February 9, 2017

Article 50 vote blows up in Labour’s face

Article 50 vote blows up in Labour’s face

Far from harming the Government, the Article 50 vote in the Commons has helped unite the Conservative Party, while exacerbating rifts within Labour, says Rory Broomfield.

It was the Left’s reckoning that a Parliamentary vote on Article 50 would be damaging for the Government. Ironically, it appears the Commons vote has helped galvanise the Conservative Party, while exacerbating cavernous rifts within Labour.

In recent weeks, some may have felt a degree of sympathy for politicians on the Left. First, remainers were left reeling from the Supreme Court judgement and, secondly, pro-remain MPs failed in their attempts to derail the Government’s Article 50 Bill in the Commons.

Indeed, the scene from the House of Commons this week, where the Bill passed with 494 votes in favour to 122 against at third reading, was that of relief from the Government benches coupled with a sense of a job well done as none of the key amendments the Left wanted were approved.

The Bill now leaves the Commons and moves onto the Lords free from any wrecking amendments and a sense that, with the clear majority of MPs behind it, peers would delay it at their peril.

For this, much credit must go to Steve Baker MP for initiating the “Keep Notification Simple” initiative through social media. Both The Freedom Association and Better Off Out campaign were more than willing to support this plan and many of our members wrote to their respective MPs accordingly. Nonetheless, the real story of the week is of the infighting, indecision and splits that have come from the Left because of the vote.

For clarity, ‘the Left’ is made up of the SNP, Lib Dems and Labour and, yes, some Conservatives. Basically, those that wanted to wreck the Government’s chances of carrying out a “Clean Brexit” to hold onto their desire to keep elements of the EU, incompatible with being free from it.

However, the Left were split. Some MPs wanted to change how the Government consulted with Gibraltar; some wanted to prevent the Government from competing freely with the EU on taxation. Some MPs on the Left, such as Tim Farron, even went as far as to demand a second EU referendum – with the option of going back into the EU. They all failed in their attempts because, despite having support across the parties, they weren’t organised and, in many cases, they were fighting their own personal battles in their respective parties. In short: they were a mess.

But is this the end of the Left?

The answer: not yet, but it may be the end of Corbyn as leader. The Labour Party were by far the most split with 52 Labour MPs defying the whip to oppose invoking Article 50. This, as calculated by Jonathan Isaby of Brexit Central, included 11 frontbenchers and, amazingly, three Labour Party whips. With dissent in the ranks of the Labour Party heightened to mean that five (now) ex-frontbenchers quit the Shadow Cabinet to oppose Corbyn’s will, there seems to be no real meeting of eyes between the Parliamentary Labour Party and the Shadow Front Bench.

This may lead to revolts and descent, especially if the Labour Party is unable to rally behind either a leader or a cause.

However, both the Government and those that value freedom should not count their chickens before they hatch. Although the Government won the day in the Commons, there is still the House of Lords to overcome. The Brexit Secretary, David Davis, was right in saying he expected the House of Lords to do its job and to do its patriotic duty and give the Government the right to go on and negotiate the best deal possible with the European Union. But despite the clear message given from the British people and the elected chamber of Parliament, there is no guarantee that the unelected chamber will listen.

The Government must also not give the Left a chance to unite.

The Left is disorientated and disorganised, but politics is a funny game. They could come together over a particular cause. My concern, given the recent anti-Trump protests is a resurrection of the protests that greeted TTIP. That is not the only issue, however. There are a host that I believe the Left will try and mobilise against, given the chance.

But for now, they are a mess. Brexit has united (most) of the Conservative Party and divided the Left. The next problem to address is who will provide the credible democratic opposition?

5.00 avg. rating (98% score) - 7 votes
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Rory Broomfield
Rory Broomfield is Director of The Freedom Association and the Better Off Out campaign. He is an authority on the EU and has written a number of books including his latest, co-authored with Iain Murray, Cutting the Gordian Knot: A Roadmap for British Exit from the European Union. He has previously worked in the City of London and in Westminster for a number of Members of Parliament, including the current Prime Minister, Theresa May; the current Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady; and Sir Richard Shepherd.
  • Nockian

    No article ? Maybe it’s spread to comment central ?

    Central banks don’t work any better than any other kind of soviet style producer. They produce too many tractors when we need more ploughs. This is because banking isn’t independent, it isn’t laissez faire capitalism that is being practised, but the soviet style economics of central planning. It is not, per se, the fault of the central banks, anymore than it was the fault of the Russian tractor factories for under/ over producing as a result of state diktat. Unfortunately we have a mixed economy, which is 50% socialistic and has been expanding for several decades-most of us now give over 60% of our earnings to government directly (it’s probably a bit more depending on inflation and inflexible tax bands).

    The answer is to get the state out of commerce, then the central banks will either survive or collapse within a laissez faire banking system, but first we must begin to accept the truth, that we cannot continue to sustain such a gargantuan welfare system and its associated government. If we want to produce more, we need to be taxed less, we must save not spend.

  • ratcatcher11

    If everyone saved and did not spend there would be a massive worldwide slump, so it is obvious there has to be spending. Making things for sale is thus important, services alone cannot sustain an economy. One of the biggest problems is Keynsian economics that are basically tax, print and spend socialist policies. We do not need the government to build a railway we need a private company to build the railway which will compete with air travel fairly, not by taxing air travel to make it it less profitable. Thus the governments air taxes should be scrapped and private companies encouraged to re open rail lines closed by Beeching. This is the development we need not government spending 90 billion of money on an HS2 line built from somewhere to nowhere and never stops to pick up passengers.

  • Debs

    Expansion of economies cannot go on forever no matter what so called monetary policy is. You dont need to be an economics expert to realise it.

    All I know is governments and banks seem to be constantly coming up with schemes to leave we the lowly tax payer with less of our money.Forget about the trumpeted tax cuts ,everything else is going up accordingly except real wages of course. Dont even mention the Green scam or the cheap labour scam.

    Bail ins and cashless society are two more scams I have seen trailed in various media outlets over the past few years. Gradually our hard earned money is being prised away from us to fritter away on who knows what.

    They wonder why Trump got elected.

  • Nockian

    The market will raise rates eventually, regardless of wether the central bank wishes it or not. The problem is that we have all become mesmerised at central bank control, when, in reality, at this stage they have little at all. They cannot raise rates to normal, because, firstly, we don’t know what normal looks like (it could already be normal) and secondly any increases will create an avalanche effect-let’s face it, no one but the wealthiest wants to bring down countries governments through a collapse in public spending leading to actual anarchy on our streets.

    The bogey man of fractional reserve is a myth that has permeated libertarian consciousness, in a free market banks would have to take risk or they would, by any definition, not be free market. Banks are not currently lending to private individuals because capital requirements are already so high-they have become zombified businesses that look like they function, but are like the shops we set up as kids with funny money and plastic fruit. The market is broken as far as banks are concerned, they are no longer part of it.

    Fixing the problem cannot begin by looking at the central bank, nor the main banks. It’s far too late to consider than anything can be done at this stage, we are so far beyond normal that we aren’t looking at a functioning banking system at all. It would be like bleeding the radiators to solve a broken boiler.

    The problem we have is at its heart a simple one. It’s the problem that labour refused to accept when the banks blew up. We have an unsustainable welfare system and an over sized government. We have to tackle our public spending first of all and I see little sign that any current, nor perspective government is prepared to give the public the awful news about the reality.

    Even the great Tory saviours have flunked out of the monetary boiler rooms. The situation is dire, there is no fuel left, we have been ripping up the ships timbers to maintain the illusion of tranquil sailing progress, but eventually the ship will sink for lack of substance. There is no monetary policy that can save us, all we are going to get is an ever growing war on cash, savers and anyone who tries to make a profit. We are going to end up in the late stages of a soviet style melt down whilst spinning mirrors to pretend it isn’t happening.

    We all know what’s going on, we can offer solutions, make sympathetic noises and talk up any temporary progress, but the reality of the situation is now apparent. We have to do what every debtor must eventually conclude; that our spending has unfortunaly exceeded our earning capacity and all those red letters mean some drastic rethinking is required. We are going to reach the end of the road, not by a sudden explosion, but the drift into monetary authoritarianism which will result in ever greater protectionism and falling living standards. We are in great danger of losing the West to the East and ending up as country cousins of a world of declining freedoms and the rise mysticism.

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