Confidence trick

There were many times during this afternoon’s Vote of No Confidence debate when I wanted to throw something at the television. I didn’t, because the only things close by were expensive and belonged to my employer.

This country is facing the biggest crisis since World War 2 and the Government and Opposition spend the afternoon slinging insults at each other, pantomime style. When we face a no-deal fall off a cliff which will kill people. Fiddling and burning or what?

It was hardly the stuff of Gladstone, of Lloyd George, of Churchill as Jeremy Corbyn finally moved his motion of no confidence. The Government happily gave it five hours of debate. It was only obliged to give an hour and a half, but wasting time is all it’s got at the moment. The Conservative benches also got to be the most united they have been since last July.

I know that Vince signed Corbyn’s motion of no confidence. He kind of had to. I mean, if you’re asked if you have confidence in the government that brought you Windrush, the hostile environment, the rape clause, the benefit freeze, the disastrous implementation of Universal Credit and that’s before you even get to the Brexit clusterbourach, then the only possible answer is “no flipping way.”

However, I’d have amended it to say I have no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition either. I can’t actually remember a time when the Government and the Opposition have been so simultaneously useless.

Apparently, Corbyn is going to keep laying down motions of no confidence as a distraction from having to take a position on the People’s Vote and May thinks she can get away with putting tweaked versions of her deal to the Commons. Does anyone get the irony here? They are happy to keep asking the same questions while stubbornly denying the people the chance to mark the Government’s homework.

Alistair Carmichael confronted Corbyn beautifully on the issue during his speech:

What should we do if Corbyn keeps putting down vexatious motions of no confidence? Well, to be honest, we have to vote for them. If we don’t, that’ll be the one time Corbyn will have got the DUP on side. After that disaster in the Summer we simply daren’t give Labour the chance to say that we backed the Tories.

We probably don’t need to take part in the debate and go for a distracting People’s Vote related stunt every time he tries it.

If people are looking at a party with a track record of consistency and of generally being right on the issues of the day – the economy (Vince predicting the credit crunch), Iraq, Brexit, then we are it and we need to get out there in the coming weeks and do everything we can to argue our case.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • “I know that Vince signed Corbyn’s motion of no confidence. He kind of had to.”

    With all due respect Caron, wasn’t it Vince and the SNP putting pressure on Corbyn to call the vote of no confidence in the first place only a few weeks ago

  • Helen Dudden 16th Jan '19 - 8:14pm

    After some recent comments by his Party I have no confidence in him either. By the way the comments still flow.

  • I think it is a case of ‘he had to’, in so far as everyone knew that it wouldn’t win, but Corbyn had been using the option of a future vote of no confidence as an excuse to avoid what really needs to be done. Now this is out of the way I’m sure Corbyn will be finding some other things that are ‘on the table’ to distract, but it’s getting harder and harder for him.

    @David, I think the parallel for Scotland is that if we get a vote on the Brexit deal, then we’d also be getting a vote on any Scottish independence deal. In both cases, those campaigning for separation claimed it would be easy, we’d all be rich and in charge our destinies, freed from the shackles of the pesky Germans/English. Just as the reality of Brexit isn’t what was promised, nor would Scottish independence have been anything like what the Yes campaigners were promising.

    All independent and objective analysis shows that Brexit in any form would make the UK poorer. The same applies to analysis of Scottish independence. There is absolutely no consistency to fretting about Brexit whilst calling for an even more damaging divide in the much older and more tightly bound political, cultural and financial union.

  • Jayne Mansfield 16th Jan '19 - 9:38pm

    @ Matt,
    Indeed Matt.

    If Jeremy Corbyn calls an election, he will probably lose it, because it will not be about Labour policy but about the ‘demon’ Jeremy Corbyn.

    We can all look forward to the next Tory government with a new Prime Minister. Probably a nihilist who wants a no-deal Brexit.

  • Does anyone know how Stephen Lloyd voted today? I know he backed the Brexit deal last night – which was no surprise given how he has pledged to his constituents that he will honour the referendum result – but I hope he doesn’t feel that pledge extends to backing the govt itself.

  • David Becket 16th Jan '19 - 10:09pm

    Stephen voted with the rest of the LibDems according to Hansard

  • @ Joseph Bourke
    Your analysis of Labour’s current position is probably quite accurate and this seems unlikely to radically change in the short to medium term. Anyone expecting or hoping for Corbyn to pivot within the next 1-2 weeks to support for another referendum is likely to be disappointed.
    According to Labour’s highly convoluted Conference motion, the next stage in the process, once it has been finally established that they are unable to force a General Election (and possibly they’re not even satisfied about that yet?!), is to explore “any other options including a public vote …”. That therefore provides ample scope for further delay and prevarication.
    However, it is just possible that if JC (or, more credibly, Keir Starmer) succeeds in negotiating changes to the political declaration to include a commitment to a permanent U.K. wide customs union, etc, Labour might at that stage concede to pressure from their own backbenchers/members and finally support a People’s Vote on any revised draft “deal”.
    Alternatively, if cross-party talks fail to reach any consensus on an alternative form of Brexit, it is increasingly likely that the so-called People’s Vote will eventually command a Commons majority – if only as the last option standing, in order to break the parliamentary deadlock.
    It is even just possible, although highly unlikely, that the Government could resort to this option as a last resort if/when it finally dawns on them that this is their only chance (albeit very slim!) of getting democratic approval for their existing “deal” or anything bearing any resemblance to it.
    In the meantime, of course, the clock is ticking down to 29 March – so the immediate priorities must be to work on a concerted cross-party basis to ensure that the threat of a “no deal” Brexit is taken off the table and to force the Government to apply to the EU for an extension of Article 50 and to initiate any required U.K. legislation to give this legal effect.

  • More Corbyn bashing and more deflection. The Lib Dems barely got a mention over the last fourteen hours of constant Parliament coverage today.. easily topped by SNP and some rag bag UKIP odd balls…where is the party going to be heard never mind noticed…but hey got keep mocking Corbyn

  • David, no tying in knots required to distinguish between a vote to validate the details of a massive constitutional change and a vote to instigate one. I know the nationalists are desperately trying to make them equivalent, but I don’t and I’ve explained why.

    This is a subject that has been raised in previous comments, and myself and others have tried to explain why it’s just not as easy as the nationalists claim, and it would take this thread off-topic to try again. If you are genuinely interested in the subject, then I suggest you read some of the analysis of the Growth Commission report. And of course it’s much more consistent to be in favour of pooling and sharing, working together with our all of our neighbours than all of them except the English.

    The campaign for a vote on the EU referendum deal stands on its own merits. Those who are interested in the future of this country and care about its citizens don’t need to tie it to any other political campaign to support it.

  • Matt, Jayne, SILVIO,….

    I agree

    ,,As for “I know that Vince signed Corbyn’s motion of no confidence. He kind of had to”..” I’d have amended it to say I have no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition either”……Oh dear!

    Why criticise Corbyn for “Ruling out no deal” as a pre-conditions? The “No Deal’ is May’s ‘condition’ if ‘Her Deal’ is not accepted.
    I must have missed the invitation for Corbyn to be invited for talks; yesterday Angela Leadsom told the nation that Corbyn would not be invited. What has changed?

    BTW..I noted that during her speech about ‘cross party talks’ Theresa May seemed unable to use the words Labour’, ‘SNP’ or even ‘LibDem’ (although the DUP was mentioned quite a lot)

  • Labour will need a minimum of four election cycles to become electable. One to get rid of Corbyn. Two to get rid of a left wing successor. Three to tell them that the policies in the 2017 manifesto are unelectable far left nonsense and finally Four to revert back to common sense pro-globalisation, pro-business economic liberalism and social liberalism under a mature centrist leader and then maybe actually win.

    Essentially Britain needs a Macron who will take on vested union and public sector interests, whilst modernising the country, working with our global partners and opening the country and its markets to the world.

    As Labour will take around 4 election cycles to get anywhere near this, it is time the Lib Dems acted fast and became the official opposition.

  • Strange how Corbyn’s ‘condition’is a bad thing yet our ‘condition’ for backing another ‘vote of confidence’ is Corbyn agreeing to a another referendum.

    The SNP won’t discuss Brexit options with May unless she will consider second referendum;another ‘condition’…

    It seems ‘conditions’ are the order of the day.

    I am in favour of another referendum as was Jacob Rees-Mogg in a parliamentary speech and even posting that “It makes more sense to have a second referendum after renegotiations are complete'” That sounds about ‘NOW’.

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