Saturday, 12 November 2016

The Finished Article

Will there really be so little parliamentary resistance to Article 50?

Well, there will be a lot of trouble in the Lords.

It is 45 years since Tony Benn first tried to explain that you could have Brexit, as it was not then called, or you could have the House of Lords, the composition of which was then entirely unreformed.

But you could not have both.

In the Commons, though, Ken Clarke, who is retiring anyway, has said that he will be voting against Article 50.

Meaning that, even based on the figures that the Lib Dems themselves are trumpeting, the number of Labour MPs who are going to do so cannot be higher than nine.

Single figures.

A Labour Leadership candidate backed by most of the MPs, and with this as pretty much his only distinctive policy, has just been slaughtered.

He would have been so by four to one if the staff had not blocked so many people from voting.

All but a tiny handful of the MPs have got the message.

The boundary changes mean reselection procedures for every single one of them.

Most Labour MPs outside London sit for areas that voted Leave.

Any Labour rebels will be from London or from the pockets of Remain elsewhere, or they will be retiring voluntarily in 2020, or both.

And there won't even be very many of those.

A high absentee rate, perhaps. But extremely few votes against.

After all, with individual exceptions, neither Old Labour nor New Labour has ever, deep down, much cared for the EU, at least as it existed in practice.

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