Thursday, 13 December 2018
The Bastards thwarted
(The impolite word in the title is not mine, but is borrowed from John Major)
So, Mrs May has survived a vote of no confidence among Troy MPs by 200 votes to 117. Last night I caught leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg on television explaining that in his view this was a very narrow majority.
I make it 63% to 37%. Yet Rees-Mogg regards the 52/48% vote in favour of leaving the EU as the sacred "will of the people" which it is almost blasphemous to question (even though the 52% represents only 37% of those entitled to vote.)
Is there no limit to Rees-Mogg;s chutzpah?*
As mentioned in the previous past, three times towards the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Century Liberal governments proposed Home Rule deals for the whole island of Ireland. Broadly speaking Ireland would have had its own government in Dublin with control of all domestic policies, leaving only the currency, defence and foreign policy to the UK government.
Had any of these offers been implemented much of the violence, death and destruction which afflicted Ireland throughout the last century could have been avoided.
But extremists in the Tory party (aka the Unionist party) managed to scupper each deal. The Third Home rule Bill was actually passed by parliament. In the Curragh Mutiny officers of the British army threatened to refuse to obey orders, or resign, if they were required to take action to implement the provisions of what was now and Act of Parliament.
This mutiny was actually endorsed and encouraged by leading Tories.We don't hear much about that in the Daily Mail.
The implementation of the Act was postponed becasue of the outbreak of the First World War. When Irish Home Rule was eventually implemented, six counties of the North were excluded and became Northern Ireland, with its higgledy- piggledy border with the rest of Ireland
It is perhaps poetic justice that this creation of the early 20th century Tory extremist is instrumental in frustrating the aims of today's extremists.
The message is that, while it may be argued that some "one nation" Tories (of the likes of R A Butler, Harold Macmillan and Francis Pym - I can't think off-had of any current examples) did have the interests of the whole nation at heart, though in a patronising and patrician way, there has always been a faction of the Tory party that puts its own selfish interests above the national good. These, in my view, have done far more damage to our country than any extreme "red" factions on the left.
Where Mrs May's survival now leaves us is anyone's guess. Even if she achieves a cosmetic "interpretation" of her deal, it cannot be anywhere near as good as our present highly advantageous arrangement. My own hope is that, now the European Court of Justice has ruled that the UK has the right to withdraw Article 50 and carry on with membership on the same terms as before, MPs will grasp the nettle and vote to do precisely that. Such a direct solution is now being mentioned by some commentators.
As a second best, we must hope that the implementation of Article 50 will be postponed to give time for a People's Vote,with Remain on the ballot paper.
A letter from a Professor Jane Caplan in the Guardian 14/12/18 clkaims these exact qutoations:
June 2016: 52% support Brexit -"a resounding victory." (Jacob Rees-Mogg)
December 2018: 63% support May - "a terrible result for the PM." (Jacob Rees-Mogg.)