Monday, March 25, 2019

Another Mad Week for Westminster

The meltdown continues. I expect to spend a few hours this week watching live stream coverage from the UK House of Commons.

Prime minister, Theresa May, just acknowledged that her controversial television address last week was a tantrum, an act of frustration.  May went directly to the British people and lay the blame for her bungling on MPs, that seemed to fuel a lot of death threats and, in one case, an assault. May continues to refuse to apologize to the House for her broadcast while saying she regrets the blowback.

It's thought that May's stunt will undermine her chances of a "third time lucky" meaningful vote on the UK-EU withdrawal agreement.

An opposition backbencher called the Brexit squabbles a "psychodrama inside the Conservative government." There's some truth to that.

Oh dear, parliament is scheduled to recess at the end of next week.

The Guardian's Nick Cohen writes that Westminster's Brexit chaos has at least united the public - under a sense of national humiliation.

May says her government will entertain a series of non-binding 'indicative votes' to gauge the will of parliament, perhaps to explore alternatives or tweaks to her withdrawal agreement but that doesn't seem to be going over well.

Earlier, May admitted she does not have the votes to put her "deal" to a third vote.  May desperately needs the backing of the DUP MPs from Northern Ireland, the party that is propping up the minority Conservatives. That got May a "hard no" from Democratic Union party leader, Arlene Foster.

It's pretty clear that a political autopsy is underway in the House with the opposition parties positioning themselves to stick the blame where it largely belongs - on Theresa May and the Tories.


The House of Commons has narrowly passed an amendment giving Parliament control of the Brexit process, another loss for  Theresa May. Earlier May's business and industry minister, Richard Harrison, resigned, saying the government was playing roulette with the future of Britain.

“At this critical moment in our country’s history, I regret that the government’s approach to Brexit is playing roulette with the lives and livelihoods of the vast majority of people in this country who are employed by or otherwise depend on business for their livelihood."



Trailblazer said...

Alas, the Brits now think that Monty Python is not comedy but reality tv.


rumleyfips said...

More like Faulty Towers, those Spaniards are to blame, not to mention the Germans.

Anonymous said...

Don't mention the war....

Gyor said...

The silver lining is it's another nail in Quebec's seperatist movement. Seeing this slow motion disaster occurring to Britian has to be dampening Quebec's appetite for seperation even more.

Trailblazer said...

The UK headlines are that the UK is united in it's humiliation!
Still nothing changes.
Is the world full of lemmings?
World wide I think we are in mass denial of our real issues; population and climate.
Perhaps we are collectively frightened at the changes we have to make for they are diametrically opposed to current thought and practice.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps the UK Parliament could make use of the OC Notary Service in the previous comment? Have blank Last Will forms, will travel. The spam devils now even infest blogger comments having been able to pick buses or fire hydrants out in Captcha's fuzzy pictures. That's advanced AI for you!

Pretty near a revolution in the UK if MPs can tell Cabinet what to do. I see May is about as open to the idea as she is to anything else not conceived in her dull brain, being devoid of any imagination whatsoever. This could get her off the hook, but her need for control blinds her to the blessed opportunity of getting off the hook. No, she prattles on about the government not being able to put forward an MP-approved plan to the EU, as if she and Cabinet were still in charge. Votes count in the end, and no amount of order paper is going to stop the charge, methinks.

From what I can gather in the UK press, MPs will just force cabinet to its will and pass further legislation to deny the Government legitimacy on the Brexit question if May tries to stop them or refuse to forward their decision to the EU for consideration. I imagine lots of Wernick-type Yes Minister establishment top civil servants are also having fits as mere MPs get on their cases and disregard them. Serve them and May right if delegitimization of their combined privilege is what it comes to.

The DUP wallies from Northern Ireland still wrapped in William and Mary orange from 1688 who want circa 1900 mores to prevail there like any good reactionaries would in the spirit of Ian Paisley, have told May she's out of luck for their support in the Commons. Sitting there like the world's biggest prat unable to comprehend what a country breaker she is, unwilling to compromise, a complete dough-head, history will not treat May kindly. She is at best grossly incompetent. A typical Tory of limited worldly experience from Reading, home of nothing memorable whatsoever but a large one-way traffic system.

What about the House of Lords one asks? Well, they're out of luck as well if they go against the Commons. The Parliament Act of 1911 and 1949 makes them powerless against Commons money bills, which Brexit most certainly is. Here in Canada we've never reined in the Senate's power to piss around claiming they're the house of sober second thought while holding things up. Another way we never kept up with the UK in evolving Parliament.

In fact, I praise the UK MPs for taking over. What is the damn point in getting elected under the aegis of a political party, then spending years being Whipped, standing up and sitting down like marionettes under the control of Cabinet (or really the PMO here) to vote yea or nay like trained chimps? If we want to attract keen minds to government, then the prospect of having paid political titheads telling you what to think, act, do and when must be a stultifying prospect for those otherwise interested in elected public service.

I look forward to seeing whether MPs in the UK can actually take over a supremely bad government and get on with business. I hope they succeed.


The Mound of Sound said...

Who could argue that Theresa May has not distinguished herself in her slow-moving Brexit disaster? Her defining skill is her obduracy. She seems to enjoy taking up her begging bowl and hoofing it to Brussels only to get sent packing. The Euros know she is powerless to deliver any reliable outcome from Parliament.

How will this end? There are many opinions, most of them hunches, some of them delusions, but the fact is that no one can say. Is it any wonder that industry and the City financial sector are dispirited and, in many cases, looking to the continent?