Brexit Elections Left Politics

Votes of No Confidence


As I flick from watching Liverpool handle a European competition in a far finer manner than Theresa May and the Tory Party to comments on social media, I am shocked, befuddled and amazed at the lack of any political insight by Members of Parliament of opposition parties. The call by the likes of Ian Murray and Chukka Umuna for a vote of No Confidence screams a desperate attempt to not only force their own agenda, but also hurt the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. What is more surprising is the support they are receiving from the SNP.

Let’s be very clear on this, since the DUP and the ERG group within the Tory Party have both announced that they will not support a no confidence motion, it would not have enough votes within the house to be successful. Indeed, you only have to listen to Anna Soubry’s logical call for a vote of no confidence which she will in fact vote against to explain just how ineffectual this tactic is.

The truth is that currently the Tories are imploding, tonight there are strong rumours circulating that they have received the 48 votes to trigger a leadership challenge. Any challenge on May would only be successful by a full-fledged Brexiteer like Johnson, Grove or Reese Mogg. None of these have any credit or trust with the British public and would easily be pressed into calling a General Election. A victory for May will seal her party’s fate and usher in a Corbyn Government.

To call a vote of no confidence which would be lost makes zero sense, it would unite the Tories together, embolden the PM and give her an impetus to push through her terrible deal or worse still force through a no deal Brexit. It’s interesting that when pressed on what the next step would be after the NC would is lost, neither supporters or MP’s seem to have an answer, nor do they refute the outcome of the vote. It is political posturing at it’s worst and this is not the time for grandstanding such as this. The bigger question is why, why are the nationalists so insistent on piggying in with the likes of Murray to apportion the blame to Corbyn when he seems to be the only one showing any political strategy?

Could it be like John McDonnell suggest that the SNP are worried about Labour breathing down their necks in Scotland? Recent polls suggest not, yet there must be something behind it that instead of attacking May and her contempt of parliament and the British people they are focussing on the only man who can get the Tories out of Government. There is also a real dishonesty in attacking a political party for refusing to put a vote out they know they will lose. If this is so wrong, why has Nicola waited 4 +years and still 2nd Independence Referendum? The hypocrisy here is startling. I’m a yes supporter but until there is a second referendum, I want to live in a country or union of countries that have a compassionate government that will support the many and not just the few.

In the event of a yes vote, I also want to leave our friends in the RoUK in the best position possible, not swimming in a sea of far-right sharks and the occasional fictional lion. To achieve this, we need a general election to get the Tories out. This is not just the best strategy for Labour or the UK but also the SNP. Run on an independence mandate.

Put yourself forward as the party of independence rather than one that is starting to look more interested in the power of Government within a UK state. Of course if this strategy is really your best idea, then maybe you aren’t as savvy as we all thought.

By Allan Grogan 


You can read more Ungagged Writing here or hear a range of left views on our podcast

2 thoughts on “Votes of No Confidence

  1. I honestly don’t think anybody has the foggiest idea what they’re doing now. We are truly through the looking glass. So what I’m about to attempt to predict might be considered reckless, even foolhardy. But here is what I think is going to happen, with a bit of commentary on the multitudinous positions occupied by the various parties and bits of parties along the way.

    We now know the threshold of 48 letters has been reached, and there will be a leadership ballot tonight. The night of the Tories’ Christmas party, appropriately. This kind of orgy of masochistic collective self-harm is probably what they’d all secretly have chosen, if asked discretely. She will survive that challenge, she already has sufficient public pledges of support (160 at time of writing) to do so.

    This is entirely as intended. Nobody serious actually wants the leadership at this time. It is all an elaborate pantomime. The leading Brexiteers have to put up as convincing a show of resistance to May’s so-called deal but, as alluded to before, they don’t have any idea what to do either and the one thing they don’t want is to have their bluff called. So the action will move back to the floor of the House.

    Presumably she will be forced to put something to the House at some point. The Europeans are not prepared to make further concessions, and why would they? If they were to allow the UK a deal anything like what the Leave campaign promised, then everyone would want one, wouldn’t they? That really should have been obvious from the outset, but never mind. So whatever it is, it will be defeated in the Commons.

    Now back in the day a vote on something as important as this would have been considered a matter of confidence, but since fixed term parliaments that’s no longer the case. So we now come to the matter of a vote of confidence. The first question we have to ask ourselves about that is who wants an election? Now this is where I, as an independent, have a slightly different perspective to you Allan. But we’ll come to that, let’s do the Tories first.

    The Tories don’t want an election. Really, none of them do, they have absolutely nothing to gain from it. The have their desired scapegoat, sorry, leader in place, looking very much as she always has – trapped. Really, surely we can all see it by now, this is not so much a Premiership as a hostage situation. Ever since the disastrous election last year, when she wanted to go but was ‘dissuaded’ by colleagues from doing so, I think her fate has been clear.

    Now, full disclosure, some of us Ungagged contributors had a little book running on how long she’d survive after that election. Just for bragging rights, don’t worry, no money changed hands. I was quite confident, having been the only one to correctly predict the outcome of that election, and as of today I am the only one left in the game. In fact, I don’t think anyone else had her going beyond January 2018. My prediction was on or shortly after the 29th of March 2019. I’m going to hold my nerve and stick with that for the moment.

    The party meeting is now under way, and she has told it that if returned she will step aside before the next election. Which is exactly what the Tories want. She couldn’t be challenged for another 12 months now this has happened, but she could step down. I’m going to post this, before it’s overtaken by events, and complete my predictions in another comment.

  2. So where were we? Well, once she’s won the party vote (which, by the way, is not a contest, it’s a good old-fashioned spill motion which, if successful, would lead to a leadership contest, so nobody has to declare their hand until and unless that happens), the focus will move back to the House of Commons. The arithmetic seems absolutely clear, there’s no way she can get anything through. She can delay a vote further, but there’s a limit, some time in January I think. So what about a vote of confidence.

    Well, once again, it’s a matter of who wants an election. The Tories, no. The Labour Party? Some of them. The truth that underlies all of this is that Brexit was a truly dreadful idea, but even as bad ideas go it wasn’t at all thought out. I don’t think it was ever meant to succeed, even by some who promoted it (looking at you Boris). It was intended as a way of letting a whole lot of alienated people blow off some steam, but the clue was they put two clowns in charge of it. You were supposed to get that voters! What were you thinking?

    So now, looking into the abyss, realising that not only can we not get most of what the Leave campaign campaigned on, but that six months out from ‘B’ Day we are woefully unprepared, and that nobody really knows what a Brexit involves, who would want Theresa May’s job? This is going to be a trainwreck of absolutely epic proportions, whoever is in charge. It’s not as if anyone else, ANYONE, has put forward a coherent alternate plan of how Brexit might be accomplished. Corbyn doesn’t have one. Boris Johnson doesn’t have one. Jacob Rees Mogg doesn’t have one. It is GOING to be a disaster, the die is cast.

    So if you’re Jeremy Corbyn, you’re quite happy to make political capital out of it, but the last thing you’d want is to actually bring the government down, and end up having to stand on the bridge of the Titanic and watch the iceberg approaching. If you’re Ian Murray or Chukka Umuna, on the other hand, that would possibly suit you extremely well. Force an election now, have Jeremy take the blame for the inevitable shitstorm instead of Theresa, then move against him.

    If you’re Nicola Sturgeon, you’ve got a number of irons in the fire. Obviously the SNP still has the fundamental raison d’être of advancing the cause of Scottish independence, which in the current context means bringing about the conditions for a second, successful, independence referendum. However, they also now have the responsibilities of a party of government in Scotland. And obviously Brexit is pretty hard to ignore, and it creates several problems from a Scottish point of view.

    The problem the SNP have was indicated graphically in a poll released last week. 60% of respondents said they found independence preferable to continued membership of a post-Brexit UK. Even so, CURRENT support for independence was only 47%. Let’s take a moment or two to digest that shall we? Brexit is apparently coming, and that would take support for independence to 60%. But not until it has happened. So why not now? It suggests some level of cognitive dissonance, or else a significant number of voters still do not believe it will happen. Could they be right? We’ll come to that.

    So what is Sturgeon to do? She knows she can’t call a second indyref yet, for a couple of important reasons. Firstly, and this seems to get forgotten a lot, the Westminster government is not prepared to agree to one. They are intent on parking it until after Brexit, hence dragging us through that with them, whether we wanted it or not. Despite the fact that the promise of continued EU membership was one of the key promises of the ‘No’ campaign in 2014. Without their agreement, we could potentially face a Catalonia scenario.

    Secondly, something needs to change. Something to bring about a serious, substantial shift in opinion. Now that poll says Brexit may well do it, but short of that, is there another way? Because everything gets harder post-Brexit, and I think it’s safe to assume that Sturgeon would like to still be in her position when independence is achieved. She doesn’t want Scotland suffering a severe economic blow BEFORE then. Well, there is one thought that occurs – an election! The polls say the SNP is likely to slightly improve its position, and there is at least a reasonable chance of their grabbing the balance of power.

    For Sturgeon this could kill two birds with one stone. It could help shift votes on the independence issue, and if they do hold the balance of power, they could insist on a second indyref as a condition of putting Jeremy Corbyn in Number 10. And I’ll come back to this again later, as it has just been announced May has won the confidence vote by 200 votes to 117.

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