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A new majority for what?

by Frank Schnittger Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 10:10:45 AM EST


Theresa May doesn't look too displeased after Boris' defeat.
She had earlier accompanied Philip Hammond to the Commons.

The decision by Boris Johnson to expel the 21 MPs who voted against the Government on the Bill to mandate the government to seek a further A.50 extension may well prove to be the watershed moment in the prolonged Brexit débâcle. It automatically turns a narrow government majority into a large opposition majority and the only question now is whether that opposition can find a common course of action they can actually agree on.


We always knew there was a Parliamentary majority against no deal. The problem was that majority couldn't agree on anything other than the most minimalist proposals amongst themselves. The hardline Johnson-Cummings strategy of pursuing a no-deal Brexit, failing to engage in any meaningful negotiations with the EU, proroguing parliament for an extended period, threatening not to comply with the wishes of parliament even if these were transposed into law, and threatening to expel and de-select any who voted against the government, gave the rebels little choice.

Once again the Brexiteers had overestimated the strength of their own position and under-estimated the resolve of their opponents. The EU and Ireland can tell a similar tale. Dominis Cummings ranted at the rebels "I don't know who any of you are" as they waited in 10 Downing street to see the Prime Minister. A love bombing it was not.

Who are the 21 Tory rebels who have lost the whip?

Conservative rebels said they felt "liberated" walking through the lobbies facing imminent deselection as they backed moves to stop no-deal Brexit, with several emphasizing that the government's threats had been the catalyst for their decisions.


Among the 21 rebels who lost the Conservative whip were eight former cabinet ministers, some of whom occupied the country's highest offices just weeks ago, as well as multiple Conservative veterans including the grandson of Sir Winston Churchill.


The defiance of the rebel group has led some in government to question whether the nuclear strategy of threatening deselection and cancelling an earlier meeting with key former ministers had been the right move.

---

No 10 attempted a round of last-minute diplomacy ahead of the crunch vote, including convening a meeting with senior rebels such as Philip Hammond and David Gauke in Downing Street.

Several waverers were approached personally by the prime minister - with one MP saying they had received two phone calls from Johnson just minutes before the vote. Some senior Conservatives appeared stunned at the extent of the rebellion, with cabinet ministers approaching MPs en route from the voting lobbies to ask if they had rebelled.

Some Conservatives have privately voiced serious concern about the future of the party and unease at removing the whip from such long-serving MPs.
On Tuesday a number of the party's leading centrist voices, including Justine Greening, Nicholas Soames and Alistair Burt, announced they would stand down at the next election, and the former justice minister Phillip Lee defected to the Lib Dems, with most saying they saw no future in the party and condemning its direction under Johnson.

---

Rory Stewart, the former international development secretary, also joked as he won GQ's politician of the year that it came on the night he had ceased to be a politician.

"If anything, those threats have made it more difficult for MPs to back down, because if you decide to back the government in that circumstance, you are effectively saying you value your career over your principles," one MP said.

Sam Gyimah, the former universities minister, wrote in the Guardian: "For MPs like myself, Downing Street has framed the choice as: speak your mind or keep your job."

The rebels were later supported by Ruth Davidson, the recently resigned leader of the Scottish Tories who had transformed the Scottish Conservative party into a force at the polls, increasing the number of Tory MPs from 1 to 13. Her loss alone, could end all Scottish representation for the Tory party.


Meanwhile, The Right Honourable Jacob Rees-Mogg, Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Council, has accused the rebels of "stunning arrogance".

Boris Johnson has now indicated that his next move is to seek a general election and he challenged Jeremy Corbyn to support such a move and provide the required two thirds majority in Parliament. Corbyn has indicated he may do so once the anti no-deal bill has passed. Many opposition MPs are concerned that Boris might delay any election until after Brexit day if he is empowered by Parliament to call it. Although he has promised to call the election for October 15th., the choice of election day is ultimately in his gift.

Given that Tory Lords have threatened to filibuster the anti no-deal Bill in the Lord's to prevent it being passed, it could be that Johnson decision to prorogue Parliament will back-fire on him. After all, Parliament can't vote for a General election if it is prorogued.

An early general election poses severe difficulties for the rebels as the UK's FPTP system makes it almost impossible for independent and smaller parties to win seats. Some of the Tory rebels have indicated they will retire at the next election, and others may end up joining the Liberal Democrats, a party which is looking more and more like the conservatives-in-exile.

Recent opinion polls have given the Conservatives a 10% lead over Labour and Nigel Farage has indicated his party may not stand against the Conservatives in order to maximize the pro-no deal vote. Based on current polls, only a Labour/Lib Dem/Green/ChangeUK/Independents/SNP/Plaid Cymru electoral alliance would stand much chance of defeating a combined Conservative/Brexit party set of candidates.

It could prove to be a much more difficult and time consuming task to craft an alliance between several disparate parties and groups and voting traditions than two parties with authoritarian leaders and one over-riding political aim in life.

But if the rebels want to avoid a general election and threat of extinction now, their only option is to support an alternative Prime Minister to head a caretaker administration that would seek a further A.50 extension and perhaps organize a second referendum.. They may still harbour dreams of appointing some "compromise" figure to the role, but the reality now is that Jeremy Corbyn holds all the cards. Not only might he agree to an October General election, but delivering Labour voters would be vital to winning any subsequent referendum.

Having straddled the Brexit divide for so long, Perhaps only Jeremy Corbyn is in a position to deliver a majority for remain by attracting and mobilising Labour voters wary of a Johnson/Farage stitch-up. Oh the irony of ironies - Jeremy Corbyn as a figure of national unity! Boris Johnson hasn't gotten much right in recent times, but he did call the anti no-deal Bill, crafted by a cross-party coalition including the senior Tories Oliver Letwin and Dominic Grieve, as "Jeremy Corbyn's surrender bill". However it is not a surrender by Jeremy Corbyn, it is a surrender to him.

Display:
"I don't know who any of you are."

May be a truthful statement by Dom Cummings! 😎 He is after all Australian isn't he? A con man with BIG narcissistic personality and no empathy to discover who the 21 really are or represent. A man who lives by numbers and statistics ... pushing people as moving pieces on a chess board.

Boris following the lead of a blind man.

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 11:00:26 AM EST
Au Contraire, Dominic Cummings is British. A graduate of Durham School and Oxford (First in Ancient History), Married to Mary Wakefield, who became the deputy editor of The Spectator, and is the daughter of Sir Humphry Wakefield, of Chillingham Castle in Northumberland.  He has been accused of hypocrisy because a farm that he co-owns had received €250,000 in EU farming subsidies. Cummings had previously described such subsidies as "absurd", complaining that some of them were handed out to "very rich landowners to do stupid things.


Chillingham Castle

A Classic member of the elite who poses as anti-establishment...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 11:15:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Australian Liberal Party strategist to run Boris Johnson's election campaign

Mixed up with Lynton Crosby's right-hand man is Isaac Levido.

My bad ☹

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 11:47:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
" complaining that some of them were handed out to "very rich landowners to do stupid things."
Well, apparently he should know.
by StillInTheWilderness on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 at 02:20:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent commentary, Frank. Not much to add except that if Farage supports the Tories in an election, that is tantamount to aligning the Tory Party on extreme hard Brexit, no doubt creating a fresh crisis of conscience for more centrist Tories. How many would leave for the Lib Dems?

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 11:54:05 AM EST
So what is the difference between Boris and Farage now? Farage wants a no deal Brexit - no continuing "entanglements" with the EU - while Boris claims to want a deal. But he has made no serious attempt to engage in negotiations with the EU and has yet to articulate his alternative to the Backstop.

I have to laugh at continuing Tory claims that the opposition are undermining their negotiating position with their "friends in Europe": First of all, they have no "friends in Europe", and secondly, there have been no serious negotiations with the EU since the Withdrawal Agreement was agreed almost a year ago.

What negotiations are they talking about? Are they still negotiating in their own heads or with each other? They are certainly not engaged in serious negotiations with the EU. The notion that the EU Council, meeting on the 17/18th. of October, are suddenly going to agree to some rabbit Boris has pulled out of a hat is absurd.

That is not how the EU works, and even if it did, what proposal could they possibly agree to? A Northern Ireland specific backstop is the only other option on the table, requiring Boris to dump the DUP and his precious Union. He could do this, and some suspect that he might. But first he would have to secure a parliamentary majority sans le DUP.

Not made any easier by the likely loss of Scottish Tory seats and centrist Tory voters in England...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 03:19:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So what is the difference between Boris and Farage now?

Racism is core policy for Farage.  For de Piffle it remains a more casual issue, to be trotted out when it can whip a crowd to give him some cheers.  In the end Boor-ass isn't all about, "They aren't like US!"  He's all about, "None of you is like ME!"

by rifek on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 10:08:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Centrist Tories were happy enough to hold power aligned with DUP. How much worse can they get?
by Andhakari on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 06:47:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How does the Fixed Term Parliament Act figure into this mess? Previously, if I understand correctly, losing such a vote as Boris lost yesterday would have been considered a vote of no confidence and would have triggered new elections. But now new elections require a vote of 2/3 of Parliament? It would seem that the old maxim should apply here: "No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy."

Can Boris's Government remain in power, going from defeat to defeat, unless 2/3 of Parliament votes for new elections? If so, it might be wise to withhold any assent for a new election until an extension has been granted. So doing would tend to undermine the credibility of the Fixed Terms Act, which was a Conservative bill.

Do I presume correctly that Corbyn could only deliver a majority of Parliament for Remain after a new election? If he could find a majority for Remain in the present Parliament why not then just withdraw the Article 50 letter and put an end to this fiasco? Failing that, would Labour likely deliver enough votes to call for a new election were Corbyn to declare that such a vote should be at the conscience of each Labour MP?

The possibilities seem endless. Unwritten constitutions!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 04:25:14 PM EST
Under a separate provision of the Act, If you lose a vote of confidence you have 14 days to recover it before a general election is triggered. In the meantime it is open to someone else to try and gain the nomination of the House as PM. It is not clear whether, within the meaning of the Act, yesterday's vote counts as a VONC, even though Boris treated it as such. Also not clear how proroguing House interferes with above timetable.

Afaik The Fixed Term Parliament Act was a Liberal invention foisted on the last Lib Con coalition government to prevent PM's calling elections willy nilly at a time of maximum party advantage. Theresa May struggled on for months despite historic defeats because she never actually lost a formal VONC.

There is a majority in the current parliament against a no deal Brexit but none for Remain or any specific version of Leave. It is considered politically toxic to withdraw A.50 notification without a second referendum vote in support of this as to do otherwise would be to go against the expressed will of the people. Hence the stalemate, to date.

It is unclear whether the House would deliver a 2/3 vote for an election now in the absence of Corbyn applying the whip to his members. Turkey's don't tend to vote for Xmas. However it is also difficult for the Leader of her Majesty's Opposition to turn down the offer of an election as it is his job to seek one at every opportunity. Boris will no doubt taunt him for running away from the electorate if he doesn't agree.

Corbyn could therefore very reasonably say to the opposition "back me as an alternative interim PM or else I have no option but to agree to Boris' call for an election, provided I can get a guarantee it will happen mid-October". "I will deliver a second referendum for you, if that is what you want whereas it will never happen under Boris".

The dissident Tories have some very difficult decisions to make, but Boris just made it a hell of a lot easier for them to betray their own party by expelling them. A tactical necessity perhaps, but strategic error, on his part, in my view. They owe him or his party nothing now.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 05:25:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, they remain in power until such times as Parliament assents by giving a 2/3 majority to a call for an election.

As for an A50 extention, it seems like 3 months is now the likely scenario, to give any new parliament a chance to sort itself out. But I guess from their end it is conditional on there being an election.

What Corbyn might do after an election is still unknown.

But yes, the Tories and the Farageistas are united, as I predicted several months ago.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 05:47:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A question from an American which may be stupid but....

If Boris Johnson and the Tories no longer have a majority in Parliament why isn't there immediately a new election?  Why does it require another vote by Parliament to declare a new election?

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 05:57:01 PM EST
The Fixed Term parliament act - yet another not-so-clever innovation from David Cameron. It means you can only have a general election every 5 years

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 05:58:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Absent a 2/3 vote of Parliament.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 06:50:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And also absent a VONC which isn't reversed within 14 days or replaced by a VOC in someone else. Corbyn could probably win a VONC in Boris right now, it is much less clear whether he or anyone could win a VOC in the current Parliament. For that reason the most likely outcome of a VONC is a general election, but the timing is getting very tight if it is to be held before Brexit day.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 10:28:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most countries have fixed parliamentary terms, and restriction on the ability of the executive to call elections outside of those fixed terms. It places the primary responsibility for sorting out problems on elected politicians, rather than them running to the electorate whenever it suits them not to take that responsibility. In most of the adult world, that works pretty well. Elections outside the standard parliamentary cycle should be a rare and extraordinary event signalling a major failure of the political system to do its job and with dire electoral consequences for those deemed responsible.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 at 11:17:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is fine when your constitution is set up for that. The FTPA fiddled with one part of the constitution and took away a safety valve. It means rejigging the rest of the constitution to achieve balance.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 at 11:19:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 at 11:30:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What amendments to the "Constitution" would be suggest would "balance" the fixed term Parliament Act? A requirement that anyone the Queen appoints PM must first win a VOC in the House would seem to me a necessary reform, but that reform is required regardless of the FTPA. Rarely has the UK had a Parliament that can disagree on so much and agree on so little. That in itself is a consequence of the very adversarial culture the FPTP system creates where "working across the aisle" is systematically discouraged and culturally almost unimaginable.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 at 11:37:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is ironic that Cameron's attempt to paper over the chasm running down the middle of the Tory party between the pro- and anti-europeans has probably accelerated the forces that will tear the party apart.

But 2 parties it inow is. One is a far right corporate nationalist party (let's be kind and just say "proto-fascist") and the other part will gradually merge with the LibDems, who are themselves rapidly evolving into a One Nation Conservative party tribute act.

the most interesting part will be how the press splits. they cannot support both. I imagine the natural tendency will be to follow the far right version, but commercial sense would suggest they should revert to the LibDem version

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 05:57:32 PM EST
mmmm, you know that's right.




Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 07:04:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does that 'One Nation Conservative Party include Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 08:15:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It certainly doesn't include Ulster where the major parties do not organise (thus confirming that it is just a colony and not really part of UK)

But Scotland is probably lost, whatever happens now. The feudal core of our "constitution" has been laid bare and has horrified voters both north and south of the border. But the Scots know they can move away. The resentments involved in having been told to stay in the Union in order to remain in the EU, only to discover that England voted them out, will not heal readily. No, Scotland is gone.

Wales isn't going anywhere. they voted leave just as enthusiastically as England. So "one nation" is just Britin, aka England and Wales

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 09:18:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The House of Commons voted against a No Deal.  Meaningless unless the Lords agree, IIRC.

Today they voted against new elections.  NO turkeys will be harmed in the coming months.

They have exactly one scheduled day left - tomorrow - and then they go on vacation until May 9th when they will be prorogued.  

If this is some kind of a cunning plan it's waaaaaaaaaaaaaay outside my pay grade.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 09:07:03 PM EST
October 9 I presume you mean. But what happens to the 14 day clock while Parliament is on vacation? Can Parliament vote to extend the current session into next week? Aside from court injunctions, can a majority of Parliament send a delegation to the Queen requesting the prorogation be reascended?

So many questions.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 09:53:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
May 9th s/b September 9th -- this coming Monday.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 10:59:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More than 100,000 people have applied to register to vote in the past 48 hours

More than 100,000 people have applied to register to vote since the start of the week, with young people making up the bulk of the surge against the backdrop of a momentous 48 hours in British politics. On Monday, 52,408 applications were submitted, according to government figures, followed by 64,485 on Tuesday. The figure on both days was significantly above the typical number for weekday applications, which has averaged about 27,000 for the past month.
....
Meanwhile, the National Union of Students (NUS) is launching a voter registration campaign in partnership with the Electoral Commission next week and will be visible at campus "welcome weeks" around the country. Alongside the "Got 5" campaign, the union will also be launching social media videos tailored to individual student communities to explain the importance of registering to vote.

Others have independently been encouraging voter registration by sharing links to the government website. Describing the 48-hour increase as "great news", the actor and comedian Rob Delaney tweeted: "No-deal Brexiteers' greatest fears are new voters and young voters."

The young have the most to lose from BREXIT and there probably are not many more of the over 50 voters left to register. Any estimate of the partisan breakdown of the new registrants?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 09:38:33 PM EST
Farage and Johnson must get their Russian chum to expedite matters quickly. (I really have problems, as a long lost American, with the slang word "Johnson.")
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 09:57:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(I prepend, "big, swinging". Et voilà a johnson for any occasion.)

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 10:38:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
didn't need to know this...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 at 08:19:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The proper English equivalent of a Johnson is a John Thomas. In tribute to Lady Chatterley's lover.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 at 09:17:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you must remember that the word Trump is also english slang for the act of farting.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Sep 6th, 2019 at 09:30:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
jobs saved or created!

Activist Loses UK Court Case on Police Facial Recognition

A British court ruled Wednesday that a police force's use of automated facial recognition technology is lawful, dealing a blow to an activist concerned about its implications for privacy.
amidst strangers fondly known as "The Public," we
"The algorithms of the law must keep pace with new and emerging technologies," Judges Charles Haddon-Cave and Jonathan Swift [BWAH!] said.
< wipes tears > "mass surveillance
But the judges said that the police force's use of the technology was in line with British human rights and data privacy legislation. They said that all images and biometric data of anyone who wasn't a match on the "watchlist" of suspects was deleted immediately.
[...]
South Wales is the lead U.K. police force for conducting tests and trials of automatic facial recognition. It has deployed cameras mounted on police vans nearly 60 times since May 2017, capturing 500,000 faces at rugby games, Ed Sheeran concerts, protests, yacht races and other events. London's Metropolitan Police ended its own trial of the technology earlier this year.
Profit!

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 09:46:54 PM EST
The Ed Sheeran fan base and yachting communities are clearly a terrorist threat...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 10:22:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry this is slightly off topic, but a must read if you wish to understand the differences between US and Irish political culture just now. How Mike Pence shat on the new carpet in Ireland's spare room
The hospitable hosts buttered up their important guest and made a big fuss of his family and hoped he would say nice things about them to the important people he would meet after his visit to Ireland.

And he told them they were wonderful and that he loved them. He even said a special prayer for everyone and then, just before he left, he turned around and kicked them where it hurts.

It came as a shock.

Like pulling out all the stops for a much-anticipated visitor to your home and thinking it has been a great success until somebody discovers he shat on the new carpet in the spare room, the one you bought specially for him.

US vice-president Mike Pence met President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Tuesday during an official visit. His Irish hosts, up to their oxters for the last three years in Brexit worry, hoped to impress upon him Ireland's fears about the consequences of a no-deal Brexit for the country.

He could, maybe, stick in a supportive word for us in his talks with Boris Johnson in London - his next port of call.

Pence, after all, is Irish American and wastes no opportunity to go misty-eyed about his love for the "Old Country" as he lards on his Mother Machree schtick on both sides of the Atlantic. He couldn't praise Ireland enough on Tuesday - "deeply humbled" and "honoured" to be going to the hometown of his mother's grandmother and so on.

But, after he said all these nice things about the "Emerald Isle" and how much his boss Donald Trump - he sent his best wishes, by the way - appreciates us and all we do to help American security in Shannon, he delivered a very strong endorsement of Boris Johnson and Brexit.

No room left for doubt. As Pence read from the autocue and Irish eyes definitely stopped smiling...

Worth reading in full...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 10:40:18 PM EST
The Irish Times view on Mike Pence's visit to Ireland: that didn't go very well
Although the courtesies were maintained during the two-day visit of US vice-president Mike Pence to Ireland, it clearly did not go very well. Cold politics triumphed over warm words as Pence followed President Trump in openly indicating his support for British prime minister Boris Johnson's approach to the Brexit negotiations.

Johnson has set out deliberately to blame Ireland for the political chaos in the UK and attempted to scapegoat Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for defending the Belfast Agreement and the integrity of the EU single market.

The Taoiseach maintained a dignified demeanour as his US guest positioned himself on the side of Johnson and his Brexit policy and had the effrontery to call on the EU to negotiate in good faith when it has done precisely that in the face of brazen dishonesty from the Brexiteers.

Pence was of course only echoing his master's voice in supporting Johnson and denigrating the EU. A central element of Trump's policy is to do everything he can to encourage the break-up of the EU. Support for the hardest possible type of Brexit is part of a strategy designed to weaken the EU and ultimately destroy it.

Varadkar rightly pointed out to Pence the impact that a hard border would have on the island of Ireland, particularly the danger it would pose to the gains linked to the Belfast Agreement, and told his visitor that was why Ireland and its EU partners would stand their ground. Reports suggest that the vice-president and the Taoiseach had a more amicable discussion in private about the role of the US as guarantor of the Agreement.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 10:55:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Florida Mans

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 11:33:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
iirc, the "Belfast case" hearing was scheduled 6 Sep. Preppers gird loins, steel jaws, choke tears, &tc. for expected, or desirable, consolidation of the three pleadings.
Judge to decide when to hear Belfast Brexit case
Courts in Northern Ireland should be prepared to sit during the night and on weekends to ensure a challenge against a no-deal Brexit is heard, a judge was told.
[...]
"It's vital that our Northern Ireland case is heard concurrently with those in England and Scotland," [Ronan Lavery QC] said.
[...]
Justice McCloskey said a provisional date of 16 September for the rolled-up hearing involving the three applicants would need to be brought forward.

The judge told the court that he had received notice from the Supreme Court of its intent to examine the outcome of the Scottish and English challenges against prorogation on 17 September.



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 at 11:47:11 PM EST


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