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Current location: Scotland
Member since: Mon Sep 7, 2009, 12:57 AM
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Nine Tory ministers condemn prorogation of Parliament

What ministers said about prorogation before they put their own careers before the interests of the country
Ian Birrell https://twitter.com/ianbirrell

1) @NickyMorgan01, culture sec: 'It would lead to a constitutional crisis.'

2) @MattHancock, health sec: 'There is this idea from some people that to deliver Brexit we should suspend our parliamentary democracy, we should prorogue parliament. That goes against everything those men who waded onto those beaches fought & died for - and I will not have it'

3) @AmberRuddHR dd work & pensions sec: 'The idea of leaving the EU to take back more control into parliament and to consider the idea of closing parliament to do that is the most extraordinary idea I've ever heard. It is a ridiculous suggestion to consider Proroguing parliament

4) Sajid Javid, chancellor: You don't deliver on democracy by trashing democracy . . . we are not selecting a dictator of our country"

5) @MattHancock again: Proroguing Parliament undermines parliamentary democracy. I rule it out and call on all candidates to do the same

6) @AmberRuddHR again: 'I think it’s outrageous to consider proroguing Parliament. We are not Stuart kings.”

7) @MattHancock yet again: 'A policy on Brexit to prorogue Parliament would mean the end of the Conservative Party as a serious party of government'

8) @michaelgove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: 'I think it will be wrong for many reasons. I think it would not be true to the best traditions of British democracy

9) @NickyMorgan01 again: 'Proroguing Parliament is clearly a mad suggestion. You cannot say you are going to take back control … and then go: ‘Oh, by the way, we are just going to shut Parliament down for a couple of months, so we are just going to drift out on a no deal’

10) @andrealeadsom, business sec, was asked if she could go along with such a plan. 'No I don’t believe I would and I don’t believe it would happen.'

11) @andrealeadsom also said: 'It's certainly not something I would seek to do. I'm passionate about parliament democracy.'


12) @GeorgeFreemanMP, transport minister: 'The idea that a new PM will want, let alone be allowed by backbench MPs or Peers, to prorogue Parliament is bonkers. It would look appalling.'


13) @michaelgove again: 'One reason I argued to leave the EU was to make our parliament stronger, to reinvigorate our democracy. It would be a terrible thing if having said we should have more power in our country & trust our institutions more we shut the doors of parliament'

And from the Primest Minister of them all, the Sun King himself ...

14) @BorisJohnson, PM (h/t @Sandbach): 'I would like to make it absolutely clear that I am not attracted to arcane procedures such as the prorogation of Parliament. As someone who aspires to be the PM of a democratic nation, I believe in finding consensus in the House of Commons'


Ruth Davidson 'to quit as Scottish Conservative leader'

Party sources confirmed Ms Davidson was considering her position and was expected to make a statement tomorrow.


The news broke hours after Boris Johnson moved to suspend parliament for five weeks in order to stop MPs blocking a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Davidson has never hidden her disdain for Mr Johnson, or her opposition to no-deal.

However sources said her decision was not in response to the Prime Minister’s increasingly hardline on Brexit, but based on lifestyle and family commitments.


Small beans compared to the rest of today's news maybe, this will have been utterly predictable (despite the disclaimer above) if it pans out tomorrow. Davidson's never overtaxed herself as an MSP (as her constituents can vouch), so claims of "lifestyle and family commitments" conflicting with her cosy job in the family-friendly parliament at Holyrood just aren't credible.

Davidson, for far too long given an ultra-easy ride by the media, was once (seriously over-)hyped as a potential UK Tory leader, the public and electoral face of a Tory Party in Scotland that hardly dare display the brand "Conservative Party" on its literature and publicity:

She's been on the skids ever since May formed her alliance with the DUP, when their attitudes toward LGBT issues put her, as the openly gay, "modernizing" face of the Scottish Tories, in a very awkward position.

When the Tories won an unexpected 13 MPs in the last election, Davidson boasted that "her" MPs would take Scotland's case (in the very restrictive terms the Scottish Tories think fitting for us) to Westminster more effectively than the other parties could. The reality has been that "her" MPs have proven far more loyal to May, and so far Johnson, than to her (or indeed, Scotland), and she became more and more irrelevant even before, and especially after, she took maternity leave over the last year.

She was an ardent Remainer during the Brexit referendum, had a very awkward time squaring that stance with the evolving UK Tory line, backed a series of losers in the Tory leadership contest, and had to eat a hearty helping of crow when Johnson was elected.

In the UK context, if a series of polls are to believed, even before today's events and with her still at the helm, the Tories looked likely to lose all 13 of their Scottish MPs at the next general election. After today, and without her as figurehead, that looks like more than a fair bet, chipping away at a possible Tory majority at Westminster. We'll have to wait and see whether she remains in politics at all (we don't know yet whether she just intends to stand down as leader or whether she'll also quit as an MSP), but the No campaign in a future Scottish independence referendum would sorely miss her, though her claims and arguments from campaigns past would be very difficult to defend given how events have turned out and are turning out still.

Who's likely to succeed her as leader of the Scottish Tory branch office is anybody's guess at the moment, and we can but hope for a protracted, ugly contest, but none of the likely contenders (most probably from among the ranks of Tory MSPs) are charismatic, competent nor at all appealing.

Ukip leader Richard Braine says he is 'getting a bit fed up with all this dickbraine stuff'

Another month, another UKIP leader ...


Liz McInnes, the Labour MP, said: “I see that Ukip, in their perpetual leadership contest that is rivalled only by the DFS sale in its longevity, have now elected a triumph of nominative determinism, a Mr Dick Braine.”

Her party colleague, David Lammy, tweeted: “I wish I could laugh at the fact that this man is literally called Dick Braine. But I can’t, because I know it will only mask the seriousness of his dangerous and vile Islamophobia. His predecessors would be proud.”

Mr Braine had earlier said he “often” confused Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, with the leader of the 7/7 terror attackers. His tweet was condemned by Labour as “unacceptable racism”.

The Ukip leader also told Sky News on Tuesday the UK should “look into” banning the distribution of the Quran.


(No, this is not a spoof.)

What the self-proclaimed leader of a "far-moderate voice of common sense" in Britain, a.k.a. Dick Braine, looks like:

If Mr Braine has any complaints, I think they should be aimed at his apparently unimaginative, or unconcerned, parents.

Nigel Farage Has Hired A Journalist At The Centre Of Breitbart's Anti-Immigration Europe Coverage

During his three years at Breitbart London between 2015 and 2018, Liam Deacon churned out an extraordinary number of sensationalist stories about migrant crime, while promoting the activities of far-right, anti-Islam figures like Tommy Robinson and Anne Marie Waters, and attacking familiar targets of the European far-right like Angela Merkel and Sadiq Khan.

After leaving the publication, Deacon worked briefly for the Daily Star before joining the Brexit Party as a press officer in June.

More than 2,600 articles on the far-right site carry Deacon’s by-line. He started regularly writing for the website in April, 2015 as the European migrant crisis was rapidly escalating.

Some of his output involved mundane, tabloid news – Deacon’s by-line appears on the story about the man who officially changed his name to Buzz Lightyear, and the boat that was named “Boaty McBoatface” – or stories which touched on traditional right-wing culture war issues.

But mainly, Deacon wrote pieces which focused on Muslims, crime and immigration.


So much for the façade that the Brexit Party would be a sanitized, rebranded UKIP without the overt racism.

The fatuousness of that pretense will be clear to anyone who's been following Farage's recruitment drive for candidates to stand in a general election (each paying an "application fee" of £100 - a nice little earner on top of all the dark money slushing around).

Jacob Mates on Twitter has been taking a look at some of the candidates as they've been announced (because heaven forbid any mainstream outlet would do it, let alone challenge Farage on it during any of his monotonous media appearances):

MatesJacob @MatesJacob
Aug 3, 2019


Yesterday the Brexit Party announced the names of their parliamentary candidates, so I thought I’d have a quick look.

I’m afraid it’s bad news.


MatesJacob @MatesJacob

2/ Meet John Booker, an ex-UKIP councillor from Sheffield. You’d think the @brexitparty_uk might do some social media vetting of their candidates, but apparently not...
The Brexit Party ✔ @brexitparty_uk


Congratulations, John Booker!

Our Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for #Penistone & #Stocksbridge.

MatesJacob @MatesJacob

3/ They seem to have missed his sharing of Islamophobic posts like this one:

MatesJacob @MatesJacob

4/ ...and also missed his ‘likes’ on racially abusive comments aimed at @MagicMagid:

MatesJacob @MatesJacob

5/ He liked a comment that warned against a Muslim “takeover”, with them “slowly getting people into powerful positions”

MatesJacob @MatesJacob

6/ He liked a comment that seems to call for violent action against Islam/Muslims.


MatesJacob @MatesJacob

7/ If the Brexit Party truly intends to be “intolerant of intolerance” it needs to withdraw this candidate immediately, and be far more thorough in vetting the remaining 600+ candidates still to be announced.

I'm sure they'll get right on to that. That's just one example. There are many other recently announced candidates whose past doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

Look forward to the sort of rhetoric Farage is likely to come out with again during an upcoming election being matched by Johnson and his boss, Dominic Cummings. Let's just hope none of the other parties decide to join in.

Lib Dems win Brecon & Radnorshire by-election

Their candidate, Jane Dodds, beat the incumbent Tory, Chris Davies, who'd been recalled after an expenses scandal.

Lib Dems 13826
Tories 12401
Brexit Party 3331
Labour 1680
Monster Raving Loony Party 334
UKIP 242

Plaid Cymru and the Greens didn't stand, in order to maximize the chances of defeating the Tories.

This reduces the Tories' majority in parliament to one (at time of writing - there have been rumours that a Lib Dem win might trigger defections over the next day or so).

Johnson's visit to Scotland yesterday didn't go so well

Early on the fifth day of his honeymoon period, the newly self-anointed Minister for the Union visited HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane (a few miles from where I live), to be shown around a Trident sub, where he thankfully kept his paws to himself.

He might have wished he'd stayed down the hatch when he faced some unusually robust press questioning before his minders decided enough was enough:

Ah yes, that clandestine tryst with the hen party, as covered back in May, when his premiership was just a foreboding clusterfuck on the horizon ...

His yearning for the regimented tranquility of Royal Navy hospitality might have become more pronounced as the day wore on.

Mike Galsworthy

Boris Johnson booed as he turns up in Scotland.

Gives the word ‘divisive’ extra meaning. You can feel the UK tearing.

[Twitter video]

(If you don't do Twitter, this Mirror article gives the gist: Boris Johnson welcomed to Scotland with shouts of 'lying a***hole'.)

Sturgeon didn't seem exactly overjoyed with having to entertain him and the new Secretary of State for Scotland, the filthy rich borders laird Alister Jack.

Johnson's entry to Bute House in Edinburgh was a choice moment if you can watch the Twitter video above, as the First Minister deftly parried his attempt to usher her through her own front door with a gesture which could be interpreted as "Ach, get away in there and don't even think of laying hands on me", or possibly a feint at a below-the-belt karate chop.

The hooting crowd was still there an hour later when the joyous meeting (where the questions of Brexit and the prospects of a second Scottish independence referendum - Johnson was reportedly unsure how many we've had so far - were on the agenda) had ground to a halt, so he was reduced to sneaking out via a back entrance ...

There's now a lively Twitter hashtag which may have some longevity: #BackDoorBoris

After that, a meeting with the leader of the Scottish branch of the Tory Party might have seemed a more relaxing prospect, but ...

Johnson in Scotland: Was PM's toughest meeting with Ruth Davidson?


Ms Davidson made no secret of the fact that she did not want Mr Johnson as PM.

And in the few days since he took charge relations have already gone further south.

He ignored his Scottish leader's advice not to sack the Scottish Secretary David Mundell and replace him with the pro-Brexit MP Alister Jack.

He then further snubbed the Scottish contingent of parliamentarians when he put an MP who sits for an English seat into the Scotland office as a minister.

Ms Davidson has said publicly that she would not support a no-deal exit from the EU and that as leader of the Scottish party she does not have to sign up to any loyalty pledge to support a no deal.

She believes the PM would have sacked her if he could. But he can't - and she will take full advantage of her ability to speak out in public.


Davidson, once the media darling touted as the saviour of the Scottish Tories and a possible future UK prime minister, hasn't had a good few weeks since she returned from maternity leave. The candidates she backed for Tory leader each fell in turn, "her" MPs in Scotland have proven more loyal to Johnson than to her, and Jo Swinson's election as Lib Dem leader has left her somewhat in the shade. How much longer she'll have any stomach for her post is a question being widely asked.

Unfortunately, unless events or parliamentary developments intervene, it looks like we're stuck with Johnson for a while.

UPDATE: Here's tomorrow's National front page:

Johnson's Potemkin government

Who knows what the next few months hold in store?

But a persuasive theory doing the rounds at the moment is that the installation of Dominic Cummings as Johnson's Special Adviser indicates that the new cabinet isn't so much geared to governing (what may well prove to still be an ungovernable Parliament, probably even more so than under May) as to gearing up to fight a general election some time between now and the autumn.

This may explain the ragtag mob now assembled in the cabinet and some eyebrow-raising appointments. Here's one example: Priti Patel, the new Home Secretary, here seen being humiliated (but lacking the insight to realize it) by Private Eye's Ian Hislop on BBC Question Time over her unquestioning championing of the death penalty.

Jonathan Lis

Honestly the only positive of having Priti Patel in the Cabinet is that Andrea Leadsom and Liz Truss now appear moderately intelligent and competent. But otherwise the promotion of such an eye-watering inadequate to Home Secretary is a national scandal

[Twitter video]

Maybe you have some other examples?

For perspective:

Ruining a country near you soon: the beta males who think they're alphas

Marina Hyde

What could be more insecure than a 55-year-old bragging about Latin, or a literal president tweeting his enemies on the bog?

If the Tory leadership election unfolds as widely expected, the UK will basically be ruled by a Fathers4Injustice activist. Boris Johnson is the kind of guy who’d don Spider-Man pyjamas and scale a building in order to see less of his kids. Sorry, fewer. Even so, he remains a remarkably typical hero of our political times. “There are two kinds of women,” Harry explains at one point in When Harry Met Sally. “High maintenance and low maintenance.” “Which one am I?” Sally asks. “You’re the worst kind,” he says. “You’re high maintenance, but you think you’re low maintenance.”

After a week in which paddle-less Britain has found itself once more caught in dangerous transatlantic currents, it’s clear that there are two kinds of political men. Strong men and weak men. Which one is our most likely next prime minister? I’m afraid Boris Johnson is the worst kind: he’s a weak man who thinks he’s a strong man. See also selective antiracist Jeremy Corbyn, whose unshakeable conviction that he hasn’t been wrong in several decades has left him stubbornly incapable of being the bigger person. See also gratefully submissive Donald Trump fanboy Nigel Farage, who has spent much of the past three years hanging wanly around Washington on the off-chance of a half-hour 6pm burger with the alpha male to his beta. And see also Donald Trump himself, the leader of the free world, who spent about 48 hours this week tweeting like some homicidal 11-year-old Justin Bieber fan about the leaked comments of the British ambassador. Who, apparently, we now let him pick. More on toxic insecurity’s poster boy shortly.


It was reportedly after watching Johnson refuse to defend him that US ambassador Kim Darroch made the decision to resign. He had little choice, especially given the way the political winds are blowing. The weak strongmen are inheriting the earth. Johnson has spent weeks claiming he’s the only one strong enough to get the better of the European Union, yet his first public test saw him cravenly submit to the disgraceful whims of Trump. In the circs, it feels a little unfair to class this move as “pussying out”. What would you call it instead? Penising out? Yes, I believe we saw Boris Johnson totally penis out to Donald Trump.

During the 2016 presidential election campaign, the Atlantic asked eminent primatologist Jane Goodall to assess Trump. “In many ways the performances of Donald Trump remind me of male chimpanzees and their dominance rituals,” she judged. “In order to impress rivals, males seeking to rise in the dominance hierarchy perform spectacular displays: stamping, slapping the ground, dragging branches, throwing rocks. The more vigorous and imaginative the display, the faster the individual is likely to rise in the hierarchy, and the longer he is likely to maintain that position.” Rather than passing, this political mood has intensified. It is impossible to watch how Farage or Johnson relate to Trump, or each other, or to their own underlings, without imagining the entire evolutionary regression voiced by David Attenborough.


This new poll finds widespread Islamophobia among Conservative Party members

LONDON — Four out of ten Conservative Party members want limits placed on the number of Muslim people entering the UK, according to a new poll which finds widespread Islamophobia in the party.

The YouGov poll of Conservative Party members, for the anti-racist campaign group Hope Not Hate, found that 40% of members wanted limits on the number of people of the Islamic faith entering the country, as opposed to just 5% who want to see fewer Christians or Jewish people.

The poll also found that:

* 43% of Conservative Party members "would prefer to not have the country led by a Muslim"
* 45% believe that "there are areas in Britain in which non-Muslims are not able to enter,"
* 67% believe that "there are areas in Britain that operate under Sharia law."
* 39% believe that "Islamist terrorists reflect a widespread hostility to Britain amongst the Muslim community."


The poll also found that 79% of members think that Islamophobia isn't a problem in the party (well, not for those voting that it isn't, obviously), so the inquiry Sajid Javid arm-twisted the other leadership contenders into supporting during the hustings isn't necessary.
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