When 2nd best is actually best!

Another note on proportional representation. We elect MPs for two purposes, to represent us in Parliament and to choose a Prime Minister.

Sometimes the best and most supported answer is a compromise of 2nd bests which only a Parliament can deliver. i.e. the former role is more important.

Opponents of PR, within the LP, have a vision of a Labour Govt., exercising the powers of the elective dictatorship, (presumably without the corruption) ruling on the basis of a minority plurality. This always ends badly.

As other’s have said, the UK’s system i.e. FPTP is little used in democracies, and truth be told, not used in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales or London.

PR may or may not benefit Labour or the progressives in the UK, but the UK is a ‘flawed democracy’ and something must change to ensure this kakistocracy is never repeated. …

Let’s see the Brexit deal risk assessment

Let’s see the Brexit deal risk assessment

While thinking about how to make waves around the Tories Brexshite mess, I have come to the conclusion that the fact they’ve turned off parliamentary scrutiny is a big problem; we have no effective politicians to engage with. They are also treating us to mushroom therapy by withholding the impact analysis on the future relationship treaty. It’s clear that small businesses are having difficulty exporting, jobs in finance and distribution are moving to continental Europe, there are stirrings of border fetishism rising in Northern Ireland and the settled status programme will lead to massive hardship although in the latter case it’s as much be design as by accident. Let’s see the Impact Assessment, we’ve paid for it.

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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. …

A week to remember

What a week it’s been for British Politics! Prior to the re-opening of Parliament after its summer recess, Johnson announced he planned to ask for the longest prorogue of Parliament since 1945. On his 2nd day in Parliament as Prime Minister, he lost control of the Parliamentary timetable, the following day he lost his majority after one of the Tory’s crossed the floor to the Lib Dems, he then threatened his Party with expulsion if they supported the cross bench bill to ban a no-deal Brexit, which they did and so did he! This put his working majority at -41. The Bill passed both the Commons and Lords. Johnson asked for an election, which is now in the hands of the House of Commons and they said No! All this within five days, thus proving what I said, that its possible he should not have been appointed as he does not command the confidence of the house. To cap the week, his brother resigned for the Government and announced he would not seek re-election and Amber Rudd, finally found her backbone and resigned from the Government and the Tory whip, with an excoriating letter.

In exchange John Mann, the semi-detached alleged Labour MP has resigned from the Labour Party and agreed to take up the role of “Anti-Semitism Tsar” (sic).

A couple of wits, put Parliament to the words of Monty Python, one of the Romans, the other on self defence from being attacked by  fresh fruit.

A week to remember! …

Back to the Commons for more on Brexit

Last night the House of Commons voted on four alternatives to No-Deal and May’s Deal Brexit, they were any deal to be confirmed by a confirmatory/final say referendum, aiming for Custom’s Union, aiming for a Customs Union and Single Market membership, and changing the default, currently to leave without a deal to Revoking of article 50. They all failed to win a majority, but the Customs Union only lost by three votes. Here is a graphic from the Institute of Governance showing the votes. I also present the majorities/minorities in bar chart form.

 

A number of MPs and commentators have argued, partly as a result of the ERG’s stupid game playing, that accepting May’s binding deal in exchange for a promise that the non-binding political declaration becomes better than May’s first draft is unacceptable; much of the problem in compromising in or with Parliament is that it can’t bind itself, so its promises are worthless. It’s one of the reasons I still support remain as Pariament can’t break the accession treaties. This means that “Customs Union” and “Common Market 2.0” have questionable value and the Withdrawal Agreement with it’s sub-standard citizenship guarantees and its failure to underwrite the Good Friday Agreement underwrite them. The vote however is meant to be indicative.

I have previously argued that Brexit is either catastrophic or pointless and I have learned that there are at least two forms of decision making, which either polarise or coalesce foci. Parliaments allow coalescence, compromise and the ability of popular second choices to become a reality. It seems that MPs are not yet ready to make these comprises, as shown by the high number of Labour votes against all these positions and Nick Boles decision to resign the Tory Whip. See below/overleaf for the bar charts, … …

Crime & Brexit

As I said, earlier this week I attended a session of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee. This was called to take evidence on the impact of Brexit as it impacted Europol and the European Arrest Warrant.

I have published a link to the video recording of the event but I took some notes and wanted to share them with you. They interviewed Sir Robert Wainright, a former Head of Europol and Claude Moraes MEP, Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and Camino Mortera-Martinez, Research Fellow and Brussels Representative, Centre for European Reform. If we leave, we are unlikely to get a better agreement than Denmark which has withdrawn from Europol and unless we accept the Court of Justice of the European Union, we will be excluded from the European Arrest Warrant. Moraes made the point that the UK’s Investigatory Powers Act may inhibit a data sharing adequacy finding which may lead to a restrivtion on access to Europol’s databases. …  …

Parliament considers Syria

They have been debating the Syria bombing in the House of Commons over the last two days. This is Parliament’s page on the 2nd day of debates which is based on a motion put by Alice McGovern MP (Labour). Jeremy Corbyn instructed Labour to vote against, spoke against it and the debate is recorded in Hansard here, together with the voting record. The previous day, the Prime Minister made a statement to the house, the web page with links to the video and Hansard record is here…. I watched a couple of hours; it’s dispiriting stuff, the PM makes every other speech, and half the remainder are Tories and Labour’s Refusniks were out in force.

Here’s how the argument goes, the use of chemical weapons is a humanitarian crime, despite the fact that the two organisations responsible had not determined that such an attack had taken place, nor that military force was to be used, the Governments of the USA, France & the UK had decided that bombing targets in Syria was an appropriate & legal response.

Only the British Government has published its legal reasoning. They argue that Sovereigns have the right to make humanitarian interventions without permission from the UN. That would require the act of a chemical attack to have occurred and the western power’s action to have reduced the likelihood of further attacks.

The right to make such humanitarian interventions is controversial and has never been agreed by the UN nor any international court. The attack has not been confirmed by the international body designated as responsible, and it’s highly questionable if the actions will improve the lot of the Syrian people. This is why the claim to have degraded the chemical warfare capability of the Syrian Government is so important. Otherwise its just recreational!

The argument that the UN had failed to act because Russia was cheating does not give the Governments of the USA, UK & France the right to substitute their judgement for that of the Security Council. As Dapo Akande argues in his legal opinion for Tom Watson, if nothing else there’s always the UN’s Uniting for Peace process which is designed to deal with a deadlocked Security Council. The UN flawed as it is, is our only hope. The three governments have weakened its authority. A further option was as Corbyn says, to support the OPCW and continue to pressurise Russia by diplomatic means. …

Labour & Article 50

Labour & Article 50

In my report back from Labour Party Conference, I predicted that the fault lines caused by the Brexit Referendum would become a potential fatal debate for the Labour Party. Today the Independent reported on a speech by John McDonnell, in which he argued that Labour would not oppose an Article 50 bill and would use moral pressure to ensure that the Brexit terms negotiated were acceptable to Labour. Jolyen Maugham argues in the New Statesman that promising not to oppose Article 50, or not to amend it disarms the PLP, it will have no leverage on the Tories who are still putting the interests of their party before that of the country. …