Saturday, 23 February 2019

The Coup is On

My long predicted coup is on. After a week in which eight Labour MPs formed and joined the Independent Group, and three Conservatives then joined it, three Cabinet Ministers have written in a newspaper to signal that they will vote to give Parliament control and thus extend Article 50 if the Prime Minister has no deal to present to Parliament. There is also the possibility that the Prime Minister will receive a positive vote if she accepts putting it to a second referendum.

However, it is not clear that there will be anything to vote on in terms of a revised deal.The so-called Malthouse Compromise is dead in the water, and the issue remains the withdrawal agreement backstop - which the Brady Amendment a fortnight ago said should be replaced and now is only subject to legal reinterpretation, if that.

The Prime Minister with nothing (much) to report may well try to delay again, but really time is up for this - surely because there is no indication that there is any deal forthcoming beyond the one which she approved of more that two weeks ago. This means that in the face of this hapless Prime Minister MPs must now act regardless of a revised deal or not being presented.

It hardly needs to be said that it is unprecedented that Cabinet Ministers should signal their intention to vote in a contrary fashion to the Prime Minister, but then this is a national crisis of potential self-harm that must be prevented.

The route of the coup is via Parliament, whereas my prediction was executive action. If the three ministers, Rudd, Gauke and Clark, vote against the government, they may well then resign and the government could effectively collapse. If instead they tell May to sack them if she dare, this could be where the executive action takes over: the Prime Minister in office but no longer in power. Her tin ear and rigidity is finally too much. This is something she shares with Corbyn, and his inabilities to run his office effectively (never mind the loss of confidence over anti-semitism) makes him unfit for such high office. But this also applies to Theresa May: we've learnt about her in office that she simply is not up to the job. She talks but does not act, she is rigid, deaf to others, and leaves the body politic frustrated and weak.

It is not right that a person holding cards of such low value should be allowed to hold up the game. She has got to be overrun or forced out. We have Cabinet government and all that is needed is command of the House of Commons. There is no need for a leadership election for government to function.

The whole leaving the EU politics is breaking our body politic, especially in the hands of a Prime Minister who is out of her depth. The task is beyond her, and as she freezes in the face of the headlights he political parties are being shaken into their divisions. She has to go, and for the good of Labour and its prospects, Corbyn has to go, and also for the chance that the Liberal Democrats may revive, Vince Cable has to go - he is authentic, thoughtful, and capable, but he has a legacy and does not inspire.

So, the coup is on, and next week shall either be decisive or - well - the mess will shake the parties and the sense of frustration even more, with surely mass purposeful defections from the Conservative Party: 1846 all over again.

No comments: