British Prime Minister Tony Blair Speaks In Armagh, Northern Ireland


Is Tony Blair making a political come-back?

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No – in short, but he’s certainly doing the rounds. As with US presidents there is a tendency for former Prime Ministers to make less public appearances and political comments on their successors. However, in this Trumpian age of political divided-world and hyper-partisanship the most recent crop of Prime Ministers (Blair,  Cameron) and Presidents (Obama) seem to be far more open-mouthed than their predecessors as Prime Minister (Thatcher; Major; Brown) or even Presidents (Clinton; Bush).

But is this a sign of modern politics, that former leaders will now comment on their successors, just as their successors comment on them (Cameron on Blair; Trump on Obama).

So let me reclarify why the question here is important, and although Blair is highly unlikely to return to front-line politics, in the sense of a government position; it is possible, though unlikely, he’ll stand as a back-bench MP. What is most likely, aside from a seat in the Lords; which must surely be on its way – that Mr Blair will some-how become heavily involved in the current political fiasco.

He’s already campaigning for a second referendum. And if we’re honest, aside from some issues post 2003; Blair was probably “the last decent prime minister” we had.

I quite like Gordon Brown, but his reign was so short, its hardly worth commenting. I have heard someone comment Major was one of the greatest PMs because he did very little (towards policy) – but the early 90s are for many lost in some kind of political fog – between the red-esq-sunshine of 1997 and the blue-deluge of Thatcher.

So what are we to make of Blair’s repeated rounds of the chat-shows and constant press briefings? As an elder statesman (as he technically is now) – forget your personal vehement against him; Mr Blair is now on the media circuit, which is either a way of lining his pocket – which no one can rule out – but what is also likely is, he is making some sort of political come-back.

I can’t say in which way, or how, or why – but I’m pretty certain Blair is back – I’m just not sure what he’s back at. What I will say is, this is a “watch this space” moment with regards to Tony Blair.

Do Cyber-Nats exist?

University of Stirling’s Iain Black, Professor in Marketing in Marketing & Retail; who is listed as an expert in Climate change and consumption; Sustainable consumption; Barriers to sustainable consumption; Fracking and unconventional oil and gas extraction; and Consumers and Electric vehicles by the University – was recently giving a presentation lecture at the Political Branding Workshop hosted by the university, and his presentation was fascinating – as he discussed the concept of co-creation; particularly with reference to Yes Scotland (2014) and Yes Edinburgh North & Leith (2014-) – a campaign he was personally involved in; and alongside University of Glasgow’s Cleopatra Veloutsou was researching this concept of Branding Co-Creation.

During a moment in the 2014 referendum campaign Yes Scotland HQ asked the grass-roots Yes Edinburgh North & Leith (which they didn’t do)– to bin some campaign materials which featured a link to the website Wings Over Scotland, run by the not very Reverend video game designer, blogger, and journalist “Rev” Stuart Campbell. In response to this I asked the question around the concept of Brand Co-Creation; and preventing the tarnishing of the brand by Cyber-Nats (which I acknowleged was on both sides of the campaign) – how would a brand, even one in co-creation; as Yes Scotland was; manage to prevent this?

Professor Black had a two-fold response – his first was to say that no one has proven that there is such thing as cyber-nats, more correctly his argument was that those appearing to be cyber-nats weren’t necessarily actually supporting Scottish Independence (and he made reference here to Russian bots).

Embedded image from Andrew Milligan/PA Archive/PA Images
Embedded image from Andrew Milligan/PA Archive/PA Images – Wings over Scotland Writer & Founder Stuart Campbell, is he “Cyber-nat”?

Now before I tackle his second point – let me deal with this first one. I am not sure how Stuart Campbell, who was arguably considered so odious in his behaviour online by a judge it appears (f0r some) this was the reason wasn’t awarded damages, despite the judge saying he had been libelled (worded carefully, in case he tries to sue me, I have no money, never sue the skint people) – I am not sure how he is not a cyber-nat from Bath – unless Mr Black suggests he is not a cybernat, or that Campbell does not actually support Independence for Scotland.

Perhaps Professor Black was not thinking about Mr Campbell – but rather the anonymous trolls online who may or may not be provable as indie-supporting cyber-nats. Is Professor Black actually arguing some kind of false-flag; or Russian conspiracy theory – don’t get me wrong, there clearly is Russian involvement in large-scale political events such as Brexit and the US Presidential Election (2016) – but unless, and it is possible that the Scottish Indie ref was a practice for Brexit, which became a practice for the US Presidential elections (whilst Brexit as a practice has been shown to at least be possible, I’m not the Scottish Indie ref has been) – then I’m not entirely sure what Professor Black is actually arguing.

Anyway – on to his second point – Professor Black, an excellent academic, and someone I do actually hold in high regard, argued that those campaigning for Scottish Independence during any future referendum campaign would self-police, that is (he gave an example) report those who were not representative of the campaign to the appropriate authority and also to make it clear to the public that x, y or z was not appropriate or part of the civic nationalism the Indie campaigners believed in. Whilst I love the optimism of this answer, and ideally agree this is how society should function – I fear that campaigners on both side of the debate, if they were truly to self-police in this manner, would possibly end up spending more time calling out bigotry and bad-behaviour than actually debating the topic at hand – alternatively they would ignore all those who aren’t “representative” and end up deleting them from social media – which possibly leads to the problem of not actually being representative; but also the fact this would, in my view probably be such an onerous that I’m not sure it will happen in a widespread enough manner; or consistently to work. Thus in this case the Yes Scotland brands will again be tarnished by cybernats, effectively un-policed. Of course I also believe it will happen on the opposing team too – and what is on the whole a beautiful exercise in democracy actually gets bogged down in the mire of cyber-nats and cyber-unionists – and the problem is not solved.

Though I admire Professor Black, I wonder if perhaps time prevented him from explaining more fully his own position; and I would not wish to attribute to him views that weren’t really what he meant – so if corrected I promise to correct in an equally lengthy new article shortly.

Pete’s Other Ponderings

From a Facebook Comment I made, in relation to this picture:

“I was under the impression that the full extent of ‘the final solution’ was hidden from the ordinary people – that they were essentially seeing it as the confiscation of the riches property to help the people (a robin hood type thing, even if the confiscation of the property was not used for the ordinary people) – which is essentially the bit that I think is being repeated at the moment over here, the propaganda that immigrants (or whomever is an easy target) is responsible for our woes.

The question has to become would the full extent of such a government policy being easily seen by the ordinary people today – Windrush occured under Theresa May (initially) but wasn’t found out until Amanda Rudd was Home Secretary – so one concludes, that yes, I think it could be close to being repeated by a government without the majority realising, at least initially, but that it would probably happen for a year or two before being found out by the media… So the first step is usually the restriction of the press, as happened in Nazi Germany, question is, is it happening here?”

And I added further:

“Of course if we consider Benefit claimants and the demonization of them, and the austerity policies of this Conservative government which has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, then perhaps we can already argue it is happening, just less obviously, and is essential going unreported by the free media, because it is linked by too many chains, and not directly linked.”

PS: (Join the conversation)

I can’t think of anything more today that I would care to comment on, so this is the lot this week – I’d actually like to hear your thoughts, so drop me a line and give your political ramblings, or even your spiritual ones, if you’re a Christian – I may just publish them as a guest post; if you’d prefer them not to be – why not add a comment, tell me why I’m wrong, how I’m wrong (I probably am somehow) and also your own views (keep it clean and polite).

What do the local election results actually tell us?


I have held off on writing this, until the last possible moment, primarily because I am not sure how much the local election results tell us. There are a multitudinal amount of reasons why, let me explain.

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The first reason is that local elections are primarily about local issues – and local candidates. Whilst many will follow party politics in this, local elections have historically not been the best of indicators of how the public will vote in a general election (especially when a general election may be months or years later).


Turnout for local elections is famously lower, usually much lower than for a general election, for example 2019’s election had a turnout accross England of 36.3% of the electorate; whilst the most recent general election (2017) saw an electorate turnout of 69.1% (almost double) and 2015’s “normal” general election saw a turnout of 66% – this is of course just in England.

By contrast to our relatively low turnout during General Elections (compared to other nations) and our even lower turnout for local elections, 2016’s referendum on membership of the European Union saw an unprecedented exercise in democracy, when 73% of England’s registered voters turned out to vote. The last time that high-of-a-percentage of eligable voters voted was in 1992 General Election, which saw John Major victorious.

Aside from the legalities of the 2016 referendum campaign, it was certainly the largest exercise of democracy since the 1992 General Election – though not the highest percentage of turnout for a democratic event – that honour goes to the 2014 Scottish Independece referendum, which saw 84.59% of the electorate in Scotland vote – this is the largest percentage of vote turn-out since the introduction of Universal Suffrage. The higher vote was the 1910 General Election when 84.6% of the fewer men and no women electorate could vote; and the most recent General Election to come even close (since Universal Suffrage) was actually in 1950, when 83.9% of the electorate voted.

The lowest turnout in a general election was recorded in 1918 at 57.2%, due to the end of the First World War. Between 1922 and 1997 turnout remained above 71%. At the 2001 general election the turnout was 59.4%; in 2005 it was 61.4%; in 2010 it was 65.1%; and in 2015 it was 66.1%.

General Election Turnout, Parliament.UK

Low turnout at local elections has been a common theme for decades, back in 2010, Ipsos MORI, the legendary pollster, wrote the following:

Next Thursday will see local government elections being held in most of England, both the high profile contest for London Mayor and the much less heralded contest for more than 3,300 seats on around 150 district and borough councils. Turnout will almost certainly be dire, as it nearly always is these days; last year it was 36% in the shire districts, 31% in the unitary authorities and just 26% in the metropolitan boroughs.

Local Election Turnout, Ipsos MORI, 28th April 2000.

And again, as this BBC article from 2013 highlights, local elections “…are not always a reliable indicator of what will happen at a general election.” As Labour in 2003 (Local) and then 2005 (General), the Conservatives in 1990 (Local) and then 1992 (General), – both are examples of electoral drubbings for the parties in the local followed by massive wins at the General. Sometimes the opposite is also true, Labour had bad results at the 2009 Local, followed by a disasterous General Election result in 2010; and the Conservatives have their own 2010 General in 1997, following their very disasterous result in 1995. Essentially, we can’t use Local to predict very accurately the results of the next General Election – sometimes they show a feeling, sometimes not

What then do Friday’s results show?

The results of Friday’s Local Election results in England make interesting reading. Comparisons with the previous local election results is not helpful, though most news sources seem to be using them, the Press Association (and also the Guardian) favoured the numbers at the dissolution of each local government authority (i.e. councils) as they represented the most accurate figure for comparison – e.g. where Councils were reconfigured, such as the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch Council mergers, to create a Unitary Local Government Authority on April 1st 2019. This means that those large headline figures change.

Take the headline figure of 1330 Councillor losses for the Conservative party – that’s the figure the BBC put out, the Guardian’s figure is 1269. For Labour the result is less drastic, they lost 84 councillors according to the BBC, the Guardian reports a loss of 63.

Embedded image from Andrew Matthews/PA Archive/PA Images
Embedded image from Andrew Matthews/PA Archive/PA Images

And the result is more important when discussing the number of Controls of Councils (i.e. number of Councils) gained or lost. The Conservatives, according the BBC lost 44 councils; 46 Councils according to the Guardian; and Labour, lost 6 councils by the BBC’s count, whilst they lost 7 councils according to the Guardain’s numbers. Essentially it looks like the Conservatives started with 4828 Councillors and ended with 3559 Councillors whilst Labour started with 2083 Councillors and are now on 2020 Councillors (Guardian Figures).

Or did the Conservatives start with 4894 and are now down to 3564; and Labour started with 2105 and fall to 2021 (BBC Figures)?

To differencitate between the two main parties results, is actually quite important – because the losses are not as close as some outlets would have you believe – take the losses for each party at the previous local elections…

At the 2015 Local Elections the Conservative Party gained 541 Councillors taking their total to 5521 Councillors (from 4980 Councillors); whilst Labour lost 203 of their 2481 Councillors (down to 2278 Councillors) – to look at those percentages is important (2015 being the most recent Council Election of similar scale (in terms of number of Local Authorities).

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2015 saw Labour’s Councillor percentage fall by 8.18% and the Conservatives number of Councillors rise by 10.86%; whilst 2019’s result saw Labour decrease by 3.02% and the Conservatives fall by 26.28% (based on Guardian figures for both) or the Conservatives fall was 27.18% whilst Labour’s fall was 3.99% (according to the BBC’s figures).

With regards to the Council’s lost – the Number of Conservatives Councils is down by 32.12% (based on BBC figures) their increase in 2015 was 24.43%. Labour however lost 9.09 % (BBC); compared to 2015 when they lost 3.9 % (they lost 3 Councils in 2015).

The Labour Party’s loss in 2019 is within the margin of error for an opinion poll with regards to Councillor’s lost (to be fair their loss of Councils is technically just outside a margin of error for most opinion polls). The Conservative’s can’t spin this as anything but a disaster, electorally.

Based on The Guardians figures
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Lets talk now about the Liberal Democrats rise.

For Number of Councillors they gained 676 Councillors, bringing their total to 1351 from 675 Councillors, that’s more than double, or 100.15% increase (based on Guardian Figures). The BBC says they gained 704 Councillors, taking the total from 647 to 1351, a 108.18% increase.

Their Council gains are statistically no less impressive, they gained control of 10 Councils according to the BBC, taking them from 8 to 18 Councils, or a 125% increase.

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The Greens gained 185 Councillors (Guardian) or 194 (BBC); meaning they rose from 80 to 265 (Guardian) or from 71 Councillors to 265 (BBC) – the increase is either 231.25% (Guardian) or 273.24% (BBC) – they gained control of no councils, but nor did they loose any.

Embedded image from  Danny Lawson/PA Archive/PA Images
Embedded image from Danny Lawson/PA Archive/PA Images

The final headline result is the UKIP result. These are a little more confusing for me as the numbers are so different. According to the BBC, UKIP lost 145 Councilors, according to the Guardian they lost 36. This means they started on either 145 Councillors (BBC) or 67 (Guardian) and ended up in both cases with just 31 Councillors. In this case their fall was either 78.62% or 53.73%. Either way they lost this local election more than the Conservatives.

Based on the Guardians figures

So is it about Brexit?

To argue if the local election results are related to Brexit, is an attractive idea for remainers (less so for Brexiteers and their lesser highly-missguided cousins, Lexiteers). But honestly, we just can’t, not intellectually – whilst UKIP a very Anti-EU party lost heavily, that could be more because of their lurch beyond the Centre-Far Right, to the Far-Far Right recently; and the introduction of their former leader’s new party – The Brexit Party, which did not stand a single candidate at the local elections. Then there is the fact that people voted to punish the two main parties (we don’t know how many, but it seems a significant amount) – also remember that the numbers of spoiled ballots, which had “Deliver Brexit” spralled all over them seems to have been significant (though I haven’t seen a figure, and can’t find one, as we only record spoiled ballots and not what they say).

Also these are seen by many people, unfortunately, as fairly insignificant elections – hence low turnout; also it is likely that many who do vote also see them in this way – and so its a “safe” occassion to vote against the two major parties – General Elections are when many “hold their noses” and vote for “the lesser of two evils”.

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Whilst it seems likely that a significant proportion of voters now support remaining in the EU, over-and-above leaving the EU – how many of these support a second referendum or even the Liberal Democrates and Greens is difficult to argue. The % fall for Labour is fairly insignificant from a statistical perspective – the Conservatives do not have that luxury.

What the Local Elections can say about Brexit

What the local elections can (I am confident) say about Brexit is that those who voted in England do not want the current options presented by the Conservative Party – either Theresa May; her deal; or their in-fighting. Labour can be a little more reserved here – they are under continuing pressure to back a side – and whilst I might agree with that position – I do think their statistically right not to throw their hands up too early – they recieved a slight decrease, but loss of councillors compared with those in 2015 was significantly statistically less; loss of councils was still only single figures.

Embedded image from  The Telegraph
Embedded image from The Telegraph

The Liberal Democrats and Greens are right to continue their particular arguments here; but they may find that many who voted Lib Dem or Green don’t do so at the EU elections later this month. And with the new Brexit Party and even Change UK – or the Indepdent Group, however poor these groups are or are not polling at the moment, the EU elections will probably show some interesting results.

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Depending when the next General Election is, will depend on how well these results transfer through – and frankly its anybody’s guess who will win that one.

Learning to listen

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., circa 1930. Edited photograph from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. (Public Domain)


O.W. Holmes wrote that “…it is the privilege of wisdom to listen” and that “It is the province of knowledge to speak”. Holmes considered that before we speak we must first listen. That listening to others was both the mark of wisdom, and is ultimately a privilege. Or as James 1:19 says:

…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry

James 1:19, NIV

Michael Mitton (The Wisdom to Listen, 1981) highlights that our times are characterised by “high activity and rush”. It is because of this pace in our modern lives that “More time is given to doing, and less to reflecting” (Mitton, 1981).

It is the mark of modern politics, that whilst traditionalists such as Corbyn and May, seek to reflect before springing into action – rightly or wrongly – that the vast majority of the media, both traditional journalists and social media commentators; as well as the majority of media-friendly politicians – are quicker to speak than they are to listen.

Whilst I too might be guilty of writing opinion pieces, and thus perhaps it is a little ironic and hypocritical to say there are too many opinions being expressed and not enough listening in politics at the moment.

Many speak from, perhaps myself included, a more dangerous place than no knowledge – and this is some or a little knowledge.

This is probably why online social media debate is so vitriolic – be it Facebook or Twitter – and the truth is even “experts” are being dragged into the gutter, when they engage.

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Embed from Getty Images

It was Mark Twain – or perhaps George Carlin, or perhaps its based on Proverbs 26:4 – who said

Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

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And I see the experts becoming embroiled into this identity politicking and falling into angry tirades because of everyone’s lack of listening.

And here’s the problem, listening requires presence or availability – being open to persuasion, change and correction. Listening means not casting the other person, people or group as a debating opponent or enemy or other – it requires humility. It requires the ability to be dispassionate on highly emotive issues, to be gentle and gracious, never jumping to conclusions, but hearing what another person is saying, how they mean what they are saying and not interpreting their words in a negative way to suit your own perspective – it is the ability to be impartial (as much as possible).

Listening requires openness to alternatives, fidelity to ones own words, and to the other person and their words – the ability to build that trust and be trustworthy in what you say and do. It requires a sense of belonging – that you really are “in this together” and are determined to find compromise, that you are not against them, but rather on their side.

A recent article, which featured a commentary by an academic who is a considered expert on international negotiations, argued that this word “compromise” was one of the key issues with Trump’s negotiations with China (and others). Negotiations in good faith do not seek to have a “winner” or a “looser” – both sides are positively “winners”. Listening requires we seek the best for the “other side” – even if we disagree.

Listening does mean we don’t cling tightly to “red-lines”, that even in politics we must learn to compromise. The difference between red-lines and values should be self-evident, but let us presuppose that an example of a value is “care for veterans”, which includes the injured and mental health of former soldiers. A red line in this example might be that to preserve the dignity of former soldiers they should never be prosecuted for crimes committed whilst an active soldier.

However, the alternative position, might say that the prosecution of former-soldiers guilty of a crime is essential to just society – this is a value statement, and in effect a red-line. How then might we proceed in light of these seeming contradictory red-lines and values?

There is no-way I could properly treat the subject outlined above in depth, and any suggests I make would require an accurate knowledge of law; the Crown Prosecution Service; Military law and the politics of the recent situations which it refers to – such as the case of Soldier F.

Embedded image from Andrew Milligan/PA Archive/PA Images
Embedded image from Andrew Milligan/PA Archive/PA Images

And that’s where listening comes in – to begin to find a way forward we would need to listen to the victims of the crimes; to the police; the military; the CPS; the soldiers; lawyers; respective governments; as well as the concerned and involved public. Only by listening can we determine where everyone positions themselves – what their values and red-lines are, and how we might ‘negotiate’ so that everyone can claim both a victory and not loose face.

It is my belief, based on my limited knowledge that there has been a lack of discernible mediatory dialogue on a lot of recent political issues. I gave the example above of former soldiers because of its recent discussion in the media. It is not a debate I have any great stake in, other than purely its ethical and moral dimensions as a member of humanity.

But we could also look to Brexit. We could question and wonder if the UK government has really listened, not only to the people who voted to leave (or remain) and their own “side” – but if they ever attempted to act as a mediator in the dialogue of everyone and create a real lasting consensus.

I believe it is also the mistake the Scottish government and the SNP are proving they are more than guilty of – as they fail to truly engage “no voters” and to really listen to their concerns. They have also failed to realise in their engagement with other political parties – when they have asked them to discuss the devolution, why the other parties have had no choice to pull out – because the value of the SNP is to ultimately seek to break-up the UK as a political entity – it is a hard-and-fast rule of the SNP, thus any devolution discussion would ultimately dead-lock on that issue – if, as I suspect, the other “left” political parties (Liberal Democrats and Labour) set their value and red line as the unity of the United Kingdom.

This has ultimately created a strange situation – but none-the-less expected – SNP politicians are criticising their opponents for not willing to negotiate – but it is difficult to negotiate with a party whose red line and value is diametrically against your own, that you know, ultimately, you would be helping them achieve that diametrically opposed value – and that ultimately your negotiations must dead-lock on that ever-so-pressing constitutional question.

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The other thing that I’ve noticed is that these politicians – whatever government or political party – are feeding their supporters with diatribe-le content for social media, rather than helping their followers to actually engage with those with opposite views, values and red-lines. When your followers are created online, you end up with a problem, highlighted by the SNP’s Angus Robertson who is reported to have said of “cybernats” as being uncontrollable – yet one wonders if online “trolls” are created or just discover themselves.

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What I will say is if Jeremy Corbyn is serious about Kinder, Gentler Politics, then the Labour Party must seriously engage its supporters and its members, training them in the art of listening – and in mediation dialogue. Then and only then can Labour really begin to build the bridge, so that politics in this country and begin to heal the divide, in this hyper-partisan age.

Peace & Patriotism

Title page of Volume Six (том шестой) of a later (1909) reprinting of War and Peace (Public Domain)


In 1983 Grove Books published Jesus or Britannia? The Christian Dilemma over Patriotism by Reverend David Prior – I own a few of David’s books, including his books on House Church – but it is the core of Jesus or Britannia? that I wish to focus on.

In 1983 Grove Books published Jesus or Britannia? The Christian Dilemma over Patriotism by Reverend David Prior. I own a few of David’s books, including his books on House Church – but it is the core of Jesus or Britannia? that I wish to focus on.

Prior questions at some length the difference between nationalism and patriotism – writing: “…it is biblically, debatable whether even such patriotism can be sustained as a Christian option.

After ruling out Nationalism as an option for Christians. And highlighting that the disciples Matthew and Simon epitomise the nationalistic fervour of first Century Palestine – one a tax collector, and thus in collusion with the occupiers (Rome) and the other a freedom-fighter or terrorist (depending on perspective) hell-bent on the destruction of Roman rule.

In making himself out to be a king, Jesus was quite deliberately ranging the kingdom of God, which he embodied, against all earthly kingdoms, Roman or Jewish, present or future.”

DAVID PRIOR, Jesus or Britannia? The Christian Dilemma over Patriotism (1983)

Prior highlights one of the key elements of Jesus’ time on earth: “In making himself out to be a king, Jesus was quite deliberately ranging the kingdom of God, which he embodied, against all earthly kingdoms, Roman or Jewish, present or future.”

That point alone should make one wonder if a Christian can support any form of nationalism or patriotism.

Prior highlights that Orwell is supposed to have delineated between nationalism and patriotism, that patriotism is merely the love of one’s own native land, whilst nationalism is a claim to natural superiority over others.

But note that “a patriot will do his duty when his country calls him. He will fight if his country is attacked… But nationalism is exclusive, for it… sets out to exclude other races from the body politic.

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Embed from Getty Images

I am not sure if the Scottish National Party’s so-called Civic Nationalism, is supposed to be Nationalistic or Patriotism.

What I can say is that military service involves an indoctrination as an essential part of basic training – an indoctrination that is best defined by Che Guevara’s statement that “Unbending hatred of the enemy, which goads the individual beyond his natural limitations…” essentially enabling him to kill other humans for King and/or Country. It is this hatred which “…transforms him into an effective, violent, selective and cold mechanism of death – that is how our soldiers must be; a people without hatred cannot win over a brutal enemy.”

This is the kind of nationalism I see in the Scottish Independence debate, whilst not fought with guns or even sticks and stones, it is fought with words – with the tearing apart of individuals online by cyber-nats – both Scottish and British Nationalists.

“Unbending hatred of the enemy, which goads the individual beyond his natural limitations…” essentially enabling him to kill other humans for King and/or Country. It is this hatred which “…transforms him into an effective, violent, selective and cold mechanism of death – that is how our soldiers must be; a people without hatred cannot win over a brutal enemy.”

Che Guevara

Prior argues that the nationalism facing the tale end of the 20th Century was “arguably…far more blatant and defiant… than the unconscious assumed superiority of the previous 150 years.”

He adds that the exacerbation of this nationalism is down to immigration, citizenships and nationality, and that this “…can also be seen in the passions roused by regional (e.g. Welsh and Scottish) nationalism.

Having previously highlighted that, for many, nationalism is a religion, evidenced by “the behaviour of certain football fans at international matches.

We should not forget also the words of Catherwood, describing the formation of over a dozen nations formed out of the four defeated empires of Russian, Germany, Austro-Hungry, and Turkey, marking: “an acceptance that it is no longer possible for countries to be effectively governed except by those of their own race who could govern by appeals to nationalistic ideals.

Bearing in mind that Prior wrote this in 1983, it seems that this situation has only gotten worse, as we’ve seen the meteoric rise of the Scottish National Party and the 2014 referendum, do not be fooled by civic nationalism, it is the same superiority complex that all Brits have effectively suffered since “the glorious days of empire” – despite our age shunning some words, and spitting the word colonisation, a pejorative term for the revisionist approach to British history.

This is not to say I do not, in many ways, agree that the British empire was both a disgusting abuse of oppressive power – but identity politics is almost as disgusting to me, this is not, however, the debate.

And we have also seen this nationalism rise in the form of UKIP, BNP, Nigel Farage, Jacob Reese-Mogg and ultimately in Brexit.

As Christians can we really ethically support such an appalling appeal to worldly kingdoms, when claiming to belong to another extra-worldly Kingdom – the Kingdom of Heaven?

Is our identity so tied to this plane of existence, that we relegate the Kingdom of Heaven to a less-real one? How can we claim to support any separatist movement?

Because it might fulfil the biblical prophecy of the end times?

No, that is poppycock – it is ultimately our earthly trapping – we are so wedded to the world we have forgotten who we really belong to, instead, we are so broken and sinful we cling to the trappings of this world.

A Christian with nationalist or patriotism tendencies is as anathema to scripture as sin is to holiness – it is by very definition, a form of heresy, or heterodoxy – a theology so corrupted by the ideology of the world, it is blind to the things of heaven.

You’ll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race.

George Bernard Shaw

Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it.”

George Bernard Shaw
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Moving on from Prior, we can turn to George Bernard Shaw who said that “Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it.”

It is clear to me, and anyone with any regard for actual understanding of this issue that nationalism and patriotism are both forms of degrees of exceptionalism.

We most often think of American or British exceptionalism – but it exists in anything that puts nation before heaven, and earth before Jesus.

Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy.

George Bernard Shaw

I think there is a form of exceptionalism that Christian’s can expose – the exceptionalism that says Heaven is the best, Jesus is the greatest King, he is Lord of Lords, Prince of Peace and King of Kings.

That’s exceptionalism, but that’s biblical – it is not exceptionalism that breeds anti-immigration sentiments – because ultimately, we are all sojourners from the Kingdom of Heaven – we are called, so that we may go into the physical, fallen world, to make disciples, that is to bring about the influx of immigrants into the Kingdom – thus to expand the Kingdom’s citizenship.

It’s not exceptionalism that breeds a superiority complex, as we are called to serve the weakest amongst us – and it is also, despite historic issues, not a Kingdom with an army staffed by citizens.

Christians are called to fight the good fight – but that is a spiritual battle – and we are not called to wield weapons, rather we are called to stand against the torrent of sin and pride.

To be Christians in the world, we are called to relocate our identity and our citizenship out-of-this-world – to place it in the Kingdom of Heaven – one of the great offences to Rome was that Christians’ did not serve the Empire and Emperor first but served the High King of Heaven.

No earthly kingdom, has ever truly allowed its civilians to pledge allegiance first to God and then to themselves – God becomes subservient to the state.

Whatever others may have said – one of the largest arguments in American Evangelicalism is the issue of the Flag, the issue of the President and the issue of American Nationalism and Patriotism within the Church.

Something the Church is called not to be is a part of the structures of government – a part of the civic order – because earthly trappings will do exactly that, trap it in the bindings of State then God, and never truly free it to be God before the state.

No earthly nation truly accepts Jesus as first – it cannot, a Christian nation can not exist in this regard – for to allow your citizens to first serve a kingdom out-with the states’ control is to invite sedition and rebellion – even pacifistic rebellion and unrest.

It would be like inviting Martin Luther King and Gandhi into the midst of the Houses of Commons to stage a protest, whilst simultaneously banning protests.

This is why the state always creates God in its own image – this is the poison of nationalism and patriotism upon the heart of the Church of Jesus Christ.

But there is more to the blight of patriotism and nationalism on Christians – it has turned a peaceful religion into one of war – this began before the rise of nationalism and patriotism as most historians define it – though one can not see any real difference between the nationalism of Ancient Rome and modern Britain.

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The Church fathers were primarily anti-war – pacifism is the name we would give their views today, though there is nuance, according to defenders of Christian warfare (I would argue this a tautology and hypocrisy of one of the highest levels).

The key work, however, on Christian attitudes towards war & peace (in a book of that title, amazon.co.uk link) by Roland H. Bainton (1960/1991).

This survey includes a description of modern war as “incompatible with just war” (Cardinal Ottaviani – see: The Catholic Worker, Volume LXXXIII, Number 5, 1 August 2016, p. 3); and that depictions of the failures (whilst acknowledging the successes) of the Middle Ages; the Renaissance; the 18th & 19th Century; Switzerland during the reformation and the USA during the American Civil War – that these times were essentially “less lethal than our own”.

Bainton highlights using the words of R. H. Tawney that “War is either a crime or a crusade.

However, modern warfare is unlike the medieval crusades – it is neither the desire to save the heathen or to send them where they “belong”.

And frankly, it never could have been.

Bainton states that “The crusade suffers from the assurance not to say the arrogance of all elitism… it breaks down such restraint as can be placed upon the carnage of war… it impedes the making of a magnanimous peace…” and finally with regards to all war (but specifically crusades) – “The victors in war cannot administer disinterested justice, and least of all is this possible in the case of a crusade.

Essentially this is because “The crusader is severely tempted to arbitrariness in the final settlement, for the mood of holiness leads to the punishment of war criminals by the victors under the fictitious trappings of impartial justice.

Arguing further that even in a just war The Christian in war cannot win without the aid of obnoxious allies… and he becomes therefore in a measure guilty of their crimes.

And that a just war requires that “war shall be just on one side only” which requires “an impartial court of judicature which does not and never has existed.” to determine which side is just only.

Whilst most modern Christians adhere to a variation of the just-war theory – which Bainton calls the edge of justice rather than the exclusive justice (of just-war theory) – but again, this falls down, as can modern warfare really “vindicate that edge of justice”?

And whilst one can talk of the protection of smaller states – as a way of describing just war, we must not forget “that protection often imperils the protected” especially, I would add, with the American invention of “friendly fire”.

And if to highlight his point, in this age of mass warfare, we can not square modern warfare with any notion of a just war.

Bainton writes that “The possibility of killing in love is remote in the frenzy of battle when passions are unleashed and hate becomes the slogan.”

It is therefore with Bainton, that we have no real reason but to accept that “If the crusade and just war are rejected as Christian positions, pacificism alone remains.” And that “Christian pacificism is not a strategy but a witness.”

Bainton highlights that “The choices which confront the pacifist are almost as grim as those which confront the soldier, and he is not to delude himself by supposing that by his stand he can avoid inflicting all hurtYet, if he dissociates himself from the use of war to advance a cause however noble he is not for that reason irresponsible, and he may not be irrelevant.”

I would wish to extol further on this matter, but this is not my primary point.

My primary point on this issue is that Christian Pacificism is the only reasonable position for Christian’s to take in this post-modern world.

This pacificism must be tied to our rejection of nationalism and patriotism – for only by the active pursuit of trans-nationalism, of international co-operation, of seeking to break down walls, boundaries & borders; and simultaneously building bridges, co-operation and dependence upon one another, whilst progressing the cause of peace through pacificism and witness to the Gospel of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, that is the only reasonable and honourable way forward for Christians.

Christians are called to be peacemakers, to be in the world but not of it.

These are two fundamentals of Christian doctrine and life – to be peacemakers in a world we are not of.

The experience of being in the world but not of it, is an underpinning of our world-view and any Christian who does not base their conceptual framework on this is failing to realise that we are in the world to influence it (Salt and Light); to act for and the best of interest of peace (violence begets violence); and to provide a ministry to the world (of love; care for the needy; freedom for the imprisoned; homes for the homeless and the sojourners; the lost; the orphans; the widows) – this is the calling of each and every single Christian – we are not called to the trappings of this world, at least not to be trapped by it. Christian’s can be called to the military – I sincerely believe only as support personnel.

Christian’s can be called to politics – but they are called to be change makers (and to hell with economics, perhaps) – they are called to selflessness and sacrifice for the good of others, not for the enriching of themselves.

Christian’s are call justed to serve – to take the least of seats at the table, not the top seat, to be counted less than everyone else; to be the last to eat, not the first; to be the downtrodden, the walked-all-over; we are called to be last, rather than first.

The only first in our life should be God – before nation; before presidents and kings; before flags; before ourselves; before our pride; before our hypocrisy; before the entire world – if you support nationalism – consider that in light of your bible, not your own ideology; if you support war – consider that in light of the Prince of Peace – is your story in-line with that gospel.

For those who would like to read more, please consider (with one caveat):

  • Prior, David., Jesus or Britannia? The Christian Dilemma over Patriotism (Bramcote, UK: Grove Books, 1983)
  • Bainton, Roland H., Christian Attitudes Toward War & Peace – A Historical Survey and Critical Re-Evaluation (Nashville, USA: Abingdon Press, 1991)
  • The U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on War and Peace in the Nuclear Age, The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response (London, UK: SPCK, 1983)
  • Bonk, John., The World at War, the Church at Peace: A Biblical Perspective (Winnipeg, Canada: Kindred Press, 1988)
  • Zahnd, Brian., A Farewell to Mars (Colorado Springs, USA: David C. Cook, 2014)
  • Machen, J. Gresham., Christianity & Liberalism (1923) – Can be read here: https://reformed.org/books/chr_and_lib/index.html
  • Blog Article: Pavlovitz, John., The Heresy of Christian Nationalism (JohnPavlovitz.com, https://johnpavlovitz.com/2018/02/13/christian-nationalism-heresies, 2018)
  • Blog Article: Spencer, Andrew. Christianity or Nationalism (Ethics and Culture, http://www.ethicsandculture.com/blog/2018/christianity-or-nationalism, 2018)[1]

[1] I do not agree with Spencer that there is such a thing as a healthy form of Patriotism, however, I am not as set on this opinion as other points – simply because we are, as he notes, called to seek the good of the city we live in & it may be possible to be nominally patriotic without any real religious-like devotion.


Since writing this article I have come across the following blog posts, some are rediscoveries:

  1. Notes on Christian Pacifism: http://gettingtothetruthofthings.blogspot.com/2018/01/notes-on-christian-pacifism_7.html?m=1
  2. What I – A Pacifist – Would Say To Obama About The Crisis In Syria: https://reknew.org/2013/09/what-i-a-pacifist-would-say-to-obama-about-the-crisis-in-syria/
  3. No Christian-Pacifists are not cowards: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/no-christian-pacifists-not-cowards-christian-gun-slingers-might/
  4. Does Following Jesus Rule Out Serving In The Military If A War Is Just?: https://reknew.org/2008/01/does-following-jesus-rule-out-serving-in-the-military-if-a-war-is-just/
  5. American Crap: https://www.redletterchristians.org/american-crap/

Saving Notre Dame de Paris


Some of you may have been wondering why I haven’t posted in a while. In truth I had planned to rest over the weekend and come back on Monday with a couple of in-depth feature articles; however, as you can see it is now the following Friday and nothing else has materialised (And I’m not promising anything more this weekend). I’m afraid a trip to hospital last Sunday due to a bout of viral meningitis put paid to my plans.

Also the fact I never wrote a word of what my features were going to be about; stored in my head – which means, until I am fully recovered I am unlikely to remember what they were about it, if I ever do. Note: Always write your thoughts down!

Today is Good Friday, which is where today’s post seemingly is, but as Christian’s we look forward to Easter/Resurrection Sunday – for out of the ashes shall rise the glorious phoenix.

Anyway, looks like I choose a great time to be ill – Notre Dame’s demise (reminiscent of York Minister, 1984) and all the obvious links between that and Grenfell which are being made ad-nasium on Social Media.

And I say ad-nasium because if I wasn’t already feeling queesy, they probably would be, whilst I am not unsympathetic to the point all these memes are trying to make, I do feel they are making a political point out of two tragedies.

Whilst one is horrific for its sensless loss of life; the other for the it’s damage to one of the Medieval world’s wonders of architecture – they can’t be compared; life is obviously more important. No amount of millions could replace life – and I’m not sure the former residents of Grenfell tower would want it rebuilt. Aside from the £21+ million already distributed to them; what would the other £780 million do?

What £800+ million can do is rebuild one of the great wonders of medieval architecture. Then there is the obvious issue of should we? If there are sick and hungry people dying on the streets of Paris, never mind anywhere else, should we really waste money rebuilding Notre Dame. My answer is simply – yes we should rebuild Notre Dame; more complex in my thinking I would add, we can feed the hungry; heal the sick and still rebuild Notre Dame – we can do both.

Rebuilding Notre-Dame de Paris (Our Lady in Paris) is more than the history – though it is a call to remember that history. It is more than the cost. It is more about what it represents as a symbol of what Notre Dame represents.

In this age where the Roman Catholic church is being remembered for all the wrong reasons; and yes it has done plenty of wrong in its 18+ Centuries of existence, its actually about what the Catholic Church has done and continues to do right.

The Catholic Church has always and continues to be one of the largest supporters of the poor; the sick and the disabled globally – it has since the foundations of Notre Dame were laid given refuge to the homeless; those infirm and those who are hungry. Notre Dame during the hey-day of Catholic Europe would have put a roof over the heads of those without homes – something most Medivael Churches did; it would have had a poor box, to provide financial assistance to those without means. Monastics gave up time and space specifically to heal the sick as the first kind-of mass hospitals.

Christian’s such as myself, Catholic or Protestant, should remember the calling of the Church – to be salt and light to the nations; but also:

“…to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord ’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.”

Isaiah 61:1‭-‬4 (NIVUK)

Some of those verses were quoted by Jesus in his first Sermon in Luke’s Gospel (4:18). And that’s what Notre Dame should represent – not because it hasn’t meant this for most of its life, but because that’s exactly why medieval cathedrals were built – forget the politics – the heart behind the politics – forget the financiers – think why the Roman Catholic Church of Medieval Europe desired to build churches – yes, they were it’s pacifistic castles; but they were where the people of God could gather and where they could proclaim Jesus but and almost more importantly they were the focal point of the work of the church in the community.

Notre Dame, however, is not just special because it was a homeless shelter; a place of worship; an early hospital; an early benefits centre – most if not almost all European churches of the time did these things and in that sense they all deserve to be preserved. Notre Dame however, like York Minster; like St Paul’s, London; Coventry Cathedral and many across Europe which have been destroyed and rebuilt – in the case of Notre Dame at least three times (now) if not more. And that is one of the great symbols it represents – from the ashes it rises.

Like Paris after the French Revolution; it’s disciples 100 years later; the second world war.

But more than Paris, it is a symbol of Europe having overcome the issues of two World Wars, having united all of Europe (pretty much) into one global superpower of equal trade and co-operation – that’s symbolised by Notre Dame.

More than this we must think about what would become of Notre Dame’s ruins, if it was decided not to rebuild it – would we waste time clearing the site, and preserving it as a ruin for generations to come, with all the cost that preservation comes with in the immediate not just future sense.

Then we would need to talk about the fact of ownership – Notre Dame is not actually owned by the Roman Catholic Church, despite being a Roman Catholic Church. It’s owned by the French republic – that is the government and people of France. The cost of this, whatever is decided is actually borne by the republic of France – whose primary responsibility should be its people; and the Catholic Church would view its own role there too, as serving the people.

Who is better placed to bare the cost – the republic or the Church; or as has been proposed here – those who have donated, the billionaires and millionaires – in theory relieving the state and Church of the burdon of repairs, thereby enabling the state and Church to continue their work of relieving the needy and poor.

Whilst these billionaires and millionaires could and should also be giving money to the poor – that is ultimately a matter for their own conscience, it is good too that they have shouldered the burden of this public building – as that will prevent the unnecessary re-focusing of the State and Churches own finances – meaning any money given by the billionaires and millionaires to support those in need is actually on top of the government and church service to the needy; rather than replacing them.

Whilst you may not agree with the existence of Billionaires and Millionaires – the fact is they do exist; and nothing will change that – surely relieving them of a few million to help the state and church is better than them keeping it in high-yeild tax havens and bank accounts?

How better to enable those who care for the poor best – the Churches – than to free them from the financial burden of repairing the symbol of that hope – that hope that lifts them higher? How better to serve the poor than by enabling the state to provide the welfare needed – rather than burden them with the financial difficulties of trying to fund the large scale renovation and restoration of one of the most important historic buildings in Western Europe (and there’s a fair few of them too)?

And I appreciate my answer here will not satisfy many – the sheer cost of restoration is seemingly extausionate, and £800 million may be a little much for a symbol – but it is not our money, it is the money of those millionaires and billionaires (whether legally or illegally obtained). And if they wish to pay for a symbol all power to them – you are not judged for the car you have bought, the TV or games console, why not celebrate rather than castigate those who invest in symbol of hope, rather than personal pleasure and gain? Repairing such a monument, would actually help the continued upkeep of the building, potentially lowering latter costs, for a few years at least. Aside from that – ruins don’t have quite the same power to captivate the imagination.

Ruins don’t lift the soul and bring people closer to God, as much as a living-breathing Church building. Especially when that building is filled with the people of Jesus – praising and praying together. Those people who are then called to go out into the world with the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; with the message of the gospel – and who are called to put that Gospel into action – through caring for the needy, the poor, the broken, the imprisoned, the hungry and those without.

And as Christians we also have to ask ourselves, within reason – how much did the cross cost? And is £800 million really on a par with that cost, I don’t believe so – so if we as Christians are calling on the world to heed the Cost of the Cross; how much is a symbol of that greatest of sacrifices worth? I’m not sure we can put a price on a symbol that points to Jesus, on a symbol that shops the hope of the Cross so elegantly, especially one which has such an age. I would not advise such a cost today for a new Cathedral – but to preserve the heritage and all that that symbolises, to restore that and show that destruction (symbolic of sin, shame and guilt) is not the end of the story is surely more important than our own left-leanings.

Whilst I appreciate that this is all my opinion, and yes I still cough at the cost, and it does make me a little sick. But I have to remind myself that God is sovereign and his word and will shall be accomplished in this matter. I sincerely believe that he not only wants the restoration of Notre-Dame de Paris, but also of all those listed in Isaiah, but also of the whole world. And I believe that the restoration of Notre-Dame is a-part of that calling, that light we are to be to the nations as Christians. Notre-Dame can serve as a beacon to the message of the cross, the message of resurrection, ultimatley, the message of Salvation through in Christ alone.

And like the Cross – and the resurrection of Jesus – what better way to symbolically represent the power of a resurrection to lift the soul, in a world so desperately in need of that hope?

Less prominent political headlines


Today the news has been filled with Jacob Reese-Mogg’s sister (and Nigel Farage) launching The Brexit Party, and with continued anti-Theresa May and anti-EU rhetoric in the Sun; Express and Mail (as expected). What I want to focus on for you is the news stories that deserve more of your attention, than perhaps the rolling news networks will give you – so here is your “less prominent political headlines” round-up.

My favourite news article of the day

The headline reads “As Boris Johnson eyes up Tory leadership, Operation Arse II is good to go” and focuses on Ruth Davidson being the only one who can prevent the rise of Boris Johnson. You can read the article on the Dail Record website. But the article is very humours in its approach and outlook.


Boris Johnson in secret talks with the DUP

It emerged rather late last night that Boris Johnson in his bid to become leader of the Conservative Party – bearing in mind there isn’t even a leadership election process going on, officially – is meeting with the Democratic Unionist Party in secret (so naturally everyone in Parliament and Fleet Street knows about it).

BoJo met with DUP leader Arlene Foster and DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds on Wednesday, and follows a recent spate of meetings with the DUP by various pretenders to Ms May’s poisoned-challice crown. Why anyone wants to be head of the Tories is beyond me, especially at the moment, it would be a thankless job, but I guess the potential kick-backs could be worth it?

READ MORE: Belfast TelegraphThe TimesDaily MailMirror;

First it was boats, now its trains – Failing Grayling scores own-goal again

I’m not sure I’ve met anyone who thinks Abellio is a decent train service provider – but they’ve won the East Midlands franchise; awarded to them by Failing Chris Grayling, MP. Loud-mouth Mark Francois described this as ‘another Grayling cock-up’; which is just further evidence for Francois how much they share in common.

Anyway, the basic issue is that Brian Souter’s StageCoach (which also owns CityLink; Megabus); in conjunction with Richard Branson’s Virgin Train were rejected after refusing to take on the ‘long-term pension liability’. Remember that Brian Souter is one of the largest financial donators to the SNP and also to Glasgow Prosperity Based Cult-Like Church “Destiny” (with “Apostle” Andrew Owen). And helped the latter bankroll the trip of Prosperity and charlatan preacher Creflo Dollar (aka Dollar-A-Minute Ministries) to the Armadillo (again ‘connected’ with Souter). And combine with the political persuasion and desire to stick it to the Conservatives on behalf of the SNP; as well as Richard Branson, who not so long sued the NHS because they denied him a contract he felt he was entitled too… so we could see this one go all the way to a large payout for Branson and Souter.

READ MORE: iNewsSky NewsVirgin TrainsITV NewsThe Times;

Also, read these articles for the background as to why the situation is all screwed-up: RailNewsCivil Service WorldRail Technology MagazineRailway Gazette;

Coup D’état in Sudan

It seems only yesterday that the South Sudan was seperated in a landslide referendum result from Sudan, that helped to bring to an end the second independence war which lasted over 20 years; the first lasted for 17 years (1955-1972). And yet that was 2011; and the problem now is not South Sudan, but Sudan itself.

The Coup D’état follows months of protests by the people of Sudan against President Omar al-Bashir’s ,75, regime who came to power in 1989 following his own coup. The Sudanese military arrested the President and the announcement of the coup was made on the state broadcaster by the Minister of Defence dressed in Military attire.

The military plans to rule the country exclusively (after desoliving the government) for two years – this will be followed by fair and free elections – they will also close the broders; issue a curfew and announced a state of emergency for three months. Protesters are already breaking curfew having previously committed to a ‘sit-in’ outside the Army’s HQ, prior to the cuop. Their fear, which now continues with greater anxiety, is that the military will shrug-off the general populations desire for a ‘civilian transition’ from dictator to democracy.

Protests against al-Bashir began back in December, he responded harshly, resulting in dozens of deaths and banned unauthorised gathering. Following the Coup D’état South Sudan is worried about its already fragile peace with their northern former overlords.

CNN; READ ME: BBC NewsReutersBrookings InstitutionAllAfrica.comBulawayo 24 NewsThe ConversationTASS – Russian News AgencyAllAfrica – Sudan News AgencyBBC NewsCNNNews24Daily MailOath’s YahooThe Jerusalem PostNPRMetro;

Dispicable propaganda firm boast about dodgy election tactics in Israel

A dispicable supposed PR firm, representing current Israeli President Netanyahu’s Likud party boasted of over 1,200 hidden cameras in Arab polling station – which resulted in riots at polling stations, and a huge drop in Arab voters in this crucial general election which saw the Israeli right-wing parties score victory despite being nearly beaten by a very left-wing and righteous coalition, called The Blue and White Party.

Netanyahu won almost exactly the same percentage of the vote as the Blue and White Party, but remains in power through the numbers won by the far-right of Israel’s politics. Netanyahu is considered one of the far right.

The propaganda firm, masquarading as a Public Relations firm, called Kaizler Inbar was so proud of their achievement they posted to Facebook – their achievement:

“The voting percentage has dropped below 50 per cent, the lowest in recent years. This is the place to say a huge thank you to the 1,350 people of the field.”

This certainly coercive act that goes against all ethical practice within Public Relations; and is responsible for such a violation of people’s freedom to vote – based on race (and therefore a racist act); was clearly designed to prevent the victory of the Blue & White Party, who seemed to be polling fairly well amongst the Arab population.

READ MORE: The Jewish Chronicle. If you’d like to know what kinds of standards PR firms should hold to visit: PRSA or CIPR.

Other Stories

India: India’s general elections are taking place at the moment; and will see 900 million people vote – its the largest democratic exercise ever.

The Washington Post or Metro

NHS, UK: Waiting Times in Accident & Emergency last year were the worst they had been in 15 years

The Independent

Labour Party, UK: UK Labour Party explores ‘automatic voter registration’ to boost election turnou


Poundland, UK: £1.50 babygrow slogan ‘Lock up your daughters’ teaches boys to be sex pests according to mum.

Daily Record

High Street, UK: According to Sky Views the High Street isn’t dying, it’s becoming more relevant.

Sky News

Jeremy Corbyn, UK: Jeremy Corbyn once visited Tory Party HQ and even drunk pints with them, according to the Shropshire Star.

Shropshire Star

Commentary on Brexit & Political News


EU27 Agree Extension

Last night the press waited with bated breath for the decision of the European Council’s decision at the Brexit Summit, whether the UK would be granted an extension – and for how long.

It seemed almost certain that a delay to Article 50 would be granted – but no one got the date right. Angela Merkel seemed to be pushing for either the end of December 2019 or the end of March 2020; whilst President Macron of France seemed to determined to make the process as difficult for the UK as possible. And why shouldn’t he, with comments from people like Jacob Reese-Mogg and Mark Francois suggesting we should screw the EU over until they reopened the backstop negotiations – that’s not compromise, that’s just bullying.

And that’s what the EU 27 Council proved – compromise is possible – whilst our political parties and politicians pull each other apart, Merkel and Macron agreed to October 31st. Whilst one is reminded of the words of George Osborn after Theresa May’s disasterous performance that she was a dead prime-minister walking it seems appropriate that Theresa May would finish the withdrawal process, and in all liklihood her priministership on Halloween.

The one thing that seems to remain unclear is what exactly the six month period will do – Michael Barnier warned prior to the EU Council meeting that any Brexit extension must be useful and serve a purpose – but what that purpose is remains unclear, unless that condition was dropped.

General Election, Second Referendum, New Prime Minister?

But its not so simple, is it? At the moment, you have the spitting feather brexiters trying to oust Ms May, they’re currently trying to rewrite the Conservative Party consitution, which requires 10,000 signatures, signifcantly less than the 16,141,241 people that voted to remain in the EU in 2016, a difference of just under 1.3 million between Leave and Remain). And that difference is going to become a key sticking point going forward.

As of January 2019 “...if not a single voter in the referendum two years ago changes their mind, enough mainly Leave voters will have died, and enough mainly Remain voters will have reached voting age, to wipe out the Leave majority achieved in June 2016.” So going forward it looks certain tha proponents of a second referendum will pump more time into seeking the will of the people, again.

In theory another General Election could be around the corner – Brexit being a dominant issue; but all the recent bi-elections accross the UK show that support for the three main parties hasn’t really changed, despite what the SNP might claim – it seems more likely that more people will boycott a Second Referendum than will vote in it. If as Robert Peston thinks the Conservatives do oust May, and become the No-Deal Brexit Party, Labours reaction maybe to become the second referendum party.

I am not convinced of that, but thats what some pundits are claiming. Six months seems just about long enough to have a second referendum followed by a General Election (or the other way around) – if we’re being tight with the timings; however, it seems likely that May will continue until Halloween and any Second Referendum or General Election would occur probably between August and early October.

That’s all dependant on Theresa May remaining Prime Minister – which is probably a better prospect for the country than other Conservative MPs.

Tory Interests

Whilst Jeremy Hunt believes that if the Conservatives don’t delivery Brexit, at the ballot box they will be destroyed – and he might be right. But his focus as is just every Conservative Politician has been focused on the Conservative Party not the UK as a whole. That may be where Theresa May has been different. Previously she has tried to appease her arc-Brexiteers, obviously that hasn’t worked. Now she is seemingly earnestly discussing alternatives and negotiating in what appears to be a genuine desire to compromise,.

If you believe the Main Stream Media, these negotiations appear to have broken down several times; have stopped; been holted and broken up. At least three times a day since they started just over a week ago, again if you trust the MSM. But in actuality they seem to be continuing, in fairly good faith.

Yes it may politically be a little two late for Theresa May, but that’s the way Party politics works. The reach accross the aisle and bi-partisanship is very much for individual members, and not a principle of UK Party Politics – however much the numbers should support that.

It is difficult to not see how the Conservatives have over the last decade only served their own interests; how Osborne’s Budgets (written by Matthew Hancock) underlined the necessity of austerity, which has according to the UN’s special report directly resulted in over 200,000 deaths; and further more was considered by that same report to be a political choice. A Conservative Party & Government made a political choice that has directly resulted in the deaths of 200,000 UK Citizens – if that does not shock you, or make you realise that the Conservatives serve themselves and their friends; and however much you earn, you will never trully be “one of them” – then nothing will.

Will we ever leave the EU?

Whilst my desire for remain is known, I believe democracy needs to triumph through a confirmatory referendum using preferential voting, requiring only ballots cast with a 1st and 2nd options minimum to be counted, and four options – No Deal; May’s Deal; Remain; None of the Above.

However, Kate Adler, the BBC European Editor; has suggested that the UK would have to remain in the EU for the length of the EU Parliamentary Term – if the UK runs candidates in the EU Parliamentary Elections in May 2019.

Whilst there is some merit to this argument; it seems unlikely, there is arguably no reason, that I am aware of, that the EU could not run by-elections if the UK were to leave part-way through a term.

Or that during the upcoming EU Elections the candidates who sit in ‘extra’ seats (which won’t technically exist until the UK leaves) could run, win, and then once the UK leaves take up their spot in the EU Parliament.

Of course if the UK runs candidates in the EU Parliamentary Elections in May 2019 – there will be more pressure to stay or at least more pressure on the Prime Minister to run that Confirmatory Referendum.

Second Homes Expenses Scandal

Also in the news over the last few days, which has been broken by the Mirror, is the new expenses scandal – this one not about duck houses, but about proffiteering by MPs using the public expenses to purchases second London properties, renting out their first London property (suggesting they don’t need two houses in London) – but there’s more in the Mirror about this, and I’m yet to see this reported anywhere else (other than the Express), perhaps because Brexit is dominating broadsheet, tabloid and television media like there’s no tomorrow.

Whilst the reports make clear that there is no rules being broken; it seems that this flipping and renting second homes at the tax payers expense will not help MPs regain trust, considering many of these claims date back to the time of the last expenses scandal – and continue through to fairly recently.

MPs involved in the Scandal include Conservative’s Michael Gove; Liam Fox; John Bercow; Philip Davies; Robert Goodwill; Owen Paterson as well as Labour MPs David Crausby; and Chris Bryant. There are, according to the Mirror, around 170 MPs involved. The Labour Party, according to the Mirror, is the only party investigating their own MPs, and making calls for a change to the system.

Morning Briefing on Brexit


Last night the EU27 (The EU Council made up of the leaders of each EU Country) met – and offered the UK a six and a half months extension until October 31st – or Halloween.

There will be review of the extension, and the UK’s progress in June.

The UK can leave earlier if a deal is ratified before then.

The UK can choose if it will take place in European Parliamentary Elections in May – however, Theresa May hopes an agreement will be ratified by the two Houses of the UK Parliament before then.

Donald Tusk has told Theresa May that she must not waste this time, in what is likely to be the last article 50 extension.

And apparently, because most of the newspapers think this is newsworthy – if only to bring down to Theresa May. Theresa and Angela Merkel shared a joke over their dress sense – as they both worse pretty much the same outfits.

A correction was made to this article, I originally wrote that the EU Parliamentary Elections were in June, that is when they will open the EU Parliament for the new term; the Elections take place in May 2019.

Another day without a Brexit answer


The Guardian reported last night that ahead of today’s EU emergency Article 50 extension summit, EU leaders have two dates in mind, neither of which is June 30th 2019 – the two dates is the end of December 2019, almost auspicious, as Britian could potentially leave the EU at the end of a decade and start a new one without the EU. The second, and one everyone is focused on is March 2020.

President Macron of France, is in favour of a year long extension with 3 monthly reviews, essentially the ability to kick the UK if Brexiteers attempt to sabotage the EU in their attempts to force a reopening of the Withdrawal Agreement, primarily on the serious issue of the Northern Irish Backstop.

Other EU leaders are believed to have asked Macron not to humiliate Theresa May as part of the cost for an extension to Article 50 today, whether Macron’s position within the EU checks him or emboldens him, only the summit today will show.

President Macron is concerned that Brexiteers, such as Jacob Rees-Mogg are willing and potentially able to disrupt upcoming EU votes, so it seems today he will be trying to secure limitations to the UKs power during any extension period. And it is likely that a good conscience and/or good behaviour condition will be added to any extension agreement.

There’s also talk that if May signed the UK for a longer extension, that MPs, primarily Brexiteers might try to oust her. And that she is for all intent and purposes a lame duck Prime Minister.

Last night 97 Tory MPs rebelled against Theresa May’s bill which ended up winning by 310 votes (420-110). 80 Conservatives abstained; whilst 3 mutinous Labour MPs, and the 10 DUP MPs also voted against the bill.

The bill commanded the majority and was passed, gaining approval for Theresa May to agree an extension until June 30th 2019 – which the EU has already, and since, seemingly rejected.

Over the weekend it was reported that negotiations between the Labour Party and Number 10 had broken down – that doesn’t seem to be true, in the cool light of the week. They are continuing, but there seems to be little headway being made in the negotiations.

Today Ms May will be required to give a more concrete way forward, at the EU summit – she’s been on a whistle stop tour of European Leaders over the past few days trying to convince them, she seemingly failed to do so. Though last night’s metro evening edition reported her touch down with Merkel, who may be more pursuable than Macron, who she will see presumably shortly after her meeting with Angela. It is more than likely Theresa May will face a united EU Summit of leaders, willing but with hands tied.

It has been a tumultuous few days for the Prime Minister; her own party MPs have been venomously and poisonously briefing the press against her.

People such as Mark Francois have been spouting angrily and foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog.

Jamie Foreman as Derek Branning, EastEnders, BBC 1

His nonsense reminds me of an angry character or two in EastEnders, more interested in the sound of their own voice and their own supposedly righteous, but clearly unrighteous and unrelenting vapid anger.

And Tory MPs have been throwing their hats, coats, bags, t-shirts, underwear and all manner of clothing into the ring of the Tory Party Leadership race, quite openly, and without care that the race hasn’t even started yet.

Ministers such as Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary (yeah I don’t remember which one she is either) and Matt Hancock, the health secretary (and chief architect of George Osborne’s austerity budgets). Whilst some like Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the foreign affairs select committee, (again I don’t have a clue which one he is) have ruled themselves out, despite people thinking they would be running.

Others such as arc-remainer Amanda Rudd are rumoured to be hatching plots with arc-brexiteer Boris Johnson.

Also after May’s “home video” on Sunday, there are suggestions that she is now preparing to revoke article 50 should she not be granted an extension today – the extension however seems almost guaranteed.

On the other side of the house Jeremy Corbyn faces his own issues – around 20 MPs who are Brexiteers (of all varieties) seem to want him to rule out a second referendum all together from his negotiations with May, whilst around 80 MPs demanded in a letter that he make a confirmatory referendum the single most important red line in his negotiations.

He also faces issues from the oft-claimed allegations of anti-Semitism – which polite society does not doubt. The issue here is two-fold – he has the Labour Party’s officially affiliate Jewish Group (Jewish Labour Movement). According to some sources JLM doesn’t require members to be Labour members and/or Jewish, not only passing a motion of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn, but it also narrowly avoided voting for disaffiliation with Labour on Sunday. On the other hand he has to deal with the Sunday Times article leaks.

According to a) official party sources are just partial lines of leaked emails, which are designed to provide maximum embarrassment. And b) apparently reliable sources for some journalists are now claiming the same thing – but go further to say the claims made in the article are lies.

Online suggestions are that Corbyn and Labour launch a legal campaign against the alleged smears, and if Labour actually believes their not in the wrong on this, to air it all in public, whilst an expensive process, may actually be the only way to save face.

Of course if they are not confident, or the strategy backfires, because they are not believed by the judiciary and possible jury, then it would result in more almost irreparable reputational damage

And frankly I’ve said much previously about the Labour Party’s appalling communications strategy, and I don’t want to go into details here. It’s clearly failing them, and they need to sack their entire Comms team and bring in some fresh blood. Unless the Comms team is being ignored, then Secretary General Formby needs to step in and act like the competent CEO she is supposed to be.

Penultimately I should also mention the important EU elections, which the UK looks set to take part in. Farage is back with his new “Brexit Party”.
Boris Johnson’s dad Stanley has thrown his hat into the ring, as a Conservative. I’m not sure he’s quite as much of a Brexiteer as Boris, but then neither was Boris until essentially the last minute.

Former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, looks to be standing. That might be good news, as she’d be giving less of a headache to her Labour peers at the Scottish Parliament, with her constant op-ed petty bitching.

And finally we must mention the Conservative Party’s backbench committee, the 1922 Committee. There’s talk that they will be having a non-binding no-confidence vote before their meeting on Theresa May – because they can’t have a binding no-confidence vote until December, at the earliest.

This would, according to the waste of space Mark Francois, mean Theresa May was morally obligated to resign, and that the UK could go for No Deal on Friday – currently the default position. Though in theory any Prime Minister will be bound by the Letwin-Cooper Act that the Queen signed late on Monday night, which stipulated that the PM must seek an extension rather than no-deal; essentially. Though the Act has holes even I could drive a bus through.

So whilst No Deal looks increasingly unlikely on Friday it is still not safe to say it won’t happen.

After Brexit: Who turned out the lights?


It is gone 10 pm on Monday, and I sit here contemplating another couple of days of Brexit mayhem. Journalists, commentators, bloggers (such as myself) and even politicians are playing the same “game” of will-she-won’t-she and what-will-she-do that they’ve been playing for approximately the past three years, ever since Theresa May became the Prime Minister.

And no I don’t entirely blame Theresa May, our society is poised on a knife edge; some like myself, crave the next revelation – in hopes we can predict the next step – more often than not we hedge out bets, not just us bloggers and social media aficionados, but even the journalists, politicians and commentators have spent the best part of three years making at times educated guesses, other times wild leaps of logic. All the while hedging their bets.

That’s why there’s probably a forests-worth of newspaper and internet articles (if printed) on “What could happen next”. Because it’s everyone hedging their bets.

It’s a game I’ve played, and probably will continue to until this whole fiasco is resolved, in whichever way it becomes resolved, then I, every other blogger, every journalist, every commentator, every politician will move on – and those who don’t will be fringe people – not in a bad sense. They’ll be academics lecturing and running seminars about Brexit at university, they’ll be the modern studies teachers teaching it to their high-school students; there will be (in about a decade, possibly less) historians writing academic articles about it. And then there will be the books, the people writing about it to make money – those with a key role (or even in some cases a mere footnote of a role). There will be others who write about it in retrospect, such as journalists and political theorists.

But there is one group of people who will have been, for all intent and purposes, been forgotten, the people, the public. Those who voted leave, those who voted remain. Those who couldn’t vote, because they died the day before, the day of, the day after the 2016 referendum, for them it may have been a small mercy.

Then there are those who died because of Brexit, the economic policy of austerity is over, but not so felt by the common man – as the pound dropped and it just didn’t stretch far enough to pay for heating; for food or for the NHS. I don’t know if we can blame this on the tumultuous past three years alone, on the governments miss-handling of brexit alone, perhaps we can’t. But I’m not sure it doesn’t deserve some blame.

I can’t say what will happen this coming week – deal; no deal; extension – who really knows? But what I can say is that whilst defending the vote of just over half of those who voted, which yes, we must respect within reason, that every actual person has been forgotten. Everyone who is not financially stable, who is less than £1000 from destitution. I believe these people have been forgotten.

Whether the value of the currency rises or falls, it matters not, if we can not in this day and age, in this “economically developed” country feed those without; clothes those who have no clothes; care for the sick, the disabled, the elderly. How can we claim to be more enlightened than previous generations? We should not celebrate the history of the workhouse, but at least it was an attempt to solve some of those issues – it wasn’t a good answer, by any stretch of the imagination. If we must rely on feelings – let’s us consider if we feel like we are even reaching the level of the Victorian workhouses in out care for those less able to care for themselves.

How can we claim to be more enlightened than those who advocated eugenics policies? One could say, without too much exaggeration, that based solely on the sheer numbers of those who have died waiting for universal credit, hospital treatment, community support, justice, and the review of their PIP assessments – we have created our own approach to eugenics.

We are not so merciful as to breed or aborting them out of existence; as down-syndrome has been in Iceland – no, we have instead killed them through sanctions; cost cutting and defunding for the NHS and local councils.

And yes, you may not have been personally directly responsible for any of that, but did you stand by and do nothing?

Did you protest in the streets? – I didn’t, no, I am writing from guilt here too.

Did we see the hungry and feed them; or the thirsty – did we quench that thirst?

Did we see the homeless or the sojourner – and give them shelter?

Did we giving clothing to those without?

Did we visit those in hospices; retirement homes; hospital and prison – and not just because they were related to us, but because we knew a kind word, a good helping hand and a friendly smile – might just be enough to save a life?

I’m not sure the way the system of our health, social care and general government remembers that standard – that lofty goal of loving your neighbours even as you love yourself. I think individualism may have, as always, in every society since the dawn of time, become the scourge of our civilisation. In the traditions I come from we don’t call it individualism – though I understand philosophically why it is called that, we look at its root, we call it selfishness.

And I look at myself, and I wonder, just how selfish can I be? I mean I am not rich, but do I need that second-hand computer game? Sure I really want to play it, but that’s £10 that I could give to the guy who begs less than 100 yards away from the game shop.

Or how about that £2.95 for a latte; £2.55 for those Hoisin duck wraps; £3 for that multi-pack of crisps that gets demolished in a day; or that £1.50 “sharing” bar of Cadbury’s chocolate – that’s £10 I could buy extra food for someone in need – in the supermarkets that £10 still goes a decent way, especially if you avoid branded stuff, which I tend to anyway.

This brings me back to the government – how you might ask? Well, how can I ridicule the government, complain about them not meeting what I expect of them, if I don’t do what I expect of me? I’ve always considered myself a fairly caring person – aside from my misspent youth, and even then, I was still the kind of guy who cared.

But how can I, if my tradition, calls me to be an ambassador, and an example, a light to others – how can I expected a government or even the wider society to follow my expectations if I don’t show them how? Moving back to the government, you’ve had too much introspection from me for one day.

The Institute for Government, estimated that the final cost to the public purse could be in excess of £2 billion. Since the referendum in 2016, Brexit has (probably not on its own) shaved an estimated total of £64.5billion from the UK economy. And our NHS was going to get £350million extra after Brexit?

That’s just one thought, I’ve seen it repeated online a few times – how much money has been wasted on Brexit, that could have properly funded schools, the NHS, the benefits system, pensions, council’s, care homes, hospices, youth projects, the arts, and so many many worthwhile projects?

Here is the scary thing – I’m not sure it would have been spent that way if the UK had voted to remain; and David Cameron was Prime Minister, George Osborne was Chancellor (for how long after the referendum, I’m not sure) – I wonder if the illegal campaigning expenditure of VoteLeave etc would have resulted in prosecutions; or whether we’d have let them lick their wounds and gone quietly into that good night.

I don’t for one moment, however, believe that the NHS, Education, Council’s, Prisons, Benefits would have seen any really significant cash injection. I don’t think the evidence to support that they would have done is there. But what about after?

Whatever the result – I don’t believe the current government in its entirety will seek to protect the people it is sworn to protect, from crippling financial hardship; from the NHS cracking apart at the seams; from the Education systems falling down – I can’t see any humility in JRM; Boris Johnson; Michael Gove that would leave me to believe they give one iota for the common man.

I can just about see that in a glimmer, perhaps a glitch, in the MayBots programming. I can just about see it in Amber Rudd. But I just can’t see it in its entirety within that government.

After Brexit, whether we go down the path of no-deal; deal; or revocation – I’m not sure the ruling party actually care enough, to save lives that in some respects their policies have destroyed, and in some cases killed. After Brexit I am convinced that they won’t care enough, overall, to see you as anything more than a potential voter. I’m not sure they care – but maybe that’s because they weren’t shown how to care?

Perhaps because they weren’t raised in that village, where children are raised by everyone in the village. Perhaps they don’t know how to behave because the tradition of myself, that includes me, have not modelled the right way to behave.

I am a student, in some respects, of the theology of a man called John Wesley, with his brother Charles, they founded a Church called the Methodists. I understand Methodist theology, whilst not being one myself, I have a sense of kin-ship with it. This is why I have to ask myself if the Church has not modelled the behaviour we should have done?

Margaret Thatcher was a Methodist, her father one of its Ministers. John and Charles Wesley were Anglican Ministers until they died – devoted passionately to care for the poor, the imprisoned etc.

May is an Anglican. I don’t know how either May or Thatcher’s supposed theologies fits their politics. But not Wesleyanism, not Anglican-catholicism. Which makes me question, is the Church being the light she claims to be; or is she modelling bad and evil approaches to loving the world?

I know we have our bad apples. I’m an evangelical – we have more than most – but this is not the theology of Wesley, this is not the theology of Jesus. And that’s why I have to ask, has the Church screwed up so badly that two or more Prime Minister’s, claim Jesus as Lord and Saviour, whilst desecrating the things he cared for – the people?

This ‘thing’ I have no answer for; but I do have a challenge for my fellow Christians – my fellow theologians; pastors; Christian bloggers et al: We need to show the world the people Jesus cared for – to him there was no deserving poor – all where in need of his salvation – we need to be better lights, we need to be better witnesses, we need to be better ambassadors. And this is not a call to policy making; oh no, heaven forbid; this is not about “Christian issues”.

This calling-out is about challenging where government policies harms the disenfranchised, the disempowered. This is not a call to rally around particular issue politics – though I can see how that could be taken there. No – Jesus shunned the power of this world, he did not crave it for himself. He came to empower, thorough his blood; to heal by his love – and that is what I’m trying to communicate. Not a Political mumbo-jumbo of “I’m so pro-life, I hate killers of unborn-babies; but I own a gun so I can shoot the immigrants” – that is the politics of people seeking power – when Jesus commanded us not to take up arms or power, but to lay ourselves down, to sacrifice ourselves, to hand over our time, our energy and our love, so that we might be salt-and-light to a screwed-up world. This was the theology of peaceful resistance, this was the theology of social care. The Church used to run hospitals, care homes, children’s homes (we still do, but not so much in the UK, and I’m not advocating we should go back to burdening that responsibility in totality). I ask friends far too much, has the Church abdicated it’s responsibility by handing over its ministry of care to the state?

Has what we the people of Jesus did for free become what private companies can charge for?

Have we become so wedded to the ways of the world that we can’t be the light we are called to be?

Yesterday’s Brexit news (in brief)

2019-04-07 11:33:13


I’m experimenting with different formats of posts; predominantly to allow my regular readers the chance to work out which kind of post approach they like. This is a ‘listicle’ with commentary. Let me know what you prefer in the comments.

Philip Hammond – Second Referendum & No Red Lines

Chancellor Phillip Hammond has said the government has (or should that be should) have no red lines in their negotiations with the UK Labour Party. This comes just a few days after he told Robert Peston that a Second Referendum was not out of the question. It seems however that someone forgot to tell Number 10’s negotiating team; as one of the reasons cited for the breakdown of negotiations was that Number 10 was not negotiating, but was actually just trying to get agreement with its deal; whilst not altering the political declaration (which I’m not sure they can, anyway) but also were trying to wrap the Labour Party’s choices into some form of non-enforceable, but we can “try” and add it to the statue books, but really that’s up to parliament. Basically Number 10 has kept its red lines and isn’t negotiating, as First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon seemed to suggest had happened in her heart-to-heart with Theresa May.

Heidi Allan & John Redwood – Can’t Read the Numbers

One of Saturday’s comedy moments came when the two conservative MPs – Heidi Allan and John Redwood, whose vision of Brexit is contradictory – Ms Allan wants a second referendum, Mr Redwood wants no deal – declared that polling supported their viewpoints, and that the majority of the British public supported: in Ms Allan’s words “a second referendum”; and in Mr Redwood’s words “a no-deal brexit”. Channel 4 News’ Krishnan Guru-Murthy was there to argue against their nonsense. And I would like to highlight that I recently wrote an article, here, about some particular polling data was ignored by its own commissioning body (Progress Scotland) – primarily because, and this happens a-lot, although the data is incontrovertible it doesn’t support the narrative they wished to tell; so they broke it down (that’s normal) and then ignored the rest of it (pollsters would should be angry at this – blatant manipulation of the data) – but essentially that’s the same principle that either and or both Heidi Allan and John Redwood were working under when they made their claims.

Daily Mirror – Prematurely Explodes Brexit

Friday’s Daily Mirror proclaimed that Brexit was dead – because a brexit constituency had voted in a vocally remain MP in Labour’s Ruth Jones. And whilst the Daily Mirror’s article makes some great points, their particular headline was a step to far in the realms of reality. What they are right to point out, and which Labour could take some courage from is that just because a Constituency votes Brexit, doesn’t mean it rejects the MP who voted remain, of course we can’t extrapolate that beyond this local bi-election; but we could at least hypothesis that Labour Heartlands with large majorities may not end up switching to non-Labour candidates in any forthcoming General Election.

Diane Abbot Thinks Leave Would Win Second Referendum – Also Won’t Say Labour’s Negotiating Red Lines

Diane Abbot has been on the Today Programme on Saturday morning, which may not have been the best idea for her – she seems to have spent a large part of it refusing to spell out if Labour Party Policy (a Second Referendum) would be a Labour Party “red line” in the negotiations with Number 10. She then went on to say that she believed in any second referendum Leave would actually win. And perhaps she is right; perhaps she simply believes it, I don’t know – but I would like to see why she believes that, maybe she’s been reading the same parts of the same poll that Mr Redwood has been?

UK Passport Office sends out Red-Not-Blue Post-Brexit Not-Yet-Had-Brexit Passports

Whilst Brexit is yet to happen, the UK Passport Office has already started issuing red coloured Passports which omits the words “European Union” from the cover – I was sure they were supposed to be blue post-brexit; but maybe that was another false hope Mr Johnstone sold me – I want my beaten black-and-blue (by Brexiteer’s notorious U-Turns, it’s called whip lash) self to recieve my black-or-blue (but no one can seem to remember) passport back.

Financial Times – Pro-Europeans Unite

The Financial Times has called for pro-Europeans to united around the EU Parliamentary elections… I don’t have access to the Financial Times, I’m not snobby enough to pay for that; but I can’t help but wonder what they mean – I mean, what are we gonna do, gather round a sacred blue ballot box with yellow stars which we ceremoniously drop into the box, to signal to the box we’re are pro-Europeans? Or do they simply mean we should all vote Liberal Democrate/SNP/Plaid Cymru/Change UK? I don’t know, I also, frankly, don’t care!

Conservative Party Suicide Note

A Conservative MP and the Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi has told Ms May that a long brexit delay “could deal a fatal blow to the conservatives” (so good news) and that taking part in the forthcoming EU elections would be the Conservatives “Suicide Note” – and for those that are traumatised by this concept – which I am not; just remember the Tory’s have spent most of the last decade declaring the mentally ill “fit for work” – but don’t worry, I’m sure once the ERGers are locked up in mental health hospitals, I’m sure Mr Corbyn’s kinder-gentler politics won’t deprive them of food and good health-care; because you know, he’s not a Tory.

Ireland’s Premier Seeks Extension to Article 50

The Irish Premier, Leo Varadkar, has stated that any EU member state who vetoes the UK’s Article 50 extension will not be forgiven. He does not, he says, believe any EU member would do so; but obviously Ireland prefers and in my opinion deserves from her nearest neighbour that any brexit be orderly; and not the proverbial crap-fest it has been up-and-until now. Clearly Ireland like myself would prefer no Brexit (though I’m sure some of them would probably wish the world’s longest gap between a suicide note and the cliff actually not be so bloody long – If you’re going to jump, just do it Britain (sorry too much?)… Anyway the Irish Premier does not believe the UK will leave the EU on April 12th with no deal. And it does look like Donald Tusk [not as I stated last night, Jean-Claude Junker] has rejected Theresa May’s June 30th extension request (again) in favour of his flexit – flexible extension of one year with the ability to shorten once a deal is actually agreed, if agreed too, the UK would have no choice but to take part in European Parliamentary elections – who knew the EU had democracy!

Owen Smith MP, Being Owen Smith MP

Owen Smith, MP, the former challenger to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of Labour; and former shadow cabinet member – has written an opinion piece for the Guardian (also known as an Op-Ed). Mr Smith’s opinion piece argues essentially that Leave is wrong; Lexit is dead; Labour has been too-slow and should have chosen the correct remain side a long long time ago (and I’m guessing Mr Smith is in that fantastic land where Labour is in charge – a galaxy far far away). Mr Smith’s contention is that Lexiter’s only real issue with the EU is solved, just not among the people. The issue, as he sees it, is around models of national ownership – which Mr Smith claims is not prohibited by the EU; and that it was, was argued against by knowledgeable legal experts, however, this legal advice has not quite made it into common parlance, unlike the 1980s original Lexiter’s viewpoints, which had been thoroughly rebuffed and sorted when the EU became the bastion of human rights and workers protections. Mr Smith contends further that there could never have been a “leftwing brexit” because that would be an oxymoron.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”

According to John McLellan in The Scotsman, Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn in their attempts for a soft-brexit will keep us paying EU dues and being a member with none-of-the-voting power – which I think a lot of us kind of knew anyway – what he describes it as is the “worst of all worlds” – but if we’re honest it is probably better overall than being continually screwed over by Tories as they turn us into a low-cost tax haven for their friends who buy the NHS, because EU rules have come into effect preventing that disaster, if we’re wedded to the EU in way – and frankly Mr Mogg wants out because, ya know, money talks.

World War II Heroes Love EU

According to new research from London School of Economics finds that “Britian’s wartime generation are almost as pro-EU as millennials” – probably because they lives through the horrors of World War II and know that it takes one-snake-oil salesman (and we’ve got at least five – Mogg; Johnson; Farage; Gove; and Mr “My Name Isn’t Actually” Tommy Robinson) to screw over the rest of Europe.

Manufactoring Industry – Revoke Article 50

UK Manufacturers according to the Times are seeking an end to the damage of short-term decisions and are “urging” Theresa May to revoke article 50 is the “deal fails”.

Theresa May Singing “Clown’s To The Left of Me, Jokers To The Right” To Herself, Not Realising She’s The Clown, Mogg Is The Joker, & The UK Is “Stuck In The Middle” With Her. And This Is Too Long For a Segment Title…

The “Voice of the Mirror” wrote in their paper “The Mirror” on April 5th that “It is not hugely surprising that Brexit talks between the Government and Labour broke down.

Theresa May’s door was finally open but her mind remained closed, as she is a blinkered Conservative Prime Minister incapable of dealing fairly with other parties.”

Voice of the Mirror: Theresa May alienated Corbyn and the Right, now she’s stuck

The mirror article also highlights how she has no only alienated Jeremy Cornbyn, but also her narrow-minded hard-no-deal maniacal fanatic ERG right-wing zealots within her own party; and that the now-not-as-crazy-as-the-Tory-Party and we-have-our-own-yet-at-least-consistent-morality Democratic Unionist Party aren’t playing ball – that Theresa May is up a proverbial creek without even an idea of what paddle looks like, let alone an actual or imagined paddle.

The Mirror essentially argues that the Brexit fiasco and the Government & Prime-Minister in name only can only be solved by putting it back to the people – oh, and we’re likely to be in the EU a little while longer.

I don’t know if that’s all that happened in Brexit on Saturday (and some from Friday) but it’s probably the major stories – I was working, at a real job, so not actually trawling the internet for the whole day (you know I was for some of it) – sorry.

Mr Corbyn’s Brexit problem


Mr Jeremy Corbyn is between a rock and a hard place, and Brexit is that special rock and remain that rather instransigent hard place.

For Corbyn the Brexiteers do not value or believe in his Brexit or even Lexit credentials; and for those that do he is rather too left of the maniacal right-wing brexit project, too left-wing to be credible; and clearly his supposed “half-hearted” campaigning for remain, as was his duty on behalf of the Labour Party’s official party, was not “half-hearted” enough, nor was it as inconspicuous as it should have been. It is fair to say he is an EU skeptic, many Brexiteers would argue, but he probably isn’t one of ‘us’, they might claim.

Then you have the Remainers at large, who consider Corbyn’s EU skepticism, Lexit tendencies, his apparent “half-hearted” and apparently fairly inconspicuous remain campaigning to just be too Brexity, for their liking. His remain credentials are therefore also in doubt.

And then we have Mr Corbyn’s position as leader of the opposition, where MSM has painted him always in a fairly bad light, as continual academic evidence from no lesser an institution as The London School of Economics, which shows that the MSM has had it in for Corbyn since day one, in effect. But the argument has been that Mr Corbyn has not effectively opposed the government’s poor Brexit proposals – which seems to be something both the Brexiteers and Remainers agree on.

Continuing on from this, and digging deeper, we have Labour voters, around 60% of them voted Leave; and around half of Labour constituencies Brexit voting constituencies. So Mr Corbyn has tried to respect their vote, even if that vote was held after highly illegal campaigning by Brexiteers.

On the other side of this are Mr Corbyn’s bred and butter; his in excess of half-a-million party members, who are probably also about 60% remainers. How does he respect the vote of those who elect his party; and also respect the desire for second referendum by those who put money in the party coffers, and predominantly pay for those campaigns that help the party to get elected.

On top of this we have Corbyn supporting MPs who fit into both camps.

Now my solution is not the one Mr Corbyn will follow, no one likes or supports the idea of a preferential voting referendum; and yet that is probably the only way to actually find out effectively what the will of the people actually is.

What Mr Corbyn has, until this point, done rather effectively is represent both sides fairly well, he’s managed to toe the line of supporting neither side more than the other; and it also because he has walked this tight-rope that he is in this position. His way out of it? I’m not sure, but perhaps we will find out soon enough. From a purely tactical perspective, the moves he has made, the loosing-but-virteous gestures made and words spoken, are tactically, politically, a master-class; but it doesn’t feel like that.

Primarily because some politicians have been dealt the “easy hand” – which is now for them, getting harder. I think of the illustrious First Minister of Scotland (Nicola Sturgeon) who has been able to campaign against Brexit and to remain, because that helps her narrative – this might become more difficult for her soon.

Mr Corbyn’s line has had to be concillitory, and circumspect, to win points for both sides. But in this day and age that just looks like fence sitting. Or because of your own viewpoint as winning and campaign for the “other side”. So Mr Corbyn although politically acting like a genius, has not be understood to be as brilliant as his movements in this sphere has actually been. And until he is seen to clearly pick a side he will continue to get it in the neck from everyone.

Mr Corbyn has deftly played the hand he has been given; and respect for that should be given. Mr Corbyn has also tried to steer the narrative in another direction, perhaps to the wider issue. Why did people vote remain?

Was it to “regain sovereignty”; was it to “kick” the establishment? Was it a protest against how awful our politics has been, arguably since the departure of Gordon Brown?

Whatever reason, and there are many given, until a Labour government is in power, and able to deal with the root causes and empower everyone.

Corbyn will continue to be a Brexiteers’ Remainer; and a Remainers’ Brexiteer; placating only his die-hard and die-in-the-wool supporters; and truly placating them so long as they think he’s acting for what they think he believes about Brexit.

And that is nothing compared to the other stick currently beating Labour and Mr Corbyn, the scandal over Antisemitism and just how extensive it actually is, which should be an argument for another day.

A day in the life of Brexit


This letter, however, really wasn’t about an extension to Article 50; I mean it was, but it had another, almost sinister purpose. It was to force the hand of Jeremy Corbyn, virtue signal the ardent Brexiteers within her own party and also to crush the hopes of Second Referendum-ers.

And that’s probably where the next story comes in. The talks between Labour and the Conservatives have broken down, number 10 is blaming Labour, but in many respects the letter she sent at the beginning of the day was an attempt to get Jeremy Corbyn to sign the Withdrawal Agreement, and the accompanying Political declaration almost word for word, and in doing so consigned an already twice (and half) defeated deal back to the commons. The “significant” change Bercow would require? Mr Corbyn’s support. According to the Conservatives some extra Acts of Parliament to tighten up protection for workers and a few other bits & pieces to be enshrined in law, maybe. But ultimately these would depend on the next Prime Minister, which in all likelihood would be an ardent Brexiteer, such as Gove, Mogg or Johnson – so, you know, someone who can and wants to rewrite the rules at the drop of a top-hat.

Ironically, Ms Sturgeon pointed out, that would imply they always had the power to influence the EU that Mr Mogg and others claimed we didn’t have. She would be right. Mogg is signalling to those militant ERG-ers and Brexiteers, possibly in hopes of shoring-up support for his own leadership bid.

May’s letter also spoke to those ERGers and also Second Referendum-ers by essentially saying there isn’t time for a Confirmatory Referendum; and that No Deal is still essentially possible within the extension period, especially if Mr Corbyn won’t come over the dark-side, and it appears he won’t.

It seems that while this is all going on the day for me was rather sunny, and though there was a wind-chill-factor, it was rather a nice day.

“What has disappointed Corbyn and his Shadow Brexit Minister Keir Starmer is – they believe – the government is ruling out asking the EU to rework the Political Declaration on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

What the PM has proposed is a so-called wrap-around statement, that would toughen up proposed protections of workers’ rights, and would give a greater role for parliament as and when the future relationship is being negotiated, including a prior “entrenchment” process to embody whatever kind of future relationship MPs favour within the forthcoming Withdrawal and Implementation Bill.

There is in the memorandum a nod to MPs having a vote to decide whether there should be a confirmatory referendum. But apparently it is desperately non-committal.”

ROBERT PESTON, ITV NEWS, Why New Brexit Talks Are On The Verge Of Collapse

Before finally writing:

But Labour fears Theresa May has tacked back to placating the Brexiters in her party, which means she is as far from securing parliamentary approval for her deal as ever she was.”

This all suggests that the PM is backtracking and trying to make it look like it’s Corbyn fault – but the combination of the Brexit Extension Letter and the Memorandum (detailing the “agreements in principle” supposedly made in the Tory-Lab negotions) sent to Labour this afternoon by Number 10, clearly show she is being instransiant and isn’t really willing to budge on her red lines – almost certainly if a Second and Confirmatory Referendum is involved as a bargaining chip.

ROBERT PESTON, ITV NEWS, Why New Brexit Talks Are On The Verge Of Collapse

Flexit would be a flexible extension of at least a year – flexible in that it can be shorter, but it is of such a length so that during the configuration of the next European Parliament (the institution that votes on absolutely everything the EU puts into Law), so that during that reconfiguration, Brexit is not overshadowing the process.

Strangely; and it is strange, he can’t see his own hypocrisy, or perhaps he can, which is why he has said he won’t be happy to take part, but I’m sure he’ll be more than willing to accept the paycheck and pension contributions.

What I can’t understand is how Farage can set up new political parties on what essentially is a whim, but the Non-Political Party formerly known as The Independent Group, but which is now a Political Party called Change UK struggled to do so, at least initially, if it’s a question of the cost, one has to wonder whose bankrolling Farage?

EDIT: It seems Ms May is bringing her Withdrawal Agreement back next week to the Commons, hoping she’s scared enough ERG and DUP members into supporting it, and maybe a few Labour MPs who support Brexit. The numbers suggest it’s going to fail, again, at this precise moment.

What’s happening to the Letwin-Cooper bill?


Sir Oliver Letwin, MP (Conservative Party, Left) and Yvette Cooper, MP (Labour Party, Right)

On April 3rd the Letwin-Cooper bill, one I didn’t fully understand, but have come to understand better because of the debate through the House of Lords today. The Letwin-Cooper bill made it through the House of Commons, on 1 vote. On April 3rd the Letwin-Cooper bill, one I didn’t fully understand, but have come to understand better because of the debate through the House of Lords today. The Letwin-Cooper bill made it through the House of Commons, on 1 vote. The bill as it stands requires Theresa May to seek an extension with the EU to our period before leaving (also known as an Article 50 extension). The bill’s design is actually not very good, and if anything the Lord’s today has shown that. The design is actually not very good, and if anything the Lord’s today has shown that.

It looks like the House of Lord’s will be voting on Monday to attach several amendments, the concerns are the precedent that the bill would set if turned into the Law – that the Prime Minister would be duty bound to gain approval for every choice; and that the House of Commons would in-effect become a second cabinet, capable of making policy, and then effectively forcing the government to enact this.

Another amendment will probably detail how long such a measure should last – most argue for just a couple of weeks; at most, I would percieve that it would involve a trigger clause – that is that once the final withdrawal agreement is signed by the Prime Minister with the EU that the Act (which this is not yet) would become spent in law. But that will depend on how the House of Lord’s view that particular issue.

There are a few other issues. Interestingly the debate today (which was properly about procedure – the attempt to speed the bill through the House) and the debate this evening – although of different temperatures (this evening is far more Lordly, than this afternoons debate, which was at points close to venomous, and I will add that a lot of that was coming from the ERG linked Peers.

During the afternoon the ERG peers attacked Sir Oliver Letwin, MP, almost relentlessly; and yet not all Conservatives supported this ERG bunch. In fact they showed themselves to total around 50-100 in the House of Lords (at most) they probably total about 30, in actuality.

The bill was delayed for so long through filibustering – via the attempt to schedule business on an “important” report from Lord Forsyth, right in the middle of the afternoon; as well as more than 7 amendments which approached the delaying of the bill process in every slightly different ways – which prevented the block voting – the majority of the house prevented this from delaying for too long – though the delay is long enough to extend the commitee stage and the third reading, on Monday. The Chief Government Whip in the Lords advised that the House of Commons would remain open awaiting the word of the House of Lords. It is likely that if this bill, as I suspect, is sent back to the Commons, it might not pass there a third time.

And that’s probably right, however much I support the spirit of the bill, there are issues with it – ironically it would probably make the seeking of an extension to Article 50 more difficult; and therefore a default No Deal Brexit on April 12th more likely.

The bill appears to be badly written, with references to sections and acts of parliament that may not exist.

But even if the Act is passed, and it is passed in the spirit of the a bill, rather than the letter, would be acceptable to some; as long as at the earliest convenience of the Commons and the Bills writers, if there are any elements of the bill that should be made into permanent law, that they would be written in a better bill, that also repeals this one.

But in the House of Lords this evening the arguments have not been so much about the actual bill; but ERGers have argued and asserted the desirability of a no-deal brexit; whilst just about everyone else from soft-brexiters and remainers in the house have continuously argued against this.

When the House of Lords hasn’t been waxing lyrical about Brexit itself – the failure of Theresa May to agree a reasonable deal, etc. they have looked to discuss whether this bill should have entered the Lords as a private members bill, when in fact it should have been brought by the government on behalf of the lower chamber – the argument for this was that those who brought the bill did not allow time for the government to do this – which is why many Conservative peers have been whipped to vote against the motion to raise the bill and then on the bill itself; however Conservative peers are also refusing to vote on the bill; and there will be some interesting challenges over the next few days.

It seems that whilst the Labour and Liberal Democrat peers command the majority in the house, that the cross-benchers may end up being the voice of reason; and able to force through some amendments – which may mean the bill is sent back to the lower chamber to die.

And that’s essentially what this bill is likely to do – even if placed on the statute books, if Theresa May agrees her Brexit extension with the EU, then the bill becomes fairly redundant.

But frankly, even if the bill passes its 3rd reading in the Lords and is not sent back to the Commons; but onto Buckingham Palace for Royal approval – it’ll probably be too late.

And if May’s extension request is rejected on April 10th, then we leave at 11 pm on Friday 12th April 2019 without a deal, and that is the fear of many.

12:30 – 19:15 in the House of Lords


The following is unedited content from my Live Feed, from April 4th 2019.

04/04/19 – 12:30 The House of Lord’s has moved that an amendment on the Letwin-Cooper (Commons) bill is moved – at least that seems to be what they’re voting on; the speaker of the House of Lords seemed a little bit confused.

04/04/19 – 12:40 The House of Lord’s has voted; the division stands as Contents: 239 Not Contents: 118 Now they are clearing the bar for the next vote – on Lord’s Forsyth‘s motion, which is:

(2) Standing Order 39 (Order of Business) be dispensed with to enable that Bill to be considered after the motions on Economic Affairs Committee reports in the name of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean.

Correction: This was not the motion that was being voted on.

04/04/19 – The Motions Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town to move, further to the resolution of the House of 28 January that Her Majesty’s Government should provide sufficient time for this House to ensure the timely passage of legislation necessary to implement any deal or proposition that has commanded the support of the majority of the House of Commons, that:(1) Standing Order 46 (No two stages of a Bill to be taken on one day) be dispensed with to allow the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill to be taken through all its stages this day; and(2) Standing Order 39 (Order of Business) be dispensed with to enable that Bill to be considered after the motions on Economic Affairs Committee reports in the name of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean.   Lord Forsyth’s of Drumlean’s motion was passed. The Lord’s is currently voting on the 1st Standing Order 46 motion.

04/04/19 – 13:05 The motion: (1) Standing Order 46 (No two stages of a Bill to be taken on one day) be dispensed with to allow the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill to be taken through all its stages this day. 94 Contents to 204 Non-Contents

04/04/19 – 13:11 Lord Forsyth claims that the bill is defective because of its lack of previous debate in the House of Commons; but also because of its issues – which include, according to Forsyth, is to make no-deal more likely (or at least that seems to be what he was saying).

04/04/19 – 13:19 The government believes that the Cooper-Letwin bill is actually pointless, and will hold up the process of negotiating an extension to our membership of the EU.

04/04/19 – 13:21 A member of the house of Lord’s has to be reminded that the House of Lord’s does not have “points of order”; as the Upper chambers votes on another motion, which I will announce the result for once it is announced.

04/04/19 – 13:19 The government believes that the Cooper-Letwin bill is actually pointless, and will hold up the process of negotiating an extension to our membership of the EU.

04/04/19 – 13:21 A member of the house of Lord’s has to be reminded that the House of Lord’s does not have “points of order”; as the Upper chambers votes on another motion, which I will announce the result for once it is announced.

04/04/19 – 13:34 The house of Lords voted 227 (Contents) to 111 (Not Contents) this was one the about seven amendments; they have just moved to vote on the next amendment from Lord Forsyth.

04/04/19 – 13:40 From what I can understand, and believe me the House of Lords seems to actually only make sense to them – even BBC Parliament is in the commons, yet the real thing is happening in the House of Lords – So we’ll break down what’s being voted on this morning… Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town to move, further to the resolution of the House of 28 January that Her Majesty’s Government should provide sufficient time for this House to ensure the timely passage of legislation necessary to implement any deal or proposition that has commanded the support of the majority of the House of Commons, that: (1) Standing Order 46 (No two stages of a Bill to be taken on one day) be dispensed with to allow the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill to be taken through all its stages this day; and (2) Standing Order 39 (Order of Business) be dispensed with to enable that Bill to be considered after the motions on Economic Affairs Committee reports in the name of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean.

04/04/19 – 13:42 Ammendments from: Lord Forsyth of Drumlean to move, as an amendment to the above motion, to leave out from “move” to the end and to insert “that the Standing Orders of the House relating to public business shall apply to all proceedings on the European Union (Withdrawal) (No.5) Bill.” and Lord True to move, as an amendment to the motion in the name of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, to leave out from “move” to the end and to insert “notwithstanding the non-binding resolution of the House of 28 January that Her Majesty’s Government should provide sufficient time for this House to ensure the timely passage of legislation necessary to implement any deal or proposition that has commanded the support of the majority of the House of Commons, that this House does not consider it is in keeping with the traditions and procedures of the House of Lords, its proper scrutinising role or its function as a safeguard of the constitution to apply unprecedented procedures to this Bill, and therefore declines to dispense with normal Standing Orders.” and Baroness Noakes to move, as an amendment to the motion in the name of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, to leave out from “move” to the end and to insert “notes that the Prime Minister has already indicated her intention to ask for a delay in the date for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union and considers it unnecessary, as well as undesirable and unprecedented, to apply exceptional procedures to the European Union (Withdrawal) (No.5 Bill) and therefore regrets the proposal by Her Majesty’s Opposition to do so.”

04/04/19 – 13:45 Further amendments in the name of: Viscount Ridley to move, as an amendment to the motion in the name of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, to leave out from first “that” to the end and to insert “the attempt to accelerate procedures on the European Union (Withdrawal) (No.5) Bill is not in accordance with normal practice in either House of Parliament and the provisions of Standing Order 46 (No two stages of a Bill to be taken on one day) should be dispensed with only to the extent necessary to allow the First and Second Readings of the Bill to be taken on one day, the Committee stage on a subsequent day, and the Report and Third Reading to be taken on the same day subsequently.” and Lord Robathan to move, as an amendment to the motion in the name of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, to leave out from “Commons,” to the end and to insert “notes that more than one day is required for this House to have sufficient time to scrutinise the European Union (Withdrawal) (No.5) Bill received from the House of Commons that has had less than one day of consideration in that House, and had not been received by this House by the end of business on 3 April.” and Lord Hamilton of Epsom to move, as an amendment to the motion in the name of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, at the end to insert “but in view of the exceptional constitutional implications of the proposal put forward, regrettably without agreement in the Usual Channels, for its exceptional consideration in the House of Lords, the House shall not resolve itself into a Committee on the bill until at least 24 hours after a report from the Constitution Committee on the bill has been laid before the House.” and Lord Blencathra to move, as an amendment to the motion in the name of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, at the end to insert “but the House shall not resolve itself into a Committee on the bill until at least 24 hours after a report from the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee on the bill has been laid before the House.”

04/04/19 – 13:46 I think the amendments have been voted on in reverse order: Lord Blencathra; Lord Hamilton; Lord Robathan; Viscount Ridley; Baroness Noakes; Lord True and now Lord Forsyth of Drumlean; whilst Baroness Hayter of Kentish town motion were voted on at the start. It is also possible that Lord Forsyth‘s extra “filibustering” motions are the ones being voted on, but the announcements of whats being voted on have not always been clear this morning.

04/04/19 – 13:51 Lord Forsyth’s amendments have been defeated (123 Contents to 251 Not Contents, to the amendments). Lord True is now speaking, in favor of his amendmentSomeone has just asked Lord True why he bothers coming every day (he has just accused Labour of basically being pointless in the Lords). It seems that Lord Forsyth‘s motions were voted on after Baroness Hayter’s motions.

04/04/19 – 14:02 Lord True (Conservative) is arguing that the Labour Party (The official opposition) is trying to usurp the Houses of Parliament and the Government – and that the attempt to run through the bill in one day and lay aside standing orders is to avoid proper scrutiny. An intervention has pointed out that this house has already passed motions and bills that have not followed the process of impactassessmentsLord True does not accept this is the case. And continues to argue that whilst the other house has asked the Lords to pass the bill, probably quickly, but that they do not have to do so quickly, and that an act of parliament must go through sufficient consideration, otherwise the Lords is not doing its job properly (and following proper procedures). He is now accusing Baroness Hayter of hypocrisy after a tweet on 24th February about May‘s desire to rush the Withdrawal agreement in 10 days – whilst today she wishes to run a bill through in a single day. And that the motion was tabled so late.

04/04/19 – 14:06 Lord True believes that this bill is nonsense – as the PM has already committed to do what it asks. And that whilst also arguing that the Lord’s does set aside standing order in times of emergency – but that today’s bill is not an example of this. He has now moved onto attacking the Liberal Democrats with going along with the “pre-cooked” plot of Sir Oliver Letwin (Conservative, MP) and the Labour Party.

04/04/19 – 14:08 Lord True is arguing that the Official Opposition should be cautions as if this sets the precedent for setting aside standing orders – for IF they end up in government they may find that others (the Conservatives) use it against them.

04/04/19 – 14:13 Lord True: “There is no argument in logic, There is no argument in process that we pass this motion today” on the grounds that the Prime-Minister has already committed to fulfilling the objectives of this bill. Lord True appeals to freedom (of the Lords) to amend and debate. An Intervention (from a fellow Conservative peer) is that if the Official Opposition stand up (after Lord True) and move rather than to allow further debate; and against the silencing of the “minority” and that the cross-benchers are to be the balance in this argument; as the Conservatives are actually smaller in number in the HoL than the Labour and Liberal Democrat peers – appealing to the Cross-Bench peers are the ones who must prevent the “tyranny” of the majority (of peers) and allow all (the Conservatives) to be heard.

04/04/19 – 14:17 I’ll be honest to me Lord True seems to be filibustering – that is to draw out in an extension (beyond the 15 minute time limit that was set for today’s speeches) – he has now hit over 30 minutes; and the claims that everyone must be heard – is to delay the hearing of the bill itself – these are still just arguments about whether to hear the bill in one sitting, rather than 2 or 3 (his preference of course is for 3, so it can be sent back to the commons, when it was too late). Now the house is about to debate Lord True’s amendment.

04/04/19 – 14:18 The peer following Lord True has just called him out for his 30 minute speech and all these amendments for filibustering.

04/04/19 – 14:21 The Labour Peer who has followed Lord True is arguing that the Commons would have been negligent in its duty if it had not filled-in the vacuum left after the effective collapse of the government. And that this bill needs to be debated in full today as time is of the essence. And denies the bill is not unnecessary – as despite the PMs commitment, she does not have the confidence of the commons in fulfilling her commitment – and that this is the Commons way of ensuring it. And that the bill can be debated more fully IF the house of Lords was not wasting time debating these procedural motions.

04/04/19 – 1426 Last peer (thought was Labour, was the Leader of the Liberal Democrates). Another peer (Conservative, I believe) has described this as a constitutional crisis (not sure if he’s talking about the standing procedures or Brexit). His issue is about the lack of written constitution (which is fine when the interpreted by the appropriate courts) and that Britain hasn’t needed one because we haven’t had a ruling discontinuity whether through cession; wartime or revolution – and that the UK has been uniquely blessed in this. However, the price we pay in not having a written is that standing orders which is what we base our way of protecting our unwritten constitution – and that in ignoring the standing orders is constitutional vandalism.

04/04/19 – 14:28 The Conservative Peer (Constitutional Crisis guy) is now arguing that he is rather worried (he’s using very emotive language to describe) the division between parliament and the United Kingdom. A female peer (former Teacher of Constitutional Law) is now talking…

04/04/19 – 14:29 Previous Peer was Lord Lawson. Current Peer (Former Professor of Constitutional Law) is arguing that respect for the law is internalised. And is now arguing that the constitution is being trashed and that there is a risk of a breakdown in trust between the two houses, the government and the courts. She is arguing that the UK does not have its sovereignty and that it is with the EU.

04/04/19 – 14:31 Former Lecturer in Constitutional Law Peer is now arguing the EU is effectively evil and has damaged this process – naming Junker as being “appointed” even “when we didn’t want it”.

04/04/19 – 14:35 Conservative Peer: “The excuse that we are in a time of national emergency – is the excuse used by tyrants down the ages…”

04/04/19 – 14:42 Peer: “Ironically I think the proposal coming forward in this bill does more harm than good…” essentially because it weaken’s the PM’s negotiating hand for an extension with the EU, as she is not in control.

04/04/19 – 14:45 Baroness Hayter argues that the Leader of the House should have tabled this bill, as it was moved by Parliament, but did not, and thus were negligent (by implication) in not doing so.

04/04/19 – 14:47 Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town argues that at this “time of national crisis” people in the gallery must be wondering what is going on when the house of Lord’s is not debating the actual bill today, but rather the procedure about even tabling the bill.

04/04/19 – 14:49 Lord True’s amendment goes to the vote.

04/04/19 – 14:59 The Peer’s are returning to their seats, which means that the results of the vote on the amendment should be announced shortly.

04/04/19 – 15:01 The Lord’s has an “archaic” way of voting – it seems from looking – they vote on whether to move a motion for voting and then they vote on the actual motion or amendment.

04/04/19 – 15:04 The results should be announced shortly, I imagine the major broadcaster will switch to the Lords (i.e. BBC Parliament) once they get onto substantially debating the actual bill, at the moments its amendments, which could be viewed as attempts to delay the process.

04/04/19 – 15:05 The Amendment in the name of Lord True is about to be actually voted on, the previous vote seems to have been on whether to vote on the amendment or not: the results for that vote are: Content: 249 and Not Content: 97

04/04/19 – 15:08 Whilst we wait, some interesting factoids about the House of Lords. The Lords is self-regulating (something they pride themselves on) which means they don’t have a speaker in the way that the commons does, and no single person therefore oversees debates.

04/04/19 – 15:11 Like in the commons before a ‘division’ (vote) the Speaker (or caller) will ask the Ayes (Contents) and the Nos (Not Contents) to call out, this is arguably archaic, but if, as is most often the case, the person calling does not hear a clear majority they will call for the vote – quite often those with less seats will shout very loud to make it sound like there is more of them, so that it goes to a vote – this will probably happen a fair bit today, as it will delay moving to the actual bill in questions’ first reading – once its there, it should process through at a reasonable pace – assuming the delay amendments aren’t approved – the numbers don’t look to support the delay amendments, and one assumes the bill will be supported by a majority of the Lords, whether that is a good thing is a matter for debate.

04/04/19 – 15:15 The commons can over-rule the House of Lords by invoking the Parliament Act 1911 (and technically the Parliament Act 1949) – anyway this piece of legislation has been used probably less than half a dozen times. And now to the results on Lord True’s amendment…

04/04/19 – 15:18 Lord True’s Amendment: Contents: 122; Not Content: 248 – Which means the amendment has been rejected. It is now Baroness Noakes’ amendment which “considers it unnecessary, as well as undesirable and unprecedented, to apply exceptional procedures to the European Union (Withdrawal) (No.5 Bill)”.

04/04/19 – 15:22 A few arguments and interjections across the chamber primarily that each amendment (though very similar) are distinct and different – and therefore rather than being debated and voted in one; but that we have to debate these amendments and now we will not have time to debate the full motion and bill. It’s very much a too-and-fro between those who support the wrecking/filibustering amendments and those who wish to proceed the Letwin-Cooper Bill (Commons) – in the Lords known as the Baroness Hayter BillLord Forsyth* has some “important” motions which MUST be debated fully (randomly) in the middle of the evening tonight – which is seen as blocking the proper full debate of Baroness Hayter’s Bill.

04/04/19 – 15:28 I’m going to sign off for now – and let the Lord’s argue out their motions – as frankly the motions appear to be the same (although worded differently) and are likely to be defeated. It may be that they filibuster the bill itself by extending Lord Forsyth‘s motions and the debate on the actual bill this evening. Baroness Noakes believes we must trust the Prime Minister.

04/04/04 – 15:53 They’ll be voting through the amendments quickly now – as those in support of the actual bill are pushing to get through the blatant filibustering. There has been the suggestion from one Conservative Peer that these amendments represent the [Anti-] European Research Group (ERG) – who arguably have never researched the EU – anyway, that these amendments represent the ERG’s contingent in the House of Lords.

04/04/19 – 16:15 Most of the arguments being made in the HoL is based on the constitutional abnormality of this attempt to push this bill through today. Arguments surround whether the bill supports the referendum or is in favour of a “remainer” parliament. These arguments are coming from Peers who desire a no-deal brexit.

4/04/19 – 16:16 Brexiteer Peer describes the HoL as an “Echo-Chamber of Remainers” and swiftly moves backs to the constitutional issues.

04/04/19 – 16:20 Oliver Letwin’s comments in the debate in the House of Commons are being used against him, primarily his belief that there is a majority in the HoL for this bill before they’ve seen the bill.

04/04/19 – 16:21 Arguments are focusing now on the way the bill passed through HoC – with terms like “usurped” and “improperly” being used to push the bill through.

04/04/19 – 16:26 You know a Hard/ERG/No- Deal Peer when they use phrases that describe a “long extension” as a bad idea, or their love for no-deal or even for other options… But this is a procedural debate, apparently, and the HoC is effectively breaking the constitution and breaking the rules of our parlimentary democracy. This is a debate on respect for the HoL – whether getting the bill through quickly is seen as breaking the constitution or not doing it quickly enough is seeking as usurping the will of the commons and by extension the public… So many arguments in circles… Clearly everyone is talking past each other.

04/04/19 – 16:49 At the speed they’re moving through these wrecking amendments, I imagine they’ll move onto the bills debate around 7pm latest.

04/04/19 – 17:10 I’m just hoping they get to the bill to be debated before 9pm! With any luck they’ll make it by 6pm, but probably closer to 7pm (and I believe that’ll be what is called the second reading, but the HoL is rather confusing).

04/04/19 – 17:11 No Brexiteer Peers are being accused of using the constitutional arguments not because they genuinely believe them, but because the desire a No Deal Brexit.

04/04/19 – 17:15 It’s probably treason or something to say this, but I’m not convinced that these arguments saying it’s unconstitutional is because they really want to scrutinize the bill, because essentially they all seem to have made up their mind, this is about delaying the bill they hate, on the whole.

04/04/19 – 17:20 Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town seems to agree, these amendments aren’t about the bill, but fillibustering. Because everyone has basically stood up and stated they were against the bill, and then outlined their constitutional issues.

04/04/19 – 17:25 The reason they want to drag it over 3 days? Because if they can send it back to the lower chamber on technicality on day 4, it’ll be too late.

04/04/19 – 17:51 “The question is, will the question now be put” is a common refrain in the HoL – essentially, we will now vote on whether to vote on the amendment/motion/bill – yeah rather an odd archaic approach, but that’s the way they do it.

04/04/19 – 18:00 The important amendment actually happened at 1:30pm today which means the HoL can sit until 3:30am today to get the bill through – that amendment tried to prevent its passage today, it clearly failed, as have all the amendments so far, as again expected.

04/04/19 – 18:10 Starting with constitutional arguments, as each amendment has been defeated on larger divisions than the one before; Lord Hamilton of Epsom has admitted that he doesn’t want the bill to “ever make it onto the statue books”.

04/04/19 – 18:11 Lord Hamilton (Con) admits that if in opposition they would use the precedent of the process to get this bill through to frustrate the gov. of the day. Seems like he desires to be obstruct rather than facilitating the HoC.

04/04/19 – 18:16 Lord Hamilton amendment which limits the time before the second reading of the bill, which requires the Constitutional Committee to submit a report, and then a minimum of 24 hours before second reading of the bill can begin.

04/04/19 – 18:15 Lord Hamilton’s bill has been moved, “let’s ask the question”. Though he seems to have left the chamber… But they move on irregardless, voting to vote.   

04/04/19 – 18:18 Lord Hamilton’s amendment is the third to last before the actual bill, it should be moved shortly.

04/04/19 – 18:19 Baroness Hayter suggested that with the way the amendments had been blocking the bill tonight, it would actually be about 11am tomorrow before the HoL could debate, in line with Lord Hamilton’s amendment.

04/04/19 – 18:32 Even once all these amendments have been defeated we still have Lord Forsyth’s [not-so-urgent] urgent debate on a completely unrelated topic. Which means they will possibly get to the first reading at about 9pm.

04/04/19 – 18:45 Whilst the reasons for tabling these amendments is at best dubious; the constitutional arguments do actually have merit, unfortunately.

04/04/19 – 18:50 I may have miss-heard but I believe #LordRobathan who is proposing his amendment said he does not wish to push his amendment to vote? Maybe I miss-heard that though.

04/04/19 – 18:48 Clearly I did miss-hear, #LordRobathan ‘s amendment seems to be off to a vote.

04/04/19 – 19:02 Baroness Hayter is being urged to withdraw her motion by the Chief Whip. She has refused.

04/04/19 – 19:05 Issues being discussed about when the bill’s business will be completed – deadline at some point Monday, Chief Whip suggests that is flexible, as HoC remains open until HoL decides on Monday.

Filibustering in the House of Lord’s


Today in the House of Lord’s the Letwin-Cooper (Commons) Bill is being debated. The debate in the House of Lord’s has not been so much on the issues of the board, but rather on the procedure. MP Sir Oliver Letwin was accused in the Upper chamber by the Government’s Lord’s Front Bench of orchestrating a constitutional crisis – in Letwin’s words the desire is for the house of commons to become a cabinet.

The Lord’s primary arguments against the bill have been that the debate does not need to be done in one day; however, a second argument is that the bill isn’t needed because the Prime Minister had already announced that she was working towards the same end as the bill.

The government’s Lords still trust their government; as you would expect. However, a Rogue Speaker is the description of John Bercow given by the government’s front bench leader in the House of Lords.

There are a few things to know about this bill and procedure in the House of Lords. It is likely that the bill will pass, the numbers in the upper house seem to support it; but, its delay could be until Monday. Though arguments in favour of doing it in one-day, are that the House of Lords has previously passed a motion that emergency legislation on Brexit could be passed in one day.

There also seems to have been an issue with the legislation papers – that this was a) a private members bill; and that extraditing this process is beyond the comprehension of the process of the upper chamber. And b) that the sponsors name in the upper chamber wasn’t on the papers.

Further to this there is arguments against the way that the bill processed through the commons (and that one vote by which it processed). There issues that the Letwin-Cooper bill did not have a committee/reports stage and a truncated 3rd reading.

The debate in the House of Lords is arguing about how the perception of the debate will be perceived; as well as the ignoring of the standing procedures in the commons. The government’s frontbench in the Lord’s is essentially both right – but it does come across as essentially attempts to block the passage of the bill. And that’s the point being made by one of the Lord’s as I write – that if the Lord’s is seen as blocking or preventing the bill from going forward, it will also be a constitutional crisis in the making – and could involve the total re-organisation of the upper chamber.

The tone and debate in the Commons and Lords is actually, argued, as having an effect on how the government negotiate with the EU. There is a sense, listening carefully that the House of Lords is divided, not quite so much as the commons – but not so much on Brexit itself but on the necessary nature of the progress of the bill.

The Lords’ is also usually less rowdy than the lower chamber, but there have been a few moments today where one thought one was in that other chamber. But on the whole, it has been less rowdy, if slightly more cheeky towards one another.

Whether the bill will pass today; tomorrow or on Monday is a matter of debate, that may take up most of the day!

One hopes that the filibustering will soon be done so that the upper chamber can vote and this bill, which seems to be popular; and for the Lords to filibuster, rather than amend, or send back to the commons on technical grounds, would be in itself a negation of the constitution.

The Lords’ seem to be trying to be putting the question of should the motion be moved, but there are many arguments at the moment is “what’s the question”? – And they’ve gone to division (i.e. to vote).

Something happened: A long and speedy day in the House of Commons


So something has happened in the House of Commons, a bill proposed by the Conservative MP Letwin and the Labour MP Cooper – yes that bill, that Letwin-Cooper bill, that one we’veprobably been hearing about for a few weeks passed by 1 vote (or maybe I’m thinking of the Letwin-Cooper amendment, or the Letwin-Cooper dinner party?).

But what is this bill about? Essentially it says Parliament wishes for the Prime Minister to negotiate a further extension with the EU. She was already going to do this, from her speech on Tuesday, but the stark difference here is that Parliament will get to decide how long she asks for – how long do parliament want, we don’t know.

The bill passed through the lower house of the Westminster parliament last night by 1 vote, but it can’t become law until being passed through the upper chamber, which could be today, Friday or Monday. And then presumably it has to await royal ascent before being actual UK law.

Apparently the bill prevents no-deal brexit, I’m not entirely sure how, but I think it’s a trigger clause (I don’t know that, I haven’t seen the bill in full)- essentially if there is no deal by this date, Parliament instructs the Prime Minister to negotiate an extension etc.

There are issues of course, from come corners. The bill was “rammed through” the house according to die-hards in the ERG. And the government’s own amendment, which somehow was designed to limit the power of the bill was defeated by 180 votes. I have been informed this is the second largest defeat in recent times, the first being on that withdrawal bill.

And during the amendments process for the bill, the Speaker, John Bercow, was forced to follow precedent and vote – something that hasn’t happened since 1993! That amendment would have handed MPs the control of this coming Monday’s order papers (basically the agenda) for the House of Commons on Monday, so that they could hold more of those highly productive indicative votes. The amendment was tied, which means the precedent of the house is for the Speaker, who never votes, to cast the deciding votes. And precedent for the Speaker’s vote is for the vote to be in line with the governments position, in this case the no’s won.

The Letwin-Cooper Bill is designed to make sure, essentially, that the PM does actually negotiate an extension to Article 50.

So whilst all this has happened, Theresa and Jeremy were probably having tea, and maybe some scones, as they discussed in what was apparently open and constructive but not conclusive talks. And it seems Corbyn has asked for a confirmatory referendum on the final deal, as part of these talks.

We stand at a point where we wait to see if the Letwin-Cooper Bill passes the House of Lords (likely), and then for the PM proposes the length of extension for the Commons approval. After all this, it looks like No Deal, Second Referendum, Long Extension. And maybe the explosion of the Conservative party, whilst the Labour party is rumoured to not be far behind. Essentially not much has changed, whilst everything (in terms of the way forward) is now different, concretely set against the a no-deal brexit and in favour of a longer extension. However, from my understanding, no deal is still the default on April 12th and it’s possibile, even post any extension, so anti-no-dealers, don’t celebrate just yet.

Two people you’ve probably never heard of have resigned


As it stands two junior ministers you have never heard of, unless you’re ever so slightly politically obsessed, meaning not me, apparently, have resigned. And if I’m honest the only people that will probably care are their families, themselves and their bank-managers – but only because resigning means they take a pay-cut.

They have resigned over Theresa May’s decision to “reach across the aisle” (of the commons, not Asda) and purchase negotiations with the Leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn.

The first to resign, this morning, a junior minister in the Welsh office, Nigel Adams, who cited Jeremy Corbyn’s alleged Marxism as a part of the reason for his resignation. Turns out Mr Adams, MP, was also a government whip… That’s quite a lot of roles for someone I’ve never heard of.

The second to resign, Chris Heaton-Harris, he was a parliamentary under-secretary in the Brexit department, so like an assistants assistant. Anyway he resigned on the grounds that his job was no longer needed, as we clearly weren’t leaving the EU…

Apparently being in a Customs Union is so offensive and means you’re still in Europe – I get his point, but surely his job involved more than alternative arrangement to a Customs Union, I mean there is more to our involvement with the EU is there not?

Anyway, if they’re are any more resignations today I’ll update them here, unless they warrant their own post (which I actually doubt, the extra pay needs to be pushed into the Caymen Islands ASAP)…

Three stories from this morning


Direct Rule for Northern Ireland.

One of the key political rumours to come out from the big cabinet meeting (not in IKEA but 10 Downing Street) is that the biggest issue of No Deal would be “Direct Rule” – it has been stated that Andrea Leadsom suggested we went with Direct Rule, but called it something else – like that would change the fact of what it is.

And to be honest with the current stalemate in Stormount, we’re halfway there already, so this is not good.

Jeremy Corbyn is Target Practice for Soldiers.

Soldiers take pot-shots at Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn

Also to emerge this morning is the news that British soldiers were using a poster of the Opposition Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, for target practice. Whilst there is “social media” claims that the video is “doctored”, – the Ministry of Defense is investigating. To take the words of the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, a vehement opponent of Jeremy Corbyn, Stephen Pollard, who condemns this behaviour, writing:

And my final morning story, so far…

UKIP Make Noise Missing Their Own Irony.

Neil Hamilton, UKIP Leader in Wales has failed to see the irony of his own tweet.

So where to start with this notion…

At the 2017 General Election the British Public voted more for an agreement between Labour and the Conservatives than the Confidence and Supply arrangement with the DUP. That is based more on the fact of how many votes each party got:

“Between them, the Conservatives and Labour won 82.3% of the UK vote – the highest since 1970.”


Which suggests that any coalition arrangement based on the Conservative and Labour parties would be more representative of the country than one based on 43.25% (Tory/DUP combined vote share) of the vote. And we shouldn’t forget that

“UKIP’s share of the vote fell from 12.6% in 2015 to 1.8% in 2017.”


Even the DUP Supply & Confidence deal with the Conservatives can claim to be more representative of the British public than UKIP can alone.

The Speeches


For the sake of clarity here are the full texts of May’s Speech and Corbyn’s response.

Theresa May’s Speech

“I have just come from chairing seven hours of cabinet meetings focused on finding a route out of the current impasse [pronounced “ampass”]– one that will deliver the Brexit the British people voted for and allow us to move on and begin bringing our divided country back together.

I know there are some who are so fed up with delay and endless arguments that they would like to leave with no deal next week.

I have always been clear that we could make a success of no deal in the long term. But leaving with a deal is the best solution. So, we will need a further extension of article 50 – one that is as short as possible and which ends when we pass a deal. And we need to be clear what such an extension is for – to ensure we leave in a timely and orderly way.

This debate, this division, cannot drag on much longer. It is putting members of Parliament and everyone else under immense pressure and it is doing damage to our politics.

Despite the best efforts of MPs, the process that the House of Commons has tried to lead has not come up with an answer. So, today, I am taking action to break the logjam: I am offering to sit down with the leader of the opposition and to try to agree a plan – that we would both stick to – to ensure that we leave the European Union and that we do so with a deal.

Any plan would have to agree the current withdrawal agreement – it has already been negotiated with the 27 other members, and the EU has repeatedly said that it cannot and will not be reopened.

What we need to focus on is our future relationship with the EU. The ideal outcome of this process would be to agree an approach on a future relationship that delivers on the result of the referendum, that both the leader of the opposition and I could put to the house for approval, and which I could then take to next week’s European council.

However, if we cannot agree on a single unified approach, then we would instead agree a number of options for the future relationship that we could put to the house in a series of votes to determine which course to pursue. Crucially, the government stands ready to abide by the decision of the house. But, to make this process work, the opposition would need to agree to this too.

The government would then bring forward the withdrawal agreement bill. We would want to agree a timetable for this bill to ensure it is passed before 22 May so that the United Kingdom need not take part in European parliamentary elections.

This is a difficult time for everyone. Passions are running high on all sides of the argument. But we can and must find the compromises that will deliver what the British people voted for. This is a decisive moment in the story of these islands. And it requires national unity to deliver the national interest.”

Jeremy Corbyn’s Response

“I’m very happy to meet the prime minister. I don’t want to set any limits, one way or the other, ahead of those meetings. We recognise that she has made a move. I recognise my responsibility to represent the people who supported Labour in the last election and the people who didn’t support Labour but nevertheless want certainty and security for their own future. And that’s the basis on which we will meet her and have those discussions.

Labour has put forward our proposals to ensure there is a customs union with the EU, access to vital markets and protections of our standards of consumer, environmental and workers’ rights. And we’ll ensure that those are on the table. We’re also very clear that there has to be an absolute guarantee that the Good Friday Agreement is maintained for peace in Northern Ireland.

So far, the prime minister hasn’t shown much sign of compromise but I’m pleased that today she’s indicated she’ll accept the view of Parliament and is prepared to reach out and have that discussion. I have been meeting MPs from all parties over the past weeks. And there is some common ground; there are some areas it’s difficult to agree on. But, however people voted in the referendum of 2016, they didn’t vote for lower living standards or to lose their jobs. And there’s far more that unites people on both sides than divides them.”

Make your own minds up… I’ll respond properly tomorrow, no doubt.

Preferential Confirmatory Referendum

2019-04-02 20:21:25


There is ONLY one way of settling Brexit democratically and that is a preferential referendum of 3 or more options, my belief is three options are the minimum:

  1. Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement (Parliament might not like it, perhaps the People do)
  2. No Deal (Parliament might not like it, perhaps the People do)
  3. Withdraw Article 50 – Parliament might not like it, perhaps in hindsight the People do? For those who don’t know, there are essentially three ways to vote in a Preferential system: X or 1 next to your preferred choice. And essentially say No to the other options.

1, 2, 3 next to the three choices available according to your preference. If for example, you prefer No Deal, you would place 1 in the box next to this option but COULD accept May’s Withdrawal Deal then you can put a 2 in the box next to this, you can of course not vote for a 3rd option, however by putting a 3 in that box you say two things:

  • A – I’m keeping this option out of the count for as long as possible and
  • B – I really don’t like this option.
  • And C – the third way is to spoil your paper.

Now I think three is the minimum but I don’t believe any other options should be included, other than perhaps a fourth “None of the Above” option should be included.

There are two reasons for not including more options – in this case, there is no way Brexit supporters can say we’re diluting the Brexit vs. Remain camp.

I believe there are many former Remain voters who might vote for May’s deal, and the second reason is that any more than four will actually create more division than unity.

Here’s a final point that I would recommend; this should not be a preferential vote where first preference wins automatically, but the preference with the most 1st choice and 2nd choices combined should win. Why?

Because that means whilst it may not be your preferred choice, it is acceptable to you as a voter, and therefore we can get a majority of the country behind a particular Brexit option.

This admittedly is an ever so slight twist on the normal preferential system, but for these unique circumstances I believe, truly, the most democratic and sensible way forward.

Why will this never get put to the people, because some people will claim it’s too complicated, which in my opinion insinuates that the people of the UK are dumb, I don’t believe that at all.

It also gives you the right to confirm your 2016 vote and to actually have an option rather than three words “Leave the EU” – which tells no one in any concrete way how you wish to leave.

Of course, if May’s deal is not the one parliament comes close to agreeing it should be the one parliament passes as an option, but I don’t believe the British people should not have a confirmatory say on the options now they are known.

And as a remainer, if Brexit in whatever form is the biggest winner, then I believe we need to accept that.

But if not, we need talk about how we bring healing back into our political discourse.

Theresa May’s Ampass Speech


Theresa May’s “Ampass” (impasse) statement doesn’t really move things forward, rather she’s trying to keep her deal, whilst negotiating the future relationship with the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn. She refuses to explore No deal and to head for a further extension to Article 50, but not beyond May 22nd. The tactic of “trying” to get Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn involved is shrewd, if they don’t reach an agreement, she can blame him, and if they do but it falls in the commons, she can blame it on him, if they come up with a variety of options, she claims the bits she didn’t like (aka the Commons votes against) were insisted upon by her. Of course, I could be being cynical, but the state of things right now is pretty much no further forward than we were this morning, in my opinion.

Cabinet Meeting


Presenter on the news described the cabinet meeting which started at 9am and are still there gone 6pm as an “extraordinary length of time” – ya know like it’s not the Cabinet’s normal job, we think they probably got at least an hour for a cushy lunch, unlike Nurses on 12 hour + shifts… Ya know doing their day job! The language of how “special” this meeting is because of its “unprecedented” length, not because it’s actually anyone doing something amazing like Nurses… Who are paid around £25k and not a government minister who is paid closer to £125k.

Cisero, Brenda, Nick & Theresa


Last night I said we shouldn’t set much score in the resignation of the whip by Nick Boles. That doesn’t mean his emotional plea:

“I have given everything to an attempt to find a compromise that can take this country out of the European Union while maintaining our economic strength and our political cohesion. I accept I have failed. I have failed chiefly because my party refuses to compromise. I regret, therefore, to announce I can no longer sit for this party.”

Nick Boles, MP

Should be ignored, merely that he is (as he has since stated) going to sit as an “Independent Progressive Conservative” MP – essentially a Tory with a conscience.

But ignoring the speaker of the words, and focus instead on what was said, and in a large part, why they were said, his words, I believe, underpin the general feeling of the media and perhaps this also reflects the wider view of the general public – one can imagine “Brenda from Bristol’s” reaction to this – maybe something a-kin to her 2017 outburst, though obviously different words today, as the cause is different.

But whilest every commentator has on the whole predicted the result of each vote correctly, no one can predict the outcome. Today Theresa May’s Etonian-Esq cabinet meets to thrash out a way forward, and I’m not sure Amanda Rudd and the Chancellor will come away without bruising and I sincerely believe they will come away without a compromise, any such compromise will be in all but name.

And like support for Scottish Independence we’ve seen a massive decline in support for Brexit – but instead of a population of between 6 million where 50% is 3 million we’re talking about a population where 10% is over 6 million – the numbers and thus the potential for unrest is significant.

And whilst Scotland remains at least on the whole, civil, the talk surrounding Brexit has been the opposite (not perhaps in the majority of cases) but a significant minority, again it comes back to numbers, for every nasty SNP supporter there are 9 sincere and decent SNP supporters; and whilst that may be true for Brexit, again, timesed across the population it equals a significant number.

And for want of a better phrase, Brexit is a numbers game. Theresa’s deal whilst not one I could support was a compromise that is rejected because it was not pleasing to anyone, with no real space for compromise, a “good deal” wouldn’t please everyone, but it would have enough to at least be a compromise, rather than a rigid blind brexit.

And that’s where we’re at – there is currently “no good deal” that would compromise the right amount for anyone to be even vaugly able to say “I got something I wanted, whilst also having to compromise on things I didn’t”. No one can save face at the moment – we’ve entered Trumpian diplomacy, where one side must win at the expense of the other – this isn’t diplomacy, it’s a war of ideology and words.

The truth is that’s where we’re at – Brexit now will either be won by No-Dealers by default, an “accidental” No Deal that has forced the hand of us all, or a last minute reprieve through a revocation of Article 50. Unless…

…Unless Theresa May actually risks everything. There’s five ways she’s got, and three look more likely than the others.

The first option is to tie her deal to a vote of no confidence and if her deal is rejected again, we’re likely to see a New Conservative PM – whether they would have the votes to support the new government or be forced into a GE is another issue. (This looks like an option May may persue).

The second option is similar, Theresa May will attempt to pit her deal against the Customs Union motion (from the indicative votes, again a more likely choice for May to make).

The third option is to call a General Election, this seems unlikely, but is more likely than option four.

The fourth option then is to call a “confirmatory” referendum. My preference here is for a preferential approach, i.e. three options voted for by selecting 1, 2 or 3 – but most MPs appear to believe the public is to dumb to understand this approach. Either way a second referendum is probably her last resort and least likely approach, which may just be why it’ll happen (she has a tendency).

The fifth option is to go for No Deal, this seems more likely than options 3 or 4 – but as soon as such an option is noted in the house I suspect there would be emergency motions etc – which could or couldn’t be won (as May has a fair few ultra-party loyal MPs, aka Turkey’s who’d vote for Christmas, such as my own MP Luke Graham, who always follow the whip, kinda like the majority of SNP MPs – who almost always follow their own whip too).

It may be that May opts for option 2, before proceeding to option 5, or possibly option 1 or options 3/4. Either way April 12th is fast approaching, and because she’s run down the clock, she’s forced everyone into a corner, and we’ve entered Trumpian-Esq diplomacy (Diplomatic Warfare) which has the potential, though is unlikely to end up in open warfare.

The chances are we won’t see a splitting up of the two party system this side of Brexit, and barring some catastrophic event (such as a No deal brexit), I’m not sure we will the other side for a long time either.

Whilst this post has “no real hope” – depending on your view point – but also doesn’t tell you which way forward is best – what do I know? I will remind you of the epic quotation from Marcus Tullius Cicero (aka Cicero, the Roman philosopher) – “Whilst there is life there is hope”… So when you’re blue remember that whilst you yet live there will always be hope.

Government defeats since 1945 in the House of Commons


Some Perspective, Number of Government defeats in the House of Commons since 1945

Atlee – 4 defeats
Churchill (2nd Gov.) – 1 defeat
Eden – 0 defeats
MacMillan – 0 defeats
Douglas-Home – 0 defeats
Wilson (1st Term) – 6 defeats
Heath – 6 defeats
Wilson (2nd Term) – 25 defeats
Callaghan – 34 defeats
Thatcher – 4 defeats
Major – 6 defeats
Blair (All Terms) – 4 defeats
Brown – 3 defeats
Cameron/Clegg – 6 defeats
Cameron – 3 defeats
May (Pre 2017 GE) – 0 defeats
May (Minority) – 22 defeats

Results of hitting 20 defeats:

Wilson – Resigned within 6 days of his 25th defeat
Callaghan’s government was bought down by the final defeat (a vote of No Confidence)

Other results:

Thatcher resigned within a year of her last defeat (though not because of it).

Almost a year (in February 1974) after his final defeat in July 1973 Heath called a GE, which although winning the popular vote he had fewer seats, Labour formed a minority government. Heath called the GE to bolster his government, but it seems unlikely this was to do with his house of commons defeat.

What do the numbers suggest?

25 seems to be the minimum number of Government defeats before a collapse. However, we should highlight that no PM has made it past 6 government defeats in the House of Commons without resigning, aside from Theresa May, who is just 3 losses short of Wilson, though 12 short of Callaghan’s 34 defeats.

Whilst there is no requirement on a PM to resign after a defeat or any number of defeats, no government with 7 or more defeats since 1945 has survived as PM.

Likelihood of a General Election


Embed from Getty Images

Robert Peston highlights the likelihood of GE over other options, concluding with:

“But equally one of her closest ministers told me the risk of going to the country is exceptionally high – especially since the EU has said it would allow a further Brexit delay if the Brexit preferences of the UK needed to be tested again in an election.

At least after Friday Mrs May has a Brexit policy to put in an election manifesto, since 90% of her MPs voted for the Withdrawal Agreement – and when I mentioned to a Tory official that Friday’s defeat had yielded that advantage for the PM, I was greeted with a giggled “we’re all getting ahead of ourselves” rather than a denial.

Consider yourselves warned.”

Full article here from Robert Peston and ITV.

Progress Scotland hide key polling data


Latest Poll from Progress Scotland/Survation ommits one key question, see table in picture for the detailed breakdown (I am waiting for the official table from Survation, to verify the one below)

Anyway the analysis (by moi, based on this dubiously sourced table, but several unofficial sources indicate it’s accuracy)*

Polling conducted by the Progress Scotland/Survation shows that support for an independent Scotland (0) and against an independent Scotland (10) with numbers representing how much you support the two extremes, suggests that Indie Ref is not wanted…

0 – 24%
1 – 2%
2 – 3%
3 – 3%
4 – 3%
5 – 5%
6 – 3%
7 – 4%
8 – 6%
9 – 5%
10 – 40%

Don’t Know – 3%

Oddly the scale technically has 12 options, only 11 of which measure strength, if 5 is the midpoint, everything below 5 is in favour; everything above is against, and 5 represents the truly undecided. Now of course these (likert) scales are arguably not very accurate**, but all polling uses them.
This suggests that 35% support independence, whilst 57% are against and 5% are undecided or nueteral on the issue, with 3% don’t knows. This suggests (to me) that the Scottish public support independence less because of Brexit (if that’s a mess, how much more would Scotix be?).

That’s one interpretation, but until then full poll data is released its difficult to know.

*The results have been verified as genuine, read about it in the Herald.

**Likert Scales:

“A Likert-type scale assumes that the strength/intensity of experience is linear, i.e. on a continuum from strongly agree to strongly disagree, and makes the assumption that attitudes can be measured.”



“Likert Scales have the advantage that they do not expect a simple yes / no answer from the respondent, but rather allow for degrees of opinion, and even no opinion at all. Therefore quantitative data is obtained, which means that the data can be analyzed with relative ease.



However, like all surveys, the validity of Likert Scale attitude measurement can be compromised due social desirability. This means that individuals may lie to put themselves in a positive light. For example, if a likert scale was measuring discrimination, who would admit to being racist?”


Technically this isn’t a Likert Scale because it has 11 rather than 7 options in the scale.

Brexit Deal 2.5


A general election could be fast approaching, and there will be many positionings on Brexit, and some will need to be finely balanced.

Assuming Theresa May’s 2.5 Brexit deal is rejected today (which looks entirely likely) then there are machinations for a General Election (primarily within the Conservative Party); again this may not go ahead – but the question will be how each party stands on Brexit. And we may not see much of a change from current positionings.

Now the Conservatives will have possibly three potential positions – that could totally rip the party apart, as could the Labour Party.

The first issue will be are we remain or leave. The logical conclusion, and the one answer to attracting the most voters will be to say: We will negotiate an entirely new deal for leaving and then an entire deal for future relationship, which we will then put to a public referendum. This should mean that if the public decide the deal is not in their interest they can vote to remain or vote to leave on that deal. Whilst there is proportion of voters who wish for a No Deal/WTO Terms Brexit, this is a small proportion; however, a preferential referendum should prevent dilution of results for both sides, one where you can use a cross (for a single vote) or !number your ballot 1 – 3 (we use a similar principle for voting in Scotland).

The options being:
Leave without any deal/WTO Terms
Leave with (newly) negotiated deal

So if I’m strongly in support of a No Deal Brexit (and don’t want the other options I can select No Deal with either an X or a 1 and leave the less blank, but say my preference is for Brexit but not remain, but I would prefer a deal over no deal, but would accept no deal I can mark my paper thusly:

No Deal – 2
Deal – 1
Remain – (either blank or 3)

And so the first preference system (aka Single Transferable Vote) requires that the option that wins requires 50%+1 of the vote (So the first ‘option’ to that magic number is the will of the people) – however that is not simply based on first preference but also on second preference.
So if you have something like this for 1st preference:
No Deal – 40%
New Deal – 16%
Remain – 44%

You then take the second preference of papers whose first preference was ‘New Deal’ and divide those to the other options:

No Deal – 40%+ 67% of 16% of All the votes (10.72% of all votes) = 50.72%
New Deal – 16%
Remain – 44% + 33% of 16% of the votes (5.28% of all votes) = 49.28%

As No Deal has a 50.72% majority we can see that is 50% of all votes plus 1 vote above (not 1%) it would be the option the nation should pursue.

Anyway whilst I may disagree with the legality of the result for the 2016 referendum, many within the UK don’t have that issue, so instead of talking about “respecting the result” – I want to talk about “respecting” them as people. That means any new government would be duty bound to negotiate a new deal, but also to put it to a confirmatory referendum (with beefed up rules on campaigning), a confirmatory referendum is not about leave or remain so much as it is about if we’re sure we wish to (as a public) enact the result of the 2016 referendum and also how we enact that result, or do not.

It means everyone can feel their voice has been adaquatly heard and it’s not a re-run of the 2016 referendum.

Now that seems to me to be the only logical way to solve it for each party currently divided on the issue.

Brexiteers can claim their options are not being diluted and remainers can’t claim the same either.

Of course the way each party will explain their brexit position to the nation will depend on who the leader is of the party at the time; internal and external polling etc; their party members; their core votes base etc. But otherwise we may be seeing the collapse of the two party system. Which is both good and bad.

If the two party system it means single-issue right-wing/centre ground parties like DUP/SNP/UKIP will have more power to decide government power and will be kingmakers, despite recieving less votes than other parties.

Alternatively the three traditional parties (Con.; Lab.; Lib.) may have to follow the example of Churchill and form a multi-party “war government”, and then internal multi-party leadership elections may have to take place.

Of course this last element is purely subjective; Some turkeys (aka some voters) seem to like voting for their political Christmas. Though they may not realise or see it as that.

“Meaningful” vote 2.5/3


Following on from the indicitive votes (round 1) last night, initially I’d said I thought parliamentary arithmetic may be on Theresa May’s side for vote 3 on her deal, and it still may be, but with the DUP appearing to be authentic and reliable in their decision not to support her deal (isn’t that part of the confidence and supply arrangement?).

Anyway the arithmetic looks something like this:
ERG Die Hards – 15 MPs (Against)
ERG Waverers – 43 MPs (Probably a mix of For and Against, but assume all vote in favour)
DUP – 10 MPs (Against)
May’s deal loving Tories – 218 MPs (For)
Soft-Brexit Tories – 30 MPs (For)
People’s Vote Tories – 7 MPs (Against)
Labour MPs with Tricky Brexit Seats & Independents – 7 (For)
Everyone else (including 7x Labour Brexiteers) – 308 MPs

Totals: 342 Against; 298 in Favour (Difference 44 votes)

To pass the 3rd “meaningful vote” needs 321 votes – So Theresa May needs just 23 votes. If it is even allowed to be retabled, which depends on the Speaker.

Parliamentary arithmetic without the DUP (over constitutional issues) and some Brexiteers (who want a very hard Brexit or No Deal Brexit) is a unlikely to pass. Which means British politics must hang its head in shame, and the hopes of many must pass to the indicitive votes round 2 – on Monday. Unless May can find 23 to support her, which assuming the 1 abstention last night and possibly the 1 guy unable to attend due to the birth of his child – may only be 21 votes, and oddly that seems significantly less of a hurdle than 23.

Honestly I wouldn’t say categorically at this point it won’t pass a 3rd time (three times the charm, 3rd time lucky etc) but mathematically doesn’t seem to be likely. Though when in recent times were the hard sciences a respected in Westminster? Right now I’m not sure the laws of physics apply there. Somehow Theresa May has survived when gravity would normally have crushed her government into a tiny particle.

If you’d like to do your own parliamentary arithmetic (using click buttons) to see who would need to switch to support May’s deal to help her win, visit this lovely page at The Guardian.

Indicative votes (Round 1)


Indicative Votes Round 1 tonight – all fell, though Common Market & Second Ref proceed to next round – though that may not happen as May’s dodgy (Withdrawal Only) deal could come back for a third vote – most important political shift in the UKs history can be voted on more than once by everyone but the UK public.

It looks like May’s deal will pass on a third attempt, but this isn’t good news, looks like we’ll end up with a competent nasty billionaire (3 in the running) rather than the incompetent wife of a billionaire…

Oddly both Anna Soubry (Independent Group, former Tory) and even more oddly Ian “Nasty Bully” Blackford (SNP) are right – Anna Soubry clearly believes the second round of indicitive votes must go ahead, and Blackford believes a GE should be called..

Where they are both wrong however is on a) if the first will happen and b) how that will change the parliamentary arithmetic, a GE is unlikely to see any chance of a new government forming an overwhelming majority with enough internal cohesion to actually get a withdrawal agreement agreed or even anything close to an agreement over Brexit, No Brexit etc.

In fact we’re back to square one, in truth, though unofficially it looks like Theresa May’s deal will succeed and indicitive votes will fall by the wayside as irrelevant as they become in that scenario. The truth is the UK’s lack of a written constitution and two-party political system with FPTP voting has been shown up for what it is, only an attempt at democracy, in possibly the first time since before the Magna Carta (possibly the 1700s) the UK’s democracy has well and truly failed beyond all reason.

Brexit: Labour will NOT support tonight’s vote for a second referendum


“The People’s Vote campaign…have issued a formal statement of their position today in response to amendment H, saying “we have made it clear that we do not regard today as the right time to press the case for the public to be given a final say…”

Full MIRROR article here.

Resilience of a cochroach


Theresa May was described as having “incredible resilience” by one commentator (BBC Parliament) – it seems to me she has the resilience of a cockroach in a nuclear holocaust – no one else wants it, and no one is prepared to vote against the cockroach in case they end up being put there against their own will.

Antisemitism and the Left


Worth a listen…

Listen to Antisemitism and the Left – Dr. Dave Rich, House of Commons, December 2018

One of many takeaways for me (worded in my own unique way) is that blaming the Rothschild bank for injustice is like blaming the Medici bank for Vietnam – unfounded and stupid (not to mention historically inaccurate)

Jeremy Corbyn is egged by ‘pro-Brexit protester’ at a constituency event


“It is understood the egg was not thrown from a distance but was still in his hand when it hit the Labour leader’s head.”

Mirror Newspaper

The guy either thumped with the egg in his hand or slapped with the egg between his palm and the Leader of the Opposition’s head… Either way that’s not “throwing an egg” or being “egged” – and any-way you look at it, it’s basically “assault with an egg”…

Read the full Mirror article here.

Lump of solid iron in a bathtub


As predicted Theresa May’s attempt to get just the withdrawal agreement through fell like a lump of solid iron in a bathtub – so now what?

Honestly, I would be looking at three or four different routes…

1. a. She calls a General Election (Without her resignation, I wouldn’t be surprised (at this point) if Theresa May refused to step down and before they dissolve parliament for the GE, she puts her deal back a 3rd/4th time, and this time it’s voted through, because there’s no more scared a Tory than one in fear of loosing his cushy seat).
1. b. Theresa May calls a General Election (no extra vote; she resigns).
1. c. Theresa May calls a General Election (no extra vote; and she doesn’t resign).

2. Indicative Votes on Monday present a plan – possibly a confirmatory referendum, possibly an agreement to withdraw from everything but the Customs Union, possibly in favour of Labour’s alternative Brexit Plan.

3. a. Theresa May calls a confirmatory referendum.
3. b. Theresa May pulls the UK into a no-deal brexit.
3. c. Theresa May cancels article 50.

4. a. Theresa May resigns and her successor calls a confirmatory referendum.
4. b. Theresa May resigns and her successor opts for No Deal.
4. c. Theresa May resigns and her successor asks for an extension so that they may completely renegotiate the deal.
4. d. Theresa May resigns and her successor cancels article 50.

*** EDIT ***
There is now talk of a 5th option, which is so hubris I don’t understand how this is even possible, kind of like 1. a. above.

5. Theresa May brings back her deal for a 3rd/4th vote next week in a “run off” with the winner (or least looser; or most supported) of the indicitive votes round 2, apparently Downing Street believes that will be a Customs Union, but if May is determined to scare the ERG I would have said that should be a Second Referendum, though that gamble may be too much. However, considering the Withdrawal Agreement doesn’t negate a future PM negotiating a Customs Union, it would be strange, but in this case not unexpected, to pit that against the PMs Withdrawal Agreement.

– If she wins her deal goes through.
– If she looses I’m not sure we’re technically any further forward, because a Customs Union is part of the “Future Relationship” so that’s not something that can be determined before we agree a the withdrawal agreement; unless of course she puts it against a Second Referendum, in which case that would be our next step.
***END EDIT***

Now most of those routes are “political suicide” – and honestly even as a Labour voter I’m not sure parliamentary arithmetic post a GE will change enough to see any one solution work, rather a coalition or confidence-and-supply arrangement will be required. Which may mean my suggested idea for a way through (GE, negotiate new deal and then confirmatory referendum) could actually be something the current opposition parties – the SNP, Lib Dems, “Change UK Party” formerly known as the Independent Group and the UK Labour Party may have to agree to satisfy just about everyone on the left and they may have to govern as a “rainbow coalition”. But what it can’t be claimed by the Conservatives next time is that they’re:

A. The Party of Sound Economy
B. The Strong & Stable Party
Or that the “Rainbow Coalition” would be a “Coalition of Chaos”.

And in truth, we probably wouldn’t be in this mess now, without blaming anything, if in 2010, David Cameron hadn’t charmed Nick Clegg more than Gordon Brown had. But that’s the past and I’m not sure what the way forward is beyond the weekend…