Monday 17 December 2018

The Politics of No Confidence

The parliamentary choreography was clumsy, but we got there in the end. Mid afternoon Twitter was all aflutter with the news that Jeremy Corbyn was going to table a no confidence vote, something he'd been under pressure to table since Theresa May pulled her vote. Corbyn's threat, for that is what it was, promised a no confidence vote in the Prime Minister if she didn't name a date for the vote on her deal. Suitably spooked she conceded as such and it appeared as if the Labour leader wasn't going to announce his motion. Cue the usual moaners and screechers doing their usual moaning and screeching. The Labour press release was let loose into the social media badlands and then, stone the crows, JCorbz got up to the despatch box and said the following.

That this House has no confidence in the Prime Minister due to her failure to allow the House of Commons to have a meaningful vote straight away on the withdrawal agreement and framework for the future relationship between the UK and the EU, and that will be tabled immediately Mr Speaker.

Inelegant yes, but thankfully most people don't follow the ins and outs of parliamentary footwork. What Labour people care about, as well as supporters of the nationalist parties, Greens and, at least for the moment, the Liberal Democrats is the toppling of May is a commitment to barring EU workers from travelling and settling here. And what the UK receives in exchange are fewer trading options ans the ruinous de-integration of four decades of economic development. The global Britain the Brexit fantasists promised is nothing but a miserable, mean-spirited prospectus in practice.

What then of Corbyn's motion? It's not a real vote of no confidence because if passed it won't carry the constitutional force of a vote against the government. In that case, the path to a general election is opened. But nonetheless it's not a waste of effort, as the SNP are this evening disingenuously suggesting. The DUP aren't likely to vote against the government, and neither are the 117 rebellious MPs, at least this side of the withdrawal agreement vote. But against May is a different kettle of fish. Are Tory MPs who made a show of parading their no confidence letters in front of the cameras about to go back on this? All it takes is a handful of abstentions and May is effectively toast. Unfortunately, the likelihood of this being heard before parliament packs its bags for a fortnight is next to zero because of the government's control of the Commons' business. Nevertheless it puts pressure on the Tories and helps stir the division in the party further.

It needn't have turned out this way but May, just like her predecessor has not pursued the "national interest" (however chimerical that phrase is) in the shaping of Brexit. At each and every stage, from when she stood like an all-conquering titan and declared herself for a hard Brexit to her pathetic kowtowing to the idiots and malcontents on the backbenches, the range of interests that have exercised her the most were, initially, the short-termism of Tory party management and, since she's blown that, the stumbling on of her zombie premiership. Brexit is at an impasse because May's definition of the project, if it can be dignified with such a term, is incompatible with and can't be squared with these demands. The slate needs wiping clean, and Labour is the only one that can do it.


Anonymous said...

Labour couldnt deliver the papers. I remember what Corbyn said about controlling immigration 'for jobs'. right then he might as well have been ukip if you was a migrant. but there's more votes from white englanders than the rest of us. not that Labor are doing that well in the polls even tho May and her gang are the shittest government for decades. so why not, mr blogger? its coz Corbyn is a nasty little gnome who we all now coan't wait to get out of europe and build his national socialist empire. more immigration controls and then God help my Jewish cousins.

Thing about Brexit, its got everyone talking bout politics til we're sick of talkin bout it. N we're sick of it cos no one gives a shit about enything cept grabbing power and forcin their old school dreams on us.

Phil said...

What an insane comment.

Nell said...

Somebody is very very angry (and cowardly, not even a first name). PS I really enjoy reading your analyses. Thank you.

Showeda said...

'Anonymous said' and didn't think beforehand, shame... JC did the best thing... It has been given the woeful MSM treatment... Which these days guarantees merit in an action... When I saw her leave so promptly I was reminded of the old Bob Marley classic

Boffy said...

The comment by "anonymous" is clearly just DFTM?BCFG etc. trolling in a guise designed to disguise him from his other alter ego's, hence the obviously and deliberately bad grammar and spelling, and ridiculous Ali G type voice he has used.

As for Corbyn's No Confidence Motion it is worse than useless. It could be argued that tactically it has the potential for embarrassing those Tories who voted against May in their own No Confidence motion, by separating her out from the rest of the government. But, that nuance will be lost on most, when those Tories fail to back this motion either.

The truth is that the effect of the internal No Confidence motion being lost is that for the next year, May is synonymous with the government, because she cannot be challenged during that time. A motion of No Confidence in May is effectively, therefore, a Motion of No Confidence in the government, as the two are inseparable during that time. So, Corbyn may as well have put a formal No Confidence motion in the government.

By putting a motion of no confidence in May rather than the government, it becomes essentially pointless. The Tories have no constitutional duty to timetable it any time soon, and Labour has no available time to put it down, and even if they did, and it was passed, it would have no standing. Precisely, because the government can now timetable it for some time in the New Year, probably after they deign to allow a vote on the Meaningful vote, it simply lets the Tories off the hook for another month, demobilising and demoralising the anti-Tory forces, and giving May time to regroup, and to use the ticking clock to further pressure waverers into backing her bad deal, especially as Labour seem incapable of mounting any credible opposition to her.

By putting down this meaningless vote, it allows Corbyn to avoid putting down a meaningful No Confidence Vote in the government, so as to start mobilising the required forces to stop the reactionary Tory Brexit, via a campaign for a General Election or another referendum.

Labour's leadership clearly cannot lead, and the time has come for the party rank and file to take the lead. We should start demanding the TUC organise a General Strike to stop a terribly damaging and reactionary Brexit.

Speedy said...

I was interested to see what you said about this, but there's a real touch of Pravda Phil going on here - it's not only the SNP being disingenuous!

This was a deeply cynical move, and little better than the Tories themselves - we are witnessing the slow death of parliamentary democracy, and Corbyn's Labour is playing its part.

He didn't call a no-confidence vote not because he thought he would lose it (he was always going to lose it) but because once he had done so, he would be forced to back another referendum or, God forbid, even consider going cross-benches and developing some kind of deal for the country instead of narrow party interest.

But he fears his own membership, which massively supports the EU, and yearns for a Brexit in which he can implement his own equally bizarre vision of Brexit, the socialist paradise, and never mind the bodies.

Privately-educated Corbyn and Milne are just as bad as Boris and Rees-Mogg in their way - symptoms of a system in which the humble ambitions of the little people count for nothing. Labour in name only.

Anonymous said...


No actual evidence for your Corbyn fantasies.

Are you Nick Cohen?

DFTM said...

"The comment by "anonymous" is clearly just DFTM?BCFG"

No it isn't, I happen to be a supporter of Corbyn and support his position re the EU, NATO, Imperialism etc, which is more than we can say for Boffy!

I mean Boffy just slavishly supports whatever person is Labour leader, as we can see when he portrayed Blairite Ed Milliband as James Bond!

Boffy is actually not a supporter of Corbyn at all, whereas I most certainly am.

Boffy said...

So, now we know from Corbyn's interview in the Guardian, that he is just the mouthpiece of his Stalinist mentors from the Morning Star and Socialist Action. The whole failure to lead over opposition to Brexit, and put forward a principled internationalist position in the last three years becomes clear, as does the debacle over the No Confidence vote.

Its Clear Corbyn Must Go, and the party must be rebuilt on principled international socialist principles, starting with a commitment to stop Brexit, and to work alongside other socialist in Europe to build a Workers Europe.

DFTM said...

I am now genuinely wondering if the comment above from anonymous, which Boffy attributes to me, was actually made by Boffy himself in a lame attempt to make me appear inarticulate and at the same time stick the knife into Corbyn?

Tmb said...

Comparing Corbyn and Milne to Boris and JRM is not really going to hold water. However, some people will have their fantasies, why rob of them it?

Anyone can now see that the slow motion train wreck that sums up the end of this government of sociopaths, has literally brought the nation to its knees, we are rudderless, absolutely no one outside a small clique of selfish careerists and money grubbers knows what's going on, and yet the mainstream media continues to defend, apologise for and ignore the complete f*ck ups the worst government in living memory has foisted on us. Yet Theresa May acts as if she is somehow hard done by, and her increasingly shrill, almost neurotic, performance in PMQs suggests she might be doing herself and everyone else a favour by resigning and taking a long holiday. And being the good principled Christian she keeps telling all those nice right wing middle class Christian websites she is, maybe she might think about all those people suffering under austerity her government imposed, the disabled and poorest enduring cut after cut, and the homeless at this time of year.

Saint Theresa of Brokenshire (England's new name)

Happy Christmas Theresa!