I’ve had to change that widget three times now. First it was 29th March 2019. Then it was 12th April 2019. Then it was 31st October 2019. And (for) now, it’s 31st January 2020. I’d say things were getting ridiculous, but really, how could you tell the difference?
So it’s a third General Election in five years, making a mockery of a Fixed Terms Parliament Act that isn’t even a decade old. And if it wasn’t clear in 2017, it should certainly be clear in 2019 that this election is not like elections as we understand them. These are not so much elections as they are national emergencies.
(Conservative voters) are not voting for the party of Harold Macmillan, whose postwar reforms made measurable improvements to public health, life, and happiness. You aren’t voting for the party of John Major, who attempted to undo some of the worse extremes of his own party with the Citizens’ Charter, his part in the Northern Ireland Peace Process, and abolition of the hated Poll Tax. Good grief, you aren’t even voting for the party of David Cameron any more, as evidenced by their complete jettison of even a hint of his superficially progressive pretensions. Instead, you will be voting for a party that claims to be responsible, yet has overseen the greatest rise in debt and worst financial governance in living memory. You will be voting for a party that claims to keep us safe, yet has wrought more harm through deliberate policy to its people than every terrorist attack in UK history. You will be voting for a party that claims to be “strong and stable,” yet has caved to pressure and abruptly U-turned on all manner of positions.
You’ll be voting for a party that feels comfortable in suggesting the families of severely disabled children should consider the guillotine, and that we should stop being so bloody sentimental about the plight of child refugees. You’ll be voting for a party that sees nothing wrong with making light of assault, murder, slavery, and wartime atrocities. You’ll be voting for a party that relishes the ruin it has brought to the people of these islands, under the guise of fostering “charity” and “hope.” They celebrate the heroes pulling survivors from the wreckage of a disaster they caused. They make a wilderness, and call it peace. And they look utterly bewildered when the people suffering from their decisions do not thank them for it.
We know that this election will not be free and fair, because the architects of the victorious Leave campaign – the one that broke electoral law – are still at large, and in fact working with one of the parties. In what “free and fair” election would a figure like Dominic Cummings, who broke electoral law, was found to be in contempt of Parliament, is responsible for an unprecedented smear campaign against MPs and civil servants, and this very day has been referred to the Crown Prosecution Services for actual criminal charges, be permitted in any role – let alone advisor to the largest party?
Yet he is permitted, because neither the establishment which he sets out to destroy, nor the media who should be holding him to account, are doing their damned job.
“This is someone who campaigned to take back control for parliament, and yet has decided the only person who shouldn’t be accountable to parliament is him,” said MP Sarah Wollaston, who has left the Tory party and sits as an independent.
“What does that say about the prime minister’s attitude to parliament? It’s a terrible error of judgment.”
Wollaston admitted there was no mechanism to enforce motions holding individuals in contempt of parliament. But members of the committee that originally summoned Cummings to give evidence say they want to recall him again, and have suggested a range of sanctions.
“We need to demand that he attends to give evidence and call on Boris Johnson [to ensure] that he does attend. We would expect the prime minister to fully support our call for evidence,” said Jo Stevens, one of the MPs on the committee.
She also suggested any decision to give him a security pass should be closely scrutinised.
“Everyone who works in parliament has to go through a very stringent security procedure. How can someone who oversaw a campaign that is the subject of a serious criminal investigation pass that test? He will have access not just to parliament but to the inner sanctum of No 10. There are obvious and serious security implications to that.”
Dominic Cummings found in contempt of parliament Read more Ian Lucas, the MP for Wrexham, said the committee would look at recalling Cummings, but also said he hoped that parliament would consider cutting his salary. “Cummings is in contempt of parliament and parliament needs to express its dissatisfaction,” said Lucas.
“That should include the possibility of docking his salary. I’d like that to be an opposition day debate. He is a special adviser and will be being paid out of taxpayers’ money. I personally don’t think that should happen when he’s done everything he can to obstruct this very important parliamentary inquiry.”
Demand that he attend committee meetings? Taking away his security pass? Docking his salary? For a man whose actions utterly wrecked the future of the United Kingdom in a referendum corrupted by gerrymandering, dark money, disinformation, and fraud, which would have been voided if it was legally binding? We shouldn’t be talking about sanctions, we should be talking about hauling him before the courts after he has been sacked & permanently barred from any government work. Why are we entertaining the idea that sanctions are going to do a damned thing?
And we know that it’s going to get worse – and that they are going to continue to do the sum of Sweet Fanny Adams about it.
Kate Green, chair of the privileges committee, which regulates MPs, said the Cummings appointment had thrown wider concerns about limits on parliament’s power into relief, and given added urgency to efforts to boost its authority.
“We are actually conducting a formal inquiry into the powers of parliament,” she said. “My personal view is that doing nothing is no longer an option. We have had several of these cases in the last few years, but we are in the process of taking evidence on what our options might be.”
A formal inquiry. I’m sure that’ll sort things out.
You’d think that with such open, brazen contempt of the people they claim to be representing, the UK Media would have little choice but to report them, to expose these contemptuous creatures for what they are. And yet.
Oh. Right. The UK Media, those champions of journalism & guardians of Truth and Scrutiny, are – through ignorance or design, the result is the same – playing spin doctors for the people who won the EU Referendum. Some are even cheerleading them, evidently unmoved by the revelations that Leave won while breaking the law, which should tell you all that you need to know.
So we come to this election. The UK-wide parties are hopelessly, utterly compromised. The Red Rosettes are still, somehow, trapped between doing the right thing for the people of the UK, and “respecting” the result of an illegally-won referendum because their constituents were victims of the victors’ dishonesty. Likewise, the Blue Rosettes have two warring factions who have to decide whether Queen & Country wins out over Greed Is Good, for whom the UK’s place in the EU is simply another collateral in that conflict. The Orange Rosettes seem to have a clear idea of what they’re doing, but even their newfound belief in the European Project can only extend so far before naked political ambition takes over.
But it’s worse than that, because many of the MPs who are against the UK leaving the EU aren’t against it because of lawbreaking or for impugning the will of the people, but because they’re guillotined in the Overton Window. The UK leaving the EU is, to them, as crazy as nationalising railways or building hospitals without PFI contracts – it’s outside the tiny sliver of Respectable Politics. After all, if they were serious about righting the wrongs of the EU Referendum – and, indeed, the last few General Elections – then their support for a General Election after an amendment calling for disenfranchised EU citizens and 16-17-year-olds wasn’t even considered proves it.
If the UK parties won’t fight for EU citizens & 16-17-year-olds in a General Election, what chance is there for them to bother fighting for them in a “People’s Vote?” But as long as the Reds could get their 9th December date, eh? Oh, right, they didn’t even get that. So the UK Government got their election with 0 compromises – not to enfranchise EU citizens despite Commonwealth citizens having the same voting rights as UK nationals; not to enfranchise 16 & 17-year-olds despite them being deemed old enough to vote in other UK elections; not even one that moved the date three days forward. They crumbled like an empty Easter Egg foil.
There have been lots of challenges to the SNP of late, not least from myself. Yet the unforgivable failure of the UK-wide parties to show the sort of backbone needed to challenge this all-out assault on the democratic soul of the United Kingdom (such that it is) means we have to be absolutely clear about what votes for UK party candidates – any UK party candidates – means. A vote for any of the three largest UK-wide parties is a vote to continue, even accelerate, the siege against our collective freedoms. The Red Rosettes are not interested in challenging, as evidenced by their cynical about-turn on a People’s Vote as soon as the SNP turned their eye to a General Election. The Orange Rosettes are led by a former minister of David Cameron’s first government, & who shows zero sign that she wouldn’t jump straight back in were the opportunity to present itself. The Blue Rosettes, already a party which has betrayed its own principles, is now in thrall to mercenaries & pirates set on ravaging the corpse of Great Britain for plunder.
A vote for the SNP will, at the very least, be a vote for someone who will put Scotland first, whether you believe in independence or not. It will be a vote for a party who have shown greater aptitude in holding the entire Westminster Establishment to account than any official Opposition Leader in living memory. It will be a vote for a party who have bent over backwards trying to find compromise when no other parties have the slightest interest in actually fixing this mess. It will be a vote for a party which, for all the suggestions of it “backtracking” or “downplaying” independence, is still synonymous with the simple idea that the best people to decide who governs Scotland are the people of Scotland themselves. We treat this election as a done-deal at our peril.
Think about what you, the voter, has to do. All you have to do is take a walk to a polling station & make a cross. That cross you make is the single biggest blow against the people who seek to exploit & control us you could possibly make. All the moaning on social media, the angry letters to elected officials, the disgruntled rants at the pub or family dinner or LBC radio phone-ins are as nothing compared to the concrete power of a single cross on a single ballot. We activists can chap doors till our knuckles are raw, walk the streets until our soles ache, leaflet our towns until we literally have to boak from exhaustion, but the work – the real work – is up to the people.
This isn’t an election, it’s a national emergency – and we all have a role to play.