt to postpone Brexit.

              One of the significant benefits of independence, it seems to me, would be not having Farage spout his distasteful nonsense every other day on State media.

              Liked by 3 people

  4. Ouch. That’s got to hurt.
    Perhaps TM could propose separate motions for each substantive part of the Withdrawal Agreement.
    For what it’s worth “sources” tell me that Brexit is a done deal and is happening on 29March.
    Basel 3 comes into force on 31 March so Brexit has to be done and dusted by then.

    Danny will be pleased that the Mueller report is due out soon and it will exonerate 4,10,20. Thereafter he will be free to pursue justice and turn the guns on the Dems, FBI, DOJ and CIA and a slew of foreign actors., including a lot in the UK. Fun fun fun just what Nikos favourites, the SNP, are waiting on. Indy will be a shoe-in thereafter. Oh Happy days.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks. Very touching.

      Tears here. What fantastic kids. Things must be seriously hard for them at the moment.

      …Oh, and it’s always fine to go off topic here.

      That’s what it’s all about.

      Your space as much as it’s Munguins.

      Like

    1. Oh… that’s interesting.

      I wonder which opinion will prevail.

      I have great respect for Jo Maugham, but I suspect that Bercow wouldn’t have made that statement without the legal backing of the parliamentary legal team, versed in Erskine May and costitutional law.

      To be proven wrong would be a massive humiliation for him.

      Like

      1. I think Bercow’s right on this one. Maugham’s argument is that circumstances have changed but misses the point which is that the parliamentary convention refers to motions being put to the House not “circumstances”. The fact that the ERG may have had a change of heart or that the DUP have been persuaded by some additional scratchings from the bottom of the pork barrel might alter circumstances but they don’t alter the proposition being put before parliament. Nor does it in any way undermine parliament; parliament have had their meaningful vote ( in fact they’ve had it twice).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. To be fair to Mr Maugham – with whose opinion on this matter I disagree – he said he did not want to discuss whether there had been a significant change in circumstances.

          Mr Maugham is making a spurious distinction between the Speaker and the Parliament. The Speaker is the head of the Parliament and guardian of its rules and procedures, unwritten though they might be, and he is elected by MPs, mainly on a cross party basis. Parliament is one of the main checks and balances on Government, especially under an autocratic PM using a make-it-up-as-I go-long constitution.

          This ‘crisis’ is clear evidence that the constitution needs changing and, I would prefer that it changes by Scotland leaving the union.

          The BBC is propagandising pretty nakedly against the Speaker. And, reverting to form, BBC Scotland is doing everything it can to cars derision on any thoughts of independence.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. The BBC has become tabloid.

            I expect it realises by now that anyone of any intelligence goes elsewhere for their news.

            I don’t know whether the Speaker is right or wrong, but it’s yet another blow for May, and who could find that any less than satisfying?

            Like

        2. I read that she is writing to the EU asking for an extension to the end of June, with the possibility of another extension for longer if she, or whoever follows her, can’t get some sort of agreement by then.

          She has, of course, brought this on herself with her insistence that she hold a general election in 2017.

          If she had not been dependent on the nutters from the DUP, not only could she have saved herself shaking with living daylights out of the Magic Money Tree, but she could have ignored NI politicians the way she has ignored Scottish politicians.

          How many times do you have to have a meaningful vote (whatever that is) before it becomes utterly meaningless?

          Like

  5. 1604 really. I thought the treaty of the union did not happen until 1707, and that dissolved both English and Scottish parliaments, thereby eliminating anything previous when it became British parliament, or later uk parliament,if England did not dissolve it parliament traditions rules or laws after the treaty,can we do the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha, James. That’s maybe the way WE see it, but as far as I can see, London simply added us to its territories.

      I remember some quiz somewhere about “How well do you know the United Kingdom?”, in which there were questions about Runnymede, Harold and the arrow and Henry VIII.

      Like

    2. Is it true that the Scottish Parliament never met again after May 1707 until it was resurrected a couple of days ago? To put it another way, I can’t imagine that the Great and the Good of the land – those who had not disappeared down south to Westminster, anyway – could have been prevented from coming to Edinburgh to discuss matters of interest among themselves.

      I read that particular piece of information about the Scottish Parliament somewhere, but cannot remember where. Perhaps another Munguinite saw it and remembers more about it? It would be good to know whether there’s any truth in it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ed your correct the Scottish Parliament never met again as the people were so incensed by the Treaty that they would have lynched the lot of them. It was therefore prorogued, in a pub somewhere I am led to believe, by a few parliamentarians. So, unlike the Englsih Parliament, it was never dissolved and Winnie Ewing reconvened it.
    Google “wiinie ewing opening scottish parliament” and you will get a youtube video.
    Sorry my Tablet is misbehaving again or I would have posted the link.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, K! I remember the key point now – the Scottish Parliament was not formally dissolved, it was prorogued. I will google it later, but I do recall that my take on it was that in fact our MPs could lawfully have reconvened the Scottish Parliament at any point rather than go cap in hand to Westminster and beg for a little devolution pretty pretty please. It’s yet another instance of us Scots accepting Westminster’s own assumptions about its rights, powers and prerogatives, which are not necessarily the truth of the matter.

      It boils down to the (bonkers) concept of sovereignty used by the UK Parliament, and the concept of it which we Scots have (unless you’re David Mundell a member of SiU, or another obnoxious git of that ilk). As we know, and Tris will perhaps quote us chapter and verse from the well-thumbed copy of Erskine May on his bedside table, at Westminster, sovereignty is embodied in the Monarch sitting in the Parliament or some such nonsense. It is a hangover from the days when people still believed in the divine right of kings, and in the Western world it has been out of fashion since at least the French Revolution.

      That top-down idea of sovereignty is fundamentally feudal, and upon it the whole notion of aristocracy depends. In Scotland, most people reject it, and even the Westminster Parliament accepts that in Scotland, the Scottish people are sovereign – which is good, because by implication it means that Westminster accepts that we are a sovereign nation. Actually, I don’t suppose most individual non-Scottish denizens of the place realized that that’s what they were doing on the 4th of July last year – have I got that date correct? – or they’d never had accepted the Claim of Right by acclamation. Whether the regime itself knew or not is doubtful in the first place, but in the second, situational ethics and short-term self-interest would have told them not to raise any objections to it.

      I can’t help wondering what the answer would be today if a referendum were held on the question “Do you think Scotland should give up its independence and become part of England?” Because that’s what Mundell and his ilk think Scotland is: a part of “Britain”, a part of the UK, a thing with no independent existence: they fail to distinguish between the concepts of “united” and “subsumed”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure, Ed, that the constitutional lawyers in the HoL will know the significance.

        Most ordinary people won’t have a clue. Including Maybot.

        Like

        1. I too wonder how much the likes of May actually know and believe. Venal, unprincipled pols like her – i.e., most of the members of her regime, and most of her backbenchers, and most of the opposition as well – don’t actually care much at all about the truth; they prefer their own version of reality and pandering to their core voters, however rebarbative their views, and however contrary to informed opinion – we’re supposed to be fed up with experts, right? Including constitutional experts.

          This is the post-fact era: politics as PR, politics as publicity, politics as an ongoing reality show, the primary legislative body of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland like something out of Jerry Springer, the Executive like, oh, Ru Paul’s Drag Races with prima donnas having hissy fits at each other and flouncing off in huffs.

          Scotland is so far beneath their mental radar that it won’t have occurred to many of them at all to either remember their parliamentary history or think through their acceptance of the Claim of Right, I’m quite sure.

          To put it another way, they are going to go on being wilfully pig-ignorant and arrogant, and nothing is going to change that. For the sake of our own mental hygiene, we must guard against accepting any of those anglocentric and Westminstercentric assumptions and assertions at face value, and in particular we must never accept Westminster’s own jumped-up ideas of itself or their corollary, which is that Scotland is necessarily subordinate. In Scotland, we Scots are sovereign. End of.

          I am coming to the conclusion that the kindest thing the Europeans could do to the UK would be to refuse any extension to the article 50 process (except for the purpose of holding a general election or a second Brexit referendum). The machine grinding to a sudden halt at 11 p.m. on 29 March would quite quickly demonstrate just how criminally negligent the current Westminster regime has been, just how mindbendingly incompetent, and just how woefully unprepared it is to deal with the consequences of its actions and its failures to act.

          Such a dose of shock therapy would force the body politic, and even some in the Tory Party, to engage with reality and see reason. A no-deal Brexit is, of course, exactly what Farage and the ERG want, and if the only way to stop them in the end is to give them exactly that, then so be it and let them suffer the political consequences.

          My fear, as before, is that the regime will go for full-on fascism in response to popular unrest, and may try to subdue Scottish opposition by force. Against that we have the long tradition of the army of staying out of domestic politics – or so they say. Anyone in Ireland who remembers the Black and Tans must see the irony – as the Irish were trying to get out from under and have Home Rule at least, the Westminster regime at the time brought in the army, thereby treating them as foreign. Then the Westminster regime repeated that mistake in Northern Ireland, where it soon became obvious that the British squaddies were treating the Catholic population as foreign and inferior, e.g., Bloody Sunday.

          It’s only just over a week before Brexit is due to happen, and we still don’t know if it actually will. Absobloodylutely unacceptable, absobloodylutely outrageous, absobloodylutely indefensible, and very, very worrying.

          Pasta, rice, and lots of tins. Just in case.

          Like

          1. After yesterday’s statement I’m reading that there’s less and less chance the the vote will take place, because she has burnt what few bridges she had with mps.

            I’m beginning to believe that it’s not going to happen.

            But the FM has said that we can expect something from her shortly.

            Liked by 1 person

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