FLACCID JOHNSON: Boris’ Power Grab Defeated By Parliament

I warned you. I warned you all.

We all knew that this was going to be an important week but holy f*cking shitballs has it spiralled.

This has quickly turned into a battle between democratic sensibility and process versus cynical, legal jiggery-pokery. When British people study history in fifty years’ time, this will be in the syllabus.

We are now living through one of the most dramatic political periods in our nation’s existence.

Let me explain.


Rebel Rebel – The Diamond Dogs Bite Back

Let’s start with the facts.

Boris Johnson, our Prime Minister, lost a vote yesterday. He lost it, big time.

Johnson has recently championed the idea of proroguing Parliament in order to make Brexit happen. Through this process, he would be able to force Brexit through without Parliament approving it, especially a no-deal Brexit.

A no-deal Brexit is unilaterally condemned by leaders of business and human rights as being horrendously damaging for the UK.

Yesterday, the House of Commons rallied against Johnson by voting 328 to 301 to take control of the Parliamentary timetable. Usually, the timetable is set by the government. Now, however, Parliament will go against Johnson’s wishes to bring its own legislation forward today and pass a law making no-deal illegal.

Basically, Parliament has explicitly told Boris that, “Your no-deal strategy will hugely damage the UK, so now we will use our majority to prevent you from doing it.”

While many Brexiteer commentators will say that yesterday’s rulings are illegal or unfair, they are actually a perfect demonstration of our democratic system working well. We elect our MPs to make decisions for us, not to just mindlessly listen to the whims of their constituents.

And some MPs made those decisions, in the public interest, at great personal expense.

21 Tory MPs decided to destroy their own political careers last night rather than allow Johnson to continue on his path towards the no-deal cliff edge. They did this by voting against the Tory government.

They all had the whip removed after the vote. This means that they were all fired.

But, by sacrificing themselves, they have allowed Parliament a vote today that will force Johnson to ask the EU for an extension to Article 50 – to leave without a deal will be illegal, should the law pass.

And the law will pass – all those who voted against Johnson yesterday to allow the vote today will back an extension. Otherwise they wouldn’t have opposed Johnson in the first place.

Or they’re really thick. Anything, by this stage, is hypothetically possible.

To summarise: Johnson wants no-deal as an outcome/negotiating tactic. Opponents think that this is reckless/amoral/f*cking stupid. Opponents stopped him by having a majority in Parliament, and opponents include his own party members.

Woof.


So… Now What?

The House of Commons now has control of the Parliamentary timetable today. They will use this to bring forward legislation that makes it illegal for Boris to continue pushing a no-deal Brexit.

It will pass, although it will not pass today – it has to go through the House of Lords and gain Royal Assent before it is law. Some Brexiteer peers might try to block its passing, but they only have so much time. Eventually, it will pass.

Boris knows this, as does Parliament.

Last night, Boris, in defeat, announced that he would ask Parliament to vote for a General Election today, assuming that the bill that bans him from a no-deal Brexit passes.

So, presumably, by the end of today, a bill will pass through the Commons that says a no-deal Brexit on the 31st of October is illegal. Seeing as this is a cornerstone of the Johnson administration, Boris will admit that he needs a new mandate (or justification) from the British people to continue with his Brexit strategy.

But it’s really not as simple as that.


So… Now What… Really?

Some things to note.

1 . Boris lost his majority of one before anything even happened yesterday. Dr. Phillip Lee, Tory MP for Bracknell, defected to the Liberal Democrats during Boris’ opening speech. This means that the government no longer has a numerical majority, making running the government impossible – they cannot pass legislation without opponents supporting them.

2. This, in any sane time, would mean that the government would call an election in order to create the numbers they need (or lose). This is what Johnson is going to try to do today.

3. The 21 Tory MPs who rebelled against Johnson are very likely to stand against a Johnson-led Conservative Party at an election as independent MPs. Johnson has created more opposition for himself.

4. Most importantly, just because Johnson is calling for a General Election doesn’t mean it will happen – 2/3rds of the House of Commons have to approve the idea for it to happen.

5. Labour, especially Corbyn, are desperate for an election. However, those who are tactically astute have told them that they will lose an election before the no-deal situation is resolved. Additionally, if Boris won before the law is passed, he could reverse the decision and plough on with no-deal anyway. As such, Corbyn said yesterday that the bill against no-deal must be passed into law before he’ll support a General Election.

6. Even if Johnson calls an election tomorrow, it will be rejected until Corbyn knows that he can campaign against BoJo after no-deal is gone for good. Only then will a General Election realistically happen.


For Christ’s Sake What The Hell Does Any Of This Mean?

No-deal will likely never happen, assuming the Bill is passed today.

It certainly won’t happen on the 31st of October.

Boris has had a searing-hot spotlight put on him and he has floundered, hard. His performance in Parliament yesterday was panicky, mumbled and uncertain. The Johnson bravado has been fully eroded, and his tenure as Prime Minister might go down in the history books as the shortest (or worst) ever.

Who will benefit? Maybe the Labour Party – Corbyn had a surprisingly good day. However, his long-standing weaknesses as perceived by the public mean that he will never win an election with an outright majority.

Instead, the other parties like the Lib-Dems, the Greens, the SNP et al have all had a profoundly good day. With the Tories veering right and the Labour Party veering left, a chasm has been left in the centre. Considering these parties are already discussing ways to form an alliance at the next election, they might be the new force in politics.

Brexit is about to be delayed again, and the threat of Article 50 being revoked has, realistically, never been higher.

ACCIDENTAL ELECTION: Not Boris’ Fault He Finds Lying So Sexy


Right. So.

I had every plan of writing a blog this evening (Monday night, to give you a glimpse the glamour of behind the scenes) that was going to outline this week.

Tuesday would be mental. Parliament might be so furious with BoJo that they might change the law. In a day, when it usually takes weeks.

Wednesday might have been needed to finalise a few things, followed on by a few days of time-wasting by Brexiteers in the House of Lords. Yadda yadda yadda.

The HoL, by the way, is one of our few institutions that is entirely unelected, but still vital to the passing of laws. Is it ironic that Brexiteers were hoping that an unelected body might prevent the “taking back control” (slogan of the Leave campaign back in 2016) of Parliament, our elected body?

Probably not, because irony is now dead, forever.

BUT NO.

Things have escalated to such a degree that all of the planning for this week is now irrelevant and dated already.

Let’s break this down simply and easily – this week is going to be historical.

For once, this hyperbolic blog is actually being deadly serious.


What In The Everloving Christ Has Happened Now?

Parliament reconvenes today. The plan is for rebel MPs to oppose Boris’ prorogation of Parliament (more on that here) by passing a Bill through Parliament to made it illegal for BoJo to leave the EU without a deal on October 31st.

This timetabling was forced by Boris proroguing Parliament, thereby reducing the amount of time Parliament had to debate and discuss the issue. Instead, he would promote his new political agenda for the year and try to force through his own version of Brexit without scrutiny.

In order for this to work, Boris would need his opponents to be divided, confused, and weak.

Instead, he’s pissed off everyone. So much so, in fact, that all of those opponents, who really do not like each other at all, are now in solidarity with one another against him. So much so that, actually, what was being touted as impossible is now the most likely outcome – the rebels are likely to win today.

The rebels, by the way, would not succeed without a number of Boris’ own party-members rebelling against the Conservative Party.

Boris realised this yesterday and threatened them with deselection (being fired from the party). But this hasn’t stopped them: the Tory rebels are so adamant that they are right that they are going to give up their political careers to oppose him.

His plan had failed before it had already begun.

So, at 5pm yesterday, he called his cabinet into Downing Street for a “drinks party.” While I, of all people, appreciate turning a work do into a piss-up, it does feel ever so slightly disingenuous to decide the fate of the country over champagne, fancy canap├ęs and swooning over an admittedly adorable new dog.

At 6pm, having debated and discussed what to do with his inner sanctum, Boris took to the lectern outside No. 10. He announced that if he is defeated in Parliament by the rebels today, he will be forced into calling a General Election.

Oh Lordy Lou. To quote Brenda from Bristol, “Not another one?”


No. Not Necessarily.

Johnson, in his horrendously underwhelming speech in front of No. 10, loudly heckled and booed by campaigners throughout, said that “He didn’t want a general election, and nor do we [the people].”

But if his own Tory MP’s “cut the legs off” his negotiating position, he would have no choice.

As such, political commentators are speculating that the week will be as follows:

  • An emergency debate bill (SO24) is granted today, and John Bercow grants Parliament the chance to change the law (which is unprecedented);
  • Johnson will lose this, as a number of his own MPs will rebel against him.
  • Johnson cannot fulfil his promise of leaving the EU on October 31st, as he will be forced to ask for an extension.
  • He said yesterday that this was something that he would not do.
  • So, on Wednesday, Johnson will call an election (to be held before the Brexit deadline, most likely in early October).

Which… means we’re due a General Election, right? Yippee-Ki-Yay, we’re doing it all again. Kill me now.


Except We’re Really Not.

Every major news outlet is gushing about the fact that a General Election might be about to happen, especially as Jeremy “Couldn’t Lead a Party To a Disco” Corbyn has been calling for one for the last two years.

But. And this is a biiiiig old but. Nicki Minaj levels of a big ol’ butt.

Just because Boris calls for a General Election doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen. It requires the agreement of 2/3rds of Parliament, which is not even remotely assured.

Corbyn might see this as the trap it is and wait for a better time. Conservatives aren’t going to trample each other to race to an election, because they’re all going to get absolutely savaged in constituencies where the purist Brexit Party will probably beat them.

The Rebel Alliance of Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens and SNPs would all benefit from seeing the Conservative Party fall to pieces before going to the polls, which might well happen.

Boris might call for an election, but not get the numbers.

He might have to see this through to the end.


DEAR GOD WHY WON’T THIS SHIT STOP

Because deciding something important based on the fact that no-one cares anymore is a terrible way to run a country.

It doesn’t make up for the fact that yes, everything is godawful, and no, things will not get better for a long time yet.

But this week is super important. Please keep an eye on proceedings, make up your own minds, and be politically aware. It doesn’t have to be here, but please try to at least know what it is you might be voting for if we end up having to vote.

Because I would bet on Seabiscuit’s sweet, sweet, desperately-expensive jizz that an election is coming, and it will define a generation.

Read up. Fight inaccuracies. Form your own opinions, and do not take anything that you read in the newspapers as genuine fact.

We now live in a society where we have to fact-check the government, not the other way round.