More about PM’s mandates

More about PM’s mandates

I have from time to time reviewed the politics and history of how Britiain’s post-war prime ministers came to power. Earlier today I was reminded of my surprise at school on learning of how Von Papen replaced Brüning ,wondering how someone from the same side could succeed someone who had lost a vote of no-confidence. At the time in the UK, party government was secure and sectarian, although this was about to change.  I published a model in an article called “Mandates” and revised it in an article, ‘PMs and “coronations”’, in which I looked at Theresa May’s record, which caused my model problems of definition. I was inclined to believe that now both the major parties have “primary” leadership elections, party coronations are not successful. May is a case in point while Johnson had to fight a member’s ballot. Anyway, as this Tory administration reaches, what if there were any justice, its denouement, here’s what the chart looks like today.

It only shows those leaders who became prime minister; politics may have changed to the point where we need to include those leaders who lost elections as well.

I first explored this in 2010 when the press were claiming that Gordon Brown was squatting in No. 10 after they had monstered him for not seeking a mandate in 2008. Good politics might suggest that he should have done so. …

Labour’s vote: where does the next tranche of voters come from?

I wrote a pissy little piece on the polls the other week but in doing so looked back as far as this one at politico goes. They mark certain key events on the chart, but miss some which I think are important, such as the 2019 Euro-elections, and key counter pandemic events, including Cummings and his drive to Durham and the breaking of the growing corruption story. They also miss the Skripal poisoning, the failure to leave on May’s first deadline, Corbyn’s new red lines and Labour’s NEC’s shit Brexit position for the Euro-election. I’d argue that Labour’s opposition to May in early 2019 won it voter share, but it’s behaviour after that didn’t. Labour’s voter share began to rise after it’s fixed ’19 Conference. The rise and fall of UKIP/LibDems would seem to be the story of the summer and autumn of 2019 suggesting that the electorate was polarising over the issue of Brexit, but that Farage gave up when he realised that his fucking about was jeopardising the Tory vote and there’s no explaining the ludicrous implosion of the LibDems.

The big problem here is that throughout the six year period, with the exception of the 9 months, from June 17 to April 18, Labour’s vote share is under 40%, to reach the FPTP tipping point voter share needs to be above that. It’s a fact that Labour needs to win votes from the Tories but there is some evidence that so-called radical economic policy might win some of the working-class Tory or Brexit Party vote back, if in fact this vote was ever Labour’s. It might be of benefit if the Liberal Democrats recovered some of their vote, especially since they are clearly positioned in the model of European Liberal Parties of ‘dry’ economics, with a dash of social liberalism, add several dollops of constitutional reform and a dash of political sectarianism. If they are kicking lumps out of the Tories who cares? One problem they face is they are not asking themselves these questions either, of where their voters will come from politically or geographically?

How does Labour increase its voter share to over 40%? Where will they get them from politically and geographically? Purges and abstentionism is unlikely to do it unless “Team Starmer” are relying on the idea that Govts lose elections, oppositions don’t win them. If that’s the case, Labour could be waiting a long time. …

The danger of a false nostalgia

The danger of a false nostalgia

In the FT, “Britain will do a Brexit deal on Europe’s terms“, looks at the asymmetry of negotiating power and the role of khaki tinted nostalgia in shaping the Brexiteer’s negotiating position. I particularity like the line, “More broadly, Britain’s Leavers were guilty of swallowing their own propaganda.” and the article finishes with a skewering truth, that Britain “won” the second world war only with and solely because of the help of the USA and in this dispute, they will be on the side of the EU; whether all of this will make Johnson’s government agree a deal on Europe’s terms is another question. They might be too stupid and too proud and too frightened of the Tory party’s cleansed backbenches. …

What are the polls telling us?

What are the polls telling us?

Are the polls telling us anything? Here’s a chart from politico.eu , since June, Labour have between 37% and 39%. This is better than earlier in the year but we should remember that polls claim a 3% error margin, which is why multi source publications like this are more accurate than a single company’s results. We should note this Govt. is killing people and guilty of the worst corruption and cronyism, but it is rare for Labour to poll much higher and we need to ask where the next batch of votes are coming from?

politico.eu – UK National parliament voting intention

Labour supporters should note that the SNP vote share is rock solid at 5%, although there is evidence that the ex-pit and steel towns are returning to Labour, so not only do we need to ask where are the votes coming from, but we need to know where are the seats coming from? …

Too long two

Too long two

Two years ago, I wrote an article called “Too Long” which analysed the longevity of service of the members of the PLP. I used three charts to show the age of service, which leader was dominant at the time of selection/election and also classifying them as belonging to a hegemonic faction. I have reproduced the charts below/overleaf and added one showing the changes. There is an argument that for the what I originally called the post Corbyn period, as in post his election, we should consider 2015-2017 as one epoch and 2018+ as another, but I haven't. Clearly a number of MPs elected under Blair's leadership have gone, but the average longevity of MPs service is still higher than 5 years, and hasn't changed much and thus the PLP remains not necessarily representative of the massive growth in membership over the 2015/16 period, except for the trigger ballots that is, although four of them failed the trigger and yet were confirmed as candidates. To see the charts, press the "Read More" button ...

Electing the GS? Not such a good idea!

Electing the GS? Not such a good idea!

So Momentum have decided that unlike in their own internal affairs, that the best answer to the crisis in democracy in the Labour Party is to elect its General Secretary.   I think this is wrong, critically, without a recall, this would be worse because the individual elected would have a mandate to do what they wanted. It would be poor even with a realistic recall mechanism. This article summarises my proposals, and republishes the idea of a member’s ombudsperson.

In my article, Labour Leak – Closing the Stable Door , I look at a series of reforms that Ithink would make things better. I argue that the Party needs better “controls”, segregation of duties, and better record keeping. I also argue for a new disciplinary system that needs a segregation of duties between, investigators, prosecutors, judges and a right of appeal and that it conforms to the principles of natural justice guaranteeing the right to a fair trial, innocence until proven guilty, the proportionality of any sanctions and that our rules respect the rights to privacy and free speech. The powers and inclination of the NEC to hold the GS accountable to policy, rules and law needs to be examined, there may be some changes that can be made but this is a cultural change, without a change of culture most of the rest of the reforms will fail. I also argue for a more professional management of money and financial controls, greater transparency on staff management, recognition of Chakrabarti’s comments on staff recruitment and management and accreditation by “Investors in People” and “A great place to work”.

There are a number of roles that should be examined to ensure they are sufficiently independent of the GS and the NEC and accountable to the law or their professional ethics. In this part of the article, I note, that proposals for an Ombudsperson were made to the Democracy Review but didn’t make it to the final report. I have with help retrieved the Ombudsman proposal as I think that it’s worth reviewing and should be part of a reconfiguring of the compliance function where the Head of Compliance is made independent of the NEC & GS and accountable to the rules and law. Compliance should tell organisations what they can’t do, while they retain the right to legal advice.

What’s needed is a renewal of a culture of decency so that the bureaucracy and the elected NEC members behave properly and fulfil their duties of trust. I have argued to change Labour’s rules to incorporate the Nolan principles as duty on all role holders but especially the NEC members, but unless recent wrong doing is punished, it’ll become just another policy to be ignored and circumvented. …

Not the remainers!

Not the remainers!

Owen Jones obviously felt the need to project himself into the stickiest mess that he could in the Labour Party. Well, the second stickiest mess actually. He published an article, Hard remainers wouldn’t accept a soft Brexit. Now we’re all paying the price, in the Guardian. It was subtitled, “Anything other than stopping Brexit was written off as both disastrous for the country and morally untenable”. His article has been picked up the usual culprit’s outriders allowing them to revisit their story of “Remainer Betrayal”. There’s just one problem with this story, it’s complete bollocks!

Jones summarised part of the story well,

Both the intransigence of prominent leavers and the refusal of leading remainers to accept a compromise succeeded in polarising the electorate. By the European elections, Labour was out of any good options, and Corbyn and his key parliamentary allies believed there was no choice but to back a new referendum. They were right: the Labour membership wanted one, and Corbyn’s political project was founded on accepting they were sovereign, and remain voters had defected en masse to the Liberal Democrats and Greens. The remain movement had succeeded in its aim – forcing the Labour party to accept its central demand – but at a huge cost to Corbyn: the leader was left looking like an unprincipled zigzagger, contributing to the collapse in his personal ratings. Labour lost the election partly because of the errors of its leaders; but those prominent remainers share a considerable amount of the blame.

Owen Jones, the Guardian (Hyperlinks are theirs)

I am not sure that he represents the causality correctly in his first sentence, I’d argue the absolute refusal of leavers to countenance a final say referendum, dating from May’s “Brexit means Brexit” speech pushed remainers to a harder position, though I can’t see why I shouldn’t have asked for a final say since the referendum’s Leave vote encompassed everyone from those who wanted a Norway style deal through to those that wanted us to become the 51st state. Jones and others also conveniently ignores the proven criminality of the Vote Leave campaign.

Before blaming Labour’s remainers, we should look at how the PLP’s leavers torpedoed three of the meaningful vote options, inc. a 2nd referendum. There was no deal on the table from May, even when Labour dropped its six tests for the new red lines; the Tory Govt., would not or could not come to an agreement. Jones’ and others’ idea that Labour should have agreed with May’s deal was not possible and is as likely to have caused today’s problems to the Good Friday Agreement.

The road to the general election of 2019 was also set by the supporters of Labour’s “general election first” policy i.e. before a final say referendum and from where I am standing this reflected a remain/leave split, Labour’s leavers, ignoring the weight of the member’s views and that of our voters used every tool they had to win their ‘Lexit’ position; for them soft-brexit and 2nd referendum weren’t good enough, partly because they feared the result of the latter.  Also hugely to blame was the unprincipled behaviour of the LibDems and SNP in permitting the election before parliament had closed out a no-deal option, and in the case of the LibDems, their ludicrous grandstanding on Brexit.

While the country moved away from a soft-brexit, and polarised to where it was last year, it wasn’t Labour’s Remainers who were primarily at fault. Our committed leavers gave others permission to vote Tory and the state of their parties was and remains a disgrace. …

Why did nothing come out of the Brexit meaningful votes?

Why did nothing come out of the Brexit meaningful votes?

When the last Parliament had its Brexit meaningful votes, nothing passed. I wrote about the politics and consequences and said that others would write about Labour and the TINGE, it’s taken until now. My article is mainly just reporting but it seems I wanted a 2nd Referendum in which I would have campaigned for remain, The question I ask today is what would have happened if Labour’s No voters had voted Yes, the chart below shows what would have happened.

A requirement for a 2nd Referendum, the Customs Union and the so-called Common Market 2.0 which contained most of the single market commitments would have passed if Labour’s No voters had voted Yes. This isn’t a Labour problem made by Remainers.

I should add the other’s No votes to see the blame shared by the Lib Dems & SNP, maybe tomorrow and we should note that there were 91 Labour abstentions on the vote on Parliamentary Supremacy, enough to have changed the result but I have assumed otherwise that all abstentions were pairings and would not have made a difference. …

Johnson’s defence splurge

Johnson’s defence splurge

Boris Johnson as accelerated the financial conclusions of his government’s defence review, which may have been originally over influenced by Dominic Cumming’s cyberpunk fantasies about the future of war. Everything Johnson says in this announcement is of little value, what Starmer says is important and his questions need to be answered, particularly “Where’s the strategy?” It’s a shame he makes it sound like a failure in management theory. Without answering that question, we are in danger of creeping back east of Suez, or am I already too late to worry about this, and being dragged into wars against Iran or China. Interestingly, Johnson by alleging that the decline in expense and capability has been going on for decades unskilfully avoids the immense damage that Cameron/Osborne’s 2010 review did to the capability of the armed forces. The rest of this article looks at the need for a threat analysis, the wisdom of strategic alliances, defence spending as an incubator, the military's fixations on shiny things, and concludes with an appeal to oppose new war's East of Suez.