Wednesday, December 12, 2018

May wins the vote, but loses the narrative

If I was a Brexiteer Tory MP, I think I'd be quietly fuming tonight about the conduct of Sir Graham Brady, who doesn't strike me as being anything like as neutral in his handling of leadership matters as his predecessors.  Every step of the way yesterday and today, he seemed to be acting in collusion with the incumbent leadership and against the rebels.  Downing Street effectively controlled the timing of the announcement that the 48 letter threshold had been met, the timing of the vote itself, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if they also had something to do with the neat little stunt of the overall outcome of the vote being announced before the precise numbers.  That's a totally illogical way of presenting the result of any vote, and presumably was intended to provide the TV news with a self-contained clip depicting Theresa May as an unalloyed victor, with the inconvenient detail that 37% of her own MPs want her gone being hurriedly dispensed with later on as if it was of only academic interest.

It was an attempt to set the narrative, but it quite simply failed.  I was struck by the complete contrast between tonight's proceedings and the aftermath of another Tory leadership challenge many years ago.  In 1995, just like today, people were fairly sure that the incumbent leader would be officially re-elected, but the question was always the margin of victory.  In the end, rather more MPs voted against John Major than had been anticipated, but it didn't matter because the rebels grudgingly acknowledged his mandate after the result had been announced.  The complete opposite happened tonight - the ERG doubled down and demanded that May should resign.  Jacob Rees-Mogg may be a buffoon, but the way he laid down a marker within seconds of the result being revealed was an absolute masterclass.  "The vast majority of non-payroll MPs voted against her" was exactly the angle to take, and it's a point that's very difficult for May loyalists to shut down.  It's impossible for them to argue that May doesn't need the support of backbenchers.  If they try to claim she still has that support, by definition that would have to mean that a substantial number of government ministers secretly voted against her, which would be even worse.

The counter-framing from the May camp was much less convincing than Rees-Mogg's effort.  The pre-prepared line that had obviously been given to everyone was that May's percentage of the vote was higher than when she was elected leader in 2016.  That's a complete nonsense, because she wasn't actually "elected leader" at all.  The members' ballot was called off when Andrea Leadsom withdrew, and May became leader by default.  The contest didn't progress beyond a three-way preliminary ballot of MPs, and nobody would really expect any candidate to get 63% of the vote when they have two opponents.  (Although as it happened she got close.)

The other thing that struck me tonight is that anyone who's been thinking there's a non-trivial chance that a "People's Vote" might somehow take place under Theresa May's watch should just forget that idea.  She has a weak renewed mandate, and it was won largely on the promise that she will "deliver the Brexit people voted for".  She is even more boxed in than she was before, and for however long she remains Prime Minister, a referendum with a "Remain" option is inconceivable.  If the assumption is that she will still be around on March 29th, Remainers should probably switch their focus to securing an extension of Article 50 - because if that doesn't happen, Britain will undoubtedly be leaving the European Union.

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  1. I disagree, Brexiteers must be over the moon. No Deal becomes ever closer (even as remain becomes an actual live option).

    This leadership challenge is nothing more than another "dead cat", designed to take all the oxygen out a vote on the deal. Yet again the entire media swallowed it as did every blog (its like the UK population has the memory of a gold fish).

    Again, the media is now totally consumed by the leadership challenge and brexit mistruths. So for another week the can gets kicked down the road. The only difference between this dead cat and the previous is that each gets ever more crazy to ensure the frenzy continues.

    People need to stop buying that so many politicians are honourable and are really after a deal. Beyond the very poor and inconsistent rhetoric (that you could drive a truck through), the facts don't support that May, Corbyn, ERG, or DUP are at all interested in a deal.

    1. They might not be interested in a deal, but this Twitter thread says they wil still have an Irish backstop

    2. I think this analysis is spot on. There is only one game in town for PM & her billionaire cronies and that is Hard Brexit. Is anyone in any serious doubt that its firmly on track? They got tow big results this week 1) Having dangled a Meaningful Vote in front of HoC they hilariously withdrew it at the last moment 2) They lanced the Tory No-Confidence boil.

    3. @Kangaroo

      No deal = no Irish backstop.

      Its a hard boarder on the Ireland of Ireland.

      Sure, it can go to the international courts after the fact. Just for years of trial only to deliver non-enforceable judgements.

      P.S. Should we do a thought experiment and list all the MPs who would be for a hard boarder. If we including those who are neutral on the idea I think it may be close to a majority.

  2. If the UK welched on the UN international peace agreement is has with the EU/Eire over the occupied (by it) territories of N. Ireland, the UK would face crippling economic sanctions. Even military force.

    This would be backed by the EU and, of course, the UN.

    Hell, it was the Irish lobby in the USA that have long funded the fight for reunification, with the moderates there pushing for the peace deal. Bill Clinton still pops over to monitor progress.

    England currently occupies a large bit of someone else's country. That's why it's called northern 'Ireland', not NW Englandshire. It's only in the UK that the BBC have spent years convincing people that it's the Irish who are wrong / violent and the English / British are nice, peace protectors, saving a large bit of Ireland from the Irish.

    Nobody else thinks like that, obviously. The world sees Britian as a violent colonial occupier of Ireland with the peace deal a grudging step towards rightful reunification.

    The backstop is going nowhere. There'll be tanks in Ireland again if needed, just not with the Butcher's apron on them this time.

    The first price for Brexit will be N. Ireland. That will end the union as we know it / name it and bring down the union flag as the cross of St. Patrick is ripped off. That domino has been wobbling for a while just as Scotland has. Brexit is tipping these over.

    This was all warned about time and again by experts on the (lack of a) UK constition. The crisis is unfolding exactly as it was blindingly obvious it would. We're just on the entree too.

    1. I think you under estimate the strategic UK-US ties (military in the Middle east). It is also not as simple as US friends in Europe. The US may be more than happy to have a rogue embedded in the middle of Europe creating friction.

      I suggest you may want to look up the history of the Chagossians for US-UK form on this.

      P.S. We all wish for people to be treated with dignity but even current history has shown us what even democratic states will do to their people to maintain their control....and what other states will turn a blind eye to.

    2. You understand the damage the UK is doing to US interests and businesses with brexit right? Particuarly a hard brexit. I hope you are not just listening to what Donald Trump tweets.

      And I think people are somewhat overestimating the competence, strength, cunning and international clout of the UK. People have been following brexit right? Did you have the telly on yesterday for example? And indy Scotland should be quaking in its boots with the UK as an adversary. Just like e.g. Ireland and Norway are.

  3. The EU / EFTA would be particularly welcoming to an indy Scotland in the event of no deal. The more the UK damages them and isolates itself, the less inclination our neigbours have to be friends with it / support it. Remember, England has told all politicians in Europe...their friends...their families... their countrymen that it doesn't want them coming to the UK / they should 'go back to where they came from - queue jumpers!'. With a hard brexit it would cost them a lot of cash and jobs too through collateral damage.

    An indy Scotland voting in a rerendum to escape a hard, racist English government brexit is going to get a pretty good welcome by the international community, even if England is screaming that it doesn't recognise the result (while telling everyone to 'fuck off smelly furriners'). A lot different to back in 2014; then the UK was a member of the EU and would get support like Eire is. Then a section 30 was crucial.

    A hard brexit basically cancels the need for even bothering with a section 30 and gaurantees a massive Yes victory as we see from polling.

    Hardcore brexiters are too stupid to understand this though. But then that's hardly a surprise.

  4. UKSC ruling is in

    Follow Follow @PeatWorrier
    Short version: with the exeception of one section, Holyrood's continuity Bill *was* within legislative competence when passed, but because of the UK government chicainery in referring the Scottish Bill to the Court & passing its Brexit Continuity Bill later, some bits now aren't.

    Section 17 was outside compliance:
    Second question: is section 17 of Bill outside competence? (This puts in place requirement for consent of Scot govt to certain acts by UK Ministers). Court says yes - section 17 would modify s 28(7).

  5. People slaughtered in Strasbourg while the Meps sat safely in their parliament. The EU is a danger to the safety of the people.

  6. So, the English EVEL parliament has retrospectively undone british law to grab back control of powers from the Scottish parliament. It's offical; the Holyrood EU bill was all above board until the 'English mafia' ((c) GWC) power grabbed.

    The supreme court decision is a serious blow to unionists. How can they sell their devolution to Scots if England simply changes devolved laws whenever it sees fit? How will the fisherman of Moray react to the English nationalists grabbing control of their fisheries?

    English nationalism is killing the union. It is stabbing Scots unionists in the front. The Murray Footes / Big Yins of this world are smelling the coffee.

    As an SNP supporter, I can't believe our luck here; England is setting up the end of the UK for us.

    Brexit and devolution are fundamentally incompatible. If the UK is to negotiate trade deals, it needs full control of everything. That or devolved countries have vetos. It's never going to be the latter, so brexit must mean an end to any meaningful devolution. And so endeth the union.

  7. Theresa May actually insisted on putting "Ending the free moment of European politicians, their families, friends and countrymen, between the EU union and the UK” be added to the first paragraph of the agreement she's been putting to them.

    Aye, that's how friendly the 27 will be to England if it tries to dispute scottish indy.

  8. Just checked and the bill you refer to was passed by English, Welsh, Scottish and NI MP's, without them (and just English MPs supporting it) it would not of passed.

    1. A majority of Scots MPs voted to effectively end devolution? That's land of hope and glory fantasy unicorn + fairies stuff. Have you been on the brexit juice?

      Even if it was true it would be anti-democratic in that the 74% (1997) have not given permission to have devolution rolled back.

      English MPs should not be voting at all on Scottish devolved powers. The have their EVEL and our MPs don't get to vote on those areas. Only racist scum MPs who were not from Scotland would vote to take control of powers devolved the Scottish parliament.

    2. Never said a majority. You said "English EVEL parliament". Just pointed out that (apart from the obvious fact that there is no such thing as an English Parliament) it was that without the votes of MP's not from England (including from Scotland)it would not off passed.

    3. Plus the vote was on Brexit which is not a devolved area

    4. So the fuck what? 'It's not devolved, you don't count' isn't quite the beezer argument you think it is. It merely tells us that devolution isn't good enough if residents in Scotland want to ensure their neighbour doesn't constantly overrule their wishes.

      And please don't bother trying 'you had your chance in 2014, now you do as we say forever'. If we want to leave, we will. And we can take as many fucking bites at it as we want as well.

    5. So English MPs can decide on English laws through EVEL (for EVEL votes Westminster is the English parliament), and can just vote on Scots devolved matters whenever the fk the want. But Scots MPs are not allowed to vote on English EVEL devolved matters.

      That's pure and simple 'the Irish should know their place' anti-democratic, anti-Scots racism from scum clearly enough. No question about it.

      But I think it's brilliant. I want the UK to end. Devo is a unionist baby. An invention of Labour and the Lib Dems. Hell if Scotland had devo super max and a full veto as part of the UK - say like member states of Europe have - indy wouldn't have little to no chance of happening any time soon. If you want the UK to stick together, more devo and say a 1 nation one vote senate is perfect. Like Broon promised in 2014.

      Instead, we've got 47% for indy first thing the morn no questions asked. 53% 'overwhelming majority indy means indy' for it if brexit goes ahead at all, and 59% for a hard brexit from the least Yes-friendly pollster. And that's before people realise that devo is pretty much over if we leave the EU because it's totally incompatible with brexit.

      English MPs grabbing back powers is not going to 'tip the balance' to Yes, but add to the existing Yes majortity we already have for the post brexit world. SNP have been waiting 20 years for this moment; the moment Westminster tries to trash devolution. It's a nationalists dream with brexit a brucie super bonus.

      The UK cannot survive brexit. Our constitutional crisis is just warming up.

      And if anyone thinks the UK government have some sort of cunning plan to thwart the nats and keep the glorious union together, you need to start watching the news. Even 1/3 of Tory MPs think the UK government is incompetent.

    6. "..would not of passed." OF
      As in:
      Fox and David of made fools of themselves.
      Of you got a light?
      I of a new car.
      We should of gone home.

  9. I wonder what the Leave % would have been if Brussels had deliberately power grabbed domestic legislation from the UK, overruling Westminster on a whole host of issues, completely against the will of the UK parliament and people.

    I'd have voted leave.

    And that's before say brussels refusing a section 30.