OH DEAR, OH DEAR, OH BLOODY DEAR

Image result for jo swinson for prime minister

If you want Brexit cancelled, they said…vote Liberal Democrats, they said.

We will simply cancel it.

No second referendum, no ifs, no buts, die in a ditc… oh no, wait, that was… this melon!

Related image

I always thought,  much though I’d like to remain in the EU, that as a policy, it was not particularly ‘liberal’ nor was it even slightly ‘democratic’ to reverse, without consultation, that which a narrow majority of the British people had voted for in a referendum (even one which had involved a certain amount of dubious online activity and shed loads of “dark money”.

And it seems that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t think much of the policy, because the LibDems have been tanking in the polls, falling in YouGov from 23% to 13% in 6 weeks.

Image result for Layla Moran

So today, they sent out Layla Moran (me neither… and surely a policy change this important deserved Swinson herself to be publicly eating crow) to tell BBC Breakfast that the party had reverted to Plan A and that Plan B was only in operation as long as Jo Swinson won the party a majority and the Liberal Democrats formed the next government… She appeared to agree that that was (now) highly unlikely! (Personally, I thought it was always highly unlikely to the point of being farcical.)

Now, it seems, this week’s policy is to have a second referendum.

It brings to mind the pledge in their 2010 manifesto to maintain university student fees at £3,000 pa in England and Wales and to fight for a fairer alternative.

Image result for Liberal democrats tuition fees

(You may recall that the “fairer alternative” turned out to be increasing the fees to £9,000!)

35 thoughts on “OH DEAR, OH DEAR, OH BLOODY DEAR”

  1. I’m afriad I have a different view on stopping Brexit. The only true democratic route to stop Brexit is for parliament to stop it. Howzat for brinksmanship?

    The UK is a representative democracy. It is well within parliament’s mandate to make decisions about the UK’s trading and security arrangements. I want to see parliament express its authority over decisions it was more than happy to take for the last 40 years*. If the UK votes in a party that wants to cancel Brexit without a further referendum then I’m happy to see that happen because it will mark a return to democratic norms and, of course, it will stop Brexit.

    If parliament agrees to another referendum we will just see further erosion of its authority. Sure, it might result in stopping Brexit but at a significant cost. What other issues will they feel unable to decide for themselves? Will we see referendums on ECHR, HRA, bringing back the death penalty, flogging? Everything will be up for grabs. This is exactly where they want to take us.

    I’m not convinced that there is sufficient understanding of Brexit and its consequences for anyone to make an informed decision. The immaturity of UK referendum legislation only compounds this problem. There is every reason to think the lies of 2016 will be repeated but this time amped up just that bit more. Even if Remain wins we’ll just be faced with calls to void the last and have another. The merry-go-round will never stop.

    Parliament, of course, is experiencing the lowest quality of MP in its history. But who would want to be an MP in a world where every institution is under attack? It needs to re-exert its democratic authority or be cowed by “the will of the people” for ever more.

    I do support a 2nd EU referendum because it is far better than the alternative but it’s still not as good as a Remain government simply cancelling it.

    *Parliament cannot decide Scotland’s future because that is for the people of Scotland to decide rather than the whole of the UK.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I can see your argument, Terry.

      I base mine on the statement from the then PM that the result of this referendum was one that the government (UK) would accept. No conditions applied.

      I know that in Switzerland, referenda are advisory (I understand that one recently was overturned on the basis that lies had been told!!!*) … and in theory, given that the UK is supposedly a “parliamentary democracy” the same thing should apply here, but Cameron promised that the result would be accepted and I can’t remember a senior politician of any party gainsaying that.

      Maybe, too, it would have cut more ice if the decision had been made immediately, or soon, after the referendum, instead of after 3.5 years, and billions being spent on the project.

      I also don’t believe for a second that the LibDems ever imagined that they would go from 19 MPs to a majority, or that Swinson would ever really be PM. It seems to me that it was a ploy to corner the Remainer market which has seriously backfired.

      So, although I think that your argument is perfectly fair, given the assurances and the amount of time and money that has been wasted, I doubt it could work now… but hey, that’s only my opinion.

      * Wasn’t there also a referendum statewide, not so many years ago, over restricting the right to freedom of movement, which was won narrowly by the “restrict” side, and ditched when it was discovered that the EU pointed out that the four freedoms were indivisible. No freedom of movement of people meant no freedom of movement of goods, services or capital?

      Last thought. If we did adopt the “parliament has the final say” (with which I don’t necessarily disagree and most certainly wouldn’t disagree with if we had a representative voting system and no unelected house), what would happen if there were a referendum in a part of the UK? Which parliament would consider the advice of the referendum?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m inclined, incidentally, to agree that people didn’t understand the referendum. Politicians lied, probably on both sides, although it is harder to mislead about the status quo.

        One of the problems, I guess, with trying to get the truth across, was the bias of the popular press.

        What amazed me most was the hypocrisy of the people who had argued firmly for remain, turning coats immediately to support Leave. Mundell is a particularly horrific example. He told us Leave would be disastrous for Scotland one day, and despite his own constituency and indeed his own country, voting Remain, was shortly afterwards out there telling us that it was all the most wonderful opportunity… and even now when the almost certain outlook is a no-deal Brexit, he’s still signed up to be Johnson’s master of the night soil.

        I agree that the current stock of MPs is well beneath what is needed to run a successful modern country. More than that, the people that are prepared to work at ministerial level with Corbyn and Johnson are pitiful.

        Who’d have thought we’d ever have such a third rate bunch of hard-right ministers?

        Like

        1. I totally get the other side of the argument – a referendum ought to be only undone by another referendum, especially afer verbal promises were made by the then PM.

          The problem I have is that parliament had the option to make the referendum result binding. It chose not to. This was a deliberate choice. When Cameron said that the result would be implemented that was a further lie because that was not in his power. It was not in his power because parliament had deliberately chosen an advisory referendum. Cameron knew that because he voted for it and, given that the government introduced the bill, he was ultimately reponsible for it. Instead of taking responsibility for it, he immediately resigned and left it to someone else who had never made that promise and should never have been forced to stand by it. It was a promise every bit as false as “The Vow” for all the same reasons.

          Swiss referendums are not advisory in the sense that parliament must implement a response within a timeframe. What they implement, however, is not necessarily the exact text of the referendum. That’s what happened with the immigration initiative. The referendum demanded a change to the constitution that would introduce a quota for immigration in a way that would include EU immigration. After the narrowest of victories, a fudge that cosmetically changed an EU bi-lateral was implemented. In this case, parliament took the view that nobody voted for the consequences of the change because they weren’t sufficiently discussed at the time. There is ongoing talk of further referendums on the issue.

          I would certainly hope that the next indy ref is a binding referendum. It is much harder to legislate because it imposes legal consequences for breaking rules, which in turn demands a complete description of the rules that must be followed and the bearing they have on voiding the result. A non-binding referendum is an invitation to cheating, lies and the influence of big money because none of these would have consequences on the outcome.

          The horrible truth is that the smoothest path to independence with the best outcome requires the tacit consent of Westminster. Other routes are available but it’s really a question of personal priorities whether anyone thinks these paths lead to a better outcome than the status quo. I tend to think they lead to worse outcomes.

          btw although I fully agree with Lib Dem policy on Brexit they a) should have done this 2 years ago when they were on 8% in the polls b) have a leader who is unable to confidently explain why we should agree with her. It has completely bombed.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Terry: Given that the referendum was only binding in that the then prime minister promised that it would be, it would seem that Theresa May could have overturned the result on the basis that many of her colleagues lied through their teeth and there was almost undoubtedly money pumped into the campaign illegally. And of course that she had not made any promises enforceable in law.

            Can you just imagine Rees Mogg’s face!?

            I agree that those pinning their hopes on the LibDems must be sadly disappointed with Swinson.

            A more competent politician might have been able to make the case that you just did, for example, and garnered a good deal of support from the Remain side.

            Instead she has steadily lost support during the campaign.

            As I’ve said before, they had to choose from a very small pool, but even then, they surely chose the wrong person.

            Like

            1. I would love to see A50 revoked just to see the look on all those Brexity faces.

              Is it just me or does Jo Swinson always appears to be in a state of high stress in debates? I know it is stressful but I expect someone doing that for a living to do a better job at hiding it.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I can only imagine that Jacob would find a particularly long word in Latin and Nigel Farage would self combust.

                Johnson would simply say he always thought it was a load of wifwaf anyway adn remaining was always the best idea, as he told anyone who would listen at the time.

                He’s probably also say he’d die in a ditch if we hadn’t joined Schengen and the € by next December.

                It’s not just you!

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          2. Thanks for that, Terry! I agree with you entirely that the smoothest path to independence is via a section 30 order and a binding independence referendum. I really appreciate your clarity of thought. The information about Switzerland’s systems is also very welcome – there was much I had forgotten, and even more that I never knew. It is strange to think that I last lived in Switzerland – well, la France voisine, actually – was over 30 years ago, because it seems like yesterday.

            On the Brexit referendum, the lies were disproportionately on the side of the Leavers. With Scottish independence, it’s the Unionist side. In other words, the lies were against the status quo in the first case, and for it in the second; my own analysis of that – trying to leave my own biases aside – means that the side that lies is both wrong and in the wrong. That principle is borne out by the experience of other regimes. It is why such lies are indicative of a serious warning that democracy itself is under threat, or that the regime which lies lack legitimacy.

            Lies and propaganda… propaganda is not doing its job if no one believes it. It’s rather nice when it backfires, e.g., Theresa May’s “strong and stable”. The Great British Meeja Machine is constantly at risk of blowing its cover by being too nakedly partisan; only the real zoomers can swallow the propaganda undiluted by any semblance of balance. In the old Soviet Union, they were the Communist Party faithful; nowadays, I assume they’re the Putin fans and supporters of other right-wing, authoritarian etc. Here in Scotland they’re the Yoonatic fringe; in England they’re all of the Brexit Party and most of the Tory Party. Plus ça change?

            For the ESSEMPEEBAD tropes here in Jockland (and as part of the Englandland propaganda to counteract the fact that Scotland is the only part of the UK which is even half-way competently governed), it’s the difference between the subtly skewed, the more and less biased, and pure hatchet jobs. I saw an example of that last just yesterday, the familiar “failing NHS Scotland” trope in an article in which the SNP Government was accused of rampant and unforgivable failures and incompetence by spokesbots for Labour and the Tories, and not a word from anyone else to defend the SG’s record or to point out the constraints under which it is obliged to operate. The writer of the article herself was very obviously biased against the SNP Government. Pretty effective propaganda; the same trope comes up constantly in the mouths of the Unionist trolls commenting in the National, and they obviously believe it to be (a) absolute fact; and (b) all the fault of the ESSEMPEEBAD.

            To return to your point about smooth paths to independence – what I’m most worried about is that the Westminster regime will refuse to abide by constitutional and democratic norms. The liars, propagandists and venal charlatans are in charge now, and likely to stay that way. That being the case, we may be denied the chance to do it smoothly, with all the problems that would entail, including international recognition. Cameron rightly judged that the consequences of not granting a section 30 order would be worse for him and his government than granting it, and in the end, of course, he cheated anyway; Boris Johnson, though, is a different kettle of fish, and very obviously believes that the law is for the little people. Executive overreach in one florid bundle.

            If I were superstitious, I would wonder about holding an election on 12 December, when there’s a full moon, and the next day is, of course, Friday the 13th. Spooky, eh?

            Liked by 1 person

    2. Cassandra is in a bit of a mood with me since I ignored her warning about the consequences of putting Damart Thermolactyl® long johns in the tumble dryer, and refuses to take any responsibility for past events anyway, so Munguinites should take the following bit of whatiffery with a health-endangering amount of salt.

      The  Brexit referendum was supposedly an “advisory” one. That casts the question of section 30 orders in a bit of a different light.

      There is surely no acceptable way – politically or legally, in either domestic politics or international law – for the Westminster regime to refuse us Scots the right to hold an independence referendum that would be de jure binding on both the Scottish and the UK governments. The same applies to us holding an advisory referendum, only more so (leaving the practical effects of a possible Unionist boycott of the poll out of the reckoning).

      However – as we (in both the UK and in Scotland) have a supposedly representative supposed democracy rather than a delegative one, it was always open to the legislature to reject the result of any advisory referendum, but Cameron’s announcement that his Government would abide by the result of the Brexit referendum – did he really do that? – meant that he singlehandedly dumped that possibility, i.e., in effect he changed the referendum from an advisory to a binding one. The assumption that he was entitled or authorised in law to do so (or to expect it would be taken seriously) without the consent of the legislature itself is not self-evident, but in the UK we have become so inured to Westminster regimes acting with no apparent checks or balances on their power that we have simply failed to imagine that that might be the case.

      In the light of its actions over the Brexit referendum, it would of course be more than a little hypocritical for a Westminster regime to reject the result of an advisory referendum on independence in Scotland if it did not like our decision. Which a Tory regime under BoJo very likely would, of course, the consequences of which would likely be pretty awful – thus the hysterical, hair-on-fire opposition on the part of the Usual Suspects to holding an independence referendum under any circumstances whatsoever.

      If you like, Cameron’s careless announcement that the result of the Brexit referendum would be binding, compounded by May’s initial refusal to allow the Westminster Parliament to have any part at all in the issuance of the article 50 notice, was the key moment in the seizure of powers by the Executive which has brought about the collapse of the ramshackle structure of governance and politics in the UK.

      We Scots cannot stop the UK ship of State sinking, because too many of the existing crew and passengers are determined to scuttle it. All we can do is get out of it, and the sooner the better. In fact, we should be aware that there is a high risk of a tipping point being reached whereby the Westminster regime would try to shut down the Scottish Government and Parliament to prevent any independence referendum being held, and place us under direct rule from London. Boris Johnson is not the sort of person anyone expects to behave with respect for the laws or with any degree of humility or restraint. If he is buoyed by a decisive win in the 12 December elections, we can expect a deterioration in his and his regime’s behaviour – which, God knows, is bad enough already. The Scottish Parliament, in fact Scotland in general, is an obstacle in the path of his getting his oven-ready bloody Brexit done, and he will have no problem with getting rid of those obstacles in whatever way he sees fit – without any restraints on his or his regime’s conduct.

      I hope the Scottish Government has gamed this out and has a contingency plan in place, because we Scots must consciously rid ourselves of any remnants of the idea that the UK is a strong, secure and stable democracy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ed: He certainly said it on numerous occasions. The fact is, it seems, that his promises are probably not legally binding even if (given the then parliamentary arithmetic), an overturn would have been successful.

        “The wrangling reflects the fact that there is no binding legal process to force Cameron to invoke article 50. In theory, he could ignore the public and disregard a Brexit vote. In practice he has repeatedly promised that the result will stick – and there may be no going back on that line now.”

        https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/23/eu-referendum-legally-binding-brexit-lisbon-cameron-sovereign-parliament

        You’re right that a strong showing and large majority would embolden an already bold pm. And he would almost certainly start to remove more and more power from Edinburgh in order to suit his proposed deals with, for example, Trump.

        I’m not sure if a strong SNP showing in our 59 seats would make any difference to that.

        I’ve no idea what would happen if he tried, but I imagine the Supreme Court would be kept busy.

        We already have a VERY shaky democracy. FPTP with a totally unrepresentative government; a house of churchmen, aristos, and placemen; an unelected head of state whose successor is already know as is his successor and his successor… and orders in council which mean that literally 3 people can decide important matters.

        It has been suggested that the London parliament have to approve Supreme Court judges in future.

        Grenoble… J’arrive.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. “It has been suggested that the London parliament have to approve Supreme Court judges in future.”
          I fear that Boris Johnson returned with a majority would dissolve the Scottish Parliament. He would also turn his attention to the Scottish Legal System, after all, why should one country have two legal systems? This could get very bloody.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. Well, it probably won’t mean anything much to him, but the legal system standing was part of the Acts of Union. (I suspect that judges and advocates didn’t want to have to learn a whole new legal system. Education and the Church was also run by people with influence, and doctors, in as much as there were that many, which is probably why we have separate systems… and always have had.)

            He’ll have another issue if he tries to change that, because there is also and Irish legal system which is separate.

            Johnson could find that he has bitten off more than he can chew.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. It almost makes me wish he would try… a frontal assault on our democracy and on the institutions which help us Jockanese remain distinct and distinctive would surely push us up to and even over the magic 60%, by subtracting enough of the “buts” from the “proud Scots but”.

              I look forward to all the auld Unionist buggers and biddies being forced to pay for all their personal care. No, belay that – because then I’d have to pay for it too.

              Would he be prepared to use force on us? Bring in the army, declare a state of emergency, whatever? I hope not, but am far from sure. Put a pathological narcissist and liar in charge, and anything could happen.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. Krishnan Guru-Murthy
    @krishgm
    ·
    41m
    It was kind of @michaelgove to turn up at @Channel4News tonight offering to come on the #climatedebate but the other party leaders will only debate other party leaders. We look forward to welcoming Mr Gove another time.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. They have put up two ice sculputres which will doubtless melt as the debate goes on. One to substitute for Johnson, and one for Farage who also refused to attend.

        I’m not entirely sure that Farage IS a party leader. Isn’t his “party” a private company?

        Liked by 3 people

            1. they could always ask the Johnson ice sculpture how many icicles he has…

              The sculpture was a chance to see Johnson at his most transparent…

              He would likely lose votes as we could see right through him…

              (All stolen from wittier folk than me!)

              Liked by 3 people

              1. LOL… all good, nonetheless.

                Does anyone know yet WHY he sent along his dad and some bloke, not even atop cabinet minister to do his job, instead of just turning up himself?

                Like

        1. By dint of careful calculation and cunning manipulation of its dimensions, the shape, size and orientation of the controversial Johnson Nude Ice Statue is such as to ensure that the winter sun will shine through and out of its a*rse at midday on 12 December.

          Childless Tory ladies are reportedly queuing up to kiss the statue’s [Are you really sure you want to say this? – Ed.] organ of generation in the belief that it will enable them to have unspecified numbers of children.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. Douglas: As far as I know, Terry’s blog has closed down for the moment while he is working 20 hours a day for cruel capitalist masters.

      No one can get in, because he doesn’t have the time to write articles (remember, his articles are meticulously researched) and he doesn’t have time to respond to comments.

      It’s a shame because his writing is always a good and worthwhile read, but it is how it is!

      Even Munguin has no access… Imagine!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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