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  #701  
Old 01-12-2019, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
Sidebar if I may: Speaker Barcow doesn't wear the traditional full rig for a Speaker, similar to lawyer's gown, waistcoat and bands; just a black robe over a business suit.

Is that his own innovation, or have the Speakers been moving away from the full rig except on formal occasions?
Betty Boothroyd ditched the wig (hair), Michael Martin stopped wearing the stockings and the rest of the bottom half flummery (Glaswegian industrial background) and Bercow just decided to go the rest of the way.
  #702  
Old 01-12-2019, 07:55 PM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is online now
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Thanks. Does the Speaker still wear the full rig for formal events, like the State Opening of Parliament?
  #703  
Old 01-12-2019, 08:20 PM
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Thanks. Does the Speaker still wear the full rig for formal events, like the State Opening of Parliament?
No, it's just a big, heavy black and gold robe instead of the day-to-day plain black one.
  #704  
Old 01-13-2019, 02:32 AM
UltraVires UltraVires is online now
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"No confidence" is a pretty drastic measure, only to be resorted to when the political parties in opposition think they have a chance to bring down the government.

It's not the function of the Speaker to try to trigger a non-confidence motion; that's the exact opposite of the Speaker's role.

The Speaker's role is to ensure that the House can debate an issue within fair procedural rules. The job is to keep the debate going, not to hinder it. Just like in my first day in CivPro, our prof said, "Procedure is the handmaiden of justice."

In Parliament, the equivalent is that procedure is the handmaiden of debate: ultimately, the purpose of procedure is to allow the Members to debate an issue within fair rules, and with the fundamental constitutional principle that the executive branch is accountable to the House.

In this case, the situation is one where there are very tight timelines, beyond the control of the Government or the House. March 29 is inexorably moving towards us.

Back in December, the House agreed to the Government motion that if the vote on the Withdrawal Agreement was lost, the Government could have 21 days to bring in Plan B for the House to consider.

The PM delayed that vote for a month, because it looked certain she would lose. Having changed the schedule of the vote, the Government wanted to keep to the 21 day timetable.

But the circumstances have changed. The Commons agreed to the Government's motion for 21 days, on the assumption that the vote would be in early December. Given that the Government unilaterally changed the timing of the vote, it seems reasonable to me, as an outsider, that it's only fair that the House be given the opportunity to consider whether it still agreed to the 21 day timetable for Plan B.

The Speaker didn't overrule the Government on this issue. The Speaker agreed to allow an amendment to allow the House to express its views on whether it still agreed with the 21 day delay, or wanted it shortened, since an entire month has gone by.

The House then voted to change the timetable, not the Speaker. That likely causes trouble for the Government, but it's not the Speaker overruling the Government. It's the House, to which the Government is accountable. In these unusual circumstances, with an inexorable deadline and a timeline changed unilaterally by the Government, it seems appropriate for the Speaker to ensure the House can express itself on the issue.
Assume I agree with you that May and the Tories have made a complete cock up of the Brexit process. I actually do, but I'm coming from a position of ignorance so I'm not confident enough to side with you yet.

It seems odd to me that the Speaker, who is supposed to be apolitical, has the power to nudge this one way or the other. Isn't it the government's responsibility to "ensure the House can express itself"? But then again, doesn't the government have the power to frame the debate and bring those bills to the floor it deems appropriate?

I'm sure that in the UK and indeed the US that there are many bills that would pass by a majority on a free vote that the government (or in the U.S. the majority party of each House) simply refuses to bring to the floor because it is the majority and wants to enact its agenda. I mean, for example, have a GOP Congressman propose a bill allowing national concealed carry and see if Nancy Pelosi allows it to come to the House floor for a vote. It won't. Did she fail in her duty to "ensure the House can express itself"?

I understand that a VONC is extraordinary step, but it seems no less extraordinary (indeed these votes are part and parcel of a parliamentary system) that having a Speaker, elected only for his skill in keeping order (Order!!!) to control the process in this manner. It seems very undemocratic.



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The Parliamentary arithmetic doesn't work quite yet for a vote of no-confidence (VONC) to get anywhere. Basically the current government is a minority government - the Conservatives don't have enough MPs to pass legislation on their own, but they have an agreement with the largest party in Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), on matters of confidence and supply. So the government can just about function.

A successful VONC would need either some Conservative MPs to vote against their own party, and/or the DUP to break their confidence agreement.

So how does a VONC work? In theory one can be called for by any MP, but the only person in Parliament who can do so and have the vote happen straight away is the Leader of the Opposition, currently Jeremy Corbyn - the leader of the Labour Party.

Oh, Jeremy Corbyn. There's no way on God's green earth that the DUP would vote with him on a VONC, for many, many reasons, and things haven't yet got so bad that any Tory would (maybe one or two, maybe).

If you want me to expand on any of this - it's hard being so close to it the past few years to know what's obvious and what isn't - just ask.

Suffice to say this is a perfect storm for UK politics, almost everything is unusual right now.
Thank you again for your thoughtful replies to an uneducated member of the Colonies. It would seem to me in this instance that nobody supports what May has done or is doing. Her proposal does not have support in the Commons, she has no plan B, and the end result will be a no-deal Brexit. I don't see why any MP, whether he or she be Tory, Labour, or DUP would want to sit on their hands and allow it to happen.

Why do they not form a coalition and agree on a Brexit strategy that will get a majority and form a new government on those principles if necessary?

BTW, I got my viewing privileges back today, but it only lasted for two hours. The dog barked at the postman and I couldn't help myself. AW-DAH! aw-DAH! I'm afraid I will keep doing this until I get either divorced or murdered. However I am going out of town Monday night and will sneak it. Some women worry about their husbands committing adultery out of town; she will be worried that I am watching Commons proceedings on YouTube.
  #705  
Old 01-13-2019, 03:38 AM
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So it seems that Labour is planning a no-confidence vote asap:

Quote:
Labour MPs have been told to prepare for Jeremy Corbyn to table a dramatic and immediate vote of no confidence in Theresa May’s government as early as Tuesday evening in an attempt to force a general election if – as expected – she suffers a heavy defeat this week on her Brexit deal. ...

The Observer understands that if Corbyn were to delay tabling a vote of no confidence, senior Labour MPs would table one themselves in the hope of forcing the leadership to back a second referendum. Angela Smith, Labour MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, said: “The time for prevarication is over. If May’s deal fails we have to test the will of the house and if we fail, we must consider all options including campaigning for a second referendum as this is party policy.”
Whether a no-confidence vote will pass or not is another story, as the DUP will probably support the Government.

Tories have their own plans:

Quote:
With a critical week ahead, Tory rebels are already plotting a series of measures designed to hand more power to parliament over Brexit. One senior figure said that a “legally copper-bottomed” plan had already been drawn up to “give parliament control of the Brexit negotiation and stop a no-deal Brexit” should May’s deal be voted down. ...

Meanwhile, pro-remain cabinet ministers are preparing to push for a softer Brexit this week. In the event of a defeat for May, they are poised to back a plan B that would prevent Britain from signing its own trade deals. ...

A vote to show there is a Commons majority in favour of delaying Brexit is also being plotted by a cross-party group of MPs. “If we are not crashing out and we are not going for the PM’s deal, I cannot believe that article 50 does not have to be extended,” said one of those involved.
Whatever happens it's going to be dramatic and interesting. I'm laying in supplies of popcorn.
  #706  
Old 01-13-2019, 03:58 AM
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You've got to love Bercow in high-school teacher mode, as though he's dealing with a class of unruly students. This seems to work with boarding-school + Oxbridge crowd.

This video is a collection of brilliant moments, but unfortunately a bit one-sided.
  #707  
Old 01-13-2019, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
It seems odd to me that the Speaker, who is supposed to be apolitical, has the power to nudge this one way or the other. Isn't it the government's responsibility to "ensure the House can express itself"?
The point at stake was to test whether the House felt the government were doing so, on the timing point. Don't forget, it took a court ruling to make them seek formal approval from the House to submit the Article 50 withdrawal notice in the first place.

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But then again, doesn't the government have the power to frame the debate and bring those bills to the floor it deems appropriate?
As, in this case, it has done and is in the process of doing at the moment, until the decisive vote next Tuesday. What Bercow did was to allow a procedural amendment on what happens if that vote does not go the government's way.

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Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
It would seem to me in this instance that nobody supports what May has done or is doing. Her proposal does not have support in the Commons, she has no plan B, and the end result will be a no-deal Brexit. I don't see why any MP, whether he or she be Tory, Labour, or DUP would want to sit on their hands and allow it to happen.

Why do they not form a coalition and agree on a Brexit strategy that will get a majority and form a new government on those principles if necessary?
Technically, we won't know until the vote on Tuesday what the balance of forces is. At the moment, it looks as though you're right, but while it's clear what there's a majority against (the agreement), it isn't clear what there's a majority for, or how much bitter opposition the proponents of any one course of action are willing to risk provoking.

A side-plot to all this is that there are signs of a cross-party movement for the House to take a positive initiative on voting for alternative ways forward, and indeed subterranean murmurings about the possible launch of a new centrist party, but it's by no means certain what will create any greater unity in a debate with such a bitter divide and no clear majority - nor that there's time to do anything positive before the clock runs out.
  #708  
Old 01-13-2019, 10:48 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is online now
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It seems odd to me that the Speaker, who is supposed to be apolitical, has the power to nudge this one way or the other. Isn't it the government's responsibility to "ensure the House can express itself"? But then again, doesn't the government have the power to frame the debate and bring those bills to the floor it deems appropriate?
I wouldn't say that it's the government's role; it's the Speaker's role. In a majority situation, they do have control over the debate and the bills that are brought forward. The Opposition parties don't normally control the business of the House. But, the Government is accountable to the House. The Speaker normally has a role in ensuring that accountability, not by directing business (that's for the Government House Leader), but in ruling on motions that require the Government to disclose its plans to the House.

I'm an outsider like you, but as far as I can tell from reading about Speaker Bercow, over his term in office he's been consistent in ruling in favour of the Commons to uphold their constitutional authority to hold the government to account. He's being heavily criticised for his procedural decision on this point, but it seems consistent with his actions over the past 10 years in the Speaker's chair.

Quote:
I'm sure that in the UK and indeed the US that there are many bills that would pass by a majority on a free vote that the government (or in the U.S. the majority party of each House) simply refuses to bring to the floor because it is the majority and wants to enact its agenda. I mean, for example, have a GOP Congressman propose a bill allowing national concealed carry and see if Nancy Pelosi allows it to come to the House floor for a vote. It won't. Did she fail in her duty to "ensure the House can express itself"?
I don't think it's helpful to compare the roles of the Speaker of the House of Representatives to the Speaker in a parliamentary system. Aside from the name, their functions are very different. The US Speaker is more akin to the Government House Leader in a parliamentary system.

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I understand that a VONC is extraordinary step, but it seems no less extraordinary (indeed these votes are part and parcel of a parliamentary system) that having a Speaker, elected only for his skill in keeping order (Order!!!) to control the process in this manner. It seems very undemocratic.
The Speaker's not controlling the process; the House is. He didn't move the amendment; Dominic Grieve, a backbench member of the Conservative Party (and former Attorney General) did so. It started in December, when it was thought that the vote would be held on the Withdrawal Agreement. Grieve moved the motion that in the event the Agreement was defeated, the Government would produce its Plan B in Parliament within 21 days: What does Dominic Grieve's amendment mean for Brexit?. The motion passed the House of Commons in December, and was considered a political defeat for the Government, but not significant enough to be considered a confidence measure, as it was only about the course of proceedings in the House, not a vote on a major policy matter. According to this article, even then the issue was being mooted whether the motion was amendable.

What appears to have happened last week (and I'm certainly open to correction by those more in the know), is that Grieve moved an amendment to that previous motion, to change the deadline from 21 days to 3 days. That motion had to be considered by the Speaker, not on its merits, but whether as a procedural matter, the previous motion could be amended, under the rules of the House.

Speaker Brecow ruled that the amendment was in order and directed that it be debated. I don't see how that's undemocratic. It was an MP who raised the issue, and then it was up to the Speaker to make a procedural ruling. His ruling didn't decide whether the amendment would pass; it was the Commons, the elected representatives of the people, who decided that the Government would have a 3 day deadline, not the initial 21 day deadline which the Commons had previously imposed.

Speaker Brecow seems, as far as I can tell from afar, to be consistent in favouring debate in the House, even if it might be uncomfortable for the Government. That strikes me as consistent both with the Speaker's role and the principle that the Government is accountable to the House.
  #709  
Old 01-13-2019, 11:00 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is online now
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Interesting article from the Guardian:

John Bercow: Speaker unafraid to hold the government's feet to the fire

Quote:
For a man whose position is strictly non-partisan, the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, has provoked more fear, anger and adoration than any other in the role in recent history.

...

Yet he has escaped serious sanction because of the allies, many of them in Labour, who see him as one of the most reforming Speakers in a generation – one who prioritises the will of MPs over any deference to the government.

...

Despite the visceral dislike from many in the Conservative party, Bercow has the firm support of many Labour MPs, precisely because of his willingness to hold the government’s feet to the fire over significant Brexit legislation.

...

Though Bercow was elected for the Speaker’s position while a Conservative, the historic role is non-political – a Speaker is intended to be a representative and servant of the will of parliament. Yet the Speaker also has extraordinary influence, deciding which amendments submitted by backbenchers to government motions and legislation are chosen to be put to a vote.

In a hung parliament, Bercow’s role has become one of the most important in the country. In choosing amendments he has appeared to give preference to ones which command significant cross-party support. Examples include Dominic Grieve’s amendments to the EU withdrawal bill, which gave parliament a meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal, as well as the latest amendment to the business motion which instructs ministers to return with a plan B within three days of the deal’s defeat.
One of the criticisms of Westminster style governments is that the executive has too much authority over the elected legislative branch. Brexit is likely the single most important issue to face the British in a generation. It doesn't seem undemocratic that the Speaker has a preference to ensure that the matter is fully debated in Parliament, not just decided in the Cabinet room.
  #710  
Old 01-13-2019, 11:53 AM
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UltraVires, I guess I just don't see why you think it's undemocratic that the presiding officer of the House should have the power to makes procedural rulings, and exercises that power with a preference for furthering debate on major issues.

To me, it's a question of separation of powers. The House controls its own business, not the executive. Now if the executive has a firm majority, its members will vote on procedural matters in the House and thus control the agenda - not because the executive controls the House agenda, but because the Members of the House who support the gouvernement will vote in favour of the government's agenda.

But it's not always that way. Where the government has a weak majority, or is in a minority position, the House will have greater independent control over its agenda, because the Members may vote against the government's proposed agenda and substitute their preferred option.

It's not that Speaker Bercow overruled the Government's agenda. Rather, he ruled that an amendment proposed by a Member of the Commons was in order and should be debated and voted on by the House. I don't see how it's undemocratic for the presiding officer of the legislative branch to have that authority?
  #711  
Old 01-13-2019, 09:06 PM
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I'm glad that Brexit is falling apart, but I still say that May really only had one path forward, which was to ignore the traditional party labels and form a pro-Brexit coalition from the members of all the parties - not permanently, just during the negotiations. You can't get anywhere when half the people who would vote with you are expected to vote against you because they're on the opposite team, and half the people that would usually vote with you are against the measure.

And particularly when you have nothing to offer the EU and the EU has a motive to make it hurt.

Ah well. In a last minute panic, they'll approve something that the EU hands them at the last minute to keep everything from going to compete hell. But I hope that they'll reverse course instead and just go back to being happy about having the EU to blame for everything wrong in the world.

Life is better with a scapegoat.
  #712  
Old 01-13-2019, 11:23 PM
UltraVires UltraVires is online now
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UltraVires, I guess I just don't see why you think it's undemocratic that the presiding officer of the House should have the power to makes procedural rulings, and exercises that power with a preference for furthering debate on major issues.

To me, it's a question of separation of powers. The House controls its own business, not the executive. Now if the executive has a firm majority, its members will vote on procedural matters in the House and thus control the agenda - not because the executive controls the House agenda, but because the Members of the House who support the gouvernement will vote in favour of the government's agenda.

But it's not always that way. Where the government has a weak majority, or is in a minority position, the House will have greater independent control over its agenda, because the Members may vote against the government's proposed agenda and substitute their preferred option.

It's not that Speaker Bercow overruled the Government's agenda. Rather, he ruled that an amendment proposed by a Member of the Commons was in order and should be debated and voted on by the House. I don't see how it's undemocratic for the presiding officer of the legislative branch to have that authority?
By winning the election, the voters wanted the current Government to control the business of the House and propose its own agenda. That is one of the benefits that parliamentary systems have over the US system.

So, say, the Government wants to tackle the problem of childhood obesity. It has experts research the issue and the Government comes up with a plan of: 1) prohibiting X number of calories in all junk food, 2) prohibiting X-Y number of calories in food sold to those under age 16, 3) establishes mandatory physical education classes elementary and middle school, 4) establishes a school lunch program with nutritional food, and 5) have an administrative system where parents must justify, with medical excuses or whatnot, why their child is Z% above their optimal weight.

Now, not that I agree with any or all of those proposals, but we assume that the Government, duly elected by the people, wishes that proposal to be enacted in a fair vote in the Commons. Further suppose that these experts have said that this proposal, through their diligent research, is a "five legged stool" that the effort to combat childhood obesity will not succeed, and in fact will produce harmful results, if one of those legs are removed.

But now suppose that we have backbenchers who are against #1 as it infringes too much on adult choices to eat junk food. Further suppose that a different mix of backbenchers are against #5 as too restrictive on parental rights. Again, further suppose that another mix believe that the age in #2 is too high, that it should be 12 years of age.

So, and please correct me if I am wrong, one of the benefits of a parliamentary system is that a Government can enact this sort of grand social scheme so long as a majority goes along with it. It has the power to say, basically, either vote for the package as a whole or else vote against it. The Speaker seems to have now said that the Government cannot do this. He will allow backbenchers to vote on amendments that will scuttle the package, or else enact one that the Government never proposed and actively does not want.

That seems to insert a check, or alternatively a gridlock, that is present in the U.S. system, but was one of the positives in the UK system. It seems to me, as an uneducated American, to be a step backwards, and yes, undemocratic.
  #713  
Old 01-14-2019, 12:08 AM
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By winning the election, the voters wanted the current Government to control the business of the House and propose its own agenda.
No, they didn't. Three out of five voters voted against the Tory government at the last election.

A government that secures a majority does, in fact, control the business of the House and gets to propose its own agenda. And one of the characteristics - "benefit" might be too loaded a word - of the British electoral system that a government can do this even when materially more than 50% of voters have voted against them.

But even with this characteristic at work for them, the Tory government couldn't manage to win a majority. Therefore, they don't get to control the affairs of the house in the way they could if they could have attracted enough support to win a majority of seats. And this outcome is eminently democratic.

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Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
So, and please correct me if I am wrong, one of the benefits of a parliamentary system is that a Government can enact this sort of grand social scheme so long as a majority goes along with it. It has the power to say, basically, either vote for the package as a whole or else vote against it. The Speaker seems to have now said that the Government cannot do this. He will allow backbenchers to vote on amendments that will scuttle the package, or else enact one that the Government never proposed and actively does not want.

That seems to insert a check, or alternatively a gridlock, that is present in the U.S. system, but was one of the positives in the UK system. It seems to me, as an uneducated American, to be a step backwards, and yes, undemocratic.
Obviously, in the present circumstances, Parliament has a higher degree of autonomous control than it would if the government had a secure majority. There's no democratic case for saying that it should be stripped of that control in favour of the executive; the voters could have given the executive that degree of control if they chose to, but they didn't choose to. We must respect that.

But of course this doesn't mean that Parliament should exercise its control irresponsibly. The government must function, and Parliament has a responsibility to see that it does.

The government can still say to Parliament "accept this package as a whole or reject it, but do not tinker with it". Parliament can ignore that, and tinker with the package, but it may be irresponsible to do so. It isn't necessarily irresponsible to do so.

I don't think Parliament (or the Speaker) has acted irresponsibly here. Parliament previously gave the government 21 days after any rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement to bring its Plan B to Parliament. But it did this when the government's intention was to have the vote on the Withdrawal Agreement in early December. Subsequently, the goverment changed its intention and deferred the vote for a month, and it did this through a procedureal manouevre, without seeking the assent of Parliament, even though by doing so it was setting aside an arrangement which it has submitted to Parliament, and secured parliamentary approval for. In that circumstance, it's eminently reasonable for Parliament to consider whether, a month having been lost by the government's manouevre, and with a default no-deal Brexit coming on 29 March if no other decision is made, if the Withdrawal Agreement is lost it would still be wise to wait as long as 21 days before turning to Plan B.

Last edited by UDS; 01-14-2019 at 12:09 AM.
  #714  
Old 01-14-2019, 12:20 AM
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So is there a distinction in the UK system between a Minority Government, a Coalition Government, or simple a Government which has a majority? You are correct, the people did not vote for a majority Tory Government, but it did vote for those MPs which formed a coalition to do Government business.

Again, please correct me if I am wrong, and I am not arguing because I do not know, but I was under the impression that a Government was a Government, and if it became so fractured or so wobbly as to not be able to effectively do its business, then it is time for new elections so the people now can elect a Government that can effectively do its business.

I don't disagree with you that it is reasonable or even preferable for Parliament to consider revising the 21 day time limit. It may be reasonable for Parliament to call a second referendum or to scrap Brexit entirely. My only question/concern was that I thought it was the Government's call in the first instance to decide whether to hold a vote on these things, the majority view of the Commons notwithstanding.
  #715  
Old 01-14-2019, 12:45 AM
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So is there a distinction in the UK system between a Minority Government, a Coalition Government, or simple a Government which has a majority? You are correct, the people did not vote for a majority Tory Government, but it did vote for those MPs which formed a coalition to do Government business.
Even if you aggregate the vote for the Tories and the vote for the DUP which has made the agreement with them that keeps them in power, you still don’t have a majority of the vote, or anything like. Something like 43.3%, I think.

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Again, please correct me if I am wrong, and I am not arguing because I do not know, but I was under the impression that a Government was a Government, and if it became so fractured or so wobbly as to not be able to effectively do its business, then it is time for new elections so the people now can elect a Government that can effectively do its business.
In the Westminster system, a government is a government not because it got a majority of the vote at the last election (as already noted, it frequently didn’t) but because it commands the confidence and support of a majority in the House of Commons. So, the government of the day doesn’t get to control the business of the House because, as the government, it has the right to. It’s more the other way around; it gets to be the government because it has a majority in the House who will support it in votes (which, among other things, means it has effective control over the business of the House, in the sense that it can get its supporters to vote to manage business in the way that it wants).

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Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
I don't disagree with you that it is reasonable or even preferable for Parliament to consider revising the 21 day time limit. It may be reasonable for Parliament to call a second referendum or to scrap Brexit entirely. My only question/concern was that I thought it was the Government's call in the first instance to decide whether to hold a vote on these things, the majority view of the Commons notwithstanding.
Formally, no. The government is always accountable to the House, not the other way around, and the House is always in control of its own business. In practice, a government with majority will win votes, and the Commons rules and conventions default to not holding pointless votes, so government motions on the business of the House, once passed, are generally not revisited (unless the government wants them to be revisited) since it would be waste of parliamentary time.

What was different here was that the government had itself effectively revised the motion by deferring the vote on the Withdrawal Agreement for a month, and it had done this without the assent or permission of the House. Which was a pretty strong indication that, on the matter of how this particular business should be handled, it did not command support in the House and knew that it didn’t. Which meant there was a strong case for the Speaker to think that a vote on the “change 21 days to 3 days” amendment would not be won by the government, and therefore allowing it to be discussed and vote on would not be a waste of parliamentary time, but rather an assertion by Parliament of its right to control its own business. And of course the event proved him right.

Does this mean the government is “so wobbly as to not be able to effectively do its business”? Not quite. The business of the government is not, ultimately, dictating the minutiae of the parliamentary day; it’s running the country and getting its policies legislated for. The government lost this procedural vote, but what ultimately matters is whether they can get Parliament to support their substantive brexit policy.
  #716  
Old 01-14-2019, 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
So, and please correct me if I am wrong, one of the benefits of a parliamentary system is that a Government can enact this sort of grand social scheme so long as a majority goes along with it. It has the power to say, basically, either vote for the package as a whole or else vote against it. The Speaker seems to have now said that the Government cannot do this. He will allow backbenchers to vote on amendments that will scuttle the package, or else enact one that the Government never proposed and actively does not want.
I don't see why you are saying this. Theresa May's government will have an opportunity for an up/down vote on their whole package on Tuesday. The consensus is that they will lose the vote.

This loss will not be due to any amendments. They were going to lose the vote anyway. The amendment only addresses what comes next.

The current government is a minority and very weak. They have also failed to come up with a plan that satisfies their own members, never mind anyone else. The government has already failed dismally on Brexit. This is the only reason the speaker has been able to influence the situation - and if the Commons didn't agree with that, they could have voted down the amendment. They could also vote to get rid of the speaker if they think he is acting ultra vires - but that's not going to happen.

This is not an ordinary situation. It's very unusual.

I think the crux of the matter is that Americans like to do things by fixed Rules that apply in all situations. In the UK Parliament, they can (ultimately) make up the rules or change them as they go along. If an extraordinary situation arises, they can deal with it in an extraordinary way.
  #717  
Old 01-14-2019, 01:40 AM
UltraVires UltraVires is online now
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Even if you aggregate the vote for the Tories and the vote for the DUP which has made the agreement with them that keeps them in power, you still don’t have a majority of the vote, or anything like. Something like 43.3%, I think.


In the Westminster system, a government is a government not because it got a majority of the vote at the last election (as already noted, it frequently didn’t) but because it commands the confidence and support of a majority in the House of Commons. So, the government of the day doesn’t get to control the business of the House because, as the government, it has the right to. It’s more the other way around; it gets to be the government because it has a majority in the House who will support it in votes (which, among other things, means it has effective control over the business of the House, in the sense that it can get its supporters to vote to manage business in the way that it wants).


Formally, no. The government is always accountable to the House, not the other way around, and the House is always in control of its own business. In practice, a government with majority will win votes, and the Commons rules and conventions default to not holding pointless votes, so government motions on the business of the House, once passed, are generally not revisited (unless the government wants them to be revisited) since it would be waste of parliamentary time.

What was different here was that the government had itself effectively revised the motion by deferring the vote on the Withdrawal Agreement for a month, and it had done this without the assent or permission of the House. Which was a pretty strong indication that, on the matter of how this particular business should be handled, it did not command support in the House and knew that it didn’t. Which meant there was a strong case for the Speaker to think that a vote on the “change 21 days to 3 days” amendment would not be won by the government, and therefore allowing it to be discussed and vote on would not be a waste of parliamentary time, but rather an assertion by Parliament of its right to control its own business. And of course the event proved him right.

Does this mean the government is “so wobbly as to not be able to effectively do its business”? Not quite. The business of the government is not, ultimately, dictating the minutiae of the parliamentary day; it’s running the country and getting its policies legislated for. The government lost this procedural vote, but what ultimately matters is whether they can get Parliament to support their substantive brexit policy.
Again, I want to thank you and all UK posters who have generously tried to educate me on UK politics. Please do not get disheartened because it is working in some cases.

But a few thoughts:

1) Your objection to the electoral system seems to argue for an alternative solution. If the fact that a minority of people can elect a majority it government, it seems no different than the debates we have in the US because of the electoral college or the disparate districting for Democrats. Those may be valid points, but I think that for purposes of debate, we should not imply that we don't have a real democracy, but accept election results while at the same time attempting to change the underlying system if that shows to be the correct way.

2) The argument about the Commons having power is very well taken and instructive, but having the Speaker himself, without any knowledge prior to the vote, to simply decide in his unreviewable discretion that a majority of the Commons "may" or "possibly" be in agreement with a proposition, even if he is proven right after the fact, to be most undemocratic and against the will of the people through their election of the Government.

That seems ripe for abuse. If a proposal that the Speaker fears might pass, he can simply declare that the Commons has no interest in it. If it is one that might not have majority support, but he hopes it will, he can calendar it for the reasons you described. The Speaker now has great power, even though the people did not elect him to be Speaker, and the MPs who did only did so because of his neutrality.

3) So, if May's proposal is defeated on Tuesday will that/should that mean a dissolution of the Government and new elections?
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Old 01-14-2019, 02:46 AM
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1) Your objection to the electoral system seems to argue for an alternative solution. If the fact that a minority of people can elect a majority it government, it seems no different than the debates we have in the US because of the electoral college or the disparate districting for Democrats. Those may be valid points, but I think that for purposes of debate, we should not imply that we don't have a real democracy, but accept election results while at the same time attempting to change the underlying system if that shows to be the correct way.
Fair point. But the bottom line here is that, in the UK system, governments don’t derive their democratic legitimacy from the support of a majority of the voters, which they often don’t have, but from the support of a majority of the House of Commons, which is taken to to be the democratic representatives of the people. But once you accept that you, can’t argue that the government has a right to control the House of Commons, since that would effectively mean that the government can exercise its control so as to give itself a mandate, regardless of what the members of the House of Commons (or indeed the voters) may think, which is democratically indefensible.

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2) The argument about the Commons having power is very well taken and instructive, but having the Speaker himself, without any knowledge prior to the vote, to simply decide in his unreviewable discretion that a majority of the Commons "may" or "possibly" be in agreement with a proposition, even if he is proven right after the fact, to be most undemocratic and against the will of the people through their election of the Government.
It wasn’t really the Speaker’s job to decide whether the Commons might pass the procedural amendment; just whether they should be allowed to consider and vote on it. There is a convention that this isn’t normally allowed, but the political considerations on which that convention is justified weren’t present on this occasion. It was the Speaker’s job to decide whether that meant the convention should not be followed.

The Speaker’s job has always included defending the rights of Parliament against encroachment by the executive. He made it pretty clear when the government deferred the vote from December to January without seeking parliamentary approval that he thought that was shoddy behaviour. So it’s not entirely surprising that, when this issue arose, his judgment was that Parliament should have the opportunity to reassert control over its business.

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That seems ripe for abuse. If a proposal that the Speaker fears might pass, he can simply declare that the Commons has no interest in it. If it is one that might not have majority support, but he hopes it will, he can calendar it for the reasons you described. The Speaker now has great power, even though the people did not elect him to be Speaker, and the MPs who did only did so because of his neutrality.
The Speaker’s role has always been a powerful one, and all powerful roles are ripe for abuse. As you say, the people didn’t elect the Speaker but, then, they don’t elect the Prime Minister either. And the Speaker is at least elected by the members of the House of Commons (which is more than the Prime Minister can say). If the government can derive its legitimacy from the House, why not the Speaker? And, as for neutrality, the Speaker is supposed to be impartial as between the parties represented in the House, but not in conflicts between parliament and the executive; his job is to defend the privileges and prerogatives of Parliament from suppression or encroachment by the executive.

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3) So, if May's proposal is defeated on Tuesday will that/should that mean a dissolution of the Government and new elections?
Probably not. The expectation is the opposition will table a vote of no confidence in the government. If that were passed, the government would resign and an election would follow, but the expectation is that it will not pass.

The Withdrawal Agreement not being passed on Tuesday is not a definitive defeat for the government’s Brexit policy, since the UK doesn’t leave the EU until 29 March, and the government try again to get the WA approved in the meantime. Or it could modify its Brexit policy and seek approval for the modified policy. Basically they can keep trying as long as Parliament doesn’t vote no confidence in the government.

Of course, at some point it becomes politically untenable to keep rejecting the the government’s proposals while still expressing confidence in the government. If Parliament doesn’t vote no confidence, the government can itself throw up its hands and put down a motion for an early general election. That needs a two-thirds majority to pass, but of course the opposition would certain vote for it.
  #719  
Old 01-14-2019, 10:31 AM
Stanislaus Stanislaus is offline
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Probably not. The expectation is the opposition will table a vote of no confidence in the government. If that were passed, the government would resign and an election would follow, but the expectation is that it will not pass.
UDS is doing an excellent job of explaining a really complex situation, and I hestitate to jump in, but there's a wrinkle here that might be worth bearing in mind.

IF a no confidence motion were passed, it wouldn't immediately lead to an election. There is a 14-day window for a new government that can survive a confidence motion to emerge. That is, if the motion "This House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government" is passed, then there will be an election unless the opposite motion ("This House has confidence in Her Majesty's Government") is passed within 14 days.

How would such a motion pass (in general terms)? The obvious option is that the PM would go to the rebels in his or her party and twist arms or offer bribes or compromise on policy until they had got people back on board. The alternative is that the Leader of the Opposition could broker a deal with minor parties (or just barely conceivably, rebels from the governing party) such that they could form a functional government. These two approaches would only give very temporary solutions, and an election would be needed to try to create a solid majority in the House, but in the short term they would allow a government to form without an election.

In terms of the current situation, this means that in the event that Tory rebels or the DUP side with Corbyn on a no-confidence motion in May's government (very unlikely and exceedingly unlikely, respectively) then there would be a window for a formal or informal coalition to take shape that would have a majority to do something about Brexit. So you could see a temporary alliance of pro-Remain and anti-No Deal MPs come together to form a government with the authority to firstly ask for an extension to Article 50 and secondly to call for an election once it was granted. (In theory you could see a coalition to simply rescind A50, but this would be an exceptionally high stakes move to say the least and should really only be thought about for completeness' sake).

From the point of view of Corbyn, who wants a general election but needs Tory votes to get one, offering an "extend A50 and then go to the polls" coalition may be the best way to win over the anti-No Deal votes he needs. But this is likely career suicide for the rebels, and the fact that we're discussing it as a possibility means that we're in a highly unusual environment.
  #720  
Old 01-14-2019, 10:40 AM
dalej42 dalej42 is online now
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I’ve created a poll over on Elections to predict the outcome of the Brexit vote tomorrow.

https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...d.php?t=868911
  #721  
Old 01-15-2019, 01:41 PM
An Gadaí An Gadaí is offline
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https://www.irishtimes.com/news/worl...nds/the-border

An interactive map of every border crossing between the north of Ireland (UK) and Ireland.
  #722  
Old 01-15-2019, 04:06 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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...The Speaker’s job has always included defending the rights of Parliament against encroachment by the executive....
Dating back to when the executive just might personally come barging in with troops: https://www.parliament.uk/business/p...eakerlenthall/
  #723  
Old 01-15-2019, 05:11 PM
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https://www.irishtimes.com/news/worl...nds/the-border

An interactive map of every border crossing between the north of Ireland (UK) and Ireland.
It's frankly insane how little attention the Irish border, and the effects leaving the EU could have on it got in the UK during the referendum build up. Bendy bananas and passport colours got more airtime.
  #724  
Old 01-15-2019, 05:28 PM
An Gadaí An Gadaí is offline
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It's frankly insane how little attention the Irish border, and the effects leaving the EU could have on it got in the UK during the referendum build up. Bendy bananas and passport colours got more airtime.
Not sure how much it would have mattered to most folk in England who voted Brexit if it had been highlighted but it is odd to me that the Remain side didn't make abundantly clear that things like seamless sun holidays might become a thing of the past, post-Brexit. The 100,000s of British living on the Med and the 1,000,000s that holiday there yearly seem to have not been clear as to the likely consequences of voting for Brexit.
  #725  
Old 01-15-2019, 06:03 PM
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https://www.irishtimes.com/news/worl...nds/the-border

An interactive map of every border crossing between the north of Ireland (UK) and Ireland.
In October I crossed the border by kayak, just by paddling around Lough Ross. I also paddled up a very minor stream (the River Fane) where the left bank was in the UK and the right bank in the Republic. From that perspective, the idea of a hard border seems quite absurd.
  #726  
Old 01-15-2019, 11:15 PM
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Not sure how much it would have mattered to most folk in England who voted Brexit if it had been highlighted but it is odd to me that the Remain side didn't make abundantly clear that things like seamless sun holidays might become a thing of the past, post-Brexit. The 100,000s of British living on the Med and the 1,000,000s that holiday there yearly seem to have not been clear as to the likely consequences of voting for Brexit.
In fairness, in 2016 nobody would have thought that that was a remotely likely outcome in practice. The colossal imcompetence of the British government and of the Brexit movement when it came to turning the referendum result into a practical political project was not readily forseeable.
  #727  
Old 01-16-2019, 12:48 AM
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Can someone clarify for me what the DUP's play here is? They voted against the WA because of the backstop. But they're going to support the government in the vote of no confidence? I realize that they hate Jeremy Corbyn because he has an affinity for Sinn Fein. But leaving the current group in power is very likely to result in no-deal Brexit, either willfully or through sheer incompetence and inertia. And the last LucidTalk polling data I saw suggested that support in NI for a united Ireland surges to something like 57-43 in that scenario. Sinn Fein isn't agitating now because the timing is unhelpful but on March 30th they will be screaming for a border poll and they will have a point. So the DUP are going to possibly run themselves off a cliff and watch their greatest fear come to pass because they can't abide Corbyn? What are they hoping will happen here?
  #728  
Old 01-16-2019, 03:44 AM
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The alternative is that the Leader of the Opposition could broker a deal with minor parties (or just barely conceivably, rebels from the governing party) such that they could form a functional government.
I don't think the arithmetic's quite there, unless either the DUP (won't happen) or enough rebel Tories join in (and they rebel only on the Brexit issue, get them on to tax-and-spend and they're much the same as most of their party):

Tories 317

Labour 262
SNP 35
Lib Dems 12
Plaid Cymru 4
Green 1
Independent 1
= 315 (and that's if they're all singing from the same hymn-sheet)

DUP 10

(Sinn Fein and Speaker don't participate)
  #729  
Old 01-16-2019, 03:46 AM
PatrickLondon PatrickLondon is offline
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Can someone clarify for me what the DUP's play here is? They voted against the WA because of the backstop. But they're going to support the government in the vote of no confidence? I realize that they hate Jeremy Corbyn because he has an affinity for Sinn Fein. But leaving the current group in power is very likely to result in no-deal Brexit, either willfully or through sheer incompetence and inertia. And the last LucidTalk polling data I saw suggested that support in NI for a united Ireland surges to something like 57-43 in that scenario. Sinn Fein isn't agitating now because the timing is unhelpful but on March 30th they will be screaming for a border poll and they will have a point. So the DUP are going to possibly run themselves off a cliff and watch their greatest fear come to pass because they can't abide Corbyn? What are they hoping will happen here?
Search me. Forward thinking and a broader vision were never exactly their strong suit.
  #730  
Old 01-16-2019, 04:52 AM
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Can someone clarify for me what the DUP's play here is? They voted against the WA because of the backstop. But they're going to support the government in the vote of no confidence? I realize that they hate Jeremy Corbyn because he has an affinity for Sinn Fein. But leaving the current group in power is very likely to result in no-deal Brexit, either willfully or through sheer incompetence and inertia. And the last LucidTalk polling data I saw suggested that support in NI for a united Ireland surges to something like 57-43 in that scenario. Sinn Fein isn't agitating now because the timing is unhelpful but on March 30th they will be screaming for a border poll and they will have a point. So the DUP are going to possibly run themselves off a cliff and watch their greatest fear come to pass because they can't abide Corbyn? What are they hoping will happen here?
They're probably thinking that the arrangement they have right now gives them the most influence they've ever had in Westminster, whereas if the Government falls they'll get cast into the Outer Darkness of "noisy regional partydom" again, forced to play second banana to the SNP once more. It's a shortsighted policy but that's the DUrP for you.
  #731  
Old 01-16-2019, 04:56 AM
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In fairness, in 2016 nobody would have thought that that was a remotely likely outcome in practice. The colossal imcompetence of the British government and of the Brexit movement when it came to turning the referendum result into a practical political project was not readily forseeable.
It was certainly a discussion point among my friend circle from the time the referendum was announced. At the time of the vote I was working in a UK airport, and staff there were also all extremely concerned about what effect it was likely to have on the future holiday trade, as well as the fact that half of them were non British EU citizens who were worried their residency was going to become a negotiation lever.

Stopping free movement was the major reason put forwards for the vote in the first place. There has never been any reason to think there'd be an option for Brits to have free movement but not for everyone else, except in the mind of those who still think Britannia rules the waves and Johnny foreigner's just going to have to lump it.
  #732  
Old 01-16-2019, 10:19 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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...except in the mind of those who still think Britannia rules the waves and Johnny foreigner's just going to have to lump it.
And there's the majority of hardcore Brexiteers for you right there.
  #733  
Old 01-16-2019, 10:37 AM
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And there's the majority of hardcore Brexiteers for you right there.
I'm not sure that's true. There was an interesting article in the Guardian a few days ago that gives a different and more plausible reason why people voted for Brexit.

I’m a remainer. So why do I feel more and more sympathy for leave voters?

It's worth reading.
  #734  
Old 01-16-2019, 11:50 AM
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I don't think the arithmetic's quite there, unless either the DUP (won't happen) or enough rebel Tories join in (and they rebel only on the Brexit issue, get them on to tax-and-spend and they're much the same as most of their party):

Tories 317

Labour 262
SNP 35
Lib Dems 12
Plaid Cymru 4
Green 1
Independent 1
= 315 (and that's if they're all singing from the same hymn-sheet)

DUP 10

(Sinn Fein and Speaker don't participate)
The bit you quoted was about the general principle of how the 14-day grace period might lead to a Leader of the Opposition becoming PM; I agree that in the current situation the idea of Corbyn winning over the DUP or Tory rebels is beyond laughable. But I can see how theoretically a more centre-leaning LOTO could win over center-leaning opponents for long enough to pass some emergency legislation.

(And thanks for posting the numbers - a useful reference.)
  #735  
Old 01-16-2019, 07:40 PM
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And there's the majority of hardcore Brexiteers for you right there.
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I'm not sure that's true. There was an interesting article in the Guardian a few days ago that gives a different and more plausible reason why people voted for Brexit . . .
There's a big difference between "people who voted for Brexit" and "hardcore Brexiters", though.
  #736  
Old 01-16-2019, 08:44 PM
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Can someone clarify for me what the DUP's play here is? They voted against the WA because of the backstop. But they're going to support the government in the vote of no confidence? I realize that they hate Jeremy Corbyn because he has an affinity for Sinn Fein. But leaving the current group in power is very likely to result in no-deal Brexit, either willfully or through sheer incompetence and inertia. And the last LucidTalk polling data I saw suggested that support in NI for a united Ireland surges to something like 57-43 in that scenario. Sinn Fein isn't agitating now because the timing is unhelpful but on March 30th they will be screaming for a border poll and they will have a point. So the DUP are going to possibly run themselves off a cliff and watch their greatest fear come to pass because they can't abide Corbyn? What are they hoping will happen here?
Yeah of all the people doing stuff that appears to be against the direct self interest in this whole affair, the DUP win the prize for the most short-sighted self foot shooting.

I get Corbyn was chummy with the IRA back in the day, and (as the closest to the US religious right you get in the UK) they are not fan of godless socialists. But seriously "unionist" is right there in their name, preserving the union is their literal raison d'etre, and Brexit is the biggest threat to the union in its history. Brexit has a far far higher chance of breaking Northern Ireland away from the UK than all the actions of the IRA ever could, by an order of magnitude. That they are aren't the most extreme anti-brexiteers out there is mind blowing to me.
  #737  
Old 01-17-2019, 01:21 AM
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Yeah of all the people doing stuff that appears to be against the direct self interest in this whole affair, the DUP win the prize for the most short-sighted self foot shooting.
In understanding the motives of the DUP, never forget May's bribe of an extra £1 billion in funding for Northern Ireland, with the DUP in charge of spending it.

Effectively she bought 10 votes at £100 million per vote.

Without that bribe she would have lost the vote of no confidence.

Last edited by GreenWyvern; 01-17-2019 at 01:21 AM.
  #738  
Old 01-17-2019, 02:31 PM
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May's Government survives the no-confidence vote: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-46899466
  #739  
Old 01-17-2019, 03:34 PM
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I get Corbyn was chummy with the IRA back in the day, and (as the closest to the US religious right you get in the UK) they are not fan of godless socialists.
Only the Provos, the Officials were quite thoroughly Marxist. And even the group that mainly links Corbyn to the Provos was far Left - I mean, they were called Red Action.
  #740  
Old 01-17-2019, 04:02 PM
An Gadaí An Gadaí is offline
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In understanding the motives of the DUP, never forget May's bribe of an extra £1 billion in funding for Northern Ireland, with the DUP in charge of spending it.

Effectively she bought 10 votes at £100 million per vote.

Without that bribe she would have lost the vote of no confidence.
And because of this and regularly stoked fear of a Fenian future, the DUP's base will continue to vote for them, despite the majority of the population in the North being against Brexit in the first instance.
  #741  
Old 01-17-2019, 04:26 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Just a reminder for Dopers with HBO access: Brexit starring Benedict Cumberpatch airs on Saturday.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5S1EMmCWAE&t=23s
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brexit:_The_Uncivil_War
  #742  
Old 01-17-2019, 08:27 PM
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Is Cumberpatch an update on Cumberbatch?
  #743  
Old 01-18-2019, 12:43 AM
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Just a reminder for Dopers with HBO access: Brexit starring Benedict Cumberpatch airs on Saturday.
As I said on another thread, it's worth watching. It's similar in some ways to The Big Short. It shows how big data from social networks, targeted advertising, outright lies, and financing by shady billionaires resulted in Vote Leave winning the referendum.

In other words, it was a similar approach to that which won Trump the presidency.

One major omission is that it doesn't examine the reasons why the backers of Brexit want it. It doesn't mention the Russian involvement, the extreme libertarians, the profits to be made from deregulation, etc.
  #744  
Old 01-18-2019, 04:57 AM
Fuzzy_wuzzy Fuzzy_wuzzy is offline
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And because of this and regularly stoked fear of a Fenian future, the DUP's base will continue to vote for them, despite the majority of the population in the North being against Brexit in the first instance.
Folk need to forget about polls in NI suggesting a majority are against Brexit. The issue of the EU with Ulster Unionists will always play 2nd fiddle behind the issue of the Union with GB.
  #745  
Old 01-18-2019, 09:58 AM
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It is interesting that in the Brexit debate, the constitutional concerns of the DUP taken into account by the Conservative Party in the UK and Irish republican sentiment finds a voice in the Irish state which is the EU country that is going to be most affected by Brexit.

If there was not this balance, there would be trouble, for sure.

There seems no convincing solution to the border problem that satisfies both the EU and UK. So Brexit creates a constitutional problem and we know how difficult and how long they are to solve if the history of Ireland and the UK is our guide. That on top of the small matter of renegotiating forty years of trade treaties with the EU and the rest of the world.

The UK needs a good ten or more years to deal with the trade issue and it will not be helped if bombs start going off in NI. It will be a return to conflicts of the 1970s and 1980 and no-one wants that.

The British public who voted to Leave are most often bewildered that the whole process is so complicated. The refrain is 'Just get on with it'. This, I am afraid, is a mark of the profound ignorance of the electorate with regard to how the UK is ruled and its trade relations with other nations. There is nothing simple about these issues, it is not like calling up your bank and cancelling a club subscription because you are unhappy with its rules. But that is how it was sold. Instead it is more akin to a long and difficult divorce whose proceedings and their effects last for many years.
  #746  
Old 01-18-2019, 10:06 AM
filmstar-en filmstar-en is online now
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May is not soliciting the views of 'leading Parliamentarians' to see if there is any consensus on any alternative solution that delivers Brexit to her satisfaction. Given that she already has her Withdrawal Agreement, I would suggest she is hardly likely to be impartial in her assessment. So what will she do? Modify it a bit as the only viable solution and take the issue to the wire?

A public survey of the opinions of all of the MPs would be a more convincing consultation rather then her private chats.
  #747  
Old 01-18-2019, 10:42 AM
Ryan_Liam Ryan_Liam is offline
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We're witnessing the end of the state of 'Britain' and the eventual rise of the four nations that used to comprise of it.

What will happen in short order is the following;

No Brexit deal strikes, all trade deals we have become null and void, and we revert to WTO status, precipitating a 10% drop in the economy and shortages of hundreds of products, as well as massive tailbacks at the numerous ports in the UK due to a lack of preparation.

Northern Ireland reunifies with Southern Ireland, Unionists are given special status within Ireland.

Scotland declares another referendum, SNP wins, independence shortly follows with fast track back into the EU

Wales, the hardest hit of no deal Brexit, is emboldend by a resurgent Welsh nationalism, and Plyd Cymru becomes more credible and the case for Welsh independence becomes stronger.

England either becomes increasingly isolationist, and rightwing due to this humiliation, or somehow turns around and re applies for an association or membership with the EU.
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  #748  
Old 01-18-2019, 10:49 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filmstar-en View Post
...Instead it is more akin to a long and difficult divorce whose proceedings and their effects last for many years.
Even worse, in that there are multiple interested parties, not just two.
  #749  
Old 01-18-2019, 11:48 AM
PatrickLondon PatrickLondon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
Even worse, in that there are multiple interested parties, not just two.
Quite. It's as if the divorce required a negotiation to extract oneself from the spouse's family business, which is run by a partnership of 27 different relatives, each with their own family interests to consider. And it's a family business that doesn't just employ you, by design many different aspects of your life are tied up with it, and you need to find replacements for all of them
  #750  
Old 01-18-2019, 12:11 PM
Pantastic Pantastic is offline
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Does anyone have a good explanation of why the referendum has been treated as being so binding on the UK in general? I read up on it, and the UK has traditionally frowned on referendums and legally does not consider them binding as that would run counter to the principle of parliamentary sovereignty. I get that the exact government that called for a referendum wouldn't want to turn around and go against it, but why at no point did anyone say essentially "those guys were idiots and made a really flawed referendum, we're not going to treat it as binding"? It seems really strange to me - normally the UK operates on really long-standing tradition with lots of limits on what can be done, but out of the blue this completely new piece of governmental machinery was whipped out for one issue and now is driving the fate of the whole UK, to the point that it may stop even being the UK once the fallout is done.
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