People’s Vote is opposed to a vote of no confidence in Tory government

Aware of the possibility of an impending successful vote of no confidence in the Tory government deputy chair of People’s Vote Hugo Dixon wrote a convoluted piece for the Guardian wherein he presented spurious reasons why Labour should not call such a vote.

Hugo Dixon

He noted that remainer Tories would probably fail to support a vote of no confidence because their attachment to their party’s policies (aside from Brexit) is much stronger than their integrity as people (my words).  Dixon said that such an outcome would “knock Corbyn’s credibility.”  No, it would reaffirm the dishonesty of those Tories who claimed to be thoroughly opposed to a cliff-fall no-deal Brexit but were unwilling to do anything about it.  Rather than Corbyn’s credibility being damaged, the spineless duplicity of Grieve and his colleagues would be exposed.

Dixon suggested randomly that a failure to achieve a vote of no confidence would make it harder for Corbyn “to stitch together a cross-party pact.”  Whatever the result of a vote of no confidence, what would a “cross-party pact” be for?  Does Dixon want a pointless Government of National Unity?

It could be even worse if the vote of no confidence succeeded,” asserted Dixon because, apparently, Johnson could sneak in a no-deal departure before the election.  However, that scenario could be averted easily by parliament: If there is a majority for a vote of no confidence then, obviously, there would be a majority to stop a no deal departure on 31st October.

Dixon claimed he thinks the Tories could win a general election outright.  “The Tories might squeeze the Brexit party and win the election with less than a third of the popular vote.”  He cited opinion polls as evidence for his claim despite the fact that polls consistently show Labour as the party with the largest support and he forgot about recent poor election results for the Tories in council elections, EU elections and two parliamentary by-elections.

Dixon’s reasons for opposing a vote of no confidence were false, logically and practically.  He knew they were false.  His words were just a distraction, an act of confusion.  They were a concoction to arrive at his chosen deduction:

A better plan is to pass a law to force Johnson to ask the EU for extra time so we can hold a new referendum. The choice in such a ‘people’s vote’ would be between the crash-out Brexit the government wants and staying in the EU.”

Whatever description is applied – second referendum, confirmatory referendum, people’s vote – there is no reason to assume that the result would differ from 2016.  Equally, putting no deal versus remain as the choice would not be different from the first referendum because that was what most people thought the choice was three years ago. 

A second referendum has always been a daft idea but, more importantly, it has always been a distraction and a means to dissuade interest in a general election.  It is a dampening tactic on plans toward securing an election.

The convolutions in Dixon’s arguments descended into chaos.  He said Corbyn could call a vote of no confidence if attempts to call a second referendum failed and also said that if Johnson called an election then Corbyn should not support it if there existed the possibility of a second referendum.

But what if at some point Johnson himself just calls an election?  Well, under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, he needs two-thirds of all MPs to vote in favour of such a snap election.  That means, if Corbyn says no, we won’t go to the polls.  And so long as a new referendum remains a viable way out of our political crisis, he should just say no.”

Additionally, he said a vote of no confidence after no deal departure might be easier to win. 

Dixon was all over the place with his arguments.  It remains the fact that People’s Vote’s simple aim is a second referendum as a tool to delay or cancel a general election.

Related blogs
Government of National Unity?
Government of National Unity: Caroline Lucas

People’s Vote is opposed to a vote of no confidence in Tory government

Government of National Unity: Caroline Lucas

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas wrote to ten elected middle-class white women to ask them to form an alderwomen cabinet with her to prevent a cliff-fall no-deal Brexit.


In an announcement of her plan in the Guardian she said

I believe women have shown they can bring a different perspective to crises, are able to reach out to those they disagree with and cooperate to find solutions.”

Included among the recipients of her letter were former Tory MPs Anna Soubry and Heidi Allen who changed parties without calling by-elections, current Tory MP Justine Greening, former Tory/LibDem coalition minister and current LibDem leader Jo Swinson and former Labour minister Yvette Cooper.  What unites the five named is their opposition to socialism.  A quick perusal of their voting records in parliament revealed commitment to austerity and opposition to socialist policy.  (The other five were Kirsty Blackman, Sylvia Hermon, Liz Saville Roberts, Nicola Sturgeon and Emily Thornberry.)

Lucas claimed the ten MPs “reach out to those with whom they disagree.”  That claim was demonstrably false: From the moment she became leader of the Lib Dems Swinson attacked the Labour leadership and sought to undermine Corbyn, Cooper has criticised Corbyn constantly from within Labour and Allen and Soubry’s (former) party Change UK mocked Labour policy and ideology relentlessly.  Rather than “reaching out” their shared objective has been to undermine and sideline the leader of the opposition.

Contradicting her claim quoted above Lucas said “political tribalism would likely scupper any moves that are just about putting Jeremy Corbyn in charge.  Politicians from some other parties have made clear that they would not serve under his leadership.”  It isn’t “tribalism,” it is opposition to socialism.  Centrists fear socialism much more than they oppose disastrous no deal Brexit.  They want to use a GNU to usurp the role of opposition to the Tories from the real opposition.  Lucas’ plan fits that strategy.  She chose politicians who sit in a narrow centrist band and who want to wrangle influence and power that their respective electoral supports don’t merit.

Lucas’ plan is intrinsically undemocratic as is any GNU as Lea Ypi explained: “A government of national unity led by backbenchers rather than the current leader of the opposition would not only suspend party democracy in the present, it would destroy confidence in it for the future.”

Lucas said she wanted to mend “our broken democracy.”  However, her plan to do that is at odds with democracy.

Postscript: The Colour Bar
It is not clear why Lucas chose to omit BAME women.  Racism has benefitted from Brexit; was Lucas’ decision appeasement, a “reaching out” to extreme Brexiteers, or was she just stupid?

Related blog
Government of National Unity?

Government of National Unity: Caroline Lucas

Government of National Unity?

Temporal confluence of possible success of a vote of no confidence in the government leading to a general election and the cut-off date for Brexit (31st October) could create a clumsy scenario where the election campaign is interrupted by automatic no deal departure from the EU.  Boris Johnson and his gang of extremist puppets of disaster capitalists could sit smugly after being ousted and wait for the cliff-fall that suits their employers while other parties are busy campaigning to win an election.

To avoid this, the concept of a temporary government was proposed.  Such a ‘government of national unity’ could be formed immediately after a successful vote of no confidence in Johnson’s government and peopled with all current opposition MPs (minus a couple of determined no-dealers like Kate Hoey) plus some Tory MPs who are opposed to no deal.  It would exist up to the general election; its sole purpose would be to extend the Brexit date beyond the election.

That might seem like an eminently workable and sensible plan.  It isn’t: See Lea Ypi’s article in Independent (link below).

Centrists’ shenanigans
The key motivation for the proponents of the plan is to prevent Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell from being Prime Minister and Chancellor respectively.  Grieve and his remainer Tory colleagues, Swinson’s Liberal Democrats including new recruit Chuka Umunna, the remnants of Change UK, other ex-Labour democracy thieves and the Progress mob in Labour are all committed to stopping socialism.  Anything but socialism is their guiding principle. 

They are against Jeremy Corbyn being the leader of the government of national unity but not because of what may or may not happen during its brief tenure; as stated above, the temporary government would have a single task of removing the October 31st departure date.  What the anti-socialists want is to prevent Corbyn displaying his capabilities as a leader just prior to a general election and if they move him aside dismissively they hope that would diminish his public stature while raising the profile of a hapless centrist.

The arrogance of centrists is boundless.  Corbyn is the leader of the opposition.  Immediately after a successful vote of no confidence in the Tory/DUP government Corbyn would have the first opportunity to form a government including the possible government of national unity.  For anyone to demand otherwise is underhand political manipulation and cowardice and is utterly contemptible.

An effective government of national unity could be formed after a successful vote of no confidence if the will exists to do it but the absocs see it primarily as a means to undermine Corbyn.  Stopping a socialist government is a bigger priority for the centrists than stopping a no deal Brexit. 

Labour must stand firm and not buckle: If Labour supports the concept of a government of national unity then Corbyn must lead it.  The centrists can go whistle.

Hilary Benn and Yvette Cooper

absoc n. Centrist politician, activist or journalist who opportunistically supports any political viewpoint or action in order to oppose socialism; acronym of ‘anything but socialism’

Recommended reading
Lea Ypi for Independent

Government of National Unity?

Are you in The Engine Room?

In its most recent report on antisemitism (published July 2019) the Community Security Trust included a list of popular socialist Twitter accounts it called the ‘Engine Room.’ (Page 18 onward)

These 36 accounts are called the Engine Room in this report because of their centrality in driving online discussions around Jeremy Corbyn and antisemitism.  Some of them started the hashtags under review; all engaged with at least three, and usually all five, of the hashtags listed.”  (p. 19) (N.B. CST listed six hashtags not five)

The “hashtags under review” were #GTTO, #JC9, #BoycottRachelRiley, #ResignWatson, #TellTomWatson and #SackTomWatson.

Clearly, almost all of the tweets using all but the Rachel Riley-related hashtag were not discussing antisemitism: Criticism of Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson was a reaction to his constant undermining of Jeremy Corbyn, the JC9 hashtag referred to nine Corbyn-supporting candidates for Labour’s NEC and GTTO (get the Tories out) was used to indicate opposition to the Tories.  

Many of the tweets using #BoycottRachelRiley referenced her comments about antisemitism and Labour.  Riley indulged in an increasingly ugly political campaign against Corbyn and against socialists.  Her tactics included random libellous remarks, abuse, dogpiling and malicious legal threats and some legal action.  She made false accusations to advertisers to try to dissuade them from advertising on left-wing news sites.

To justify its focus on the six hashtags CST noted a greater percentage of certain words (related to Judaism or to Israel) used by tweets that included the hashtags than the percentage of the same words in the whole of twitter during the same period.  But, the topics of discussion were often initiated by Riley or by Watson or were responses to what either (or others) had said elsewhere.  There has been a deluge of accusations against Corbyn and his supporters and, so, logically some of those supporters responded to that criticism and then referenced what was mentioned by the accusers.  CST blamed the people responding to comments for the use of words and phrases written or implied by those to whom they were responding.  Such a tactic by CST was dishonest and anti-logical.

These influential online accounts have a disproportionate interest in topics such as antisemitism, Jews, Zionism and related issues.” (p. 19/20)

The sentence above encapsulated CST’s abuse of logic.  If someone tweeted “Mr. Corbyn is not antisemitic. #SackTomWatson” in response to Watson implying Corbyn was antisemitic then CST claimed the tweeter had “a disproportionate interest in topics such as antisemitism.”  That was the level of purposeful stupidity contained within CST’s argument.

As shown above, CST claimed the Engine Room members were central “in driving online discussions around Jeremy Corbyn and antisemitism” but its report merely showed that the accounts were central in driving discussion about many topics related to Corbyn and to socialism including criticism of Watson and of Riley and including responses to comments made by the latter two.  If CST want to investigate twitter accounts that are “driving online discussions around Jeremy Corbyn and antisemitism” they should look at those of, for example, Stephen Pollard and David Collier as well as Riley.

CST expressed its fear of the Engine Room because

their influence via hashtag networks and the high level of engagement they command when tweeting about Jeremy Corbyn, means that these 36 Twitter accounts, as a group, have a significant influence over the online conversation in broader Labour-supporting Twitter.” (p. 20)

Yes, socialists developed a strong successful methodology of using twitter as a tool of organisation, information sharing, solidarity and mutual education.  That is what all conservatives are fearful of.



Are you in The Engine Room?

Jon Sopel enabled Steve Bannon

Yesterday (July 31st) BBC’s Jon Sopel handed far-right propagandist Steve Bannon a platform to espouse his extreme ideology.  Sopel obsequiously agreed to a physical setting for the platform next to the USA/Mexico border fence with a pseudo-military vehicle in shot with an American flag attached to it.  The concocted scene was Bannon’s intent to depict himself as part of a racist militia targeting immigrants.

The encounter was not an interview and Bannon’s rhetoric was left unchallenged and uninspected.  Sopel acted solely as an enabler.

Jon Sopel

This awful episode in the BBC’s political coverage was not surprising.  BBC news and current affairs has no understanding of what political balance in broadcasting is.  This (wilful) ignorance is directed by director-general Tony Hall who, in BBC’s Annual Plan in March, declared that the “broadest range of views” must be broadcast.  His view was that BBC news should be a team of stenographers with no care taken to examine veracity of opinions.

Of course, BBC’s commitment to broadest range of views is within restrictions.  The restrictions are not specifically party political; they are informed by establishment bias.  This bias is so ingrained that its practitioners convinced themselves of its absence.  Sopel exhibited semi-conscious bias in response to the expulsion from Labour of Liberal Democrat voter Alastair Campbell.  He exclaimed that “I’ve known Alastair Campbell for 25 years.”  That translates as a pliable journalist being manipulated by a professional con artist for twenty-five years.

BBC’s obsession with aiding the promotion of extreme right-wing ideology has intensified.  Within recent weeks viewers and listeners were subjected to Rod Liddle (Newsnight), Tom Harwood (Question Time), Dominique Samuels (various TV/radio) and Ben Shapiro (Politics Live) alongside regulars Nigel Farage and Toby Young.  Any claim that the BBC’s guests were challenged fell flat because these characters did not care as long as they had an opportunity to spout their extremism.

An interesting quirk of BBC News’ operational methodology is its insistence on arbitrary differentiation between “interview” and “debate” and associated diametrically opposed rules of operation.  Unlike “interviews,” where challenge is either absent or ineffective, all BBC “debates” are peopled with opposites.  Thus, any knowledgeable person intending to impart facts and analysis has to contend with a disruptor talking nonsense.  The BBC applies this rule to any “debate” including issues where contrary voices should be treated with disdain and muzzling.  

From Tony Hall down the BBC’s mishandling of balance, bias and impartiality has become very problematic.  Faced with a new Tory government of libertarian technocrats intent on destruction of society, broadcasters and media need to be focused on persistent, relentless and effective challenge with repetitive demands for information and answers.  Sadly, the BBC does not appear to be up to the job.

Recommended reading
Hussein Kesvani for Huff Post

Related blogs
Tony Hall on balance
Tips for BBC news
Sopel on Campbell

Jon Sopel enabled Steve Bannon