Theresa May says 95% of Brexit deal is done

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Kit

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Then of course there's (ex-)Tory grandee Ken Clarke: "I will not vote for some crazy, right-wing nationalist organisation, calling itself a Tory govt"

Pause to reflect that this is someone who was at the heart of Thatcher's governments.
Clarke is aghast at the government’s approach to Brexit as a long time EU champion. This is slightly different to people saying that someone who is potentially going to be our PM is an anti-Semite. Sadly, it terms of voting intention, as Ben and Alan show, people just don’t seem to care.
I would be equally concerned about the basket case policies Labour want to run with that would bankrupt the country. If you think we’ve had ‘austerity’ for the last ten years, we’ll need it for decades after 5 years of Corbyn and McConnell. £400billion to fulfil basic promises and that doesn’t even include the cost for nationalisation, which apparently would be £200billion just to get it all rolling.
 

Kit

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As Alan has said, there are many Tory MPs (in fact many more) who are leaving their own party because they can't endorse Boris Johnson. Both the Tories and Labour have drifted to the right and left respectively and this will disillusion moderates.

Austin has every right to criticise Corbyn but endorsing Johnson is just a step too far. This is a man who says that women wearing burkas 'look like 'letterboxes' amongst many outrageous things he has said. How can anyone who believes in Labour values support him?
Ben, I really struggle to see what Labour values you are referring to. I just see a party that has failed to deal with anti-semitism and is run behind the scenes by Momemtum, an attack dog organisation who have no tolerance for any views except hard left. Moderate MPs have been hounded out. Jewish MPs have faced appalling abuse. The Labour leader has a track record of supporting anyone but his own country, including terrorist organisations. Whatever values you are referring to, I think they may have sat with an older version of the Labour Party, this one is very different.
 

Knutsfordian

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No fan of Corbyn, as you know, but I still fail to see actual evidence that he is personally anti-Semitic.
But the exodus of Jewish MPs and the actions of the Jewish Labour Movement tell a different story.

I think it is fine lines, but the exodus of MPs who hold differing EU views to the mainstream of their parties is a different story, without the same implications. Trying to draw parallels between the two, I feel, is rather spurious. There are MPs on all sides of Parliament who feel so deeply about the UK's role within the EU, they are not only prepared to sacrifice their own political careers - Philip Hammond, Dominic Grieve, Kate Hoey etc - but go beyond that to frustrate their own party's position in relation to the EU. Dominic Grieve, for example, has actively worked front and centre against his own government to frustrate the party's declared position of leaving the EU. Its therefore understandable that having failed to support his own government in office that he should be as welcome as a bad smell in a lift.

On the other hand, there are obviously some deep rooted issues of antisemtism within Labour, where despite all the protestations to the contrary, MPs and Jewish groups are actively condemning Corbyn and walking away. Only those who are actively involved will probably know the real truth.
 
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Andy

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No fan of Corbyn, as you know, but I still fail to see actual evidence that he is personally anti-Semitic.
2 years ago I’d have probably agreed with you on that, Alan.

But in 2 years he’s done absolutely nothing to tackle his parties Anti-Semitism problem.

A Jewish Labour MP needed armed police escort at their own party conference, and still Corbyn did nothing.

Today, the Jewish Chronicle publishes a front page urging people not vote for Labour due to Anti-Semitism...



And all that’s without taking the fact he laid wreaths on the graves of the terrorists that attacked the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics.
 

Kit

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2 years ago I’d have probably agreed with you on that, Alan.

But in 2 years he’s done absolutely nothing to tackle his parties Anti-Semitism problem.

A Jewish Labour MP needed armed police escort at their own party conference, and still Corbyn did nothing.

Today, the Jewish Chronicle publishes a front page urging people not vote for Labour due to Anti-Semitism...



And all that’s without taking the fact he laid wreaths on the graves of the terrorists that attacked the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics.
Any organisation and its ethos is a reflection of its leadership.
 

Knutsfordian

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I'm looking forward to the Intelligence Sevices report on Russian interference being published (eventually). I wonder why the government are suppressing it?
Well we won't find out now until after the election - but its difficult to see how any of the parties would benefit from such interference - unless the Russians were distributing anti-Corbyn fake news, which seems unlikely. If anything the Russians would be pro-Corbyn based on his anti Nato/CND credentials
 
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Knutsfordian

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Kit

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I am not sure what conclusions to draw from this latest poll except that it seems Labour are in desperate trouble, Boris needs a brexit pact and lib Dems are making strong gains, but will that convert into a significant number of seats?
I don’t understand Farage’s behaviour other than that he is on an ego trip and wants to be in the news. The Brexit Party are going to ensure there is no Brexit and ensure the weakest Labour Party in history have a chance of governing the country in coalition with the SNP. Madness.
I still think Corbyn will do better than expected again. The young especially lap up spending promises and have less worries about the damage to the long-term of the country. There’s a really interesting graph animation doing the rounds showing the economic strength of Venezuela until they suddenly plummet to the bottom of the South American countries. What happened to have such a dramatic impact on their GDP? Socialism.
 
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Ben

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Just to take things on to a different topic.

There was a discussion on Question Time about Scottish Independence. Watching it, I'm left in absolutely no doubt that the Scots must be allowed to have a second referendum. They were promised that Scotland would remain in the EU as part of the UK in the referendum back in 2014, a promise that has now been broken, as Scotland faces the prospect of being taken out of the EU against its will having voted overwhelmingly to remain.

Not just that, but the SNP keep getting elected in on a mandate to hold a second independence referendum. Their support is expected to be higher than ever in Scotland in next month's election. So rather like the Spanish government in Spain with the Catalans, who are the Tory-led Westminster government to deny Scots that chance to decide their own futures? That is the real democratic outrage.

And the Tory MP was laughed at when she said Boris Johnson cares about Scotland. That tells you everything you need to know about how the Tories continue to be viewed in Scotland, with total contempt and rightly so. Only a Labour government, potentially in coalition with the SNP, will give them that second referendum.
 

Kit

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Just to take things on to a different topic.

There was a discussion on Question Time about Scottish Independence. Watching it, I'm left in absolutely no doubt that the Scots must be allowed to have a second referendum. They were promised that Scotland would remain in the EU as part of the UK in the referendum back in 2014, a promise that has now been broken, as Scotland faces the prospect of being taken out of the EU against its will having voted overwhelmingly to remain.

Not just that, but the SNP keep getting elected in on a mandate to hold a second independence referendum. Their support is expected to be higher than ever in Scotland in next month's election. So rather like the Spanish government in Spain with the Catalans, who are the Tory-led Westminster government to deny Scots that chance to decide their own futures? That is the real democratic outrage.

And the Tory MP was laughed at when she said Boris Johnson cares about Scotland. That tells you everything you need to know about how the Tories continue to be viewed in Scotland, with total contempt and rightly so. Only a Labour government, potentially in coalition with the SNP, will give them that second referendum.
I’m afraid Labour are viewed far worse in Scotland. Scotland use to BE Labour, yet they’ve been wiped out.
There are many contradictions with the SNP’s position on a new referendum. They have been clear that the Brexit result should be overturned, yet how would they react to the same opinion if they won Scottish independence?
They think that 52% wasn’t a big enough mandate but would happily accept that result in their referendum.
They want EU nationals to vote in the GE but wouldn’t be happy with England voting in their referendum.
I suppose at least we wouldn’t have to listen to Ian Blackford droning on in the Commons anymore though.
 

Alan M

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Kit, somewhere in a recent post you imply I will vote Labour because I don't care about the anti-Semitism allegations. That's two wrongs in one statement - both as to my current voting intentions for the GE and with regard to the anti-Semitism. On the latter, all I am consistently saying is that I don't see evidence that Corbyn is personally anti-Semitic. I do not dispute there is a festering problem with anti-Semitism within the party (just as there probably is within the country, but it is not as exposed to media scrutiny). Similarly, I can see there is a problem with Islamophobia on the Tory side, as so often pointed out by ex-Chair Sayeeda Warsi. Again, it is not restricted to just that political party but a societal issue, but again the party has done little about it (and indeed have just announced that they won't be carrying out the internal investigation pledged during the leadership campaign).

Knutsfordian, the suppression of the report on Russian interference is as much to do with stopping publication of facts and figures surrounding money from Russian expat billionaires being showered on the Conservative Party in the form of donations in the past few years. There is no reason whatsoever that anyone with power and/or wealth in the current Russian set-up would want to support any form of Labour Party. Not only do Putin and co in Moscow derive more power for the Russian state from destabilising and weakening anything in the west (whether that's US elections or UK referendums and thus the EU), but all the oligarchs who have "invested" their wealth in the money-laundering capital of the world, ie London, want to ensure that there continues to be minimal scrutiny of their affairs. All of this is already well-documented, but the consequences of having it published in a Parliamentary report would have been seriously embarrassing to this govt prior to an election. Johnson has taken the view that the embarrassment of being criticised for non-publication is the lesser evil, and I imagine quite a few Russians are breathing sighs of relief, albeit perhaps temporary.

As for Scotland, I can see the SNP's point when they argue that there is a material difference between 2014 ("vote 'No' to preserve Scotland's place in the EU") and now, giving them cause to campaign for a 2nd ref. But personally I am in two minds as to whether independence would be a success. It might throw a spanner in the works if the UK somehow decided to cancel brexit, because that central argument for indyref2 would be gone. They may have other arguments, but none are significantly different from 2014. And with regard to qualifying electorate, EU citizens ordinarily resident in Scotland are already entitled to vote in Scottish elections (and thus in any indyref2), as are 16-17 year olds. It's a residency qualification rather than a nationality one in Scotland. As a result, because any referendum act would be passed by the Scottish Parlt (having gained the permission of the UK Parlt), it could only be open to an electorate in Scotland, however much people elsewhere in the UK might express a wish to have a say.
 

Knutsfordian

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AM - I am not sure that's the reason for the suppression of the report, although I am sure many would like it to be. There have been issues around Russian money in London for years and Abramovich was denied his visa extension (by the Tories) leading to him becoming a citizen of Israel if I remember correctly. Its all very redolent of the Democrat allegations of Russian meddling in the USA elections, but there's nothing concrete. I think the issue is much wider than Russian meddling. With social media, no one knows who is peddling truth or fiction, where spin stops and fake news starts. I flagged this after the 2017 General Election that widespread reform is needed to protect our Elections, but I think no one really knows what to do.


As for voting in Scotland - Yep would be interesting if all the UK had to vote on Scottish Independence on the basis of do we still want Scotland on the UK? We might even kick 'em out ! That said, even if Brexit fails, the SNP will concoct another reason why they need independence e.g. We would have been out of the EU if Westminster had their way ! The really sad thing is that no lessons are being learned from Brexit. As we are finding out after trying to get away from the EU after 50 years never mind 300. So a few staters for 10, what share of the national debt would Scotland take with it? I suspect they think not a lot, but the reality will be different. Use of the pound? Alignment with UK rules and financials, border controls?? the list is endless.
 
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Kit

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Kit, somewhere in a recent post you imply I will vote Labour because I don't care about the anti-Semitism allegations. That's two wrongs in one statement - both as to my current voting intentions for the GE and with regard to the anti-Semitism. On the latter, all I am consistently saying is that I don't see evidence that Corbyn is personally anti-Semitic. I do not dispute there is a festering problem with anti-Semitism within the party (just as there probably is within the country, but it is not as exposed to media scrutiny). Similarly, I can see there is a problem with Islamophobia on the Tory side, as so often pointed out by ex-Chair Sayeeda Warsi. Again, it is not restricted to just that political party but a societal issue, but again the party has done little about it (and indeed have just announced that they won't be carrying out the internal investigation pledged during the leadership campaign).

Knutsfordian, the suppression of the report on Russian interference is as much to do with stopping publication of facts and figures surrounding money from Russian expat billionaires being showered on the Conservative Party in the form of donations in the past few years. There is no reason whatsoever that anyone with power and/or wealth in the current Russian set-up would want to support any form of Labour Party. Not only do Putin and co in Moscow derive more power for the Russian state from destabilising and weakening anything in the west (whether that's US elections or UK referendums and thus the EU), but all the oligarchs who have "invested" their wealth in the money-laundering capital of the world, ie London, want to ensure that there continues to be minimal scrutiny of their affairs. All of this is already well-documented, but the consequences of having it published in a Parliamentary report would have been seriously embarrassing to this govt prior to an election. Johnson has taken the view that the embarrassment of being criticised for non-publication is the lesser evil, and I imagine quite a few Russians are breathing sighs of relief, albeit perhaps temporary.

As for Scotland, I can see the SNP's point when they argue that there is a material difference between 2014 ("vote 'No' to preserve Scotland's place in the EU") and now, giving them cause to campaign for a 2nd ref. But personally I am in two minds as to whether independence would be a success. It might throw a spanner in the works if the UK somehow decided to cancel brexit, because that central argument for indyref2 would be gone. They may have other arguments, but none are significantly different from 2014. And with regard to qualifying electorate, EU citizens ordinarily resident in Scotland are already entitled to vote in Scottish elections (and thus in any indyref2), as are 16-17 year olds. It's a residency qualification rather than a nationality one in Scotland. As a result, because any referendum act would be passed by the Scottish Parlt (having gained the permission of the UK Parlt), it could only be open to an electorate in Scotland, however much people elsewhere in the UK might express a wish to have a say.
Alan, it was more a comment that Ben and yourself didn’t seem overly concerned that the leader of the opposition has allowed anti-Semitism to become entrenched in the Labour Party and supported the IRA, even inviting Gerry Adams to the Commons to launch his book. Ben claimed it was the right-wing press who were at fault, ignoring the labour MPs like Austin, Blunkett and Hodge who have all spoken out, not to mention the MPs who have been forced out of the party for being Jewish or too moderate. The socialism/communism is fine, people can choose to vote for those principles if they wish. The clear intolerance is not.
 

Alan M

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Re the Russia Report ... see tomorrow's Sunday Times.

And no, I had not seen an advance copy when I posted that at 4 pm on Saturday, but the circumstantial evidence and mini-leaks were mounting up. Now I expect some poor Downing Street staff member will be shown the door (again) to try to stop more leaking.
 
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Phil Bradley

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Alan, it was more a comment that Ben and yourself didn’t seem overly concerned that the leader of the opposition has allowed anti-Semitism to become entrenched in the Labour Party and supported the IRA, even inviting Gerry Adams to the Commons to launch his book. Ben claimed it was the right-wing press who were at fault, ignoring the labour MPs like Austin, Blunkett and Hodge who have all spoken out, not to mention the MPs who have been forced out of the party for being Jewish or too moderate. The socialism/communism is fine, people can choose to vote for those principles if they wish. The clear intolerance is not.
There's a lot of tub thumping going on here about anti semetism in the Labour party but not any condemnation of the racism and homophobia evident in the Brexit Party and Tory party. For example 'bum boys', 'Picaninnies', ... etc.
 

Kit

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There's a lot of tub thumping going on here about anti semetism in the Labour party but not any condemnation of the racism and homophobia evident in the Brexit Party and Tory party. For example 'bum boys', 'Picaninnies', ... etc.
Any intolerance is abhorrent.

I’ve noticed a Labour candidate has been put forward despite posting an image of a gun being pointed at Theresa May’s head, execution style - just appalling.