Tag Archives: sir john major

Jo Swinson joins Judicial Review of prorogation launched by Gina Miller, with Sir John Major and Tom Watson

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Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson has added her name to the legal challenge from Gina Miller aimed to prevent Boris Johnson from suspending Parliament. This follows yesterday’s High Court announcement that the case would be considered.

Jo Swinson said:

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A longer read for the weekend… Sir John Major’s stunning speech on Brexit in full

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We don’t often feature speeches from members of other parties. But this speech made on Wednesday by Sir John Major is worth reading through in full. The text was published by the Mirror. At the bottom of the text is a video of the speech from the Guardian channel on YouTube:

I would like to express my thanks to the Creative Industries Federation, Somerset House Trust, and Tech London Advocates for the opportunity to speak here today.

Brexit matters to our creative industries. They express our culture and values – but give so much more.

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Sir John Major certainly knows about parliamentary mayhem

If I was doing one of these word association games, the first word that comes into my mind when I think of Sir John Major is “b******ds”. This Guardian report from 1993 reminds us of the frustration he felt as a Prime Minister who was frequently embroiled in parliamentary mayhem, not knowing whether he was going to be able to win crucial Commons votes. Except it wasn’t nationalists, pesky or otherwise, who caused him the problems. It was his own party.

Mr Major: “Just think it through from my perspective. You are the prime minister, with a majority of 18, a party that is still harking back to a golden age that never was, and is now invented (clearly a reference to the time of Mrs Thatcher’s leadership). You have three rightwing members of the Cabinet who actually resign. What happens in the parliamentary party?”

Mr Brunson observes that Tory MPs would create a lot of fuss, but that Mr Major is prime minister. He could easily find three new cabinet members.

Mr Major then bares his soul. “I could bring in other people. But where do you think most of this poison is coming from? From the dispossessed and the never-possessed. You can think of ex-ministers who are going around causing all sorts of trouble.

“We don’t want another three more of the bastards out there. What’s Lyndon Johnson’s maxim?…”

Major’s words might be aimed at scaring Middle England into voting Tory while annoying Scottish voters into voting SNP to give the Conservatives more chance of winning that increasing elusive parliamentary majority, but what it actually does is remind us how dangerous the right wing of the Conservative Party, especially if combined with UKIP and the likes of the DUP, could be. A tiny Tory majority would give the likes of Nadine Dorries and Peter Bone the run of the place, a point well made by Nick Clegg last week with the launch of the Blukip site. Frankly, the Blu on its own is bad enough. The Kip would only be the sour on top of the bitter.

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What’s the scariest outcome of the General Election?

While the national polls aren’t looking great for the Liberal Democrats, to say the least, in key seats there’s more of an air of, if not confidence, at least hope. Campaign teams are busily getting on with what needs to be done for them to win their seats, buoyed by increasing membership and a never-ending list of jobs to do. Ben Lazarus, who write the Telegraph’s Morning Briefing tried to fathom the other day what he called the “Lib Dems’ curious optimism”:

For a party that, since 2010 has now lost three quarters of their support, the Liberal Democrats seem remarkably calm. There are reasons for this. They know that a hung parliament could give them real power again after May . And, according to YouGov’s Peter Kellner,  despite the abysmal polling, there are two factors that may help them save more of their seats than those headline figures suggest. First, the party usually gains support nationally during election campaigns. The party benefits from TV exposure – although they no longer have the advantage of being a protest party unaffected by the rigours of government, it is likely their exposure by the main broadcasters will still be an aid. Second, Liberal Democrat MPs often have a strong personal following. Where Lib Dems are seeking re-election, their chances are often better than the national polls suggest; the party is deliberately playing to this strength, fighting lots of local campaigns instead of a national one.

With all the talk about Ukip and the Greens, the Lib Dems are sometimes forgotten.  But don’t rule them out.  They may prove more resilient than many expect, and thus play a pivotal role in the messy events that follow the election.

And it’s about what goes on following the election that I want to think about. I wrote last week that we need to keep our options open and not throw any babies out before the bath has even been run. While I understand the logic that letting the SNP be in charge of the UK would be a bit like letting Farage take charge in Europe, we don’t know what orders the people are going to give us, what hand we are going to be dealt. And, frankly, we will have to find the best future for liberal democrat ideas within that. It might be in government, it might not be.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPeter Watson 12th Dec - 1:11am
    @Paul Barker "All Polling averages are out-of-date, by definition but The BritainElects/New Statesman only uses the last Poll from each firm & thus more behind...
  • User AvatarHywel 12th Dec - 12:16am
    Now that votes are in I think it's fair to cast a critical eye over the LIb Dem campaign... {Looks quizzically at calendar.....} Oh.......
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 11th Dec - 11:13pm
    @David Raw "the narrow social base of the post 2010 Liberal Democrat Party" Some interesting graphics for this here (https://twitter.com/undertheraedar/status/1190192038274310144), especially this one (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EIRpWQxXUAAkfyu?format=png&name=large) going...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 11th Dec - 10:59pm
    @John B "in 2 out of the 3 the Lib Dems are still the main challengers, and the third is a tight 3 way marginal"...
  • User Avatarfrankie 11th Dec - 10:55pm
    The “presidential” nature of a campaign dominated by the leaders of the two largest parties has been illuminated by research that also reveals how Labour...
  • User AvatarRoss McLean 11th Dec - 10:46pm
    "You need to get it sorted when the dust settles. Oh, do I? Righto. I'll make a note of that. Meanwhile, lets get back to...
Tue 7th Jan 2020