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Every rat for themselves 75

Posted on February 23, 2019 by

The tissue-paper tigers 339

Posted on February 18, 2019 by

It’s never a good look for a politician to have fewer principles than UKIP. When Tory MPs Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless defected to Nigel Farage’s party, both stood down from their seats and fought by-elections to establish whether their electoral mandates were personal or owed to the party. Both of them won. (Though both men subsequently lost at general elections and Reckless has now returned to the Tories.)

The seven Labour MPs who resigned from the party today have no such honour and no such respect for the electorate. They’ve quit the party but not their cushy and lucrative jobs as opposition MPs, and will bring about absolutely no practical difference other than sitting a few feet further to the left in the Commons voting exactly the same way as they did before.

Labour MPs already regularly rebel against the whip anyway – just last week 40 of them broke ranks to back an SNP amendment on Brexit. So nothing will be achieved by Chuka Umunna and six people nobody in the real world has ever heard of splitting under the meaningless umbrella name “The Independent Group”, whose claim that “politics is broken” was neatly illustrated by its website at their big launch moment.

The seven claim that Labour values no longer represent them, yet they’re happy to remain in the seats that Labour’s manifesto and brand secured for them. Nor do they wish to stay in the party and fight for the values they think it should have. They’ve chosen the most cowardly, meaningless form of protest possible: keep cashing the paycheques but carp from the sidelines.

There are already three MPs elected as Labour but who now sit as nominal “independents” – Frank Field, John Woodcock and Ivan Lewis – and the fact that most people’s reaction to that fact will be “Who?” tells you all you need to know about the impact and power of not-actually-resigning “resignations”. Jeremy Corbyn’s reaction will be a shrug. Oh no, fewer Blairites in his party. Not the briar patch, Brer Fox!

And Theresa May? Theresa May won’t even notice. Why would she? TIG poses no kind of threat to her. The idea that any MPs from other parties are going to change their vote on anything just because there’s a new gang of would-be cool kids in the cafeteria who’ve given themselves a name is laughable in its tin-eared arrogance.

Indeed, mention of Brexit – the only political issue anyone in most of the UK cares about right now – was startlingly conspicuous by its near-total absence from the group’s press conference. Instead there was an almost endless parade of petty personal gripes and grievances in which the Labour Party was decried as a shambolic, racist, anti-Semitic entity posing a mortal threat to the nation’s politics – yet not one bad enough to actually take a stand against at the ballot box.

The 400-odd words we’ve written here already indulge the TIG “rebels” with far more attention and significance than their empty, craven gesture merits. So we won’t waste your time and ours with any more.

Labour rebels launch new party 38

Posted on February 18, 2019 by

A rose by any other name 155

Posted on February 16, 2019 by

End-Of-The-Road Runner 214

Posted on February 09, 2019 by

Doing walking away 488

Posted on February 03, 2019 by

This is Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald on today’s Andrew Marr show:

While she doesn’t say so explicitly, McDonald appears to strongly imply that the SNP’s MPs would be as well to boycott the UK Parliament, as Sinn Fein’s have always done.

And that’s an interesting idea.

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Another unfortunate oversight 484

Posted on January 30, 2019 by

Earlier on today we reported on a case of a Scottish Labour MP being inadvertently unacquainted with some quite pertinent facts regarding a public pronouncement they’d made. While we’d assumed this to be an isolated incident, it’s in fact our sad duty to report another example within the Northern Branch Office.

That’s the pro-Brexit former Labour minister Tom Harris, there, making just the sort of statement that this site like to fact-check. So let’s see the most recent data.

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An innocent misunderstanding 126

Posted on January 30, 2019 by

We had a brief exchange with Scottish Labour MP Paul Sweeney last night.

But the thing is, he’s exactly, diametrically wrong about that.

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Sharpen your pencils, readers 528

Posted on January 27, 2019 by

Because it looks like you’re going to need them.

If the Scottish Government can’t pass a budget it’ll fall, and with no majority for any alternative administration that’ll leave no option but to hold a general election.

Meanwhile, at Westminster, the UK government is running out of time to get a Brexit deal through Parliament, and facing all kinds of procedural shenanigans which may very well lead to a UK general election.

Should that happen, the UK will likely ask the EU for an extension to Article 50, which would take us past the European elections in May, which would mean that the UK would have to take part in those elections  too (because you can’t have a country that’s still an EU member state having no representation in the European Parliament).

Scottish or UK general elections could lead to a new independence referendum, a new Brexit referendum, or both, sending Scots to the polling stations up to FIVE times (and the rest of the UK up to four) in a matter of months, with all the attendant campaigning, colossal expense, economic uncertainty and governmental standstill that such insanity would bring about.

Good luck, everyone.

A Portuguese Laddie 664

Posted on January 23, 2019 by

Last month the Tory government published its white paper on EU migration post-Brexit. As a result, I spent my day arguing positively for immigration on social media, sharing fact-based articles showing that EU migration has had a very positive impact on the UK’s economy in the last decade.

However, one of my tweets was particularly popular, in which I specifically mentioned my personal experience with Scottish attitudes towards immigration.

Twitter is meant to be short and fleeting, leaving little room for telling long, nuanced stories. But the story behind this tweet is one I find worth telling, and I think it reflects incredibly well on the fact that there’s a bright, open future ahead of Scotland. I hope you find what follows to be worthwhile.

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Today in Brexit 215

Posted on January 23, 2019 by


And now:

The Prisoners 350

Posted on January 18, 2019 by

You wouldn’t know it to watch the black-hole-scale mess our politicians are making of it, but the thing about Brexit is that it ISN’T an insoluble problem. That two of the supposed “partners” in the United Kingdom are being forced out of the EU against the will of their people is a political choice, not a necessity.

There are numerous perfectly viable ways to practically address the fact that Scotland and Northern Ireland voted Remain while Wales and England voted Leave, none of which are especially outlandish.

Last July this site put forward an idea that respects the referendum result in all four constituent nations and would have wide public support. Yesterday the Guardian published a variant on the concept with lots of strong technical detail. And earlier this week we suggested another approach which could break the current deadlock.

But the stupendously incompetent Tory executive running the government, and the equally useless notional Labour “opposition”, have both handcuffed themselves across the emergency exits, preventing any hope of escape from disaster as the country burns down around everyone’s ears.

We no longer have a union. We have a hostage situation.

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