Friday, May 4, 2018

Jeremy Corbyn is now jointly responsible for the destruction of the devolution settlement

I've been trying to make sense of what happened in the House of Lords on Wednesday without putting myself through the torture of reading every single word of the debate in Hansard.  Having done a skim-read, it looks like the story of the session was of government amendments on the power-grab being passed on the nod, while non-government amendments that would have made the Bill more reconcilable with the devolution settlement were withdrawn without even being put to a vote.  That probably happened partly because no-one outside the SNP (who aren't represented in the Lords) is truly passionate about protecting devolution, and also because the UK government fobbed off the proposers of the amendments with the vague possibility that changes might still be made at Third Reading after further negotiations.  I'm not an expert on parliamentary procedure, but a Google search reveals that amendments can indeed be made at Third Reading in the Lords, although in practice any such changes tend not to be substantive.

Here's the thing: at the start of the week, Richard Leonard made clear that the 'deal' on offer wasn't good enough and that the UK government would have to compromise further.  So why on earth did Labour roll over in the Lords just two days later and effectively remove the last remaining obstacle (other than the Supreme Court) to the government imposing the existing 'deal' without Holyrood's consent?  Labour and the Liberal Democrats between them outnumber the Tories in the Lords, so if the will had been there to defeat the government and strengthen Nicola Sturgeon's negotiating hand, that's probably what would have happened.  Unless you truly believe that some heroic stand is suddenly going to be made at Third Reading, it's clear enough that the Labour leadership has put a directive out that the power-grab is to be enabled, not resisted.  That means in the worst-case scenario, if the Continuity Bill is struck down by judges, Jeremy Corbyn will be the co-author along with Theresa May of a substantial reduction in the Scottish Parliament's powers.  He shouldn't be allowed to conceal his responsibility for the decision he's made. 

The House of Lords is also collectively culpable as an institution.  We hear so much about how the Lords is "an anachronism that works" and how it functions counterintuitively as a guarantor of democracy.  But that all depends on the strict adherence to conventions, without which the unwritten constitution would start to fall apart.  Over the decades, the Salisbury Convention (requiring that the Lords must allow any manifesto commitment of the elected government to pass) has been more or less religiously followed.  Why, then, are the Lords allowing a coach and horses to be driven through the equally important Sewel Convention, without which the devolution settlement is rendered a sham?  If you're conceited enough to think you're an unelected custodian of the constitution, you can't arbitrarily pick and choose which parts of the constitution you think are worth the bother of upholding.  Or if you do, you should expect unsettling consequences to flow.

*  *  *

From what I've written above you can see that I hold no brief for Labour, but my eyes still rolled to the heavens a number of times overnight at Laura Kuenssberg's transparent attempts to get a "disaster for Labour in the local elections" narrative to take root.  John McDonnell made a fairly unanswerable point at the start of the results programme - he reminded everyone that Labour took just 27% of the vote in the local elections last May, but then 40% in the general election only one month later, which should have been utterly impossible if the conventional wisdom was to be believed.  But that reality-check didn't deter Ms Kuenssberg from breathlessly telling us throughout the night that Labour's performance was falling well short of what is supposedly "needed" to put the party on course for a general election victory.  Question: if a 27% showing in May 2017 didn't preclude Labour from coming very close to victory in June 2017, why on earth would a mid-30s showing in May 2018 prevent Labour from winning an election that might still be two, three or four years away?

The reality is that the Corbyn surge at the general election was dependent on demographic groups that are less likely to turn out in local elections.  The polarisation of public opinion on Brexit is perhaps also undermining the usual phenomenon of casual protest voting for opposition parties in mid-term elections.  It's no longer the case that you can automatically say "Labour need to be twelve points ahead now if they want to win the general election by four."  It may actually be that people voted yesterday in a very similar way to how they would have voted if they were electing a government.

51 comments:

  1. Laura Kuensberg's role as the UK Government's Tokyo Rose used to surprise me, given that her father was a financial supporter of Wendy Alexander. That was before it dawned on me that the Conservative Labour Party is one organisation with two faces.

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  2. There was a time when you trusted TV journos to be fair and unbiased.
    Indyref 2014 changed all that for me.
    BBC will nae doot be unaware o a certain independence march/rally in Glesca the morn.
    Fake broadcaster- FAKE UNION.

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  3. There is no doubt that Greater England minus Scotland would simply be England which would have a huge impact on Westminster's perceived importance on the world stage.
    No Greater England political party is going to allow Scotland to diminish their self importance and that includes Corbyn's outfit.
    At least the myth of Greater England voting for a "radical" social agenda has now been seen off.
    If you want to be in charge of GE then you need to come up with Tory or Tory lite policies which includes dismissing any sort of power sharing with anyone else.
    Tories don't do sharing.

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  4. The tories are now the brexit party which is great news as there is now no way they can now derail it or they are finished.Brexit means brexit.Wee Jimmy Krankie will be throwing the dummy out of her free limousine,as she loves open borders,mass immigration,and champers in Brussels with her progressive pals who love a European dictatorship which refuses the will of the British people,who voted to leave and take back control of our national borders,our traditions and culture,all the things Krankie pretends she upholds under a saltire,she is in fact a far left progressive communist.Perhaps she should go home and THINK AGAIN.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous, your ignorance is palpable.

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    2. Instead of the usual progressive insults with an arrogant air of superiority why not try something original,and address these issues.Leftists who are unable to critically think never answer questions they just throw more insults.

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    3. State of this. Trolly's standards have slipped.

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  5. Poll shows Jeremy Corbyn substantially lower rating as PM material than T May.

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    Replies
    1. There's really only the one poll that counts.

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  6. Struggling to get my head around the BBC spin

    Currently after 139 of 150 declared,

    Labour 66 Councils, 2032 Councillors

    Tories 46 Councils, 1284 Councillors

    By any normal arithmetic Labour have thus far humped the Tories.
    Again.

    Instead of drawing attention to the facts of how many councils and councillors Labour have compared to the Tories, BBC spin says "Parties fail to make decisive gains"

    The BBC sickens me.

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    Replies
    1. In fairness, the raw numbers don't show that Labour have 'humped' the Tories because the bulk of council seats up for grabs happened to be in Labour-friendly areas. But as of this moment, Labour have made 58 net gains and the Tories have suffered 19 net losses.

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    2. I disagree.
      Raw numbers...?

      Two teams compete against each other.

      Team A scores 2299 and Team B scores 1330

      Fans of Team A don't go home chanting "we failed to make a decisive gain"

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    3. NO, but the BBC could and would! So would other media. One thing , a big thing , fuelling actual fake media is that the real media is so often not doing it's job. Besides, they keep up the " we can win at football" thing even though all the UK teams get Postcarded every 2 years.

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    4. I'm not an expert, and I don't think the sport team analogy is relevant, because I'm sure Labour started with a greater number of councillors than the Conservatives had. Thousands of council seats were in contest yet Labour gained fewer than 60 while the worst UK Government since Major/Brown lost fewer than 20. That is a disaster for Labour, and I don't see any way for them to improve their standing as long as they play the role of Conservative Lite Brexiteers.

      James will have a better grasp on the details than me.

      By the way, I'm not a BBC apologist - I haven't watched their "news" programmes for about 13 years. I loathe them.

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    5. The reason Labour started with a greater number of councillors is because they thrashed the Conservatives last time AS WELL.

      Labour have just soundly beaten the Tories by a bigger margin than before but you would never know if you only looked at MSM headlines.

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    6. It's not a disaster for Labour, and the Tories haven't been "humped" either. You can't decide national victory or defeat based on the raw numbers of councillors - you just can't. It's like holding an election in Glasgow only and saying it's a catastrophe for the Tories that they didn't win. 40% of the seats up for grabs last night were in London - an area where Labour are particularly strong at the moment.

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    7. Look back to my first comment, its not just Councillors, its Councils as well.

      Labour 73

      Tories 46

      School I went to... 73 was a lot more than 46

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    8. That's just not the point. If these elections had been in predominantly Tory areas, the Tories would have won the most councils and councillors in absolute terms. So what?

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  7. I can't find the percentages for the election anywhere. Do you know what they are?

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    1. Do you mean the projected national vote shares? Labour 35%, Conservatives 35%, Liberal Democrats 16%.

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  8. Yes, that's probably what I was looking for, if those figures are the vote share of the locals.

    Of course, it can't be "projected", as it covers a tiny part of the UK and it's not a general election, but it kinda gives the lie to people claiming the Tories did well, and Labour did badly. Seems like the shares are fairly similar to what the polls have been showing for months, aren't they? Though the LibDums do seem to have taken a bit more than was expected imho. They and the Greens seem to have done pretty well. Or do you disagree?

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    Replies
    1. Those are projected national vote shares, and it's not a meaningless exercise because the local elections covered quite an extensive portion of the population centres of England. If anything, Labour did slightly better relative to the Tories than the opinion polls are currently suggesting. Expectations were being piled on that they would outperform the polls, but there was never any particular reason to think that would happen.

      The Liberal Democrats didn't do especially well nationally (2% down on last year), but a handful of very localised breakthroughs in places like Richmond allowed them to distract from that.

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  9. These local elections are about who politically manages local services. The General Election is the big one... The Tories are likely to form the next government... The Scottish Tories are likely to win more seats from the Tartan Tories... Sinn Fein IRA will not occupy their seats and the Liberals who are Tories in disguise will not form a government with
    Labour. The Jock Nat sis will just occupy their seats and moan.

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    Replies
    1. gwc2....I knew it....I knew you had it in you...to put a few sentences together.
      And I also agree with you, Corbyn will never be PM, the dark forces down south will never allow that to happen. Well done again. My influence on you is all powerful and it makes me smile.

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  10. You pretend Joke Nat si socialists who defected from Labour should know that tomorrow is the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx.

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    Replies
    1. What do you care? You're an ultra-right-wing authoritarian.

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    2. Wrong I am not a Scottish Nat si. Its the way you tell them Anon, verry funny indeed. The game has changed as the left have now stolen the old traditional right wing hatred of Jews. The right are on their last legs and have been replaced by the ultra-left-wing authoritarians who paid three quid to take over Labour.

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    3. State of this liar and its ultra-right-wing gibberish.

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  11. EVEL means that England-only legislation couldn't pass without a majority of English MPs (as well as UK MPs) agreeing to it. Since England will always have a Tory majority, a Lab Government could only force through changes in English governance by making them apply throughout GB/UK.

    No wonder Labour wants to be able to override any LCMs from Holyrood.

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    Replies
    1. I don't see why that is, please explain.

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    2. England will not necessarily have a Tory majority as will Scotland have a Tartan Tory majority. The people can vote Labour and get rid of both.

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    3. https://wingsoverscotland.com/why-labour-doesnt-need-scotland/

      They don't need you and never did.

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  12. Lol the mrs has phoned from Glesga Cen Stn and says a certain type of frumpy dressed middle class wummin are wandering around wearing YES badges.

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    Replies
    1. State of this ultra-right-wing misogynist.

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  13. Replies
    1. I'm surprised I have a wife. I'm not a lesbian.

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    2. State of this, arguing with itself.

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    3. I can argue with wysrlf if I l├Čke. It's call democracy. Not that you nat si puffcakes would know it.

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    4. State of this and its manufactured rage.

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  14. State of you impersonating and unable to put a case for your fascism. Poor nat sis losing it again just proof you are losing big style to the British Loyalist Scots.
    Over hawf a million majority so go and wave yer flags. It was a Unionist Ludge man that was selling them tae you. lol.

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    Replies
    1. Ladies and gentlemen, we can now bring you a live broadcast from within trolly's head:

      British Baby Boxes Good.
      Scottish Baby Boxes Bad.
      British NHS Good.
      Scottish NHS Bad.
      British Police Good.
      Scottish Police Bad.
      British Government Good.
      Scottish Government Bad.
      British People Good.
      Scottish People Bad.
      OPPRESSION GOOD.
      FREEDOM BAD.

      This Pavlovian guff just kind of goes on like this 24/7...

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    2. Yea like that twat on a tv show trying to speak about Russians.

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    3. The Nat si desperation with its impersonators and its braindead membership.

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    4. Who are you again?

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    5. What are you again?

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  15. That Nat si flag waving Nuremburg style Nazi rally was like the day release in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Poor nurse Ratched. The Jock Gov must have given day release to all in Carstairs, Barlinnie and Peterheid.

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    Replies
    1. State of this and its pathetic hate-filled rants.

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    2. Poor nat sis all at sea now, you will be holding more Raleighs than Ian Paisley. Abandoning Scottish independence for a new Brexit vote. The flag dealers are on a roll.

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    3. Evidence? Links?

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