Sunday, 24 March 2019

If we face a Brexit apocalypse, May should not be the scapegoat.

The idea that Theresa May could gain support for her Brexit deal if she promises to stand down as PM, as senior Conservatives reportedly have told the BBC is bizarre.

Rhey seem to be gearing up to give her a victory in passing her "Deal " whilst making her a scapegoat  for any post-brexit backlash.
The BBC (If you can believe them)report that ....
"....MPs in the party have said they might reluctantly back the agreement if they know she will not be in charge of the next stage of negotiations with the EU.
It comes as newspaper reports claim cabinet ministers are plotting a coup against her.
No 10 has dismissed reports that Mrs May could be persuaded to stand aside.
The prime minister has come under growing pressure to quit following a week in which she was forced to ask the EU for an extension to Article 50, and criticised for blaming the delay to Brexit on MPs.
It remains unclear whether she will bring her withdrawal agreement back to the Commons for a third vote next week, after she wrote to MPs saying she would only do so if there was "sufficient support" for it.
According to reports in some of the Sunday papers, cabinet ministers are planning to oust Mrs May as prime minister and replace her with a "caretaker leader" until a proper leadership contest is held later in the year.
But there were differing accounts of who the preferred candidate is, with the Brexiteer and Remain wings of the party said to favour different interim leaders.
The Sunday Times reported that Mrs May's defacto deputy, David Lidington, who voted Remain, was being lined up to replace her, while the Mail on Sunday said the Brexiteer Environment Secretary Michael Gove was the "consensus choice".
But one senior backbencher told the BBC's Iain Watson that even standing aside would not be enough for her deal to be voted through - having twice been defeated by large margins - and that Mrs May might as well "dig in".
No 10 dismissed suggestions that Mrs May could be persuaded to stand aside, or that she would agree a "job share" arrangement where senior ministers would be given extra responsibilities.
The BBC's political editor, Laura Kuenssberg said d there was "serious manoeuvring"
It comes ahead of a week where the PM is expected to lose further control over the Brexit process.
A cross-party group of MPs will press for alternatives to her deal to be debated on Wednesday - something government sources expect to happen.
In the coming days, as many as six other options, in addition to Mrs May's deal, could be voted on, in order to see which are most popular. They are:
  • Revoking Article 50 and cancelling Brexit
  • Another referendum
  • The PM's deal plus a customs union
  • The PM's deal plus both a customs union and single market access
  • A Canada-style free trade agreement
  • Leaving the EU without a deal"
It appears to me to resemble those in the German Resistance who believed that if they could remove Hitler from power , then they could negotiate a peace deal.
However it was felt amongst the allies (especially Russia) that their could be negotiations and Germany would have to surrender unconditionally.
While the main goal of the plotters was to remove Hitler from power by assassination , they did so for various reasons. The majority of the group behind the 20 July plot were conservative nationalists and did not necessarily believe in democratic ideas. Martin Borschat writes that the plot was mainly done by conservative elites who were initially integrated by the Nazi government but during the war lost their influence and were concerned about regaining it.
Of course comparing removal of May to the July Plot is extreme and leaves me ocomparing he Night of the Long Knives (as a purge that took place in Nazi Germany from June 30 to July 2, 1934, when Adolf Hitler, urged on by Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler, carried out a series of political extrajudicial executions intended to consolidate his hold on power in Germany, to other moves in British and other Politics.
If we leave the EU then those who took us down the road and who knew full well it would be disastrous  should not be allowed to escape the blame , by offering Mrs May as a Scapegoat.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

BBC seem to be in error over Plaid coalition plans.

Early yesterday like many a Plaid supporter was more than a little shocked  to see the headline on the BBC news website

Plaid-Tory coalition not ruled out by MP

BBC News· 1 day ago
Plaid Cymru and Conservative coalition cannot be ruled out after the next election in 2021, a Plaid MP says. Speaking on the eve of his party's spring conference in Bangor ...

It saw a rather predictable response from Labour 

“A Plaid Cymru and Conservative coalition cannot be ruled out after the next election in 2021, a Plaid MP says.” One of the least surprising political developments this year.
Plaid Cymru

Speaking objectively, I’m baffled. If you rule out a coalition, how do you govern as a minority without being the largest party by a considerable margin? It’s only been done once in 5 terms.

Does this mean that Hefin Davies think that one of the B,C,D plans includes a coalition with the Tories ? You could easily assume so.

But it seems as in Scotland the BBC may be in error. because if you click on the above  link the one on Hefin David'd twitter page link you are taken to a different story , in which Plaid Leader Adam Price stated that 

"Wales should hold a referendum on independence if a series of demands are not met after Brexit, 

It does goes on 
"Earlier, Adam Price ruled out entering a coalition with either Labour or the Conservatives to form a future Welsh Government.
He said voters faced a choice between him or the incumbent - Labour's Mark Drakeford - as first minister at the next assembly election in 2021.
Plaid and Labour have worked together in the past in the assembly, forming a coalition government from 2007 to 2011.
In a BBC Wales interview, Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards said his party "was not in the business of wanting to be a junior party to the Labour Party any more in Wales".
Speaking to BBC Radio Wales later, Mr Price insisted the MP was not advocating a Tory-Plaid coalition, but was saying that "Labour are as bad as the Conservatives in terms of their negative impact on people's lives in Wales"."
But it seems the originally story seized on with glee by Plaid's opponents has been deleted.

There seems to be no attempt by the BBC to defend their original story .

So it seems Mr Edwards was simply saying that the alternative to being junior partners to Labour who have nothing to offer is an equally unpalatable one with the Tories , who also nothing to offer Wales.

We must remember that the BBC is not the impartial news agency it claims to be 

BBC journalist has questioned the attitudes of some colleagues in London regarding Scottish independence in a documentary about the 2014 referendum.

In the programme t, veteran broadcaster Allan Little said that some colleagues thought “that our responsibility was to produce a series of pieces to demonstrate how foolish it would be to vote Yes”

Mr Little, who had worked for the BBC for more than 30 years at the time of the referendum, told the programme:
“I know how hard my colleagues in London work at trying to get it right.“I’m not cynical about that but I was quite surprised by some of my colleagues failing to understand their own assumption that the Yes side was wrong.”
It seems   

Friday, 22 March 2019

Waka-Jumping in the Welsh Assembly.

There has always been a problem with the Welsh Assembly's election system which uses a top up system 

In general elections , each voter has two votes in a mixed member system. The first vote is for a candidate to become the Assembly Member for the voter's constituency, elected by the first past the post system. The second vote is for a regional closed party list of candidates. Additional member seats are allocated from the lists by the d'Hondt method, with constituency results being taken into account in the allocation. The overall result is approximately proportional.
Previously it was not allowed to stand in both a constituency and a regional list, but this rule was abolished by the Wales Act 2014. The Act also introduced a ban on dual mandates with the House of Commons: an Assembly Member is no longer allowed also to be an MP.

The main problem ha been with members elected on the party list system who leave the party or are expelled  and join another or sit as Independents.
At the last Assembly Elections Ukip won seven seats under the additional member system . but are now down to four, Plaid have seen their numbers reduced with the suspension/expulsion  of Neil McEvoy and Dafydd Elis Thomas  (a constituency AM) leaving Plaid to join the Labour Government whilst sitting as an Independent.

Whilst constituency MPs  can claim to have a personal mandate those elected by the additional members system can't . There is a strong argument that these are party seats and the member should be replaced by some one on the party list.

New Zealanders speak colloquially of waka-jumping when a Member of Parliament (MP) switches political party between elections, taking their parliamentary seat with them and potentially upsetting electoral proportionality in the Parliament of New Zealand.
New Zealand uses a Mixed-member proportional (MMPrepresentation is a mixed electoral system in which voters get two votes: one to decide the representative for their single-seat constituency, and one for a political party. Seats in the legislature are filled firstly by the successful constituency candidates, and secondly, by party candidates based on the percentage of nationwide or region-wide votes that each party received.
The last election saw Labour making significant gains and whilst only denting Nationals vote , were able to form a coalition government.
PartyVotes% of votesSeats
NZ First186,7067.20−1.46099−2
Legalise Cannabis8,0750.31−0.140000

Due to the frequency of Waka jumping, New Zealand enacted the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Act 2001, which had been introduced by Michael Cullen in 1999.The Act expired at the 2005 election as the sunset clause came into effect. It required any MP who had entered Parliament via a party list to resign from Parliament if they left that party's parliamentary caucus.[3However, parties were still able to find ways around this law. When the Alliance split in 2002 over how to respond to the invasion of Afghanistan, Jim Anderton nominally remained the leader of the Alliance within Parliament, while campaigning outside Parliament as the leader of the newly-founded Progressive Party.[4] The resulting uncertainty around the Alliance’s position contributed to then-Prime Minister Helen Clark’s decision to call an early general election in 2002.[ While the law was in force, it was used once to expel a list MP from Parliament (an electorate MP who changed parties could still fight a by-election, as Tariana Turia did[). In December 2003, the ACT Party caucus voted to expel Donna Awatere Huata, an ACT list MP who became an independent after being charged with fraud.] The expulsion became the subject of litigation, and Awatere Huata was not expelled from Parliament until a Supreme Court decision handed down in November 2004.[8] A proposed Bill to replace the Act in 2005 failed.[9]
The new Electoral (Integrity) Act Amendment Bill 2018[10] is currently before the Select Committee.[11] The member in charge is Andrew Little. The Bill is sponsored by the Government as part of the coalition agreement between Labour and New Zealand First The Bill has generated significant media coverage. It is substantively the same as the original 2001 Act (albeit without a sunset clause) and shares the same avowed purpose to "enhance public confidence in the integrity of the electoral system by upholding the proportionality of political party representation in Parliament as determined by electors".
So should we have a waka-jumping law for Welsh Elections , constituency  AM who Waka Jump and claim a personal vote could fight a by-election to prove it.

There is of course strong arguments against a waka-jumping law

Consider an AM who is expelled from a party for exposing major corruption or racism within  his caucus , and is therefore expelled from the Assembly to be replaced by a list member who is caught up in the scandal.
Whatever; I have been looking for a name to label AMs who change allegiances and Waka Jumper is a brilliant one, so it's my task to see this enter into the lexicology of Wesh Poltics.