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Westministenders. Boris we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy Constitutional Crisis?

(991 Posts)
RedToothBrush Fri 09-Dec-16 00:03:32

Its twelve days to go until the end of the HoC 2016 calendar and we can already tell that everyone is wishing it was Christmas already. Poor Theresa though, she doesn’t get to play with toys on the last day of term. Instead she has a grilling on the lack of spending on health and social care spending by a commons select committee.

Hopefully the next couple of weeks will calm down a little though as thoughts turn elsewhere.

The A50 case has come to an end. There is no way of telling which way the judges will go but the decision to appeal may yet haunt the government as it will bring the issue of devolution to a head, whether they win or lose. The ruling is due in mid January.

Win and they are going to have to amend the Devolution Acts and potentially impose Brexit on people with certain national identities who voted against it. This is profoundly undemocratic and a betrayal of the principles of Devolution and the expectations of the will of the people.
Lose and they could face a full blown constitutional crisis, with NI or Scotland or both having a veto over Brexit, and the government effectively unable to trigger a50 in line with our constitutional requirement. Which is again, potentially profoundly undemocratic and against the referendum and the expectations of the will of the people.

It was a scenario that predictable and avoidable at several junctions yet the government under Cameron and May ploughed on regardless. It a scenario that we are now locked into, due to deciding to use the courts rather than just go through parliament.

It could also massively restrict the power of the executive under the Royal Prerogative. Ironically this is something that David Davis has campaigned for, for years so I guess he gets a victory however the decision goes.
So the chances of some kind of crisis with regard to our constitutional makeup and the union seem inevitable in the new year.

The government despite a defeat in Richmond Park continues to lean right and characterise anyone with concerns as unpatriotic or not honourable. This is the last resort of the desperate.

They have however, conceded to Labour that they will publish a report on their Brexit plans before a50 is triggered. In return Labour have promised that they will let a50 be triggered by the end of March. Is this a good thing? It remains to be seen. In some ways this is a blinder for Labour.

They are pro-Brexit but anti-lack of plan in theory. This only works if the plan actually has substance. If there is no substance in the plan and its nothing more than empty words then they face having to go back on a commons vote committing them to a deal with the Conservatives. It could therefore be a trap for them. It marginalises the none English Nationalist voices too. Voices that are important and deserve to be heard. Voices that if they are not listened to, will have consequences.

What will the Sleaford and North Hykenham (yep again) by election bring?

A vote of confidence in the government, a new ever growing and rising fear of UKIP or something else. How will this colour the start to the New Year?

I don’t know. 2016 has apparently been the year of gin as people turn to the drink to cope. Everything is now Brexitty and Red, White and Blue.
But whose’s? Britain’s? The USA’s? Russia’s? Or France’s?

We look forward to, or more to the point we fear what 2017 could bring. A feeling we have not felt to this degree in many years. A General Election with a UKIP breakthrough. The end of peace in NI. A repeat of the age old betrayal of Scotland’s by the English. The Welsh damned to irrelevance and marginalisation. Brexit vettoed and the subsequent political fallout. The end of the NHS. A bonfire of rights. A new Italian PM and possibly new Eurozone economic crisis. Fillon or Le Pen and at last a real victory for the far right in Europe. The chance of Merkel’s Last Stand. Putin’s partnership with Assad and a new genocide we are powerless to stop. Erdogan pulling the plug on the EU door and unleashing a new wave of refugees onto European shores. The horror of ISIS both within the West and within the Middle East. Trump’s neo-fascism and rise of a New World Order. There is something in there for everyone to dread.

Which will it be? Probably something we have not yet foreseen such are these times.

Act 2 of Brexit in Westminstenders land is bound to be just as dramatic and of course, we leave 2016 in true soap fashion on a real cliff hanger.

All the more reason to enjoy the holiday period and break whatever your politics.

mathanxiety Fri 09-Dec-16 00:13:37


MissMarplesHat Fri 09-Dec-16 00:18:54

Spot on as usual Red wine

Peregrina Fri 09-Dec-16 00:20:26

Lose and they could face a full blown constitutional crisis, with NI or Scotland or both having a veto over Brexit, and the government effectively unable to trigger a50 in line with our constitutional requirement. Which is again, potentially profoundly undemocratic and against the referendum and the expectations of the will of the people.

Umm, not entirely undemocratic and not against the expectations of the will of the 48% who voted Remain, but now may as well not exist. Triggering A50 by March is only because of May's stupid promise to the Tory Conference, there was nothing to say when it had to be triggered in the Referendum Act. It's entirely political expediency, because TM would like to have it all done and dusted (as far as something so far reaching can be) before the next election. When, with any luck, they will have gerrymandered the boundaries in their favour, to give themselves a perpetual majority.

It could go an backfire spectacularly for them with an uncertain future economically, new younger electors voting and thoroughly cheesed off with the situation. Hmm.

BigChocFrenzy Fri 09-Dec-16 00:52:03

Thanks red How did we get into the mess ?
And when will the government stop digging deeper ?

^Byelection^ < trying to stay awake >

UKIP hoping for a historic win, "because people are fed up with the Government's foot-dragging and don't trust them to deliver."

TM would be scared witless if so, but Tory hold is still thought the most likely result.

Liberals hope to pick up some Tory Remain votes - maybe Labour Remain too - and come 2nd

Labour may drop from 2nd to 4th place and lose a 2nd deposit in a row:
"The Leavers see us as backsliders on Brexit; the Remainers say we're sell-outs and should be trying harder. We're in a strategic vice.

BigChocFrenzy Fri 09-Dec-16 00:59:53

A fact I didn't know:
"^food manufacturing is worth more to the UK economy than the automotive and aerospace sectors combined.^"

so this is a bit worrying
"The UK’s food industry is facing the worst labour shortage for at least 12 years as farmers, manufacturers and processors struggle to find enough workers"

TuckersBadLuck Fri 09-Dec-16 01:13:47

I'm in awe of you as always RTB and I really must thank you for these threads. You save me at least an hour every day looking for things to base my thoughts on and then you do my thinking for me, even if I do have to filter out a bit of the guardianism.

My God! Are you brainwashing me? grin

BigChocFrenzy Fri 09-Dec-16 02:00:17

V low byelection turnout, even for cold December: only 37%

Reports from the count are that Labour vote has collapsed - well, a very low turnout always bad news for them.
So, whose voters were motivated ?

mathanxiety Fri 09-Dec-16 04:27:02

'Caroline Johnson, a children’s doctor and local Conservative, won the seat with a large majority of 17,570 votes. Her Ukip rival, Victoria Ayling, came second with 4,426.

The Conservatives had been widely expected to keep the long-held seat but in an embarrassment to Labour the party was beaten into fourth place by Ukip and the Liberal Democrats.'

Caroline Johnson (Cons) 17,570 (53.51%, -2.68%)
Victoria Ayling (Ukip) 4,426 (13.48%, -2.21%)
Ross Pepper (Lib Dem) 3,606 (10.98%, +5.33%)
Jim Clarke (Lab) 3,363 (10.24%, -7.02%)

Marianne Overton (Lincs Ind) 2,892 (8.81%, +3.59%)
Sarah Stock (Ind) 462 (1.41%)
The Iconic Arty-Pole (Loony) 200 (0.61%)
Paul Coyne (ND) 186 (0.57%)
Mark Suffield (ND) 74 (0.23%)
David Bishop (BP Elvis) 55 (0.17%)

Cons maj 13,144 (40.03%)
Electorate 88,712; Turnout 32,834 (37.01%, minus 33.23%)

StairsInTheNight Fri 09-Dec-16 04:39:04

Thanks red. Great opener, as usual.

BestIsWest Fri 09-Dec-16 05:47:55

Thanks Red. Very low turnout in Sleaford.

AmberEars Fri 09-Dec-16 05:51:56

Place marking

Motheroffourdragons Fri 09-Dec-16 06:48:57

Great , a new thread smile Thanks Red

MangoMoon Fri 09-Dec-16 07:46:51

These threads are my go to place for all political shenanigans.
There's more critique and actual thought on here than in any of the woeful mainstream media & tv programmes.

Thanks RTB.

BigChocFrenzy Fri 09-Dec-16 07:48:52

. TM reassured by a good result - retained Tory Leave voters and the seat still very safe

. UKIP 2nd but on a lower % - Nuthead claims that's a good result, but they were only 2nd because Labour collapsed and voters switched to the Liberals.
UKIP becoming less important ? Byelections are where they should progress & shine

. Liberals mildly encouraged by being the only party to increase vote %, but there were few angry Tory Remain voters who felt strongly enough to switch to them in a Tory safe seat that was heavily Leave.
Will they continue to gain Labour Remain votes in more competitive seats where Liberals might have a chance ?

. Labour embarassed again, slipping to 4th place, but kept their deposit.
Their GE prospects look grim
The PLP will be v nervous about losing seats after these 2 byelections - and furious with Jezza. He'll be oblivious as usual, in his own little bubble of supporters.

Unicornsarelovely Fri 09-Dec-16 08:00:04

Just marking my place so I can catch up over the weekend. Thanks very much Red.

iwanttoridemybicycle Fri 09-Dec-16 08:19:22

Great threads RTB, thanks.

RedToothBrush Fri 09-Dec-16 08:29:46

Not sure I agree with the analysis there big choc. I have problem with the idea the labour vote 'collasped'. There's an assumption that the switch was from labour to the lib dems. Was it?

This constituency is stacked with older voters who are more likely to vote. Traditionally this are more likely to be conservative voters. Labour were not targeting the seat nor defending it so surely this would be reflected in turnout. Their turnout compared to the conservatives in the number of votes cast for each party at the GE election was not significantly lower. Both come out around a third of the number of votes from the GE.

Turnout at the Ge was 70% compared to 37%. If you are going to characterise the labour vote as a collaspe then why no criticism or comment about why the conservative vote was also down under 50% of its ge numbers? Ukip were actually more or less bang on this point. And the cons were more actively campaigning.

I would expect con voters from the Ge in this area to be more reliable and regular voters than labour ones as a general rule so I would expect a depression in turnout to be more at a by-election of this nature and without being target to be higher for labour voters. The fact it's actually comparible to the conservatives says something else. Ukip voters in this area are more likely to be older more affluent types than their general pattern and people who you would class as more reliable voters like conservatives too. And as I say the number seem to directly reflect the low turnout more than show any gain. And they campaigned hard. Did they just get the vote out rather than gain?

My point being that you can draw very different conclusions from the actual numbers. I would be wary of just looking at the percentages.

PensionOutOfReach Fri 09-Dec-16 08:36:00


EmilyAlice Fri 09-Dec-16 08:38:29

Whatever people think of AC, this is one of the most interesting things I have read in a long time.

And yes, thanks Red for your brilliant work on these threads.

Peregrina Fri 09-Dec-16 08:53:41

I'm not sure that the vote says anything except that the voters couldn't be bothered to turn out on a cold December day. I don't agree with the winning Tories comment that it strengthens "...the government's majority in Parliament so Theresa May, our prime minister, can get on with the job of triggering Article 50, leaving the European Union and building a country and economy that works for everyone." It hasn't given May any extra seats, and the comment itself is straight out of the soundbite archive.

I am still waiting to see this country and economy which works for everyone e.g. I would be looking for investment in railways in the North, investment in broadband in rural areas, decent apprenticeship schemes leading to good quality jobs in areas where investment is needed. More money for the NHS and the social care system. Not seen any of that yet.

Motheroffourdragons Fri 09-Dec-16 09:20:29

I hope that is true, Red and Peregrina.

I am kind of wondering though where are all the Corbyn voters ? Surely if he was that popular some of them would get out and vote ?

I think the whole world of politics doesn't make sense at all to me any more.

RedToothBrush Fri 09-Dec-16 09:39:50

These are the 2015 figures for Sleaford.

Con 34805
Labour 10690
UKIP 9716
LD 3500
Ind 3233

If every person voted the same in the by election as they did in the general election and the difference was just the turnout was reduced then you would expect the following result on a turnout of 37.1%

Con 18394
Labour 5649
UKIP 5134
LD 1849
Ind 1708

What actually happened was
Con 17570
Labour 3362
UKIP 4426
LD 3606
Ind 2892

The difference between a pure uniform drop in turnout is therefore
Con -824
Lab -2286
UKIP -709
LD +1756
Ind +1183

Yes Labour perform worst. Yes LD perform best.

Factor in levels of campaigning and patterns of who votes more regularly and who was more likely to simply turnout for a by-election of this nature in this type of constituency and to be honest, there is really nothing to see here at all.

If you are conservative and you say this is a victory and a clear sign of support for May's handling of Brexit, that's not true.
If you are ukipper claiming a victory over Labour because you came second when you've been campaigning hard, you haven't increased your vote share and your ambitions have not been met.
If you are Labour then the result is perhaps disappointing but not unexpected and can be explained away by patterns of campaigning and by-elections in a safe opposition seat when there is little local feeling for a backlash
If you are LD its explained by political activeness and awareness that is reflected in voting patterns at by-elections (LD generally turn out well) and a certain about of EU backlash, but because of the type of area this isn't huge and perhaps is unlikely to translate into bigger gains at a GE. It might worry Tories in marginal remain constituencies but that's nothing we didn't already know.
And an Independent doing better at a by-election is really nothing to write home about.

Nothing has particularly changed here since 2015, like Peregina says, is just about the only thing you can conclude.

birdybirdywoofwoof Fri 09-Dec-16 10:04:39

Marking place. fsmile Thanks Red.

Looks like Boris is still in trouble today, naughty, naughty.

SapphireStrange Fri 09-Dec-16 10:23:13

In some ways this is a blinder for Labour. They are pro-Brexit but anti-lack of plan in theory. This only works if the plan actually has substance. If there is no substance in the plan and its nothing more than empty words then they face having to go back on a commons vote committing them to a deal with the Conservatives. It could therefore be a trap for them.

I'm very worried about this.

Boris Johnson: isn't it time he was fired? That's a serious question. He is no longer a journalist/commentator; nor is he the light relief. He CANNOT keep going round saying shit like that.

Thanks as ever, Red.

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