The mess that’s getting messier

If you wanted to describe the multicoloured shambles that passes for British governance these days, you’ll find that you’ve run out of the normal spectrum of colours. We’re now deep into ultraviolet.  Parliament was prorogued by a rogue last night, another little death of democracy in a state whose checks and balances against the overweening power of unscrupulous politicians are weak and often ineffective. Meanwhile the British nationalist trolls are out in force in the comments sections of newspapers, screaming fiscal deficit at every opportunity. They’re clearly very worried.

However Parliament wasn’t closed down before it managed to inflict a few more humiliating defeats on Lyin’ Bastert Johnson the Pinocchio of politics who wants nothing more than to be a real Prime Minister, but who is really just a lump of rotten wood. He has been Prime Minister for 85 days now, but has only had to face Parliament for five of them. That in itself is scandalous, and an indictment of the weakness of what passes for a British constitution and its inability to hold the executive branch of government to account. In those five short days LBJ has managed to lose every single vote, six in total, meaning he’s already lost more votes in a few days than Tony Blair or Margaret Thatcher lost in the decade each were in power. All the clever tactics and wheezes which played out so well in his imagination have blown up. I’d say they’d blown up in his face, but that merely begs the question of which of his faces we’re talking about. No wonder he wanted to close down the Commons. He’s been well and truly slapped on all six of his cheeks.

It was a bad tempered session of the Commons. It was like watching an irate wasp on a steroid rage negotiating the Parliamentary rule book. The Speaker scarcely bothered to hide his anger, and allowed a couple of emergency debates, which the Government then went on to lose. The most important of these was a motion proposed by expelled Conservative Dominic Grieve, who was about to give LBJ an abject lesson in what a grievance was.

The motion was aimed at forcing Government advisors to release all documents and electronic communications relating to the decision to prorogue Parliament. This is because there may be some people who believe LBJ’s protestations that he only closed down Parliament so that he could have a Queen’s Speech and introduce a new programme of legislation, but those would be people who are either bereft of functioning neurones and /or anything approaching moral fibre. Which is decent description of the cabinet.

Additionally, the motion, framed in terms of a humble address, forces the Government to release the no-deal planning assessments in full. Then we can find out whether Michael Gove was being entirely honest when he said that the Yellowhammer documents represented a worst case scenario and in any case it was prepared for the previous administration and was out of date and the dog ate his homework.  My guess would be no.  Or neuww, since North British acceynts are so terribly in these days.

Dominic wielded the scalpel, contrasting LBJ’s characterisation of David Cameron as a “girly swot” with the Prime Minister’s own “manly indolence”. He surgically dissected the Government’s self-serving excuses, leaving what little had been left of LBJ’s credibility before the day’s session began lying on the floor of the House in tiny pieces. Now we will get to find out whether LBJ has been lying to the Queen, the Commons, and the entire UK about his reasons for seeking prorogation.

Not to be outdone, Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson took the opportunity to showcase at least four of her accents, simultaneously. She’s been taking elocution lessons from Freayzeur Neahlsawn. Jo made a valuable and vital contribution to the debate. Well, I’m being kind. What she actually said was, “Bawrays Jawnnsin yeuuaaww oeunleey preureugayng thess heaawws seaww yeuuu kenn sayf yaah Cawwnsaaavataif paaataay fomm eaubleyveeyon.” Although I may be perraphraysayng. At least this week some Tory neanderthal didn’t yell “Sit down love” at her this week like they did last week. Patronising sexism is all that they have left, even when confronted with Jeeauuw Sweynseun. That’s how crap the Tories are.

Because of Jeeauww’s intervention, which is Lib Dem speak for “despite it” or even dayspayte it, the motion was carried. To add to his woes LBJ is now facing another constitutional crisis if he refuses to release the documentation demanded by Parliament. That’s every piece of paper, every post-it note, every What’s App conversation, every photo posted to instagram of Dominic Cummings with a cute kitten filter, every manly indolent pose that Boris Johnson has ever texted to whoever it is he’s currently courting. You wait ages for a constitutional crisis and then a whole load of them come along at once, like Boris buses.

Then there was the predictable loss of the government vote to bring about an early General Election. No one thought it had any chance of passing, and it didn’t. There will be no General Election until at least November. Following the inevitable defeat, the Government announced that Parliament was going to be prorogued until October 14. For the next five weeks LBJ will be spared further embarrassment from a House of Commons which he’s lost all control of, and he can get back to pretending that he’s serious about getting a Brexit deal.

Usually the prorogation ceremony is a sober and formal affair, but these are not normal times and this was not a usual prorogation. Speaker John Bercow made his disgust clear in a speech during which he described the prorogation as government by executive fiat, and didn’t try to hide his contempt for the government benches. A group of Labour MPs held up signs protesting against the silencing of Parliament, and briefly attempted to hold the Speaker down in his seat. As Tory MPs got up and filed into the Lords for the ceremony itself, led by a Speaker who had a face that could fry a pound of mince halfway across the solar system, they were accompanied by cries of shame on you from opposition benches whose MPs refused to participate in this sham of democracy.  It was a farce, and was even played out with the fancy costumes.

The Government may have succeeded in closing down Parliament, but their problems haven’t gone away. France is airing the possibility that the EU might insist on a two year extension to Article 50 as the UK is mired in an impasse. Les trolleurs françaises le font pour des merdes et le fou rire. Which means “The French trolls are doing it for the shits and giggles.”

Today there are reports that the Government is exploring the possibility of getting a deal based on keeping Northern Ireland effectively within the customs union and single market and having a regulatory border in the Irish Sea. It’s the only option left to the Government if it is to avoid either asking for another extension to Article 50 or breaking the law. LBJ could employ the Grinch tactic, and ask for an extension in a way that makes it clear that he really doesn’t want one, but the EU is very aware of the current state of play in British politics. There’s going to be a General Election sooner rather than later, and they’ll know that there’s a reasonable chance that Boris Johnson won’t be Prime Minister after it. As far as they’re concerned they’d have little to lose by granting the extension no matter how petulant the language in which LBJ phrases the request. They also know that granting the extension makes it a bit harder for him to win that election. The EU is not currently disposed to do the British Prime Minister any favours.

There are problems with the NI only backstop, as it’s called. Senior figures in Ireland like former taoiseach Bertie Ahern, one of the architects of the peace process, are warning that a deal which is opposed by Northern Ireland’s Unionist community has little chance of working. It gets no one anywhere if we avoid sparking off violence from Republican paramilitaries only to spark off violence from Loyalist paramilitaries.

The DUP are implacably opposed, and so are the ERG Brextremists who refused to allow Theresa May to do something similar. The SNP would certainly oppose it too, since it means give Northern Ireland rights in Europe that remain voting Scotland wouldn’t enjoy. Labour and the Lib Dems opposed it before and nothing has changed to make them back it this time. It’s hard to see how the Government could cobble together a majority for it. The opposition parties would prefer an extension. They want to force this Government into an election where Johnson will have to defend all his broken promises and have his vote split by the Brexit party. Even so, it’s the only idea that’s currently in the running.

So that’s where we are at the moment. Still as confused as ever, only without a legislature which might try and find a way out of it and a Prime Minister who has a brief respite from being held to account. The only things that you can say with any certainty is that this mess is only going to get messier, the British nationalist trolls are right to be worried, and when Boris Johnson says he’s not going to break the law and he’s not going to ask for an extension he’s lying about at least one of those things.

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40 thoughts on “The mess that’s getting messier

  1. Pingback: The mess that’s getting messier | speymouth

  2. I wonder what they’re getting up to now?


    Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp pointed out previously that a border in the Irish Sea would constitute a breach (another one) of the 1707 Treaty of the Union. I can’t find his article but this is an excerpt from Article 6 of the Treaty.

    ” That all Parts of the United Kingdom, for ever, from and after the Union, shall have the same Allowances, Encouragements, and Draw-backs, and be under the same Prohibitions, Restrictions, and Regulations of Trade, and liable to the same Customs and Duties, and Import and Export. And that the Allowances, Encouragements, and draw-backs, Prohibitions, Restrictions, and Regulations, of Trade, and the Customs and Duties on Import and Export settled in England, when the Union commences, shall, from and after the Union, take place throughout the whole united Kingdom.”..

    Would the latter actually apply to Ireland?

    • Your posts are going into moderation because you’re including three links in each. You need to restrict yourself to two links per comment, otherwise the comment automatically goes into pre-moderation. It’s an anti-spam feature, as spam comments often contain a lot of links.

    • Was this amended in the light of the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922 and, further, by the establishment of the Irish Republic in 1949? This is a request for information about the Articles of Union.

  3. ….. yes , that’s all very well , Paul .

    But apart from losing his majority , then losing all the votes , not getting his election , then being handed his b*lls to play with , it’s been a good week for Boris , hasn’t it ?

  4. OK Paul, thanks for that. I’m having to adjust, lol, as it was up to 3 links on Wings.


    Maybe GMK is spot on in relation to the potential breach and therefore there’s more to the DUP’s statement, that “creating a border in the Irish Sea poses a risk to the Union”, than meets the eye.

    ‘DUP hold “positive” meeting with Boris Johnson.’

  5. Excellent summary of the current situation. A couple of cracking lines – LBJ the Pinocchio of politics – Grieve giving LBJ an abject lesson in what a grievance was. Three years on they still cannot square the circle that is N. Ireland – the artificial partition and the complicated GF Treaty coming back to bite the UK.

    I always knew they would, for the most part, ignore Scotland but not so easy with N. Ireland.

    Best solution the four nations of the UK get what they voted for in the EU ref. I.e. N.Ireland and Scotland remain – UK no more.

  6. Lovely summary of the day’s madness of King Boris, Paul.

    As some Duggers know, my Everlovin’ is from Belfast, and ever since her eyes bewitched me by shining like diamonds and I thought her the queen of the land, and her hair hung over her shoulder, tied up with a black velvet band, I have being going back and forward to the Emerald Isle many many times for decades now.

    Mad Cow Disease, Foot and Mouth Disease, The 30 years of what is euphemistically described as ‘The Troubles’, effectively cut Norn Irn off from the ‘Mainland’ since the late ’60’s.

    I’ve travelled across the border at Newry and Derry (or ‘London’derry depending on which
    ridiculous form of psycho killer, ‘Loyalist’ or ‘Republican’ you categorise yourself, or none) dozens of times.

    During the Reign of Terrorists there were Soldiers on foot patrol backed up by Saracens, and armed RUC Officers at border points.

    During the Foot and Mouth crisis, our cars were ‘sheep dipped’ at Larne and Belfast harbours, and during the Mad Cow Panic, woe betide any traveller found attempting to smuggle Brit meat, like for example, two logs of Lorne sausage or a dozen mince pies which our nephews in Dublin could devour over the course of a long week end.

    I’ve been separated from the herd of travellers at Stranraer ferry terminal disembarking from the Larne Boat by plain clothes MI 5/6 officers and quizzed about why I was travelling, where was I going, what was my inside leg measurement.
    None of us complained because at the time, these restrictions during moments of crisis seemed perfectly sensible and necessary.

    Since the GFA travel and checks ostensibly gradually eased off.
    At ferry terminals many times our car was waved through following a cursory glance at our travel documents and occasionally our passports.
    In times of heightened tension, there has been the odd random search of some of the cars in the queue, but with nothing like the intensity and sense of dread of the Terrorist years.

    It would be tempting to argue that we need merely return to the ‘state of emergency’ customs and security arrangements imposed then, and that this would serve as a near as damn it ‘seamless’ border between European Ireland and England’s Northern Colony.

    Except that the North of Ireland voted to remain within the EU, and all that jazz, and the GFA is not going to go away.

    A ‘border’ down the Irish sea will be the option Johnson choses, since he has no need for DUP back up.

    Once more we’ll be held up at Stranraer or Liverpool or Holyhead like it’s 1969.

    There will be mounting tension in Ireland, but I doubt that Johnson and Rees Mogg will lose any sleep over the Settlers and the Locals shooting at each other.

    They pulled out of every other colony without a backward glance.

    I’d imagine that the BBC will moth ball Newsnight for five weeks now and show reruns of some Merrie England ethnic free tat like ‘The Good Life’ or ‘Fawlty Towers’.

    The Ultras have mounted a successful coup d’etat and they didn’t even have to burn down the Reichstag and blame the Commies this time.

    • PS, all the best people were born in September, Paul.
      I blame all that Peace and Good Will in December.
      I am one of those Baby Boomers the Ultra Right blames for the Deficit, yet I’m still paying tax, Community Charges, VAT, car and house insurance, and happily contribute to the education and welfare and health of my fellow younger infirm Glasgow citizens.
      It’s called social democracy, the scourge of Jackboot ‘Ruddy; Carport and Jo Swinson, or should that be ‘ Jaw Swaaahsorrn’?

      What happened to the grand old playground torture of giving a poor wretch their ‘dumps’ on their birthday, the bizarre practice of thumping the birthday boy (girls were exempt) repeatedly on the back for each year that passed since the poor wretched blinked and gasped their way into this world?
      For example, when you turned 10, you could expect ten poundings, 11, eleven thumps, and so on.
      If memory serves it bestowed on the poor victim ‘good luck’.

      Happy Birthday, Paul.
      39 ‘dumps’ is it?

      • Jack, girls were not exempt…dumped, kicked, punched…my shoulders, back and legs are screaming at the thought of it again. The dumps can be dumped. Such a strange custom/thing indeed.
        In the meantime, Best Birthday felicitations Paul, and to you too Jack 🍻

        Another excellent clarification of the LBJ saga.

        • I stand corrected, deelsdug.
          In my defence, in Clydebank ‘fifties, no boy would hit a girl.
          So it probably went on ‘inter-puellis’, and we guys kept wisely out of their way.

          What cruel sadistic violent childhoods we endured then, but considered it the norm.

          Imagine a teacher nowadays pulling out that instrument of sadistic torture, the Lochgelly tawse, a thick leather belt, a cat o’ three tails, and ordering an unfortunate 12 year old to cross their outstretched hands, palms up and flogging the poor wretch SIX Times, for not doing their homework, or being late?
          To those who would argue that it didn’t do us any harm, I argue, then why am I breaking out into a cold sweat in my 71st year trying this?

          Nowadays, sadists flogging kids? Their feet wouldn’t touch.

          In saying that, I had some wonderful masters and teachers, who would have been physically sick at the notion of flogging young people.

          Others, not so much.

          • It certainly wasn’t a positive experience, that’s for sure. School was hated, lessons were a chore and the bruises were the excuse for the parental, ‘well, you must have done something to upset them’. Those rose-tinted, spectacled memories of sun-kissed, idyllic childhood days are nowt but memories of stubborn rebellion.

    • Agreed Jack, the border down the Irish Sea was always the sensible solution for the EU and GFA, but however convenient it may be for Johnson to go along with now politically, the DUP fallout in NI is the greater danger as they will will stoke up the lunatic fringes.
      I never understood their hatred of the Republic or hanging onto Unionism of a bygone age, the venom in pockets of NI and Central Scotland as bitter and twisted as it gets.
      One NI lady I knew back in Scotland looked on the Republic as a giant peatbog populated by raggedy poor surviving on raw potatoes. This from a well-off intelligent adult was as insane a perspective as any I’ve ever encountered, until Brexit came along.
      Your “Ultras have mounted a successful coup d’etat” comment is on the button, but with the propaganda so successfully ingrained across England, being told nirvana is now cancelled will cause ructions. The “No Deal” jingo was absurd, but once Mirage fires up his poison tongue for a GE, it may prove difficult to contain the mob.
      On a side note, Evette Cooper’s committee observed “Freight Transport Association say they’re still waiting for clarity from Govt on important practical issues on borders & customs for 1 Nov if there’s no deal. Traders & hauliers won’t all be ready…..”, perfect timing to avoid awkward questions for 5 weeks and afford Gove time to rehearse the next lie.
      Strange times…

      • Perhaps you could suggest that your @NI lady’ visit the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin which houses the 1100 year old Book of Kells, and is the repository for every published work in Ireland.
        I fshe browsed through the magnificent collection of Irish writing, Joyce, Heaney, and so on, it might occur to her that there is more than peat and tattie munchers in that truly wonderful and now modern outward looking European country.
        I have cut peat in Ireland as a boy, and still marvel at the Genius of ‘Ulysses’.
        My life long love affair with Arthur Guinness is well documented on here.

        I’d argue that the narrow mindedness of your acquaintance is a symptom of the sad self satisfied self delusion of the well off right wing hierarchy to justify turning a blind eye to social and economic injustice that is now considered the norm in the UK today.
        Food banks, UCS, the Rape Clause, The Bedroom Tax, suicide rates particularly among young unemployed men rising, and 130,000 of our fellow Brits dead by Willie Rennie’s ‘successful’ Austerity measures that reward JK Rowling and her mates Lord Darling of Flipper, and that Clunking Fisted Dinosaur, ‘son of the manse’ as Andrew Marr described him, Gordon Brown, with tax cuts, while families with three kids and a low wage/UCS income are forced by Jackson Carboot to choose between eating and heating to keep their children alive.
        As The More Than Just About Managing gather outside their kirks and chapels after Sunday worship, they all share the same tired old sophistry:
        ‘The poor will always be with us’, ‘there but for the grace of God go I’, ‘they’ve only themselves to blame’, and so on.
        It’s their own fault.

        Some query with frustration why the Great Unwashed have not taken to the streets and stormed the Winter Palace or the Bastille.

        That day cannot be far off now.

  7. Happy Birthday Paul and smac1314.

    TBF Resigning can fulfill both promises and if he does so at the very last moment there would not be time for the Queen to appoint a successor caretaker PM.

    I hope the EU have made contingency plans for such an eventuality.

  8. I suspect what we’re witnessing in Johnson is the natural evolution of Westminster politics. Which is to say, entitlement, arrogance, self interests, a ruthless disregard for the rule of … any law when it suits. And equally, a disregard for the populations those decisions will affect.

    It’s what it’s always been in reality, tbf. Mr Johnson (see under LBJ) has merely done away with even the archaic pretence of the howf. He will do what he’s going to do no matter how many votes in the chamber he loses. He will do what he’s going to do no matter the laws in his path, the lack of morality in his actions. He will do it because he feels he can and because… reasons.

    You know that inevitable end product I spoke to some folk about a while back? THIS is just about where I felt UK politics was headed. 😎

  9. LBJ must have the best skelped erse in the history of humankind. The next humiliation is a Scottish Court telling him his action is unlawful. What more ridicule can he absorb? He has become such a figure of fun that it is no longer funny. (Were you ever tickled until it became unpleasant?)

    The fact that he still has vocal supporters amongst people who are not rich and privileged makes me wonder where their brains are.

    Anyway, happy birthday Paul. Take the day off and have a party.

  10. Excellent break down as usual Paul. Hope you get a ”normal” Happy birthday!! Well as normal as days can be in this bourach uk!!

  11. If in their judgement the subject matter in the case might impinge on EU law which in this case it probably does under various EU laws regarding governance, the Court of Session has the power to refer matters before it directly to the ECJ for clarification and judgement there.

    It has done so in the past.

    The ECJ has supremacy over the UK Supreme Court.

  12. Happy Birthday Paul. Sending you a big hug and kiss and all my best wishes for the forthcoming year X


    And the mess is getting messier right enough. Scottish Court of Session judges have now found the prorogation of Parliament to be unlawful. The Westminster Government hasn’t asked for their decision to be suspended and the case along with the Miller and NIrish cases will be heard in the Supreme Court next week. And then what? If they overturn the Scottish decision would the Cherry case then be heard in the European Court? That would set them all off, lol. And if this is at all possible it may “temper” the SC decision, as they wouldn’t want to find their decision in turn being overruled by Europeans.

    Len McCluskey was interviewed and said that LBJ had better stay away from Scotland as he may find himself being subject to a citizens arrest, ha ha.

    Mr Campbell of Bath, now Scotland’s wet blanket, has actually managed to turn todays success story into an SNPBaad article. Strange, strange behaviour being exhibited constantly now by someone who professes to be an independence supporter. I would imagine that even the biggest numpty in the country would know that discrediting the SNP on a daily basis is in fact undermining our chances of getting our independence, which leads me, and no doubt others to ask, what’s his game exactly?

  13. Orrabest, Paul – lang may your lum reek!
    Sparkling comment as per usual – especially on this day, when we remember we voted YES/YES in 1997 to reconvene our parliament and start the ball rolling to independence!

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