As SKWAWKBOX predicted last summer, ‘centrist’ Labour MPs see ‘government of national unity’ as last lifeline – but Tory counterparts and media allies are desperate enough to start pushing it and it would disenfranchise UK voters
Last year, the SKWAWKBOX warned that desperate centrists were looking at a so-called ‘government of national unity’ (GoNU) as their last chance saloon for preventing a Corbyn-led Labour government – and saving their careers.
The very next day, Tom Watson appeared on Sky News to say that it was his job to prevent the fall of the Tory government.
Last week, Watson again said that he would consider serving in such a ‘national unity’ government – after reports that he had been approached by ‘pro-EU conservatives’ about exactly that possibility.
And now, Tory MPs are joining openly in talk of a unity government, as George Freeman did this morning:
Yet only two weeks ago, Freeman was frank in telling the BBC that the momentum toward a general election – and a Labour victory – was unstoppable:
In those two weeks – when Tom Watson was reported to be talking to ‘pro-EU’ Tories, although he has denied doing so – Freeman has changed from an acceptance of democracy to a call for ‘cross-party veterans’ to club together.
To form another unelected government.
Since then, mainstream media have raised the subject at every possibility – but not merely to report it as something being discussed by a small group of disgruntled MPs fearful of deselection – but to put it forward as being natural. Reasonable.
The hope among supporters of this desperate move must be of exploiting the Fixed Term Parliaments Act (FTPA) by means of a successful vote of no confidence. The FTPA mandates that such a successful vote triggers the start of a 14-day period – at the end of which a new government must win a confidence vote, or else a new general election must take place.
‘National unity government’ backers will be hoping that if a no-confidence vote is successful, they can band together enough support from ‘centrists’ of all parties – the very definition of ‘all politicians are the same’ – to carry a confidence vote and form a government.
But it would one that nobody elected – and formed by a group of MPs, most of whom would never have been elected as individual constituency MPs if voters had known how they would behave.
Labour voters vote with the intention of seeing a Labour government. Tory voters for a Tory one. They do not vote with the intention of seeing an ‘cuckoo’ alliance of MPs loyal to the values or policies of neither – and the votes they received behind blue or red rosettes are certainly not a mandate for depriving the electorate of a say in the wake of appalling Tory incompetence and chaos.
The handful of LibDem MPs, Plaid or the SNP, or the single Green MP might just claim they were elected precisely to have such an enabling or spoiling effect on those elected to represent other parties – but their numbers are so small that even if all of them backed it, it would not legitimise the power-grab.
Coup 3.0 – against more than Labour
Such a move would represent a coup. Driven as it is by centrists’ fear of a Corbyn government, it can legitimately be regarded as the next in the series of attempted coups by defunct right-wing Labour MPs.
Those MPs and their supporters have already desperately tried – and desperately failed – to remove Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour leadership, either directly, by smears, or by bringing about a Labour electoral disaster.
But it is not just a Labour coup. Instead, it is being attempted on an even wider scale – an attempt to disenfranchise millions of voters across the political spectrum, conducted by a political faction only in place because they stood under the camouflage of red or blue rosettes.
A dismal history
The UK last had a national unity government in the 1930s, in response to the Great Depression. Its significance then and now was captured in a series of tweets by journalist Ronan Burtenshaw, of which two are shown below:
SKWAWKBOX comment: wheat and chaff
The unfolding of this ‘coup 3.0’ will sift the wheat from the chaff – and all lovers of democracy in this country need to hope and work for its failure. The success or failure of the attempt hangs on whether enough MPs will be prepared to be known to future generations as those who turned on the party that got them elected – and against the voters who elected them, millions of whom are suffering under the Tories.
Or whether sufficient numbers care enough for principle, party, members, voters and the suffering millions to reject attempts to woo them to participate in such a theft from voters and from the party members whose efforts carried them into office.
And at least in part, those decisions by individual MPs will depend on what they hear from members and voters. Some are certainly already lost causes – but waverers need to hear from you what you think of such a coup.
Whichever party you voted for in 2017 or will vote for in the next general election, possibly within months.
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