23rd March 2019
Putting It To The People? A General Election would!
It may be a stretch to suggest that the UK is ungovernable at the moment but there can be little argument that it is ungoverned. What passes for government at the moment, under the notional leadership of Theresa May, is little more than a loose coalition of warring factions unable to come up with any agreement on the way forward for Brexit. This has effectively immobilised any meaningful discussion around major issues which continue to be the day to day concerns of the people of the UK; peace, health, homes and jobs.
This travesty is exacerbated by the fact that the Tories are only able to notionally govern as they are propped up by the votes of the unrepresentative gangsters from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The DUP pose as defenders of Northern Irish integrity but in reality continue to pursue their sectional and sectarian interests, in defending the rights and privileges of one section of the community in the annexed statelet.
The DUP plea for Northern Ireland to be treated the same as the rest of the UK in the withdrawal process contradicts their stand on social issues such as gay rights and abortion, where they are happy for the position in Northern Ireland to remain driven by their bigoted agenda.
The DUP position is reinforced by their ideological bedfellows in the European Reform Group (ERG), who are equally reactionary in their social policy and equally committed to steering the UK towards a no-deal Brexit.
The pressure to avoid no-deal continues to be the default position in Parliament, the media generally and, insofar as it is possible to gauge, with large sections of the population. The Put It To The People campaign will no doubt point to the demonstration in London this weekend, in favour of a second referendum, and the four million signatures to the petition calling for the same as evidence of this. A far as the evidence is presented, this would not appear to be an unreasonable position.
The anti no-deal tendency however is little more than a cover for the long running covert campaign to remain in the European Union. If no-deal is off the table then the UK must leave with a deal. The deal presented by the Prime Minister has been rejected twice by the House of Commons. She may not test it a third time. The deal proposed by the Labour Party has also suffered defeat in the House of Commons. Remainers argue that if no-one can agree a deal, the only options are to remain, or go to a so-called People’s Vote.
The Labour Party position, to have a UK wide customs union, close alignment with the single market and co-operation on workers’ rights, environmental and security issues, is one around which the EU would be prepared to negotiate. Its chances in the House of Commons however have been sabotaged by those in the Labour Party committed to remain in the EU at all costs, in spite of having been elected on a manifesto which promised to deliver Brexit.
The departure into political exile of Chukka Umunna and the so called Independent Group (IG) has simply reduced Labour’s voting power in the Commons. More sinister is the formation of the Future Britain Group, spearheaded by Labour Deputy Leader, Tom Watson. When the IG made their move on the 18th February Tom Watson lamented their departure, suggesting that a front bench reshuffle would be in order to accommodate different views within Labour.
Watson was less keen to publicise that on the very day of the IG departure (18th February) the website domain name futurebritaingroup.co.uk was registered. Less than three weeks later, on 9th March, Watson announced the formation of the Future Britain Group, an open faction within the Labour Party. All coincidence? Perhaps…..
It is not surprising that Watson will be addressing the Put It To The People march in London this weekend. The remain faction in Labour is alive and kicking. Their opposition to Jeremy Corbyn at all costs continues to be their modus operandi. In that respect they are effectively working hand in glove with the DUP and the ERG on an ‘anything or anyone but Corbyn’ agenda.
Where the voting will go and how factions will align and divide in the House of Commons next week is anyone’s guess but no-deal is looking like a distinctly possible outcome. If that is the case then it must be followed by a real People’s Vote, in the form of a General Election, a chance to put the Labour programme in its entirety in front of the British people.
Now that would be worth marching for.