h1

It’s Clive Lewisn’t a member of the shadow cabinet anymore and becomes favourite to succeed Corbyn

February 8th, 2017

But Diane Abbott doesn’t rebel

Meanwhile the elites say one thing to win votes but once the votes are won…Sad.

TSE




h1

Well this won’t make John Bercow happy but grumpy if only he had been bashful when it came to Trump

February 8th, 2017

He’s now 4/1 from 5/1 not to remain Speaker until 2018 with William Hill

TSE



h1

Reports that Corbyn “has fixed his exit date” sets off betting rush on when he’ll go and who’ll replace him

February 8th, 2017

Overnight there has been a bit of a betting flurry following reports that Corbyn has shared with close colleagues his planned date to leave the LAB leadership. William Hill say they’ve been forced to take evasive action by slashing their odds for Jeremy Corbyn to cease to be Labour leader during 2017, after a rush of bets for him saw the odds slashed from 2/1 (33% chance) to even money (50%).

This suggests that he is going before the next general election which should causes us to rethink the prospects for that contest.

    A general election in which Theresa May is fighting Keir Starmer, Hilary Benn, Clive Lewis, would be of a totally different magnitude than her facing Jeremy Corbyn.

The reason that Theresa May had such a good best prime minister rating is simply because the alternative has polled so badly and has done ever since he was first elected in September 2015.

May’s pained struggle today to deal with Corbyn’s NHS questions at PMQs suggests that she needs to do a lot of work on her communication approach before she is campaign fit to face a general election. She was poor.

The idea that something was going on with in Labour with first sparked off last week when it was reported that Rebecca Long-Bailey had become the preferred choice of Corbynistas to be his successor. I saw a snippet on this and got £20 on with Ladbrokes at 66/1.

Long-Bailey, who was on Question Time last Thursday, has since moved in sharply  and now the longest you can get is 16/1.

The overnight report that JC has confided to close colleagues his planned exit data fits into to last week’s Long-Bailey hyping.

My guess is that Corbyn would find it easier to step aside if Labour wins both February 23rd by-elections in Copeland and Stoke Central. He would, deserved or not, get some kudos from the seats being saved.

Mike Smithson




h1

Cyclefree on invitations to address Parliament and the latest PB cartoon

February 8th, 2017

Cartoons by Helen Cochrane and Nicholas Leonard.

In June 2012, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, gave an address to both Houses of Parliament, with the Speaker of the Commons, one John Bercow, giving a welcoming address.  Nothing very surprising there and surely nothing controversial about such an invitation or speaker.  But even Nobel Peace Prize winners can be criticised and Miss Suu Kyi has, for her reluctance to use her undoubted moral authority within Burma to speak up for the persecuted Rohingya minority or against those attacking them.  The Rohingya are Muslims, have lived in Burma for many many years, are being denied Burmese citizenship and there are credible accounts of their persecution (including rape, murder, burning down of mosques and ethnic cleansing) by the Burmese state and Burmese nationalists.  The Rohingya are now refugees living in abject conditions in the borderlands of Burma and its neighbours.

In November 2012 the Emir of Kuwait was invited to make a speech to both Houses of Parliament while on his state visit.  The Speaker gave a welcoming address.  Kuwait is not an example of a state which places much value on the principles of equality. Foreign workers and stateless Arabs (called ‘bidoon’) as well as women face legal discrimination.  Free speech is constrained.  It is not the worst Middle Eastern state for lack of human rights is the best that can be said.

In 2015 the Chinese President was accorded a state visit to Britain and a speech to Parliament with, once again, the Speaker making a welcoming speech.  China is hardly in the gold star class when it comes to human rights.  A list of its failings would swamp this post.  But to take two examples: baby girls have been routinely aborted (in many cases against the mother’s wishes) or abandoned at birth with the connivance or active encouragement of the Chinese authorities.

Despite this long-standing practice (arguably, whatever one’s views about abortion, believing that female infants should not live or be abandoned is about as sexist a view of female worth as it is possible to have) the UN felt able to hold its Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in September 1995, an event at which a Mrs Clinton made a well-received speech about women’s rights which, curiously, did not mention what happened to female babies or their mothers in the host country.  The Chinese state also mistreats its separatist Uighur (and Muslim) minority, going so far as to seek to prevent fasting during Ramadan, something which would provoke outrage if attempted by any Western government.

Well, one could go on.  But the point is obvious.

What might we learn from these examples?

  1. Realpolitik requires us to sup with all sorts of unpleasant regimes or ones where we may disagree with some of their policies or with people who are less than perfect.
  2. Muslims are mistreated in many countries, often by fellow Muslims. Demonisation of Muslims is not a Western speciality.
  3. Pointing out the hypocrisy of the Speaker is unlikely to shame someone shameless enough to broadcast his own virtue quite so loudly and publicly.
  4. If you’re going to make a virtue of your own principles, it might be worth examining how much you have in fact followed them. Otherwise others might think that those principles are no more important to you than a fashionable coat, to be discarded when fashions change.  Principles these days appear to be like the Access card of old – “Your flexible friend”.
  5. However bad these countries are, we hold – and should hold – ourselves and countries like the USA to higher standards. Even so, it is excessive hyperbole to suggest that the USA or Trump are so very much worse than, say, the King of Saudi Arabia or the Chinese President or their respective countries.
  6. It used to be said that “the personal is political”. It sometimes appears these days that the political is only personal, political imperatives to be determined only by personal character, who is one’s friend and who one hates the most.  This is the politics of a playground full of teenage girls.  If one is a friend,  all  can be excused.  If one is not, nothing can.  Oh dear.

Whatever else Trump may or may not achieve as President, he has already joined the ranks of those few politicians who induce a sort of mental derangement in their opponents.  Mrs Thatcher was one, Nixon another and in earlier times, FDR, seen by some – certainly at the start of his Presidency – as a traitor to his class.  Only time will tell whether Trump will achieve anything remotely comparable to what those politicians achieved.  Something more than anger and a gift for using Twitter is required.

Cyclefree



h1

LAB in lead with ICM amongst REMAIN voters – more poll numbers that make make Corbyn’s A50 strategy look dumb

February 7th, 2017

Mike Smithson




h1

Betting on whether or not John Bercow will remain Speaker until next year

February 7th, 2017

This morning I asked a few bookies to price up whether John Bercow will still be Speaker on the 1st of January 2018, Graham Sharpe of William Hill obliged with the above odds. After much consideration, I’ve decided to take the 5/1 on him not lasting until 2018, the tweets below are indication why.

So Speaker Bercow has managed to upset the Prime Minister, the Government, and his fellow Parliamentary officials, which makes his life very difficult. He might win a confidence vote but if a significant number of MPs vote that they have no confidence in him, I believe his position becomes untenable.  I know he’s not universally loved on the Tory benches and when he was first elected as Speaker, one MP said Bercow was the second consecutive Labour Speaker.

Because the subject isn’t a minor matter, it concerns the President of the United States, I’m someone who detests and loathes Donald Trump but I still respect the office, given the potential embarrassment this could cause Her Majesty and the impact on British foreign relations and our post Brexit future, this is an issue that won’t go away. Bercow’s announced his intention to stand down in 2018, so he might bring that forward to save himself and the country problems and embarrassment. It might also pay out if we have an early general election.

TSE



h1

Stoke Central’s down to whether BREXIT’s a big enough issue for ordinary voters to come out an give LAB a kicking

February 7th, 2017

This analysis feels right

The following is a great series of Tweet’s on Stoke Central by the FT’s Sebastian Payne



h1

Tonight’s cartoon on Trump

February 6th, 2017

Cartoons by Helen Cochrane and Nicholas Leonard.