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The balance of forces

Guido presents evidence that we have God on our side, along with the Queen, 63% of voters, a large part of an infuriated Tory party, and the army (or at least, the parachute regiment – I’ve lived next door to a para, and suspect they would be enough). 🙂

By a possible majority of one vote (at this moment I write), parliament is not on our side but on the side of endless procrastination – nor it would seem is the PM on our side. (I’m not quite sure what happened to “I’ll stay for as long as you want me”, but I assume it’s the same thing as happened to all the other promises.)

Having God on your side is good, but if I understand the theology correctly, He protects free will by using His power to warn, not compel – and helps those who help themselves. A coincidentally-timed lightening strike is welcome – and hilarious – but while I invite all who so wish to pray hard, we should not expect lightning to strike May and Corbyn as they shake hands. 🙂

Having the Queen on your side is good (noting that all is report and she would act sooner than she would formally say in public). Normally, like the almighty, her majesty warns but does not compel. In my opinion, the more letters that arrive at Buck Palace (acknowledging her wise convention of staying out of it normally but expressing calm loyal support for her right to act when Parliament behaves irregularly), the better, and they can certainly do no harm (most of us will have already written to our MP, some with far less reason to think it could have any effect). IMHO, be brief, be polite, be properly-phrased and don’t lecture her on what action to take, just say how loyally you’d support her taking action.

Having the voters on your side is good (if it is so – opinion polls are unreliable, of course, and a bit all over the place, but less so in both respects than parliament at the moment). However the voters cannot easily compel before an election.

We also, I hope, have ourselves – the brexitters – on our side. Guido is one of those brexitters who wanted May’s deal accepted for fear of worse. I respect such people despite disagreeing with them. Now is time for both sides of that debate to leave recriminations since that ship would appear to be sailing, for better or worse. Let’s look at those options.

1) For worse: Ramsay MacDonald was the last PM to betray their party and form an alliance with the opposition and a few like-minded turncoats. Being the nominal head of an overwhelmingly other-party coalition made him largely powerless domestically, so he concentrated on foreign policy: Ramsay MacDonald was the pacifist PM of the UK during Hitler’s first three years in power. This was very useful to Hitler as he moved from its being a military parade to remove him in 1933 to having 36 infantry divisions and 6 armoured ones with which to object in 1936. That precedent is not encouraging.

2) For better: precisely because May is putting up such a sneaky fight, Brexit has proved a stronger lever than I ever hoped for exposing those who are Tory in name only, and enraging the party against them. I doubt anyone is joining the Tory party at this moment but urge all who are there to stay, pro tem. Tearing up your party card in public is a great way to warn, but remember you must not actually resign if you are to use your (imminent, I hope) chance to compel.

31 comments to The balance of forces

  • James Strong

    There is nothing good at all about soldiers shooting at a picture of an elected poltician from their own country,
    (the second link in this piece).
    You should think further on this matter.

  • James, the state has de-legitimised itself, so not sure I really care.

  • James Strong (April 3, 2019 at 8:04 pm), there was a smiley next to that remark. (I considered tagging the whole post as humour, as I did my one on the picture of her majesty instructing 007, but there is enough of a grim side that, despite my often light-hearted tone during it, I did not.)

    I agree with Perry de Havilland (London) (April 3, 2019 at 8:10 pm) that parliament is delegitimising itself. Jokes like the two I mention above will appear. It is better to consider the reality of which these are trivial symptoms than to go all po-faced by not taking them as jokes. (The army authorities will of course discipline the paras. I did not say they should not.)

  • Edward Spalton

    One of the Labour Party who joined the National government with Ramsey McDonald was J H ( Jimmy) Thomas, who had been a railway trade unionist. My father attended a meeting in Derby which he addressed. The Labour loyalist contingent in the audience set up a chant “ Jimmy’s selling you”. Thomas rose to the occasion splendidly.

    With great apparent emotion, he replied “ Brothers! I have tried! God knows I have tried BUT I COULD NEVER FIND A BLOODY BUYER!”
    Everybody laughed and the meeting continued.

    Thomas later had to resign for hinting at budget secrets. He had to surrender his seals of office to Edward VIII who said that Thomas remarked “ i’m So glad your old Dad never got to hear of this”.

  • Roué le Jour

    I don’t think it matters what parliament does at this stage. They are like a gang of incompetent robbers still trying to get in the vault after the police have the bank surrounded. The whole world is pointing and laughing, I expect taxi drivers in Bangalore are making jokes about them. As I said before, the best thing would be for the EU to call a halt to the clown show and chuck Britain out. It’s making everyone look bad.

    I also suspect that this is a case of “Oft evil will shall evil mar.” The Hidden Powers chose their most loyal operative to stop Brexit, without considering that without competence, loyalty is worthless.

  • rapscallion

    Mrs E Windsor (who is posing as Queen) is, under the Maastricht Treaty of 2003, an EU citizen, and lauded as such by none other than the PM of the time – Little Johnny Major, You are either a citizen or Sovereign, you cannot be both. She hasn’t done anything to date (whatever her personal feelings about the matter) and she isn’t going to anything about in the future. For those of you who say that she would trigger a constitutional crisis were she to intervene, what on earth do you think we’re experiencing now, if not a constitutional crisis? FWIW, I am not a rabid republican either, and would much rather have a Monarch as Head of State, but I would also like a Monarch who steps in when and only when those muppets in the HoC threaten to upset the apple cart, and are clearly defying the will of the people

    For James Strong, you’ve obviously never served in the Armed Forces and thus you don’t understand the humour of the common soldier

  • James Strong

    Let’s change the target at the Army firing range.
    Let’s have a photo of Perry de Havilland or Natalie Solent or other Samizdata people up there. Let’s put some bullets through their heads.
    Still think it’s a good idea?
    Still think it’s a ‘joke’?
    Still think it’s ‘the humour of the common soldier’?

  • Itellyounothing

    So many people seem to lack tolerance and understanding of those charged with violence in our name….

    The people who expect them to kill on command, obey restrictive rules of engagement, build nations, be horribly injured or die, but seemed surprised when that causes and requires other little behaviours to manage the stress of are very naive indeed.

    Maybe national service is the only way the country will grow up.

  • James Strong (April 4, 2019 at 6:58 am), your hypothetical needs a joke and a context for it, and you failed to provide one.

    If you want to rework that picture of the Queen and 007 to be:

    007: “All the samizdatans, Ma’am?

    and her replying

    HM: “All the ones who keep sending me those boring letters, 007.

    then do please feel free.

    And if you wish to protest that it is unacceptably one-sided to have a picture of Corbyn on the range but no picture of May on the range beside him, then do please feel just as free. 🙂

  • bobby b

    A quick review of pertinent UK law makes it clear that using Corbyn’s image as a practice target – which is legally similar to hanging a public figure in effigy – is a protected form of expression (so long as it can’t reasonably be interpreted as a direct threat to Corbyn.) Name me a public figure of note who hasn’t been hanged in effigy.

    (Military rules for its personnel may be more onerous, of course.)

    Also according to UK law – if the targeted image was black, or Muslim, or gay, or one of the other protected categories, then it might be prosecuted as a hate crime.

    But Corbyn’s a white male, so it’s all cool.

  • neonsnake

    Also according to UK law – if the targeted image was black, or Muslim, or gay, or one of the other protected categories, then it might be prosecuted as a hate crime.

    Arrgh! Unnecessary law. Incitement to violence laws (presumably) already cover it!

  • Jim Jones

    I asked a few of my neighbours who they would support if there was a civil war between Parliament and the Queen, they all said the Queen.

  • Military rules for its personnel may be more onerous, of course. (bobby b, April 4, 2019 at 8:24 am)

    Military rules and customs are indeed more restrictive. When Sir Ranulph Fiennes was in the SAS, one of the exercises was to plan a bank heist. Sir Ranulph then managed to lose his plan. It was found by a member of the public and all police leave in the area that weekend was cancelled. As he explained in his autobiography, if his SAS commanders had suspected he just carelessly lost it, he would have been thrown out of the regiment, but, luckily for him, they took it for granted he had done it as a joke, so they punished him but kept him in SAS training because that kind of temperament was seen as an advantage for the role. I perfectly understand that way of thinking – while also seeing its downside. I expect the paras will be similarly punished.

  • Paul Marks

    Do not be mislead by the “one vote” thing – the “Remainers” who control Parliament were LAUGHING (I heard them), because they organised things so the minimum of them would vote for the thing in order to pass it.

    The “Remainers” (Philip Hammond, Theresa May – the others who pretended to OPPOSE the Bill) did this so that Constituency Conservative Associations would not DESLECT them. After all now they can say “we voted AGAINST all this – we wanted United Kingdom to be independent, but a majority of just one vote PARLIAMENT prevented this happening”.

    It is a farce – and the mask on the regime is wearing very thin. Already people like Peter Oborne who should be in a public park making impassioned speeches about the power of the Jews (speeches to no-one-in-particular – as in a sane society he would be ignored) is a leading writer for the “Daily Mail” and hailing Mrs May as, essentially, sent by God to prevent independence (the supposed horror of “No Deal” – about which the establishment trots out endless LIES).

    Does Mrs May care that her leading cheer leader, Peter Oborne, is a lunatic who thinks (for example) that the overthrow of the pro Soviet Union government in Iran in 1953 was about heling ISRAEL? (the real motivation was to prevent the Soviet Union gaining control of the Middle East). Of course Mr Oborne believes that the United States of America is also controlled-by-the-Jews although he would not call himself an anti-Semite

    Mrs May gives no sign of being concerned that she is on the same side as creatures such as Peter Oborne – the Vichy independence-in-the-name-only policy will continue.

    What can we do?

    I do not believe we can prevent Mrs May and her Corporate State Vichy allies from cheating us of independence, but we can take PEACEFUL revenge – we can DESELECT the “Remainers” (including Mrs May herself) and this is what we must do.

    None of these people can be Conservative candidates for Parliament again. For only with control of the Conservative Party (not some little group with no Members of Parliament at all) is there any hope for the pro independence movement.

    When we PEACEFULLY drive out Mrs May and the rest of the “Remainers” – then the Conservative really can be a pro independence force, which in cooperation with people and groups outside the Conservative party gain the independence of the United Kingdom (of the British people) from the European Union.

    It may indeed be a long and bitter struggle, but the LIE that is Vichy fake independence that Mrs May and Corporate State allies present will be exposed – and this nation will, eventually, be independent of the accused European Union.

    By the way David Davis is wrong – it is not “just” the independence issue that the government of Mrs May is wrong about, they are wrong about everything. For example, almost 20 BILLION Pounds has been spent on a hole in the ground in London called the “Elizabeth Line” (no passengers are on this line – and there have never been any passengers on it, it is just a hole in the ground) – and the government led by Mrs May has learned nothing by this, and is still intending to spend around ONE HUNDRED BILLION POUNDS (it will be far more than that) on the utterly pointless “HS2”.

    This is just one of a whole mountain of examples of waste and incompetence by the government of Mrs May – someone who loves taxes, wild government spending (even on such demented ideas as overseas “Development Aid”) and ENDLESS REGULATIONS.

    No wonder Mrs May loves the European Union (which she dishonestly pretends she opposes) – as she loves its policies, including its CENSORSHIP policies.

    This person has no place as a Conservative Member of Parliament – Mrs May, and her allies, have “Brought the Conservative Party into disrepute” (rule book – grounds for expulsion).

  • Paul, I know that some of those who voted against were simply government types objecting, at most, to the taking of that decision out of the hands of May, who intends the same. But they may have been cleverly stupid if they could have had more votes but contrived not to – it makes the policy, parliament and the government look weak – good for us but not what they need at the moment.

    Attempts at back-covering and insurance-policy-buying are going on. If you overheard them laughing then it is being sloppily done – good news for us, and no great surprise that they are inept even at deceiving (ideally, you were recording). The gross openness of the Brexit betrayal should make these tricks harder to pull off.

  • Rudolph Hucker




  • Paul Marks

    No Niall – they were very careful to make it look like a Labour Party measure, but I know who was really supporting it (Hammond – and May herself). The same thing will happen in the House of Lords today (at least I think it will).

    Niall if the government REALLY opposed all this – they could stop it very easily (they would have “Progued” Parliament before we left the European Union). It is all a LIE Niall – all a lie. Mrs May and her allies never wanted to really leave the E.U. – the idea that these Labour M.P.s are their enemies is false (in private they are the same side – AGAINST this country). The shouting and screaming at Prime Minister’s Question Time has been exposed a Punch and Judy Show. It is all sound and fury, signifying NOTHING.

    By the way I am listening to a debate in the House of Commons right now – about the RETROSPECTIVE tax legislation of this government, and how it hits ordinary people (whilst Goldman Sachs and Amazon just walk away). We live under a compatible regime – utterly contemptable. Everything that May and Hammond touch is rotten and corrupt – they are moral lepers. Yes we are all sinners (my own sins are as black as soot) – but that does not mean we can just stand aside and allow wickedness to proceed (just because we have bad things on own conscience).

    Yes Rudolph Hucker.

    Keep Calm – and DESELECT these Remainer swine, especially the Remainers who dishonestly pretend that they are not Remainers. We know who they are, Hammond, May….

  • neonsnake

    Paul Marks – are you sure you’re not attributing to malice what is adequately explained by stupidity?

    There’s part of me which almost hopes it’s a deliberate ploy. Because the alternative is that they’re all, all of them, incompetent beyond any belief I previously held (I mean, seriously? Would any of us in the private sector still be in our jobs if we’d acted like this?)

    Sadly though…I think it’s incompetence.

  • bob sykes

    The odds now are that the UK stays in the EU.

  • Mr Ed

    By the way I am listening to a debate in the House of Commons right now – about the RETROSPECTIVE tax legislation of this government, and how it hits ordinary people (whilst Goldman Sachs and Amazon just walk away).

    I didn’t know that it was more retrospective taxation, as Paul noted some years ago, but a pipe was so upset by the debate that it burst, causing the House of Commons to be suspended for the day, perhaps a day too late, the symbolism yesterday would have been wonderful.

  • Mr Ed, thanks for alerting us to the pipe burst. 🙂 The almighty is indeed on our side – unless, of course it was Tuttle (if anyone remembers the anti-bureaucracy rogue plumbing repairer of the film ‘Brazil’ 🙂 ) – though, alas, whoever it is would appear still to be confining themselves to warnings, albeit stronger ones. 🙂

    As you say, a day late (unless it floods the Lords too).

    Paul Marks (April 4, 2019 at 12:56 pm), I am certainly not saying you are wrong. That Mrs May is (as is clearly her sole modus operandi) engaged in cheating maneuvres is indisputable. Deciding what precise not-at-all-cunning plan she currently thinks she’s effecting is another matter – ‘her deal as the only way to achieve even the name of Brexit’ would make sense as regards what she appeared to be hoping for last week, but who knows what she plans now.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    Mr. Marks — Please look after your blood pressure. You are too valuable to lose!

    You are focusing on the right issue now — the UK’s worthless Political Class and dysfunctional political system. Separation from the EU will not automatically fix those fundamental problems. Fixing those real issues will require much more unity among the citizenry than has been seen to date. From an outsider’s perspective, Brexiteers seem to forget that they did not have a majority among all citizens, only a narrow plurality. It was beyond silly for separatists to resort to childish language like “Remoaners” when referring to fellow citizens who had different opinions. It is disturbing to see the naked hatred, even on this blog, of certain individuals for non-English citizens of the United Kingdom. Divided you will fall!

    As an outsider, I sincerely hope that separation leads to fundamental improvement in the broken UK political system — because real non-violent reform would be a great example for the rest of us. Much of the rest of the world (outside of China & Russia) suffers from analogous problems with Political Classes which are mediocre, remote, interfering and do not have the best interests of their countries at heart. But Brits are going to have to pull together to achieve this, because there will inevitably be a rough road after separation — with lots of opportunities for Buyer’s Regret.

    Helping the UK post-separation is so far down the list of political priorities in the US as to be invisible. Canada & Australia are in the grip of their own dysfunctional Political Classes which want to keep going to Davos. India & China still harbor historic resentments against the UK over the Opium Wars and the Raj. The EU countries are not going to go out their way to make things easy for the UK post-separation. This is not Project Fear, this is simply the way the world is.

    Smart well-financed people in China today must be thinking that UK separation presents a great opportunity to persuade France & Germany to move the manufacture of Airbus wings from England to China. Highly intelligent people in Singapore must be looking at opportunities to take a bigger bite out of the City of London’s business. On the other hand, there would be other opportunities for UK industry post separation — if a united people are smart, hard-working, patient, and well-led. Time to pull together.

  • Sonny Wayze

    “bob sykes
    April 4, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    The odds now are that the UK stays in the EU.”



    That’s been the default position of the Cynical Class [tm] since the referendum.

  • Stonyground

    As I see it, the remainers deserve our opprobrium for their refusal to accept the result of the referendum. It is a fundamental principle of democracy that you sometimes have to accept a result that you don’t like. They also deserve contempt for their inability to work out the likely consequences of their actions. If we lose democracy then we lose everything, how do the fools think that politicians will behave when we can no longer hold them to account?

  • It was beyond silly for separatists to resort to childish language like “Remoaners” (Gavin Longmuir, April 4, 2019 at 7:11 pm)

    Gavin, ‘Remoaners’ was never intended to describe those who voted remain. It was meant to describe just those who intended that the vote, having got the ‘wrong’ answer, should be nullified.

    (The connotations of ‘Remoaners’ did also include the view, common on this blog two years ago, that their chances of reversing Brexit were low. We have cause, alas, to review that opinion and I am reflecting on what to learn from recent events.)

    The point of my post’s last paragraph is that there is not a distinction between Brexit and what you correctly call ‘the right issue’. Brexit is a better way to expose that issue, and motivate fighting it, than any other I know. It makes the establishment come out more openly than any other I know. The real fight that you, I and Paul hope to see is prompted by the betrayal of Brexit and would not have today’s chance of starting without it.

    By now, I think the fight will happen even if the EU says “get stuffed” to the new extension request. But if Parliament had been grudgingly honest these last three months, May might be PM for a couple more years, and in 2022 we’d be voting for mostly the same old Tories or Corbyn. I see no other issue with the same chance of changing that. Brexit was always a necessary preliminary. Now it is the preliminary and the fight in one.

  • only a narrow plurality (Gavin Longmuir, April 4, 2019 at 7:11 pm)

    Two remarks.

    On the one hand, IIRC, no government since the war has won a majority of votes, let alone of voters. The Tories won the 2015 election with 36% of the vote. Tory and Labour got larger percentages in 2017 because the party that stood against Brexit had a dismal election. (It is certainly not for the MPs who betray us today to talk of narrow pluralities. 🙂 )

    On the other hand, it is relevant of course. Dominic Cummings notes he’d have preferred to hold the vote some years later, after capturing the Tory party, and so “win the referendum by 60%-70%”. Better if we had won it so indeed. On the other hand, we were wise not to decline the challenge, we did very well to win, and it showed our strength and so increased it. Churchill would have preferred to attack Germany from (and with) an unconquered France, not from across the channel, but the side of right – precisely because it is the right side – rarely gets to choose its battles.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    “no government since the war has won a majority of votes, let alone of voters.”

    That is the downside of a ‘First Past the Post’ voting system. And one could argue that it does not really matter for many issues — one group of political animals gets in and nationalizes the railways, then another group gets in and de-nationalizes them. All good fun.

    But there are issues which realistically should require some form of super-majority — for example, changing the Right to Bear Arms in the US properly should require a Constitutional Amendment. Separation from the EU presents a real challenge — only a minority of the UK population voted in favor of Brexit, but only a slightly smaller minority voted in favor of the status quo. What is to be done?

    The best course would have been for the separatists to follow up on their narrow referendum victory with a sustained effort to convince their doubting fellow citizens to get on board with Brexit — but that lost opportunity is now water under the bridge. As an outsider, I see the UK only through a keyhole and could be completely off-base: but the current situation appears to be that the dismal performance of the UK Political Class seems to have unified a majority of the citizenry in their disgust with the venal incompetence of the denizens of the Palace of Westminster. Quite an achievement in that Disunited Kingdom!

    I hope you are correct that separation will prove to be the catalyst for real fundamental change in the UK’s dysfunctional political system — because much of the rest of the world needs an example of non-violent reform of incompetent self-serving Establishments. Separation from the EU without root-and-branch reform of the UK’s Political Class would undoubtedly prove to be a massive disappointment for most Brexiteers — and a major disappointment for us outsiders. There is a long road ahead after separation. Best of British luck!

  • neonsnake

    from the EU without root-and-branch reform of the UK’s Political Class would undoubtedly prove to be a massive disappointment for most Brexiteers —

    This is the obvious and most likely outcome.

  • bobby b

    Gavin Longmuir
    April 5, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    “But there are issues which realistically should require some form of super-majority — for example, changing the Right to Bear Arms in the US properly should require a Constitutional Amendment. Separation from the EU presents a real challenge — only a minority of the UK population voted in favor of Brexit, but only a slightly smaller minority voted in favor of the status quo. What is to be done?”

    I would look to the burden that was placed on the original enactment of the measure that you’re attempting to quash.

    In the example of overturning the USA’s RTBA, that measure was enacted by a supermajority. Our Constitution sets out the requirements for its amendment, and those requirements were met when the Second Amendment was adopted. So, in order to overturn it, we would need to meet that same supermajority requirement.

    As for leaving the EU, GB ought to meet the same majority requirement that was in place when it held the vote for entry into the EU. If the voters could have entered the EU on 50.001% of the vote, that should be the requirement for leaving.

  • Paul Marks

    Gavin Longmuir.

    The key test is whether ordinary Members of the Conservative Party can “deselect” as candidates for Parliament “Remainers” – i.e. oath breakers (traitors), enemies of the liberty of the British people.

    The Members of the Conservative Association in Beaconsfield voted “No Confidence” in the “Remainer” swine Mr Dominic Grieve – but Mrs May (the UNELECTED Leader of the Conservative Party) declared that the vote did not count and that Mr Remainer Grieve would not be deselected.

    If that stands then democracy is exposed as a LIE – and the United Kingdom will be shown to be a FASCIST (Corporate State) state part of the FASCIST (Corporate State) European Union. Mr Dominic Grieve lost the vote of Confidence – he must stand down as a candidate for Parliament at the next election. And Mrs May (who openly SPAT ON the vote of the Association Members – Mrs May openly supported the “Remainer” AFTER the vote) must resign as Leader of the Conservative Party.

  • Paul Marks (April 8, 2019 at 10:34 am), the removal of Mrs May herself from the leadership is an essential prerequisite of Tory cleansing. Thanks to Gove’s weird behaviour, then Leadsom letting herself be persuaded/pressured, the establishment dodged a party vote in 2016. They refused one again in December by supporting May. You are probably better placed than I to know if they can refuse one much longer. (May’s promises to resign keeping referring to closer and closer dates. On the one hand, we know what her promises are worth but, on the other, her credibility and authority seem in wretched shape today.)