Liberal Democrats

PM Johnson, School Strike and Conference

Posted on: 26th September 2019

This column has been submitted to publication in the local newspapers.

PM Johnson is imprisoned in his own web of deceit. His Government dragged unwillingly back to Parliament to face uncomfortable scrutiny. Guilty of misleading the Queen, of acting unlawfully, of lying to Parliament. He ought to do the honourable thing. But is bound to attempt to brazen it out.

Johnson’s Government has a majority of minus 46. He’s lost every vote and can’t win any vote that matters. He can’t pass legislation. Can’t prorogue Parliament. He’s prevented from implementing a “No Deal” Brexit, as he’d like to. He’s been humiliated by EU leaders who’ve called his bluff – he has no answers to the vital Irish question.

Johnson still insists the UK will leave the EU on 31st October – “No ifs. No buts” – but he’s undermined his chances of delivering. And he can’t have a General Election for now because his lies have undermined any trust in him until the 31st October deadline has passed without a “no deal”! It’s a form of political purgatory. Entirely of his own making.

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!” (Sir Walter Scott, 1808).

The answer for Parliament is: 1) a vote of no confidence; 2) a Government of National Unity with cross-Party representation; followed by 3) a final confirmatory referendum on Brexit; and 4) a General Election. I’d prefer 3 & 4 on the same day.

I was privileged to join hundreds of school children again on their Penzance “School Strike” last week. Their elders have let them down. But there’s still time to turn things around. Just.

Their voices get stronger. Their confidence is growing. Their impatience to be listened to is more compelling. For battle-hardened environmental campaigners like me their enthusiasm is a breath of fresh air.

Those under 18 in 2017 will regret their elders re-elected a minority Conservative Government. One which abolished the Climate Change Department and reversed green policy. Conservative MPs have consistently voted against EVERY measure to prevent climate change!
At our conference last week Liberal Democrats strengthened further our policies to combat the declared climate emergency. Though this Government has set the UK back, Liberal Democrats have ambitious policies to combat climate change.

At that conference I again found myself opposing our Party leadership! This time opposing their desire to revoke Article 50 if we win an outright majority in the next election.

There isn’t a painless way out of the chaos and humiliation the Conservatives have brought on this country. Leave and Remain supporters are fed up and want to move on. Parliament cannot decide what to do. The Conservative Government is all over the place. The only way forward is to put the latest deal to the people in a final confirmatory vote with an option to Remain. Whatever the result the Government must implement and then move on.

And if you wish to find out more about this and related matters do come to my next Public Panel debate at Penwith College at 7.30pm on Friday 27th Sept. We have speakers from Green, Brexit, Liberal Democrat and Labour Parties. The Conservative MP was again invited and again refused. We also have representatives from Law and Business on the panel.