Tag Archives: spoil

The indicative votes have shown that the biggest hindrance to Brexit is the Conservative Party

When life imitates satire: This mock “Brexit 50p” is now eerily indicative of the way Parliament has behaved over Brexit.

Monday’s “indicative” votes on how Parliament wants the UK to exit the European Union went exactly as we all should have expected, with no option winning the support of a majority. Well, good golly, Mrs May.

But the exercise hasn’t been entirely pointless. Analysis of the way the different parties voted on the two options that came closest to a majority provides clear evidence that there is one thing holding back progress on Brexit: The Conservative Party.

The amendment for a customs union attracted 273 votes, with 276 against. That’s right – it lost by just three votes.

And the amendment for “Common Market 2.0” won 261 votes, with 282 against.

On the “customs union” amendment, Conservatives had a free vote (apart from cabinet ministers who were whipped to abstain) – and only 37 supported it while a massive 236 were opposed.

Sure, some Labour MPs voted against it, and they could have given it a majority. So, for that matter, could the DUP – whose 10 MPs all voted against something that would have made the Northern Ireland border “backstop” they hate so much irrelevant.

But 236 Conservatives against it? Really?

Kenneth Clarke, the former Tory chancellor who proposed the motion, was overly kind, in This Writer’s opinion. He said his customs union did not get a majority because some people’s vote supporters would not back it because they only wanted to back a second referendum. And some MPs would not back it because they wanted common market 2.0, even though they would have been happy with the customs union plan too.

He said he sometimes thinks the House of Commons is not very good at doing politics. How charitable.

Nick Boles, the Conservative MP behind the “Common Market 2.0” amendment, was more realistic about the reasons for its failure.

With 228 Tories voting against it, he said his party had refused to compromise – so he resigned the Conservative whip on the spot.

“I have given everything to an attempt to find a compromise that can take this country out of the European Union while maintaining our economic strength and our political cohesion,” he told the Commons.

“I accept I have failed. I have failed chiefly because my party refuses to compromise. I regret therefore to announce I can no longer sit for this party.”

And then he walked out of the chamber.

It seems the UK’s departure from the EU is facing a long delay.

Next step (at the time of writing) is the regular Tuesday morning cabinet meeting which, considering developments since last week’s cantankerous affair, is likely to be acrimonious.

The Commons won’t support Theresa May’s deal, and can’t find a solution of its own. MPs won’t accept “no deal” and they won’t cancel Brexit unilaterally.

No options are acceptable, it seems.

That won’t stop Mrs May putting forward her deal for a democracy-shattering fourth meaningless vote, probably on Wednesday.

In anticipation of this, Jeremy Corbyn has already said that if she can put her deal to the Commons three times, the other options should have the same opportunity.

And so, it seems, the long year will wear on.

There is a solution. Mrs May could admit defeat, accept that Parliamentary arithmetic means none of the options put forward by MPs will win a majority, and call a general election.

That, it seems, is the only answer. But we already know she doesn’t have the strength of character it requires.


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Sajid Javid, the man who trivialised the WWI centenary, shames himself on the economy

Sajid Javid? No - this is The Collector, from the Doctor Who serial The Sun Makers, but it's an easy mistake to make. This charmer's game was extorting taxes from human refugees who had fled the death of the sun to live under artificial heat sources on Pluto(!) - but revolution triggers a recession in which he literally shrinks down to nothing, disappearing into the commode he appears to be sitting on. If only Mr Javid would do the same!

Sajid Javid? No – this is The Collector, from the Doctor Who serial The Sun Makers, but it’s an easy mistake to make. This charmer’s game was extorting taxes from human refugees who had fled the death of the sun to live under artificial heat sources on Pluto(!) – but revolution triggers a recession in which he literally shrinks down to nothing, disappearing into the commode he appears to be sitting on. If only Mr Javid would do the same!

They say the secret of great comedy is timing, and Sajid Javid’s speech lambasting Labour’s ability with the economy could not come at a better time – to make a fool of him.

Javid heads up the Department of Culture, Media and Sport – you know, the government organisation that offended everybody earlier this week by denying everybody but the Prime Minister a chance to write a personal message on the wreaths laid at a First World War centenary commemoration in Glasgow.

Having made one faux pas already this week, Javid was set to ram his foot even further down his own gullet with his speech knocking Labour.

According to the Telegraph, he was planning to say that Labour’s “basic instinct” is to spend money, the party’s economic policies will leave Britain £500 billion worse-off, and this will be the equivalent of two-thirds of national income in 2035, while the Conservative approach would make it the equivalent of one-third of GDP.

The speech met with scorn before it was even made, over on alittleecon. In an article headlined Tory Minister Sajid Javid plucks some numbers out of his arse, author Alex Little pointed out:

  • Sajid Javid does not understand economics; national debt is merely an indicator of how much a government wants the economy to be funded by the private sector or the public. As government debt is issued in the form of bonds, all of it represents somebody else’s savings and more government debt means more private savings, while the economy is funded by the public sector.
  • Whether a low debt-to-GDP ratio is better than a higher one depends entirely on how it has been achieved. A fast-growing, dynamic economy can have a high level of government debt, while a slow-growing economy could have a very low debt-to-GDP ratio.
  • His timescale covers the next 20 years, making his claim a nonsense from the start. The electoral cycle is only five years so, for Labour to win in 2015 and continue winning until the date Mr Javid uses, they’d have to be doing something right!
  • Of course, Labour has not produced any spending plans yet and, when they arrive, the totals are unlikely to be hugely different from the Tories’ (although the way the money is used may differ greatly). So Mr Javid has (as Mr Little rather indelicately puts it) plucked some numbers out of his arse.

Mr Javid’s week is going very well – he has ruined a major ceremony with the behaviour of a schoolboy, then followed it up by showing that his understanding of economics – wasn’t he Financial Secretary to the Treasury before moving to the DCMS? Coupled with George Osborne as Chancellor, this could explain much – is worse than that of a schoolboy. And it’s only Wednesday.

Let’s all hope he goes for the hat trick.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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