Exilian

Art, Writing, and Learning: The Clerisy Quarter => Discussion and Debate - The Philosopher's Plaza => Topic started by: Jubal on January 19, 2022, 12:29:03 PM

Title: UK Politics 2022
Post by: Jubal on January 19, 2022, 12:29:03 PM
New year, time for a change of thread!

And we have a bit of political excitement for the New Year, too: Boris Johnson is finally severely tanking in the polls, and everyone (everyone who's an enormous nerd anyway) is watching avidly to see when enough letters to the Conservative 1922 committee get sent in expressing no confidence in him, such that there's an actual confidence vote among Conservative MPs. There will also be one fewer of those MPs, as the member for Bury South today crossed the floor and joined the Labour benches about ten minutes before Prime Minister's Questions.

Johnson may yet see off a confidence vote if his potential replacements - including my MP Liz "Pork Markets" Truss, Matt "I've got an app" Hancock, Jeremy "don't mispronounce the surname" Hunt, and chancellor and probable front-runner Rishi Sunak - don't feel ready to jump into a contest. But he's looking more and more damaged by the day, honestly.
Title: Re: UK Politics 2022
Post by: Jubal on January 20, 2022, 11:26:49 AM
William Wragg, the Conservative chair of the public accounts committee, has all but explicitly said on camera that Johnson's government is committing criminal blackmail of its MPs by threatening to push embarrassing stories into the press, and breaches of the ministerial code by threatening to rewrite parliamentary boundary changes and withdraw government funded projects from MPs constituencies, in order to pressure Conservative MPs not to vote No Confidence in Johnson. Story here (https://news.sky.com/story/tories-who-want-pm-to-resign-facing-intimidation-and-blackmail-from-party-mp-warns-12520768).

I mean, I don't think "Johnson prepared to do a bit of crime to hold his office" is hugely surprising, but the point at which his own MPs are surfacing to point that out is rather more eye-opening.
Title: Re: UK Politics 2022
Post by: dubsartur on January 24, 2022, 07:52:44 PM
It is a truth universally acknowledged that its not the crime that gets you, its the cover-up (see also: never break two laws at the same time).
Title: Re: UK Politics 2022
Post by: Jubal on March 13, 2022, 01:09:57 AM
So it's Lib Dem conference weekend. The biggest internal party news is probably a major set of reforms to the Federal Board and its structures: we will not have a much smaller federal board with a scrutiny council, which I'm sceptical will prove effective.

My main pushes on policy issues both passed. First, I helped push through a revised version of a paper on Public Debate which I'd referred back to committee with a vote at the previous conference. The new version may not be perfect but I think it's fairly good and I was pleased that the working group were very willing to work on the improvements that were needed. Here's a thing about it that I wrote:
https://www.libdemvoice.org/the-nature-of-public-debate-a-win-for-conference-70100.html

And this evening, with help from the Young Liberals' policy officer Janey Little, I also got an amendment through on restorative justice which advanced our policy somewhat. Explanation on blog here:
https://thoughtsofprogress.wordpress.com/2022/03/10/restorative-justice-time-to-talk-it-over/
Title: Re: UK Politics 2022
Post by: Jubal on May 03, 2022, 06:30:20 PM
Local elections coming up shortly! All the Welsh and Scottish locals, a lot of English councils (this year's round is probably the most urban-heavy one in England, including all the London boroughs). There's also the Northern Ireland Assembly coming up.

Things likely to be of interest below. Note that if I'm a bit waffly about flipping vs "doing well in" councils, that's on purpose and because I've not had time to check the 2018 results everywhere to see exactly what can or can't actually flip in places with 1/3 of councillors up for election.
Title: Re: UK Politics 2022
Post by: Jubal on May 07, 2022, 12:09:38 PM
Outcomes!

Title: Re: UK Politics 2022
Post by: dubsartur on May 08, 2022, 04:12:46 AM
In Northern Ireland, are unionists advocates of union with the rest of Ireland (and separation from union with the UK)?

Glad to see someone sticking it to the Tories.
Title: Re: UK Politics 2022
Post by: Glaurung on May 08, 2022, 09:08:32 AM
In Northern Ireland, are unionists advocates of union with the rest of Ireland (and separation from union with the UK)?
No - Northern Ireland unionists advocate for the continuation of the union with the rest of the UK (with varying degrees of vehemence and in occasional cases violence). On social issues they're generally extremely conservative, and their trademark slogan is probably "No Surrender!" - 'surrender' in this case being almost any perceived change to the status quo. They're drawn from the Protestant community in Northern Ireland, who are mostly descendants of English and Scottish folk "planted" in Ireland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries - hence the attachment to union with the UK. The desire of this group to remain within the UK was of course the reason why Northern Ireland was created in the first place, when the rest of Ireland gained independence from the UK.

The group in Northern Ireland advocating for (re)unification with the rest of the island is the Nationalists - largely Catholic, descendants of the people already in Ireland before the "plantation" process started.

As a political term within the UK, I'm fairly sure "unionist" always implies continuation of the existing union, and "nationalist" implies the independence of one or more of the UK's parts: Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. The Conservatives often promote themselves as "Conservative and Unionist" in Scotland, and sometimes in Wales - a particular irony given how much their recent actions have done to promote the nationalist cause in both countries.
Title: Re: UK Politics 2022
Post by: Jubal on May 09, 2022, 10:23:46 AM
I wrote up some thoughts on the election results, and specifically the implications for the Liberal Democrats, as a post on my blog:
https://thoughtsofprogress.wordpress.com/2022/05/08/2022-election-results-new-liberal-opportunities/

Also, sorry to see the Cambs results, Glaurung. Looked pretty rough for us :/
Title: Re: UK Politics 2022
Post by: Glaurung on May 09, 2022, 08:32:35 PM
Also, sorry to see the Cambs results, Glaurung. Looked pretty rough for us :/
Err, yes, losing a quarter of our council seats is a bit painful; I'm not sure whether it's made better or worse by the fact that LibDems in many other parts of the country, including our immediate neighbours in South Cambridgeshire, have made substantial gains.
Title: Re: UK Politics 2022
Post by: Glaurung on June 06, 2022, 05:29:22 PM
For those who aren't up to the minute with UK news, Boris Johnson faces a confidence vote as leader of the Conservative Party this evening - those voting will be Conservative MPs. If he loses the vote, there will be a Conservative leadership election, and if Johnson loses that, he will be replaced as Prime Minister by the new leader. Apparently, we will know the result of the confidence vote around 9pm (UK time).
Title: Re: UK Politics 2022
Post by: Jubal on June 06, 2022, 11:18:44 PM
While the PM "won" the vote, it was 211 to 148, so giving Johnson just under 60 percent of his own MPs: that is, under a third of the House of Commons actually thinks he should stay in office.

He'll do his best to bluff it out, but he is very much in a mess now: that's a really difficult state from which to govern.
Title: Re: UK Politics 2022
Post by: dubsartur on June 07, 2022, 11:11:41 PM
From the day David Cameron resigned to whenever BoJo got in, there was intense fighting within the Tories over who would be PM (and who would have to lead the country into the glorious sunlit uplands of Brexit).  Is there any sign of that again?
Title: Re: UK Politics 2022
Post by: Jubal on June 08, 2022, 10:07:15 AM
I think there's maybe fewer challengers but more anti-incumbent sentiment. A lot of Tories loathe Johnson in a way that wasn't true of their previous leaders, but nobody's been very effective at signalling themselves as a possible alternative candidate and pressing that claim.
Title: Re: UK Politics 2022
Post by: dubsartur on June 20, 2022, 09:12:35 PM
So the Times of London published a story that Boris Johnson tried to appoint his mistress Chief of Staff on a public salary in 2018 (https://scholar.social/web/@bookandswordblog/108504645784024359), then called the papers back and re-issued them with a filler story about Priti Patel on that page. This story previously appeared in the Daily Mail (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10480695/Carrie-Johnson-uncovered-Book-LORD-ASHCROFT-thats-set-Westminster-alight.html) in Feb 2022 but the reporter at the Times got more testimony from MPs.

Have you ever heard anything like that before?  If the Times was not confident of their right to publish, they would not have prepared the story.

Edit: and per the Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/jun/19/carrie-johnson-and-the-curious-case-of-the-vanishing-times-story), the original source was a biography of Carrie Johnson by a senior Tory ... so if you wanted to suppress it, why not go after him?  It sounds like many 2018 Conservatives agree that Johnson tried to appoint her Chief of Staff while she was his mistress.

Edit: The PMO has confirmed that people at Downing St. asked The Times to pull the story https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-carriegate-times-story-b2105025.html (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-carriegate-times-story-b2105025.html)
Title: Re: UK Politics 2022
Post by: Jubal on June 24, 2022, 06:03:17 PM
Two more by-elections yesterday, with sizeable opposition wins in both cases: one for the Lib Dems in Tiverton & Honiton, and one for Labour in Wakefield. No real sign of the Tories actually ditching Johnson though as a result.