Runners and riders

Tony Williams
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Runners and riders

Post by Tony Williams » Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:34 am

So now we seem likely to have three leadership contests going on at once, assuming that the Labour MPs follow through with their attempt to unseat Corbyn.

If I were involved (which I'm not, never having been a member of any political party) my reaction would be to vote against the ones I didn't want, given that I can't see any likely candidates on the Labour or Tory side to get enthusiastic about.

That principle makes my choice for the Prime Minister very easy - whoever stands the best chance of beating Boris Johnson. Before the referendum I just saw him as a mildly amusing clown, but the prospect of him actually gaining power is alarming. Not only was he incoherent in his advocacy of Brexit, he was accused of a large number of exaggerations and lies in the BBC's Reality Check website. I've since read an account of his time as London Mayor which basically concluded that he didn't know what to do with the job and was so bad at it that his staff kept him away from business as much as possible. He is reportedly terribly keen to be seen as a kind of 21st century Churchill and even seems to be aping his posture and body language, but IMO he's just a Muppet version.

On the Labour side the basic choice seems to be similar even though the personalities involved are very different: to stand any chance of winning the next election (assuming that the Tories don't fall apart, which they might) it's "anyone but Corbyn". Or at least, that's the conventional wisdom; but considering the turmoil in Western politics and the strong performance of Sanders in the USA, maybe that wisdom is wrong.

The third contest is course for manager of the England football team. Who in their right mind could want the job? Admittedly you get paid millions but you have to suffer years of abuse and national humiliation. Come to think of it, maybe the party leader jobs aren't that different except that you have to wait until after you've left the job before you can start earning those millions.

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Re: Runners and riders

Post by Tony Williams » Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:19 am

And now Gove has joined the fray, saying that "Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead."

Well, I don't disagree with that, but it seems an astonishing development. "Interesting times" doesn't begin to describe it.

Oh well, if either Johnson or Gove got the job, there would at least be some satisfaction in seeing them trying to sort out the mess they have created.

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Re: Runners and riders

Post by Tony Williams » Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:36 pm

So now Johnson has withdrawn - you really couldn't make it up, current events would be dismissed as too improbable if they featured in a fictional political thriller.

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Re: Runners and riders

Post by Tony Williams » Thu Jun 30, 2016 2:22 pm

An interesting take on the situation, posted in the Guardian's comments column immediately after the referendum verdict:
If Boris Johnson looked downbeat yesterday, that is because he realises that he has lost.

Perhaps many Brexiters do not realise it yet, but they have actually lost, and it is all down to one man: David Cameron.

With one fell swoop yesterday at 9:15 am, Cameron effectively annulled the referendum result, and simultaneously destroyed the political careers of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and leading Brexiters who cost him so much anguish, not to mention his premiership.

How?

Throughout the campaign, Cameron had repeatedly said that a vote for leave would lead to triggering Article 50 straight away. Whether implicitly or explicitly, the image was clear: he would be giving that notice under Article 50 the morning after a vote to leave. Whether that was scaremongering or not is a bit moot now but, in the midst of the sentimental nautical references of his speech yesterday, he quietly abandoned that position and handed the responsibility over to his successor.

And as the day wore on, the enormity of that step started to sink in: the markets, Sterling, Scotland, the Irish border, the Gibraltar border, the frontier at Calais, the need to continue compliance with all EU regulations for a free market, re-issuing passports, Brits abroad, EU citizens in Britain, the mountain of legislation to be torn up and rewritten ... the list grew and grew.

The referendum result is not binding. It is advisory. Parliament is not bound to commit itself in that same direction.

The Conservative party election that Cameron triggered will now have one question looming over it: will you, if elected as party leader, trigger the notice under Article 50?

Who will want to have the responsibility of all those ramifications and consequences on his/her head and shoulders?

Boris Johnson knew this yesterday, when he emerged subdued from his home and was even more subdued at the press conference. He has been out-manoeuvred and check-mated.

If he runs for leadership of the party, and then fails to follow through on triggering Article 50, then he is finished. If he does not run and effectively abandons the field, then he is finished. If he runs, wins and pulls the UK out of the EU, then it will all be over - Scotland will break away, there will be upheaval in Ireland, a recession ... broken trade agreements. Then he is also finished. Boris Johnson knows all of this. When he acts like the dumb blond it is just that: an act.

The Brexit leaders now have a result that they cannot use. For them, leadership of the Tory party has become a poison chalice.

When Boris Johnson said there was no need to trigger Article 50 straight away, what he really meant to say was "never". When Michael Gove went on and on about "informal negotiations" ... why? why not the formal ones straight away? ... he also meant not triggering the formal departure. They both know what a formal demarche would mean: an irreversible step that neither of them is prepared to take.

All that remains is for someone to have the guts to stand up and say that Brexit is unachievable in reality without an enormous amount of pain and destruction, that cannot be borne. And David Cameron has put the onus of making that statement on the heads of the people who led the Brexit campaign.

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Re: Runners and riders

Post by bindeweede » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:26 pm

Tony, don't know if you have seen this, but it might give you a brief smile.

http://newsthump.com/2016/06/30/boris-j ... ialnetwork

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Re: Runners and riders

Post by Tony Williams » Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:38 pm

This situation is getting beyond satire. :ro

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Re: Runners and riders

Post by chaggle » Fri Jul 01, 2016 8:15 am

Theresa May is front runner and will win probably.

She was a remainer which is good, and she has said that there will be no Article 50 this year.

However she has also said that she will implement Brexit.

Hopefully she is lying about that but in case she means it, I hope it comes up and bites her on the bum next year when she realises just how suicidal Brexit would be.

Strikes me as strange that Brexiteers would accept an almost certainly unsatisfactory (for them) Brexit deal imposed upon them by her rather than having the opportunity to reject it in a further referendum.
Don't blame me - I voted remain :con

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Re: Runners and riders

Post by Tony Williams » Fri Jul 01, 2016 8:23 am

I don't usually have much time for conspiracy theories, but I'm having problems getting my head around what really happened between Gove and Johnson. I mean, Gove has known Johnson for years and must be well aware of his strengths and weaknesses, so why stick the knife in at the last minute? And Gove has repeatedly said that he has no interest in leadership and wasn't suited to it, so why the dramatic events of yesterday? Here's a (not entirely serious) suggestion for a conversation which might have happened earlier in the week:

"Boris, I'm getting really anxious about this leadership election. It looks as if we're going to win, which would be a disaster since it means we will have to sort out the Brexit mess, which means nothing but years of pain and bad headlines, with us taking all of the blame."

"You're not kidding Michael, I've hardly slept a wink since David dropped us in it by postponing Article 50. If we are in charge when the time comes to trigger this, we're stuffed whether we do or we don't. This wasn't meant to happen – we were supposed to lose the referendum by a small margin which would boost our credentials with the Eurosceptics, given us our pick of powerful positions in the government and put us in pole position to take over when David left in a couple of years. As it is, I don't want anything to do with the leadership, but I can't honourably back out now."

"Me too. But I've got an idea: suppose on Thursday I announce that I'm standing for the leadership and claim it's because you're not the man for the job. You can then withdraw with honour intact, and I'll be out of it too because the Tories hate a traitor so they won't vote me in."

"Great idea! Let's do it, and leave some other mugs to sort out the mess we've made!"

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chaggle
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Re: Runners and riders

Post by chaggle » Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:21 am

That sounds entirely plausible - except for the 'honour intact' bit obviously.
Don't blame me - I voted remain :con

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Re: Runners and riders

Post by Croydon13013 » Fri Jul 01, 2016 10:46 am

Tony Williams wrote:On the Labour side the basic choice seems to be similar even though the personalities involved are very different: to stand any chance of winning the next election (assuming that the Tories don't fall apart, which they might) it's "anyone but Corbyn". Or at least, that's the conventional wisdom; but considering the turmoil in Western politics and the strong performance of Sanders in the USA, maybe that wisdom is wrong.
I have lots to say on the subject of Jeremy Corbyn and the coup attempt.

The Labour Party cannot win the next election now, that idea is over. It's just a question of which side ends up in control of the resources and which side has to leave and start again. At least 100,000 (probably 200,000) of us Labour Party members are never going to tolerate being in a party with Hilary Benn and the "Progress" group after their disgusting recent behaviour.

I totally reject the "anyone but Corbyn" propaganda. Since he became leader Labour have generally been ahead in the polls, won 4 by-elections, won London Mayor. Labour won 500 more seats than the Tories in the 5 May Council elections, retaining the particularly good performance of 4 years earlier against all expectations and despite "Progress" Chair, Alison McGovern MP attacking Corbyn the day before the election. These Council results were better than, say, in 2001, which took place on the same day as Labour's General Election win.

Labour Party membership rose by over 100,000 in the run-up to the 2015 leadership election. More people voted for JC as their first choice vote (251,000) than the total memberships of the Tories and LibDumbs combined. And Labour membership has risen again since then. Apparently by more than 60,000 in the last week. Now more than doubled since May 2015 to the highest membership of any UK political party ever. Corbyn is popular with ordinary people.

The main obstacle to Labour's popularity has been the constant stream of Labour MPs from the "Progress" faction publically attacking Jeremy Corbyn. Now this has reached a farcical level.

I'll pause.
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Re: Runners and riders

Post by Matt » Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:49 am

It's all quite simple.
So, let me get this straight... the leader of the opposition campaigned to stay but secretly wanted to leave, so his party held a non-binding vote to shame him into resigning so someone else could lead the campaign to ignore the result of the non-binding referendum which many people now think was just angry people trying to shame politicians into seeing they'd all done nothing to help them.

Meanwhile, the man who campaigned to leave because he hoped losing would help him win the leadership of his party, accidentally won and ruined any chance of leading because the man who thought he couldn't lose, did - but resigned before actually doing the thing the vote had been about. The man who'd always thought he'd lead next, campaigned so badly that everyone thought he was lying when he said the economy would crash - and he was, but it did, but he's not resigned, but, like the man who lost and the man who won, also now can't become leader. Which means the woman who quietly campaigned to stay but always said she wanted to leave is likely to become leader instead.

Which means she holds the same view as the leader of the opposition but for opposite reasons, but her party's view of this view is the opposite of the opposition's. And the opposition aren't yet opposing anything because the leader isn't listening to his party, who aren't listening to the country, who aren't listening to experts or possibly paying that much attention at all. However, none of their opponents actually want to be the one to do the thing that the vote was about, so there's not yet anything actually on the table to oppose anyway. And if no one ever does do the thing that most people asked them to do, it will be undemocratic and if any one ever does do it, it will be awful.

Clear?
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Re: Runners and riders

Post by Tony Williams » Fri Jul 01, 2016 12:17 pm

Tony Williams wrote:I don't usually have much time for conspiracy theories, but I'm having problems getting my head around what really happened between Gove and Johnson.
I've just been doing something that I rarely do - reading the Torygraph, simply because I thought it was most likely to know what the f*ck has been going on.

The most popular theory seems to be that Gove (aided and abetted by his wife) has been planning this coup for months, persuading Johnson to join the Leave side in order to recruit his "charisma" to the cause, then with the Brexit vote on the bag, knifing him in the back to secure the top job.

Leaving aside the question of why any sane person could possibly wish to become PM at this time, if this theory is true then Gove must be the most devious, calculating and treacherous politician in modern history. Some people might admire that, of course, but I find it hard to believe that it wouldn't count heavily against him, both with his fellow MPs and the wider membership. But then, what do I know?

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Re: Runners and riders

Post by Tony Williams » Fri Jul 01, 2016 1:19 pm

Croydon13013 wrote: The main obstacle to Labour's popularity has been the constant stream of Labour MPs from the "Progress" faction publically attacking Jeremy Corbyn. Now this has reached a farcical level.
There's obviously a massive disconnect between Labour supporters in the country and most of their MPs. So what will this lead to - a massive deselection exercise?

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Re: Runners and riders

Post by Croydon13013 » Fri Jul 01, 2016 1:52 pm

Tony Williams wrote:There's obviously a massive disconnect between Labour supporters in the country and most of their MPs. So what will this lead to - a massive deselection exercise?
If the membership get their way, yes, a massive de-selection exercise.

Angela Eagle's constituency party have already voted to support Jeremy Corbyn and are likely to de-select her. Something that is getting little media coverage.

But "Progress" are good at pulling dodgy tricks. There is no depth they will not stoop to. So I'm not at all confident of a democratic outcome. For instance, did any of you see the major BBC news story on Saturday where a Labour Party member heckled Corbyn at Pride? Just hours before Benn started the big split, at a point where the top story should have been the Tory chaos, the Beeb were showing footage of someone shout:

“it’s your fault, when are you resigning? It’s your fault! I had a Polish friend in tears because you couldn’t get out the vote in Wales, the north and the Midlands. You need to resign. Take control Jeremy and resign. Stop using the gay movement as a shield to protect your weak leadership."

It was the set-up for the Corbyn-must-go campaign to start. A campaign being run for the "Progress" clique by Portland Communication, a small political consultancy and PR company whose staff are primarily people who previously worked for Tony Blair, including the infamous Alastair Campbell, as well as a former CEO of BskyB and a former political editor of The Sun. The heckler's name is Tom Mauchline, he is Senior Account Manager for Portland Communication. The footage was provided by Mauchline himself and the BBC gave it top billing. There is a Rupert Murdoch backed anti-democratic machine at work here creating a false narrative that many will follow. It will be hard to defeat.
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Re: Runners and riders

Post by Tony Williams » Sat Jul 02, 2016 4:59 am

According to the papers we now have May well ahead in terms of MPs in support, and Leadsom has apparently edged ahead of Gove in second place as the Brexit choice (most of Johnson's supporters preferring anyone but Gove after he shafted Johnson). I have lost my capacity for surprise at anything that happens in this race.

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