Forcing through a No Deal Brexit and a “People versus Politicians” election

It was disturbing to read reports over the weekend that under the advice of the master of the dark arts SPAD* Dominic Cummings at No. 10, the Johnson regime is planning to allow a No Deal Brexit to occur under the default principle inherent in the Article 50 process and to hold a “People versus the Politicians” general election soon after to secure a majority and elective legitimacy for his regime. In so doing, Johnson is playing fast and loose with the principles of the British constitution and revealing an arbitrariness that is dangerous. Thus is the mandate allegedly secured for Brexit in the referendum of 2016 allowed to override Parliamentary democracy as populists suggest and despite failing to win the 2017 general election to carry Brexit through to completion. Britain is facing a grim crisis that could tear it … Read more

The dark arts of political advertising as the clouds of a Brexit war gather

I was struck by an image today of Dominic Cummings, the master of the dark arts of campaigning and political advertising, now Johnson’s chief SPAD at No. 10, whom this author describes as a Svengali-like figure. In the 1895 du Maurier novel, Svengali is a figure who seduces, manipulates, dominates and exploits his victim. Behind the jovial, bumbling, jokey but false front of Boris Johnson’s pre-election campaigning (it seems), lurks this arch-manipulator. Perhaps he symbolises what Brexit is about, a fraud on the British people, no doubt sincerely believed in by huge numbers but cleverly sold in 2016 by this Vote Leave team now in power, a massive wrench to the country with no plausible, developed policy and programme, with a claim to being democratic while their behaviour demonstrates otherwise, and with behind them an actual policy of a further … Read more

Democracy itself is in danger over Brexit and reactionary populism

Across the world, democracy is in crisis or has or is being eroded and replaced by authoritarian systems. It seems that revisioning politics is becoming a right wing project. The question should be asked as to whether it is safe to leave a democracy crisis in the hands of reactionary, nationalist populists. After all, we all know where the last project in extreme nationalism ended, or we should do. The conflict over Brexit poses just such questions. It goes right to the heart of democracy. Brexit is a reactionary populist project, dominated by Farage, an unelected but very influential politician. It is the fear of the threat posed by Farage that has driven the Tory party to the right and to embrace the extreme medicine of a No Deal Brexit. Is Brexit the right medicine for the national malaise? Brexit … Read more

Behind Brexit is a hidden agenda of completion of the “Thatcher revolution”

Behind Brexit lies the hidden agenda of Brexit, except that’s it is not so hidden as that it is so little discussed. People often ask, why are they doing this to the UK? Who can be so crazy as to carry out this act of self-harm? Surely they must realise! The answer might be that “they” do, but choose not to publicise very much, presumably because many people would not be very comfortable with it. Completing the Thatcher revolution This is all about the work of “Thatcher’s children”, completing what they regards as the Thatcher revolution. People like Liz Truss, Dominic Raab, Priti Patel and Kwasi Kwarteng are ardent Thatcherites, ultra-free market ideologues who regard Mrs Thatcher’s work as incomplete. They are part of the political generation who came politically aware during Mrs Thatcher’s time in office and are now … Read more

The Vote Leave Brextremist faction takes power but can they pull it off?

The formation of the Vote Leave Johnson government was stunning in its audacity. Suddenly the politics of stalemate have been replaced by that of a terrifying, focused action. This was a hard right wing No Deal government preparing the decks for action, clear and determined on their goal, a No Deal Brexit. Whatever doubts one may have of Johnson’s leadership capabilities, his competence in government and his ability to manage Brexit seem swept on one side by the daring ruthlessness of a machine being readied for war. After the dust settles a bit, one has to ask cold, hard questions about whether this almost revolutionary cabal can pull it off. Vote Leave faction takes power To be clear, this Johnson government is a Vote Leave regime, so far unelected and trying to assert the constitutionally dubious legitimacy of the 2016 … Read more

Boris Johnson in power at last prepares for No Deal Brexit

Battle has been joined. The Boris Johnson war cabinet has been assembled and the “Do or die” government is announcing its policy. The new Prime Minister has sacked most opponents and brought in a cabinet of hard Brexiters. He made a policy pitch for One Nation Toryism from No 10 yesterday but like Theresa May, that may or may not happen. The focus looks likely to be to achieve Brexit by 31 October. We will no doubt see some shadow boxing, ostensibly with the EU, who have already made their position clear, and BJ’s opponents will probably hold off a bit while that very unconvincing bid plays itself out. Meanwhile preparations for a No Deal Brexit will resume, equally unconvincingly. Quite clearly Boris Johnson has opted for the hard Brexit faction, who have taken control of the Tory party, neoliberals … Read more

One further small step for Parliamentary Sovereignty against authoritarianism

Once again Parliament has voted decisively against a No Deal Brexit without its consent, another victory for the overriding constitutional principle of Parliamentary Sovereignty against the threatened abuse of power by the executive. This time it was to make it very difficult to force through a No Deal Brexit by proroguing Parliament. This still does not prevent a No Deal Brexit but it makes it very clear what Parliament’s position is on the question. Preventing Brexit by prorogation The likely new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has refused to rule out the use of the prorogation of Parliament to prevent it obstructing a No Deal Brexit which he has said he is will to pursue. Johnson will have a very shaky and slender majority and Parliament and his own party has proven itself to be almost unmanageable. Previous motions on No … Read more

The Labour Party is split when unity is needed against an aggressive Right

There are plenty of signs in the wind that we may have a General Election not far off and yet the Labour Party seem to be in a mess, riven by accusations of anti-semitism and bunker-mentality denials by its leadership clique. It seems stuck in intra-party conflict at the very point when one might imagine unity is needed against a very militant right wing that poses a major threat, on Brexit, the neo-liberal changes that are being promised on the back of Brexit and to Labour themselves. A hard right-wing victory at the polls could clear the way for the removal of the last of the post-war collectivist and social-solidarity reforms. Is Labour being its own worst enemy? There is a promising mix of ideas and aspirations for change within Labour, and yet obscuring such promise there are forces that … Read more

Civil service being subjected to excessive political pressure over Brexit

As investigations focus in on the likely leaker of the Darroch memos, the wider ramifications are now under scrutiny. It is now being suggested that the leaking was politically motivated by those seeking to establish in Washington a British ambassador more clearly sympathetic to both Trump’s and Brexiters’ policies. Coming in the midst of a leadership contest thought likely to install a pro-Trump Hard Brexiter, the implications are considerable. At the same time senior civil servants are pointing to the departure of Darroch as more evidence of political interference over the traditional impartiality of the civil service. Off stage, there are yet more rumblings of a potential constitutional conflict over the threat of a No Deal Brexit and the sovereignty of Parliament. Yet again we are reminded of the disruptive effects of the Brexit crisis and its impact on the … Read more

The Johnson leadership bid tilts towards Trump as Brexit looms

The row over the British Ambassador to the US, coming just after a public debate between the leadership challengers to the Tory Party succession has been instructive as to the likely direction of play. Leadership elections, especially when a party is in power, can give useful clues as to the new coalition, in party-political terms, that is being assembled, the personalities and the likely policies in particular. The resignation of Darroch after the leaking of his confidential memos is not surprising. His role was compromised, we do not yet know by whom, but fingers of suspicion are being pointed to the well-oiled dirty tricks dept of the Brextremists and their overseas fellow travellers. Nothing hurts like the truth, they say, although I wonder if Trump knows the meaning of the word, so wrapped up as he is in narcissistic fantasyland. … Read more

%d bloggers like this: