Category Archives: Politics

Parliament is sovereign: Vote on article 50

Private Eye on BrexitWhy I think you should contact your MP to ask them to vote against Theresa May’s Article 50 bill – whether your MP is pro or anti Brexit.

Theresa May claimed as Crown Prerogative the right to invoke Article 50 and take the UK out of the EU without consulting Parliament.

The Supreme Court has ruled, as matter of constitutional law, that she’s wrong: Parliament is sovereign, and only Parliament can take the UK out of the EU.

So Theresa May has had written a very short bill which will by Parliamentary vote give her the right to invoke Article 50 without further consultation.

Way to miss the point, Prime Minister.

This is the full text of the bill Theresa May has published today, two days after the Supreme Court ruled she couldn’t just use her Crown prerogatives to invoke Article 50:

Confer power on the Prime Minister to notify, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU.
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Why is the UK leaving the EU?

“Does anyone know why the UK is leaving the EU?” someone asked.

This was my answer:

From where I’m sitting, the UK is leaving the EU because, in no particular order:
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An avalanche of steel snowflakes

This is the speech Susan Rae, the Scottish Green Party’s candidate for the Leith Walk ward in the May 2017 council elections, gave at the WMV Sister Women’s March in Edinburgh on Saturday 20th January. Reprinted here by permission.

Susan Rae at the Womens MarchHello and welcome to Edinburgh.

This is my first speaking event this year and I could not be prouder to be with you. I send solidarity from my fellow Scottish Green candidate Claire Miller who cannot be here today.

We’ve gathered here today in circumstances that in all honesty not a single woman out here, whether they are young, fresh and fiery, like Leah, or those like me who are not only pre-Google, but pre-proper feminism would have considered possible a year ago.

But we are here together – all of us – because the only way to stand up to a man who considers using his awesome sheer male money fuelled power of his voice to silence us; whose only consistent traits are inconsistency and pure misogyny is not compliance. You want to silence our voice?

Well. No.

We will not be silenced.

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Filed under Guest Blog, Scottish Politics, US Politics, Women

Women’s March in Edinburgh

General Leia Organa - A woman's place is in the ResistanceFor Donald Trump to be elected President by the electoral college – losing the popular vote by a margin wider than any in over a century – is grotesque in many ways, not least that enough American voters in enough states wanted a grossly-unqualified man to be their President instead of a highly-qualified woman.

Donald Trump’s most profitable venture as a “businessman” was a fraud for which he was due to appear in court on 29th November; when he was declared winner, he hastily paid a $25M settlement. Donald Trump’s businesses have gone bankrupt six times, he’s failed to pay his subcontractors, may well be massively in debt, and was in breach of the Constitution that he swore to uphold yesterday even before he put his hand on his mother’s Bible.
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Filed under Trump University, US Politics

Chris Grayling, on cyclists

Chris Grayling was appointed Secretary of State for Transport on 14th July 2016, replacing Patrick McLoughlin, who had held that post since September 2012.

In early December, Chris Grayling was interviewed by the Political Editor of the London Evening Standard, Joe Murphy, on various aspects of his new job.

Joe Murphy noted

“Mr Grayling has not cycled since he was at the University of Cambridge, where he read history before joining the BBC as a trainee journalist, and grimaces at the idea of venturing out on a Boris bike.”

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Filed under Bicycling, Healthcare, Politics, Public Transport

Corbyn wins: what next?

stopwar.org.uk - Jeremy Corbyn MP speaks at anti-drones rally, 27 April 2013 To no one’s surprise, today Jeremy Corbyn won the Labour leadership election, with 61.8% of the vote. On votes cast:

  • Jeremy Corbyn: 313,209 (61.8%)
  • Owen Smith: 193,229 (38.2%)

From the Guardian’s report:

Overall, there were 654,006 people eligible to take part in the election as either full members, registered supporters who had paid £25, or affiliates largely through the trade unions. Of this total, 506,438 cast a vote.

Despite an electoral system that seemed to have been skewed to favour Corbyn’s challenger, by denying a vote to anyone who joined either as a member or an affiliate since January, by raising the fee for being a registered supporter to £25, and by purging or suspending from membership thousands of members who had said something “wrong” on social media (here’s a post from Roz Kaveney on how this was managed: see also), Corbyn got clear majority for his leadership across the board: 59% of the Labour Party membership as of December 2015 voted for him, 70% of those who had paid £25 to become registered supporters, and 60% of those who had a vote as affiliated supporters mostly via trade unions.

So, the Labour Party MPs who persist in saying that Jeremy Corbyn isn’t the leader they want, now have a few options.
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Filed under EU referendum, Politics, Scottish Politics

A week makes

EU Referendum Results Map

EU Referendum Results Map

A week ago, the exit polls made it look like the UK electorate had instigated the worst political crisis in the UK outside wartime.

By Friday, the counted votes had removed all doubt.

By a majority of less than 4% across the UK, the electorate had voted to leave the EU.

There are a lot of unpleasant realities to digest with that vote.

The worst and most immediate reality: the racists who voted to Leave, because they thought they had got a promise that by voting Leave the government would make the foreigners go, now believe they’ve won. They believe, according to reports speeding in from all over the UK, that they’re now empowered to tell anyone who looks foreign, whether or not they are, to “go home”. The British word for racism is immigrant.

I saw Lauren report this on her Facebook timeline on Friday morning:

In Edinburgh, Lauren Stonebanks, 36, was on a bus on Monday when she says a woman shouted: “‘Get your passport, you’re fucking going home.’” She believes she was targeted because she is mixed race. “As I got off the bus, the woman started making threatening gestures, like punching gestures. It made me feel absolutely terrified.”

Many of the racists who voted to Leave have real problems, often, and real causes for anger. They’ve been told they can blame their problems on the EU and the freedom all EU citizens have to travel across the EU. The problems are real: lack of work, sanctions on benefits, housing shortages, strain on NHS and other public services. None of them are caused by immigration: immigrants are a net benefit to the UK even considered only in financial terms. The official government Vote Remain campaign could hardly say bluntly “Your problems are not caused by EU regulation or immigrants, they’re caused by our austerity policies, our lawless sanctioning of your benefits, our refusal to build new homes, our cuts and creeping privatisation of the NHS. Vote for the EU: their funding is keeping you alive.”
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Filed under EU referendum, Poverty, Racism