Mike Vickers' Blog

September 10, 2019

Doesn’t Northern Ireland have an Anthem

Filed under: Bercow, Boris, Brexit, Europe, Good Friday Agreement, Ireland, Theresa may, Westminster — derryvickers @ 6:37 am

“While Bercow completed the formalities required to prorogue parliament in the House of Lords, opposition MPs sung songs, including the Red Flag, Jerusalem, Scots Wha Hae and Bread of Heaven (in Welsh, with harmonies).”

Doesn’t Northen Ireland have a national song or are their MPs totally on the Tory side.

Paul Waugh sums up Johnson:

“Even more than Theresa May ever was, Johnson is a now zombie PM in a zombie parliament. Unlike her, his answer is to shut down the graveyard (the Commons and Lords). Yet like May, he thinks he can get a new lease of life through a general election. Let’s see if the script is more The Walking Dead than Carry on Screaming.”

September 9, 2019

The Assassination of the Mother of Parliaments

Filed under: Boris, Brexit, Britis Empire, Europe, Ireland, UK Parliament, USA, Westminster — derryvickers @ 8:43 am

The Conservative Cabinet assassinates The Mother of Parliaments and welcomes becoming a vassal of the USA.

The Guardian Editorial says it all.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/08/the-guardian-view-on-the-world-and-brexit-rue-britannia

I need to repeat in full below.

The Guardian view on the world and Brexit: rue Britannia

The case for Brexit rested largely upon two misapprehensions – or, to put it less kindly, lies. The first was the belief that engaging in a deep and broad partnership, with the necessary compromises and disadvantages that brings alongside all its benefits, was an act of treacherous self-sabotage. The second was a wholly unrealistic assessment of Britain’s international status and heft, rooted in a vague, nostalgic vision of its imperial past. A third myth sprang from these two: that a post-Brexit Britannia would emerge triumphant, a beacon of democracy, parliamentary sovereignty and prosperity, shining across the waves.

The last three years have left such ideas in tatters; the last week has ripped the remaining shreds away. Its events have left Britain appearing not only backwards-looking, irrational and divided, but fanatical, bitter, frivolous, chaotic and heedless of any legal or customary impediment to the executive. Boris Johnson promised a stroll to sunlit meadows; now he offers a grim, hellish march towards no deal, and his troops have had enough.

The most damning attacks come from within: from his MPs, and now his ministers. Amber Rudd ditched her opposition to no deal as Mr Johnson ascended the throne; now she has quit the cabinet and the Conservative whip, accusing him of an assault on “decency and democracy” for his purge of Tory veterans. In interviews she pressed home her attack, noting that legal advice on prorogation had not been given to the cabinet despite repeated requests and that there is no evidence that the government is seeking a deal, since it is devoting 80% to 90% of its time to planning for no deal.

Days before, Jo Johnson quit, citing a conflict between family loyalty and the national interest. Kenneth Clarke, ejected from the Tory benches after almost half a century, warned that a no-deal Brexit could be far more damaging to Britain’s economy than a Corbyn government. As briefings from Downing Street grew wilder, the lord chancellor felt obliged to announce that he would abide by the rule of law and had spoken to the prime minister about its importance.

Consider now the external view. The EU diplomats with whom we will have to work, with or without a deal, are ever more frustrated by the game-playing and have accused the prime minister of reneging on pledges to uphold the Good Friday agreement. (The taoiseach, who will on Monday meet Mr Johnson, has already warned that he does not expect any breakthroughs.)

But other parties are just as scathing. In his Radio 4 series As Others See Us, Neil MacGregor noted that respect for Britain’s parliamentary democracy and steady pragmatism are much diminished, and that the world sees an unsettled nation cut adrift from its moorings. One American columnist dubbed this week Britain’s stupidest hour, while Canada’s Globe and Mail, describing the appetite for national self-destruction, observed that the Tories had transformed themselves into a protest party “even while continuing to govern a Group of Seven nation with a permanent seat on the United Nations security council”. Implicit in that statement was a question: how long, in these circumstances, can we maintain this standing and hang on to these levers?

That the Trump administration cheers Britain towards the exit, as Vice-President Mike Pence did again in London this week, is a cause for concern, not reassurance. It wants to speed our course not from its deep amity towards the UK, but its deep hostility towards the EU. Any opportunity to undermine European cohesion, weakening it in global trade and diplomacy (notably vis-a-vis Iran), is welcome. A trade deal with Britain, inevitably on terms highly favourable to America, will merely be the glaze on the chlorinated chicken.

With friends like these, who needs to make more enemies? To say that Britain’s hard power has long been in decline is merely an expression of the obvious, not of doomsaying. Now the Brexiters who dreamed of restoring glory are daily eroding the soft power it amassed as its empire shrank. Those who doubted our goodwill and good intentions after the 2016 vote increasingly doubt our good sense too.

 

 

September 6, 2019

Michael Gove: the Air Raid Warden in Dad’s Army

Filed under: Brexit, Europe, Michael Gove, Politics, UK Parliament, War — derryvickers @ 10:20 am

Michael Gove. He was like an air raid warden from Dad’s Army. He had plans for supplies of medicines and food. Trucks were assigned to country lanes. Guards were reinforcing Dover. Two billion pounds will pour into farms, fisheries, manufacturing and hospitals. No expense will be spared, no cost too great, to keep the dastardly foreigner from our shores. MPs purred. They loved it.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/06/prime-minister-war-rhetoric-trade-negotiations

August 31, 2019

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

Filed under: Boris, Brexit, Europe, Good Friday Agreement, Jeremy Corbyn, Reality, The Troubles, Varadkar, Yeats — derryvickers @ 7:40 am

WB Yeats

The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.

Just two examples

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/aug/30/no-deal-brexit-could-motivate-dissident-republicans-in-northern-ireland-says-barbara-gray

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/aug/31/riot-police-out-in-glasgow-as-irish-unity-march

Where is the Good Friday Agreement now.

Oddly only the US Congress may save Ireland from a Hard Border.

August 29, 2019

Gina Miller to the Courts Again

Lawyers for the campaigner Gina Miller have made an urgent application to the high court for a judicial review of Boris Johnson’s plan to prorogue parliament, in the first shot in what will be an intense battle in the coming days to torpedo the prime minister’s plan.

“This is a brazen attempt, of truly historical magnitude, to prevent the executive being held accountable for its conduct before parliament,” said Miller,

“Anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller has as filed an urgent application for a legal challenge to stop Prime Minister Boris Johnson‘s “cynical and cowardly” plan to prorogue parliament.

“Whilst prorogation is an acceptable UK constitutional practice, no prime minister in modern history has attempted to use it in such a brazen manner,” Ms Miller wrote on a fundraising website set up fund the urgent application to the high court for a judicial review.

Ms Miller, … said the decision to suspend parliament a few weeks before the Brexit deadline was a “dark day for democracy”.

Opponents say it stop MPs from playing a full part in the Brexit process as the time they will have to pass laws to stop the UK leaving without a deal on 31 October would be cut.

I could add that if MPs fail to get a debate then the UK is heading for 1984.

Lets hope that Gina Miller gets to take her Action to the Supreme Court again and achieve the Rightful Publicity.

And that Bercow can resurrect good precedents.

, Mr Johnson has set our country .. break with the EU which will .. leave the UK – should it survive in its current form – hopelessly divided for many years to come.

Filed under: Boris, Brexit, Europe, Good Friday Agreement, Westminster — derryvickers @ 10:35 am

From Today’s Scotsman Editorial
And the Scotsman is well in the centre of politics

Supporters may try to spin this otherwise, they may try to say that a Queen’s Speech is overdue and that Mr Johnson is merely exercising his right to set out the agenda of his government, but it is abundantly clear that, having committed himself to delivering Brexit on October 31, he is willing to play dirty in order to keep his promise.

His actions have, of course, generated considerable outrage among those who believe – as The Scotsman does – that Brexit is a mistake and that the No Deal variety merely compounds that. There is talk now of whether Mr Johnson might be brought down, about whether parliament – or a version of it – could sit, elsewhere, during the proposed period of prorogation.

But, regardless of whether pro-Remain MPs are able to formulate a workable plan or not, yesterday’s announcement has implications that rage far beyond the matter of Brexit.

Nicola Sturgeon yesterday accused Mr Johnson of “acting like some kind of tin pot dictator”. The First Minister may have employed some typical political hyperbole in that assessment but she got to a truth at the heart of our national debate. That truth is that convention can be damned.

Without a written constitution, the way in which our politics is run has been decided over centuries of statute and consensus. We can now safely assume that the rules of engagement that have sustained our politics for so long no longer apply.

Rather than treating the House of Commons as sovereign, the Prime Minister now seems to regard it as nothing more than an inconvenience. For all of his talk of democracy, he now treats with contempt the right of MPs to represent their constituents.

When Mr Johnson decided, more than three years ago, to throw in his lot with the Leave campaign, he did so not because of a great passion for Brexit but because he judged that such a course would be most likely to enhance his career prospects. His motivation was neither sovereignty nor “taking back control” but the advancement of Boris Johnson.

If nothing else, the fact that he is now Prime Minister proves that Mr Johnson’s decision was the right one for Mr Johnson.

But is this really the premiership of which he dreamed? For a man who fancies himself something of a modern day Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister is behaving in the most unstatesmanlike manner in order to save his own skin. With Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage cranking up the No Deal rhetoric, Mr Johnson has set our country on course for a painful break with the EU which will, we fear, leave the UK – should it survive in its current form – hopelessly divided for many years to come.

August 28, 2019

Johnson – our new Dictator

Filed under: Boris, Brexit, Europe, USA, Westminster — derryvickers @ 5:34 pm

UK Democracy died Today. Johnson is our new dictator; just as Trump is in the US

One can only hope that, like Charles 1, he loses his head

From the Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/28/boris-johnson-election-prorogue-parliament-populist-majority

The real secret of populists, from Donald Trump to Matteo Salvini to Johnson, is the conflation of transgression with truthfulness. The willingness to engage in bigotry and violate hard-won social norms against racist, homophobic or misogynistic language convinces people that these politicians “speak their mind” and “say what they think”. Paradoxically, their lack of virtue confirms their veracity.’

Oddly while Salvini wants to remain in the EU and change it, Johnson wants to leave; perhaps to Dictate on his own.

August 12, 2019

And this is British Democracy

Filed under: Brexit, Europe, Politics, Westminster — derryvickers @ 7:15 pm

Now in tatters and must be replaced.

I fear the Tories won’t do so

Not sure that Corbyn has the brains either:

The Guessing Tree

Surely this is phantasy?

August 6, 2019

Scottish Independence – A vie from Ireland

Filed under: Brexit, Europe, Politics, Scottish Independence — derryvickers @ 9:30 pm

I think that Fintan O’Toole’s essay – The Art of Leaving and Arriving Brexit, Scotland and Britain – in Scotland the Brave? (Twenty Years of Change and the Future of the Nation edited by Gerry Hassan and Simon Barrow) makes the case for Scottish Independence far better than the SNP’s.

O’Toole doesn’t follow the SNP’s view that ‘All will be sweetness and light’ after independence, just the opposite. But he makes the more powerful case that the UK and Westminster is dead and must be drastically reformed. The corollary is that Scotland should take the opportunity to free itself now.

You can find a shortened version at

https://www.thenational.scot/news/17724208.fintan-otoole-the-potential-for-scotland-to-be-a-new-kind-of-state/

BTW the book is a good read even though I find Hassan excellent at identifying what’s wrong but fails miserably at proposing solutions. The proposals in the book are suggested by others.

July 27, 2019

The UK’s Fate

Filed under: Britis Empire, Europe, Politics, Trump — derryvickers @ 9:28 am

Patrick Cockburn says it all

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/boris-johnson-donald-trump-eu-no-deal-brexit-economic-cold-war-a9022646.html

The UK will be increasingly be bound to the US

And to Trump.

 

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