Friday, 16 August 2019

Swinson Is A Disgrace And A Fantasist

Liberal Leader, Jo Swinson, says she will not support a caretaker government, designed to bring down Boris Johnson's government, stop a No Deal Brexit, and call a General Election. For the leader of a party, whose only reason for being is to stop Brexit, that is a disgrace, even Remainer Tories, including some former Ministers, have said they could support Corbyn, on this basis, so have the SNP, Plaid, and the Greens. The Liberals are simply playing fantasy politics, once again, dreaming that they might, once again, become a meaningful political force, as they did when they jumped at the chance to join the Tory coalition government that created this mess in the first place. But, Swinson is a disgrace for another reason. Pressed yesterday, who might lead up her fantasy league government, she not only mentioned Harriett Harman, but claimed she had actually talked to Harman about taking on the role, and she had agreed. In so doing, she has shown that she is prepared to throw others under the bus, in pursuit of her own fantasy politics. 

The Liberals have just 13 MP's, which is actually more than they deserve, following their role in supporting Cameron's reactionary government after 2010, and the misery it inflicted on the country via its austerity measures, and decision to hold the EU referendum, along with its war in Libya, which added to the crisis across North Africa, and the refugee crisis that flowed from it. Yet Swinson, as the leader of this tiny party, that itself is in terminal decline, and has only had a temporary resurgence due to Brexit, demands the right to determine who the leader of any government of national unity should be! She demands the right to tell the 247 Labour MP's who their Leader should be, and so, who the caretaker Prime Minister should be, and has apparently, on her own behalf, nominated Harriet Harman for that role. Even more ridiculously, she has suggested that, as an alternative, the Prime Minister might be Tory MP, Kenneth Clarke. 

So, Swinson, on the back of her Dirty Dozen, and maybe 40-50, rebel Tory MP's would want to dictate to Labour's 247 MP's that they should accept Tory MP, Kenneth Clarke as their Leader, a Tory, whose role as Chancellor played a significant role in blowing up the asset price bubbles of the 1990's, which led to the 2008 financial crash. Yet, unlike Swinson, even Remainer Tory MP's, including former ministers, have said that they could accept Corbyn, as such a caretaker Prime Minister, for the limited purpose of stopping a disastrous No Deal Brexit, and bringing about a General Election, so that the issue might be resolved favourably. It is quite clear that, on any rational basis, the only party that could lead such a government of national unity, now that Corbyn has committed to such a course, is the Labour Party, because its 247 MP's far outnumber the MP's of the other opposition parties, and of Tory rebels combined. It is quite clear, therefore, that the only party that can nominate who the caretaker Prime Minister will be is the Labour Party, and its Leader is Jeremy Corbyn. Swinson has a simple choice, come out of her world of fantasy politics, and accept the reality that the only way of stopping Brexit is to rally behind a caretaker Corbyn government, or else, once again, let the Tories off the hook, and allow Boris Johnson to push through a No Deal Brexit

But, Swinson's actions, as well as being those of a fantasist, are also a disgrace. A week or so ago, when questioned by Clive Lewis, she said that she would demand a second referendum, but, then, when questioned what she would do if that referendum again came out in favour of leaving the EU, she said she would continue to vote against it! It is one thing to take a principled position of saying that you will continue to vote against a reactionary Brexit, no matter how many times or how many people vote for it, but it is quite another thing to take that position when it is you that has been the main proponent of calling such a vote in the first place! Like most Liberals, whose entire politics is based upon this kind of hypocrisy, double-dealing and two-facedness, Swinson has no real political principle. Her politics is made up on the hoof, in pretty much the same way that populists react. It is based upon what they think can gain them most immediate popularity, and votes, and hang the longer term consequences. 

So, for example, having said that Corbyn could not command a majority of MP's in parliament, Swinson was put on the spot to justify that claim, and immediately rushed for whatever answer she could muster. She claimed that Tory rebels would not support Corbyn, but Tory rebels have already come out to say they might; she claimed that she had talked to large numbers of Labour MP's who she claimed had said that they would not vote to put Corbyn in Downing Street, whilst declining to say who these Labour MP's are. Her answer, then was to say that a majority could be formed around Ken Clarke or Harriet Harman. In doing so, she has thrown both those MP's under the bus. 

If either Clarke or Harman has actually said they would stand as the head of a government of national unity, whilst neither of them are the Leader, or have the mandate of their party, they would both be guilty of an act of gross treachery. They would both have made themselves open to being suspended from their parliamentary parties, and even expelled as party members. According to Swinson, she has talked to Harman, who has told her that she would be prepared to undertake such a role. Even if that is true, and not just Swinson reaching for a convenient response to a reporter's question, then its likely that Harman will quickly disown any such conversation, aware that, to have done so, would mean that she would be guilty of bringing the party into disrepute and subject to appropriate action by the party. Either way, there is no way that the Labour Party is going to put forward Harman for that role, rather than its leader Corbyn, just because Swinson on behalf of 13 Liberal MP's demands that it be so! 

It is a great pity that Corbyn has wasted the last three years in search of an impossible and reactionary Brexit, rather than leading a large social movement to stop Brexit, and to put forward a progressive social-democratic and internationalist programme as the real solution to workers' problems. Had he done so, the Liberals, and their Blair-right allies inside the Labour Party would have been a distant memory by now. And that has allowed the Brexit issue to fester on. Swinson, does not want Corbyn to step in to stop Brexit, and call an election, because she knows that the result will be that the Liberals are crushed, by a Labour government committed to stopping Brexit. Instead, she is persisting with the demand that, instead of a General Election, a caretaker government should call another referendum. But, it would take many months to organise another referendum, and what is more a referendum whose result Swinson has already committed to ignoring, if it again came out for Leave! 

What is more, its clear that there may be no parliamentary majority for such an option. There are 20-30 right-wing Labour MP's, like John Mann, Ruth Smeeth, Gareth Snell, Kate Hoey who would be likely to oppose such a move, who would counteract the Tory rebels that might support it. The Labour rebels should be deselected by their members, but if they failed to vote for Corbyn to become Prime Minister, they would definitely be expelled from the party, which is why they are unlikely to do so. Given that the clock has run down to this degree, the options for stopping a No Deal Brexit, without bringing down the government and setting up a caretaker government, now look impossible. There is no guarantee of forming a parliamentary majority, or even the possibility of framing and passing legislation that would achieve that aim, because a simple vote in parliament will not be enough. Nor, is it possible to demand a General Election following the government losing a no confidence vote, because Johnson can ignore it, or call a General Election for after November 1st. 

The only guaranteed way of stopping Brexit, is to vote down the government, and to have an alternative government in place to replace it, which can only be one led by Corbyn, with the support of the other parties, so that Corbyn can go to the palace and demand to be installed as Prime Minister. 

That is the reality that Swinson must now face up to. It is up to her to either back Corbyn, or once again for the Liberals to save the Tories skins, in search of their own political egos and fantasies of returning to frontline politics.

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