Swinson – Time to stay strong as Brexit heats up

Now let me say this first, Swinson was not my preferred candidate to become Lib Dem Leader, but as my preferred candidate did not stand I voted for her over Ed Davy. Secondly, it’s a little early to say how she will do in the post which she won with a pretty huge majority. Best to say I’m a disloyal (I always see myself as being disloyal to my party by the way*) sceptic of her leadership but one who will applaud her if she becomes a good leader.

So what to make of the Swinson/Lucas/Corbyn tussle over how a government of national unity can be put together to defeat Johnson and No Deal Brexit. I think a fair assessment of the present position is to say that Corbyn will get involved if he can be the head of such a government and that the Green Leader agrees with Corbyn. Swinson however holds the view that Corbyn’s a too divisive a figure to be the at the head of such a movement and that she thinks a more widely accepted figure should do the job. She wants either Harriet Harman and/or Ken Clarke to do the leadership role.

A government of national unity to stop a No Deal Brexit will need dissident Tory MP’s to back it and whilst this is a statement of the blindingly obvious, based on the House of Commons arithmetic, it is also the key to why the potential leader of such a government should surely to be a widely accepted and trusted figure i.e. not a present opposition party leader.

I understand that Jeremy C wants to be PM just as Lucas and Swinson do too; why else would they be political leaders? However, the present Brexit crisis faced by the UK is not one where individual political ambitions are the most important thing. Indeed, the imminent danger of a No Deal Brexit is what needs to be stopped and clearly a non/less-contentious leader of a short-term government of national unity is required to do that.

Once you put a political leader up to do that job politicians will take sides especially if that person is seen to hold views way to the left of right of the center of UK politics. So telling Jeremy that he’s not the person for the job is a matter of political pragmatism for me because he’s not a man who politicians from differing political backgrounds can coalesce around. And if they can’t coalesce around him by implication his government is highly unlikely to commend a majority in our fractured House of Commons.

Sadly Lucas has misjudged this issue just as she did a few days ago when bizarrely she suggested an all women Cabinet to run the UK. Now don’t get me wrong, I do accept that women make better leaders than men because they are generally less likely to be politically tribal etc. But to suggest, as Caroline sadly did, that no men can be trusted to take on senior government positions is just not sensible or practical politics. Politics is the art of the possible, what Caroline was suggesting was clearly highly improbable.

The other problem with Jeremy is his political baggage associated with Brexit. Across the political spectrum people say he’s not had a good Brexit and has not handled the matter at all well. Significantly, this is often said by Labour Party members and supporters so it’s not just a opposition view of Jez. It also has to be remembered that Jez is at heart a Brexiteer and he wants what he calls a ‘Labour Brexit’, whatever that may mean. And there’s the rub because he’s not going to get the chance to negotiate a Labour Brexit until he wins a General Election and Labour winning such an election seems at best slight if present opinion polls are anything to go by.

Will Labour now sit back and say it’s our way or no way over a government of national unity or will they back off on their wish to crown Jeremy as PM for this interim emergency government?

For what my view is worth I think Swinson’s stance is right and that figures such as Clarke and/or Harman are best placed to try to put a Commons majority together to defeat a No Deal Brexit. I say this simply because her position is more logical, more likely to work and it’s the art of the possible rather than the improbable. And to balance my view of Swinson I remain highly sceptical of her seemingly strident anti-SNP views. I get that she’s a not a nationalist and is in favour of the Union but we need the SNP onside over Brexit, so poking them in the political eye regularly is not helpful.

But above all this the real elephant trap is that a Government of national unity which gets rid of No Deal Brexit could also be used as a platform to promote a Brexit Deal! If Swinson was involved in that it would finish her and the Lib Dems. Think about it, there are quite a few Labour and Tory MP’s out there who want to get rid of No Deal but who would be happy to get out of the EU with some form of a deal. They would probably be happy with Corbyn at the head of a Government as he’s on their side. Any Government temporary or otherwise which tries to negotiate a deal to leave the EU will end up in the same appalling mess that Teresa may found herself in. Swinson needs to be very cautious and ignore the Corbynite ritualistic tribal abuse presently being aimed at her. If she weakens she could easily end up enabling a Brexit deal of whatever kind and frankly no one will have any sympathy for her then.

Political tribalism has blighted UK politics for far too long. Of course other political parties have good ideas which should gain wide support but our tribal system teaches our politicians to slag off ideas from opposition politicians just because they are not ‘one of ours’. It’s time to do the right thing to save the UK from the mad idea that a No Deal Brexit will be fine. It won’t be – our public services will suffer, tax revenues will fall, exports will dry up, unemployment will rise, living standards will fall, workers rights will be chucked away, environmental and food regulations will be ripped up. Only the rich and powerful will benefit from a No Deal Brexit. And let’s not forget that any form of Brexit, with a deal or not, will cause all of these disaster scenarios to come into play to some extent – the best deal the UK has is the one it has now with the EU. No ifs, no buts, no maybes.

* If you don’t get my disloyalty, it’s associated with my view that we should trust no one with power. Our job is to hold those who hold power to account, not to idolise them.

Sir Humphrey’s advice to a ‘brave’ David Cameron on the EU Referendum

Back in the days whilst David Cameron had the chance not to lurch the UK into a huge Brexit crisis this exchange may have taken place following months of advice about him resisting being too ‘brave’:-

Sir Humphrey – Can I present you with a box Prime Minster, it’s one we put before Ministers prior to them taking momentous decisions. Bring in the OSBOT box please Bernard.

Cameron – What’s this all about then Humphrey?

Sir Humphrey – Well Prime Minister it’s the job of Cabinet Office to spell out to a Minister or Prime Minister all the potential pit-falls of a potentially ‘brave’ decision which we feel could have dire consequences. This OSBOT box contains details of the dire consequences of your pursuing an EU Referendum.

Cameron – But I know the consequences and I know I will win anyway.

Sir Humphrey – Yes Prime Minister knowing the consequences is what one of your predecessors, a Mr Blair, said when we put such a box in front of him prior to the Iraq war being authorised. It’s also what Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg uttered before his U turn on tuition fees.

Cameron – But what’s that got to do with me, they were wrong and I am right?

Sir Humphrey – Yes they both thought they were right too Prime Minister. Mr Blair got it all very badly wrong though and Mr Clegg, well we all know what happened to him.

Cameron – So what purpose does the OSBOT box serve?

Sir Humphrey – It’s bit like Pandora’s Box Prime Minister – once opened it can’t be shut again and it’s your choice whether to open it or not. Blair and Clegg opened it, indeed you laughed yourself silly when Clegg did if you recall. Now its your turn Prime Minister.

Cameron – Do I have to open it?

Sir Humphrey – Yes Prime Minister if your are determined to hold an EU Referendum.

Cameron – Well open it I will because right is on my side, I say.

Sir Humphrey – Just remember Prime Minister all that you read in the box is likely to happen and you can’t shut the box once you have read of the consequences.

Cameron – Give me the key!

Cameron opens the box and this is what he reads:-

Most if not all of the following will now happen – The Country will vote to leave the EU. Financial meltdown will follow. There is no plan to deal with an EU exit. You will be blamed for opening ‘Pandora’s Box’. A Mr. B Johnson will dance on your political grave. Racists will emerge in large numbers. Xenophobes (a person unduly fearful of what is foreign and especially of people of foreign origin) will multiply. All the political barm-pots will have been brought together in one campaign group to campaign for Brexit – they will not be parted.

In short Prime Minister you have just read why you should not hold an EU Referendum but as you have opened the box there is no going back. Thank you for reading the most momentous political suicide note in living memory.

Cameron – But this is ridiculous Humphrey, none of this will happen mark my words.

Sir Humphrey – Yes Prime Minister I have marked your very ‘brave’ words and I have also taken the liberty of drafting a resignation speech which obviously, in your view, will not now be required?

Cameron – Look Humphrey I am confident nothing will really go wrong but if by some ridiculously small chance it does will the Country know that I was warned not to hold the EU Referendum? By the way what does OSBOT mean?

Sir Humphrey – No Prime Minister the Civil Service does not kick a Prime Minister when they are down, we find there is no need for us to join in a political lynching. And OSBOT – Only Stupid Buggers Open This.

Tim Farron on the EU Referendum crisis

I received the letter below from Lib Dem Party Leader Tim Farron and thought I would share it:-

Tim Farron with Cllr. Pat Keith on Southport Station recently

Tim Farron with Cllr. Pat Keith on Southport Station recently

Liberal Democrats have always believed that Britain should be outward facing, collaborating with other countries to tackle global challenges. Our membership of the European Union allows us to do that.

Britain has now voted to leave. The margin of victory was small and risks dividing our country. We must respect the outcome of the referendum in how we talk about moving forward.

We also have to understand that for many people this was not just a vote about Europe. It was also a howl of anger at politicians and institutions who they feel are out of touch and have let them down. Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove won this campaign by deliberately deceiving voters. They offered cheap slogans and easy answers that they knew they could never keep. Their hollow pledge of £350 million for the NHS has already unravelled and people will be right to feel angry that they have been let down again.

We must also remember that there are many, many European citizens who have made Britain their home. We are immensely grateful for the contribution they make to our country and we are committed to ensuring they can remain here and feel safe here.

I believe our country’s future is still best served by our membership of the European Union, despite its flaws. Millions of our fellow citizens believe that. I also believe many of those people share our vision of a country that is tolerant, compassionate and positive about Britain’s role for good in the world. They share our vision of a country that wants to repair its divisions by working hard together, not by offering cheap slogans.

That is why I want to make clear that the Liberal Democrats will fight the next election on a clear and unequivocal promise to restore Britain’s prosperity and role in the world, with the United Kingdom in the European Union, not outside it.

At the same time, we must address the difficult issues that this referendum has raised about Europe and our country – but with real answers, not cheap slogans.

Since the result of the referendum became known, thousands of new members have joined our party. I encourage you all to reach out to family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances and encourage them to join us to build that Britain together.

Best wishes,

Tim

Tim Farron MP
Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Gove and Boris savaged by Guardian

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/25/boris-johnson-michael-gove-eu-liars

The Guardian has the story on its web site – see link above

This is a powerful piece indeed and well worth reading. My thanks to Roy Connell for spotting it.

As an aside I heard Anna Soubry MP say on Channel 4 News tonight that both her Tory Party and Labour had in effect stoked up anti EU feelings over issues that had nothing to do with the EU. She even mentioned that the Libs had not done this. Her anger with Gove and Boris was very clear.

EU Referendum Result – You selfish Brexit cretins

Liberals are often spoken of as being nice people, indeed I have had it said to me numerous times but this Liberal does not feel nice at present indeed he fancies being offensive!

The EU ‘out’ vote was probably the greatest ever act of selfish behaviour in living memory by the older generations of UK voters. It was often said during the campaign that older folk would not have to live with the consequences of Brexit so those older generations, in general, said that’s fine with us – bugger the young folk, we don’t care!

It you don’t believe me look at this graphic:-

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Talk about leaving a pile of crap for the up and coming generations but doing it deliberately; that’s really crapping on the young!

The cretinous Brexiters were had by right wing nutters and the right wing press and we are all now going to have to live with the stupid decision they took. But its the young in particular who will have every reason to despise the selfishness of many of their elders.

We all knew that ‘Kippers and mad right wing Tories were going to vote for Brexit but what on earth was going on with Labour voters? Many of those who call themselves working class Labour were in the polling booth voting with and for the barmy right! They were voting to reduce workers rights, to push our economy on a downwards spiral (which the poor always suffer the most from) and thought they were freeing themselves from tyranny! In reality they were voting for more austerity, less rights, poorer job prospects and Boris! Labour completely failed to engage with its white, working class voters again so they followed the nonsense the Daily Mail, The Scum etc. fed to them.

Angry, you bet I am. Rude and insulting well I hope so because those who wanted to jump off the cliff are taking the rest of us with them. I am reminded of the title of a Michael Moore book – Stupid White Men …. and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation.. It may well have been written about America in 2001 but 15 years on it seems more about the UK.

EU Referendum – Shocked, angry, ashamed and other words I should not use in public!

I am so angry this morning that words fail me but those of Tim Farron sum up how I feel :-

“I am devastated and I am angry. Today we wake to a deeply divided country. Nigel Farage’s vision for Britain has won this vote, but it is not a vision I share.

Young people voted to remain by a considerable margin, but were out voted. They had a clear ambition for their future, yet it has been taken from them.

Even though the result was close, there is no doubt that the majority of British people want us to leave.

We should be proud of our positive, principled, and patriotic campaign for the UK to Remain at the heart of Europe.

Our fight for an open, optimistic, liberal, diverse and tolerant Britain is needed now more than ever.”