Video: drama as Corbyn wins debate on govt cowardice and contempt

Speaker John Bercow shows his disdain for behaviour on the Tory benches

Just before 9pm this evening, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn won an emergency debate on the Tory government’s cowardice and contempt for Parliament, parliamentary procedure and our democracy.

In a ‘you couldn’t make it up’ moment, the government did not even have the guts to try to oppose the debate on Theresa May’s abject flight from accountability when she unilaterally cancelled a vote on her dire Brexit withdrawal ‘deal’ without even proposing an alternative schedule for the remainder of the debate and vote on the agreement.

Nonetheless, Speaker John Bercow, clearly frustrated at the government’s lack of respect for Parliament, invited MPs to stand if they wished to support the motion – and noted approvingly that that support was overwhelming. Even hardline Tories like Peter Bone supported it:

A subtitled version of the video will be uploaded as soon as possible.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

Corbyn is right that May’s incompetence must not be allowed to be used as an excuse for the UK to be threatened with a no-deal exit.

As he correctly observed, by cancelling a vote that would have clearly demonstrated that May cannot command a majority even on the most urgent and important business of the House without even the courtesy of a new schedule, May is also essentially stealing weeks or longer in office to which she has no constitutional right.

That her government could not even muster an attempt to resist his bid for a debate shows not only her desperate weakness but also that she knew she stood no chance of persuading anyone that she is not doing so.

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  1. When are some clear thinkers going to emerge from Labour?

    Our position is probably as bad if not worse than May’s. To propose as Labour is doing that we should be half in and half out of the EU will please no one, the Remainers won’t like it and the Leavers won’t like it. No matter how often we get told that Jeremy is playing a blinder, it’s a recipe for electoral disaster. We are not a Brexit Party, therefore Labour must not go into an election offering ANY form of Brexit.

    If Brexit is not settled by the time of a GE, there is no way we can go into it with this policy in our manifesto. We should be crystal clear; either say we will cancel Brexit or give the public another vote, one or the other.

    The clear winner in last night’s C4 debate was without doubt Caroline Lucas who made it obvious that now the consequences of Brexit are clearer, the only democratic option is to ask the people if they want to stick to their first choice or change.

    I used to be an admirer of Barry Gardiner but as the weeks and months have passed by, more and more I’m beginning to get the impression that he suffers from woolly thinking and he could be a problem for us as demonstrated last night. He even started off on the wrong foot when he attacked Caroline Lucas.

    1. I totally agree with you, Jack. As I posted elsewhere yesterday, listening to the Labour ‘position’ in an interview yesterday, and taking a mental step backwards – I imagined what impression it would make on the average non-committed voter.

      It was not a pretty listen. Basically, it amounted to “Yeh but … no but .. The Tories are slags.”

      I think that we are getting to a crucial point in terms of political leadership. The cul-de-sac is narrowing and the satnav isn’t reliable.

      Contrary to received wisdom, I don’t think that the Tories will pick up odium from getting a Brexit mess through parliament, any more than austerity has markedly punished them.

      Look at the number of people who currently reckon May is showing ‘resilience’ or feel sorry for her. If some sort of a ‘deal’ eventually goes through, this sort of attitude will grow as people wipe their brows in mistaken relief. And Labour will be left with ….???

      No, the Party, which,as you said is strongly for ‘Remain’ has to take the risks of coming out and distinguishing itself from the Tories. Besides which, it’s the right policy.

    2. Jon Snow’s Ch.4 non interview was hardly a validation of anything – are we scraping the barrel here? There were certainly no winners. If I was Caroline Lucas I would have been embarrassed to be witness to such a blatant exercise in not allowing the opposite number to speak. Snow’s behaviour? Almost as awful as his tie!

      1. JackT. Thanks for the reality check – shame on me; it was indeed a different interview, April 2017, but still the same topic and same protagonists!

        I won’t change my position on Snow’s choice of tie. I blame that for my bedazzlement.

  2. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is just a cynical May manoeuvre & in late January/February she will plop this deal as is straight back down & say haha now there’s no time left it really is this deal or no deal as a way of forcing parliament’s hand.

    Disgusting abuse of our democracy, what’s happening about the FCO £2m funding Spooks attacks on Labour?

    1. No idea what May plans, I doubt if she (a remainer herself) knows. She will be being advised how to get through the next session or even hour….

      ECJ ruled UK can unilaterally revoke article 50. I didn’t realize a Scottish Green MEP brought the case…
      I sincerely hope ECJ is not political… cough, cough.

      The primary purpose of Integrity Initiative/Statecraft is disinfo against Russia. That must not be forgotten in the furore about domestic party political interference by the state. Disinfo against Russia is also political interference that affects UK democracy by distorting people’s perceptions and arousing negative emotions against another country which can then be used for all sorts of domestic manipulations of the public. Russian disinfo can also be used to smear Corbyn and no doubt will be used as part of an intense smear campaign in any prelude to (even in?) a GE campaign and in the event of a Corbyn led gov.

      1. Aww come on Maria, nobody needs to use misinformation to discredit the Russian state there is more than enough well documented evidence to damn Putin and his cronies without having to resort to smear tactics. To argue otherwise simply isn’t credible.

      2. I’m relieved Corbyn wont be bothered by smears he is somehow linked to nefarious Russian activities. That’s one concern off my mind.

      3. Btw, I wasn’t arguing Russian state doesn’t get up to all sorts of nefarious stuff, of course it does but to think the British state doesn’t and doesn’t do disinfo ops against ‘enemies’ isn’t credible.
        Shall I do a (short) list of made up, grossly exaggerated or distorted disinfo about other countries from UK state?
        Some of it led to the total destruction of whole countries, societies and millions of dead, maimed and severely traumatised who still suffer from lack of state structures and services and functioning economies many years/decade later…

        Yes we can hide behind blaming foreign bad actors for everything… then we don’t have to look at or challenge our state in any meaningful way and continue to believe we are the only ones who can save other people from their regimes, spread democracy and freedom… with bombs, sanctions, terror and destruction and never feel we should bring our own regimes to heel.

      4. Indeed Maria, the wholesale gullibility of the useful idiots who buy the obvious mainstream propaganda line that Russia is somehow more egregious in its corruption than we are is risible. It is this country, not Russia, that is responsible for the destruction of Iraq and Libya, the creation of IS, and the criminal funding of foreign Jihadi terrorists to effect the criminal removal of a sovereign government. With a record like this you’d imagine that anyone with half a brain would think twice before jumping on the msm bandwagon to demonise Russia in comparison with ourselves.

      5. As John Wight recently said:”War happens when other people tell you who the enemy is: revolution is when you work it out for yourself.”

      6. Maria – “Yes we can hide behind blaming foreign bad actors for everything”. I agree. The whole ‘Leave’ strategy was based on that tactic.

        But – on Russia : there are degrees of nefariousness. And yes, this country has a lot to answer for in terms of its bent and biased institutions. But Russia is in another league – it is, essentially a kleptocracy run by a mafia who pocketed the proceeds of ‘liberalisation’. We have a problem with a controlled and biased media. The Russians have a problem with getting dead if the information you dig up doesn’t suit the state.

        … and the record of military mayhem is pretty good, too – a match for the NATO predations.

      7. Exactly labrebisgalloise and I was just thinking earlier that a states’ principal enemy is its own people. It is imperative to keep the people imbued with a sense of righteousness, misinformed and docile to maintain the class status quo.

        This is particularly relevant in the old Imperial European countries and their new world colonies as well as legacies past on in the no longer formally colonised states and where the rhetoric about is far removed from the actual blanket support for brutal regimes as long as they toe the line and ‘soft power’ of various forms is still a major investment for countries such as UK to maintain an aligned view of the world. This block works largely more or less as one in the world.
        With a still relatively weak China and the fall of the USSR this block became absolutely hegemonic and without a counterbalance has reeked terrible death and destruction with impunity, tearing up and spitting on the UN charters in the process.
        With the rise of China and Russia this impunity is being challenged and a multipolar world is emerging… my main hope is that the adjustment can be made without more devastating wars that could threaten life on earth in the blink of an eye.

        ‘Our’ block contains the most powerful, overtly arrogant and aggressive super power the world has ever known and it has already used the most devastating weapon humans have created on civilian cities twice and has a nuclear first strike doctrine…
        I don’t believe anyone wants WW3 but am afraid of how far the hegemonic block might go and what risks it may take to maintain its hegemony and push to reshape the world.

        This is why I am so concerned and sensitive about blanket, uncritical demonisation of others, disinfo ops, MSM not pushing back in any meaningful way, if at all, warmongering and the boundless arrogance that has developed in the unipolar world era with accompanying refusal to compromise, lack of real and earnest diplomacy and diplomatic skill which has been replaced by threats, hyperbole, bullying via sanctions, threats of attack even annihilation and breaking important treaties… all with a tweet or loose, arrogant, at times childish rhetoric. War can be precipitated by seemingly small events or errors of judgement and quickly escalate out of control…

        That’s my cards on the table.


      8. RH, I refuse to get into the which is worse and the usual moral equivalence debate. Our job, no duty, as I see it, is to watch closely and carefully, remain sceptical and be highly critical of what our regimes are up to and how we may be being deceived and propagandised… that’s where we have a hope of influencing events.

      9. In answer to your non-judgmental stance, I would simply say that making relative judgments is an essential part of politics.

        Thus – in terms the central debate, where the ‘Remain’ standpoint is based not on any idea of the perfection of the EU, but on an assessment that leaving it is a far worse option than staying.

        Which relative assessment is essentially at the heart of the recent open letter from other European socialists.

      10. ” …it is essentially a kleptocracy, run by a mafia, who pocketed the proceeds of ‘liberalisation’…” true, RH, but might we add … enthusiastically aided and abetted by the West? Wasn’t our own Tony Blair one of the first to get in on the act? Perhaps, in his case, it was unwitting; but I don’t think David Cameron could make the same case for himself.

      11. Paulo, to add, let’s not forget many of Russia’s Kleptocrats and Oligarchs, many criminals, who looted their own country and people alongside western ‘interests’ during the western hailed and supported Yeltsin years, fled to London with their loot and accompanying financial influence when or in subsequent years after Putin came to power… there is a significant extremely wealthy anti-Putin Russian influence in London and elsewhere in the western world aligned with western financialised Capital, corporate/banking, ‘ruling class’ and ideological interests.

        ‘We’ might or be led to despise and condemn Putin utterly but he retains a good majority of support from the Russian population despite being as Michael Hudson categorises him, a neoliberal. I believe life and national pride in Russia is still improving and social indicators are still recovering from their low in the Yeltsin ‘shock therapy’ humiliating and devastating restructuring assault on the population, economy and society.

        I say again, it is up to Russians to elect their leaders and bring them to account when required, not us. Russians know and keenly remember what a major and devastating attack by a foreign power on their own soil means, I don’t believe they want another such or far worse modern war but I am sure they will defend themselves just as robustly if attacked.

        I have no desire to or support externally orchestrated or military ‘regime change’ in Russia or any other country for that matter and it’s time we stopped supporting and propping up brutal, aggressive and repressive regimes so their own population has a chance to bring them to account and start to effect changes they wish to see.

      12. Paulo – you will have no argument from me about the neoliberal project being seminal in shaping the Russia that we now know. I wouldn’t defend Blair in anything – but the key initiatives were before his time, and it was driven by the US far right whose noted modern manifestation is Bannon.

        However – whatever the causes, Russia is what it is, and it isn’t a cuddly bear. We could just as well take a soft view of the Tories because a lot of them were damaged by being packed off to boarding school at an early age.

      13. … and I would add, Maria, that Putin is part of the same class of kleptocrats that infest London. It’s just the different mafia families at war.

        As to his retaining support from a large proportion of the population – well, so did Hitler. In neither case did it represent a moral judgment – or a testimonial. The ‘Peeple Swill’ implies no profound assessment. There really is no necessary wisdom in crowds.

        His background was KGB, and he employs the skills so learned.

      14. I think, at this stage, we should revisit Russia’s record in Syria with regard to ISIS. In late 2012, the US declared it was targeting ISIS. In reality, both the US and the UK were supporting this murderous crew, via Saudi Arabia and Qatar, for the simple reason that they shared a common and criminal goal in removing Assad – regime change. By October 2015, after more than two years in which the world’s leading military power had, according to them, been targeting this group, ISIS had overrun Syria, and were on the brink – literally within days – of toppling Assad. At that point, Putin said enough was enough. From that moment onwards, ISIS have been on the run, and are now holed up in Idlib province, along with the rest of the head choppers such as al Nusrah Front and Ahrar al-Sham that owe have been backing. The western media is keen to ignore the fact that the remnants of the terrorists we have been supporting are now facing the endgame, and keen to portray Idlib as the last refuge of Syrian civilians being attacked by Assad. The fact that we have been lying to our people about the support we have been giving to such outfits in our illegal attempt to remove the head of a sovereign country ought to be enough to convince people that a degree of caution is necessary when imbibing western critiques of Putin’s Russia, which, along with Iran, are the only legitimate foreign presences in Syria.

        Sadly, so many regard our widespread destruction of other people’s countries, together with the killing of hundreds of thousands of their people, as some minor aberration on our part. Apparently oligarchs are a far more serious crime. The English are amongst the most murderous people on the planet. The easy acceptance of this implicit in the unfavourable comparison of Russia with ourselves is one of the most despicable aspects of the English character. It’s one thing to be responsible for so much bloodshed, but quite another to effectively exonerate ourselves by insisting on the far greater transgressions of others, particularly when there is nothing in terms of foreign policy that justifies such obvious hypocrisy.

    2. RH, the Hitler comparison trope really is scraping the barrel. I come to sites like Skwawbox to get away from British state and corporate media and British wall to wall very narrow, rigid and disciplined world view.

      UK happens to have an authoritarian unaccountable regime in office with an active racist, hostile environment policy and detention camps and people are committing suicide, dying in their homes and on the streets due to humiliating and cruel social security restructuring. UK regime is crumbling before our eyes but it is still daily handing out more of the same repression and extreme economic and social anxiety to it’s citizens and immigrants.
      Let’s start at home shall we?

  3. Am I missing something? Why aren’t Labour proceeding with a no confidence motion; surely even if lost it doesn’t rule out further no confidence motions in the future and it has the benefit of outing every DUP/Tory MP that actively votes to keep the lame duck in power. If May is allowed to keep running away and dictate the time scale of events, can she not potentially keep kicking the tin can down the road for ever? If someone can explain why it’s not a good idea, I’d be happy to hear.

  4. Thanks for mentioning the EU socialists’ open letter RH, I hadn’t seen it but it pretty much sums up my hopes for the EU.

    The EU’s 99% need socialism as much as we do.
    They’re as misled by their MSM as we are by ours and their Tories are as greedy and determined to hold on to power as ours.

    I believe we as socialists should recognise no borders, that the International Brigade showed the true spirit of solidarity and that not standing with the EU’s socialists today – when the stakes may be even higher than in the 1930’s – would be shameful.
    I believe Brexit would be a historic mistake and one for which our children might not forgive us.


    1. Funnily enough I came across this only last night. I have bowed out of my very minimal contribution in Skwawkbox comments in the Brexit debate so wont be commenting further on it.

      I am back to believing Brexit wont happen and certainly in any meaningful way with such ‘left’ and liberal forces arrayed against it but I am damned if I am going to be bamboozled, guilt tripped and frog marched into defeatist resignation or tacitly supporting or participating in any ‘left’ liberal effort or silence that contributes to or increases tensions with other major powers and increases risk of a major war!.

      1. “Winning an election against the Tories is an impossible dream”

        They own the MSM including the BBC – that world-renowned arbiter of the truth.
        They’re rich as fuck ‘cos their backers, relatives and ‘friends’ are all bankers, foreign oligarchs and business magnates.
        They’ve had centuries of practice – even when Labour’s been ‘in power’ they’ve been pulling the strings.
        Like Diddy Diddlington said today if Labour win they’ll take their money and run. Capital flight.
        They’re the party of financial competence… no comment.
        Their educations cost more than our houses so they must be smarter than us, mustn’t they?

        See? An impossible dream.

  5. Well I’ve been out working all day and nobody really answered my question about the no confidence vote although I’ve now had a chance to read Ian Lavery’s and Richard Burgon’s positions and will happily fall inline, not that I’m entirely convinced, apart from the fact that I would never want to be in the same camp as the Blairites, which is plenty enough reason for me to go away and reflect further. I was also quite amazed to read that the majority of the comments thrown up by this post concerned the rights and wrongs of Putin and Russia. I have my views about these things but I do not think, for the love of me that this thread is the place to air them! A gentle note to Maria, “blocks” are for building houses, “blocs” are groupings of like minded people or nations – and a gentle note to those who want to knock Russia, I hope you’re not working from a disused mill in Fife.

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