The British General Election

Calling this election was a mistake. Theresa May had a working majority.

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Although left wing Tory MPs, led by Anna Soubry, threatened rebellion over the bill to repeal the hated European Communities Act 1972 and pro-European life peers in the House of Lords have been getting uppity, there was no constitutional reason to call the election.

There are only two serious constitutional lawyers in the Tory Party – myself (I have had to overcome my natural shyness and modesty to let that slip!) and Martin Howe QC. I wasn’t consulted and I doubt that Martin was either. We’ve been friends for over 20 years. Along with the late, great Leo Price QC, we wrote the paper which exposed the Edinburgh European Council opt-outs as a fraud on Denmark.

Along with my able second chair, I was the only barrister to argue in court that the Factortame cases were wrongly decided and that the European Communities Act was subject to implied repeal like any other statute. Implied Repeal post EEC entry is the litmus test for constitutional lawyers. With every respect to those taking the contrary view, you can’t believe that Parliament can bind its successors and be a serious constitutional lawyer.

Had I been consulted, I would have advised against calling the election. If the so-called Great Repeal Bill had been introduced and blocked at any stage, entirely different considerations would apply. The argument that the Prime Minister needed a strong mandate to negotiate with the EU was spurious.

The negotiations are effectively over, bar the shouting. The EU wants to continue to control us after withdrawal and will only grant tariff-free access to the single market if we agree to continued labour dumping from Europe. Since that is precisely what was rejected by the British electorate in last year’s referendum the government can’t and won’t agree it. Therefore there will be no deal.

The formal negotiating sessions will be a pointless waste of time and can safely be left to the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, or other marginal figures, no offense intended. Whilst Theresa May is a weak leader, with respect, and would probably cave in to EU demands for access to British waters for European fishermen and a massive exit fee, the demands of the EU enemy will be so outrageous that even she would not be able to cave in to them.

The reality is that the decision to call the election was a political decision, taken for political reasons. With the Tories riding high in the polls trying to restrain party HQ was like trying to restrain a raging bull elephant. The arrogance and narrow party political calculation of the Tory leadership has come across in spades.

The odd thing is that Tory HQ thought that Theresa May was popular. She has never fought a general election campaign, and after this shambles is unlikely to fight another. She didn’t even fight a Tory leadership campaign, relying instead on left-wing threats to defect to the LibDems to deter her one remaining pro-Brexit opponent from staying in the fight.

Had Theresa May been forced to fight a leadership election her lack of charisma and campaigning skills would have become all too obvious, with respect. Party HQ is now paying the price for the manipulation of last year’s leadership election. No offense intended, but it’s always best before starting a personality cult to make sure that your leader actually has a personality.

Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn

Unlike Theresa May, the Labour leader is a natural campaigner. He’s a nice chap – we have met, at a demo outside the US Embassy in 1984 following the illegal American invasion of Grenada, a Commonwealth country. He has shown considerable grace under pressure and has not responded to the Tory Party’s abusive personal attacks on him. He is not a gentleman, with respect, but he has behaved like one.

Unlike Theresa May, he has had the courage to face his opponents in TV debates. The election campaign was reduced to a farce this week when the Prime Minister sent the Home Secretary along to the leader’s debate. Also unlike Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn has actually answered some of the questions put to him.

He’s hopeless with figures, poor chap, doesn’t like nuclear weapons and his policies are mostly ridiculous, but he speaks from the heart and has empathy with the electorate. Not even her closest friends would say that Theresa May was a warm person.

She won’t answer questions, wretched woman, and it’s damaging her. She was asked this weekend whether she could rule out tax increases. Her reply was lengthy, evasive and amounted to little more than a series of platitudes strung together. Everybody knows that she’s lumbered with an economically illiterate Chancellor who thinks the way to raise more revenue is to raise tax. Hammond backed the election partly to get out of the sensible pledge in 2015 not to raise income tax, social security (National Insurance) and Value Added Tax.

Theresa May is so stuck on retaining tariff-free access to the single market that she hasn’t even promised the abolition of VAT, which is a hated European tax.

In her heart she’s a Remoaner, even after German Intelligence assassinated a Remain MP, Jo Cox, in the hope of swinging the vote and tried to get her head cut off by an Islamic nutter in the House of Commons. She’s promising EU-lite, and it’s not going down very well with an electorate which voted to break free of the EU in the largest democratic exercise this country has ever seen.

The Campaign

The Tory campaign has been the worst in living memory. It was crippled by the Treasury and the Cabinet Office, who foisted a ridiculous and unfair dementia tax on Theresa May’s team and leaked it to the Labour Party in advance. Labour were ready of course. Theresa May and Phillip Hammond, who are both house-trained and not the sharpest knives in the box, with respect, walked right into it.

The Tory poll lead collapsed overnight. By last week, after weeks of mayhem and utter confusion in the Tory ranks, the pro-EU YouGov polling organisation published a shock mega-poll suggesting that Theresa May would actually lose her majority. If that poll is right the Tories would win only 310 seats and would need to enter into a coalition with the Ulster Unionist parties, no bad thing but not what the Prime Minister envisaged when she called the election in April.

A coalition with the Unionists would see the Northern Ireland peace process go of course, although in reality that went with the probable assassination by Germany’s GO2, using a bio-weapon, of poor Martin McGuinness, who I am told was as nice a terrorist as you could wish to meet.

Theresa May would have to go of course, resulting in months of political uncertainty, whilst Liam Fox, David Davis and Amber Rudd battled it out for the Tory leadership. The Cabinet Office would press relentlessly for another coalition with the LibDems and the abandonment of Brexit, risking civil war in the Tory Party and an escalation in the violence against European migrants.

Most general election campaigns throw up surprises, but this one produced an absolute shock this week. On Thursday night’s Question Time on BBC1, chaired by that nice man David Dimbleby, a member of the audience asked an intelligent question. This is almost unheard of on the BBC.

He knew his Laffer Curve (the questioner, that is, not dear old Dimbers) and pointed out that the Tory Government’s sensible cut in Corporation Tax had not actually reduced the amount of tax collected. It wouldn’t, since the way to increase the total tax take is to cut the tax rate, provided that the tax is not reduced below about 17.5%.

A nice but bumbling Labour MP, possibly soon to be an ex-MP, on the panel was wittering on about Labour’s economically illiterate plan to raise more revenue from business by raising Corporation Tax. (Maybe they have been reading forecasts prepared by the Congressional Budget Office, a known haunt of economically-illiterate liberals, no offense intended.) The intelligent questioner pointed out the flaw in this cunning plan – raising the rate would slow the economy, slash profits and cut the amount of tax raised.

Map of election areas on June 3, 2017

This piece of wisdom passed the panel by. Not one of them grasped the point, but smarter viewers will have done. It was astonishing viewing. For decades the BBC has tried to sabotage the public finances by equating tax rises with increases in revenue, at the same time as casting Tories as villains who only want cuts in public services.

The post-mortem at the Beeb has probably started already. ‘Who let in a member of the public with a brain and why was he ever permitted to ask a question?’ ‘why was the man with a brain not censored?’ ‘Where were the snipers?’ ‘Is it too late to ask GO2 to nip round to his house with a death-squad?’ etc. etc. I was so startled by this display of intelligence and economic illiteracy on the BBC that I needed a stiff drink. Next thing, there will be an intelligent question on man-made global warming!

Prediction

Happily I think the country will pull back from the chaos of minority or coalition government. Treasury/Cabinet Office wrecking and Theresa May’s lack of campaigning skills has seen her hopes of a landslide vanish. She will be lucky to win a 50-seat majority, at the lower end, surely, of expectations when she called the election with a 20-point plus poll lead.

It’s not an easy election to predict, not least given the collapse in the minor parties’ vote. My prediction, however, is that the Theresa May will win a 25-50 seat majority. I think the Unionists will do reasonably well in Northern Ireland and will win a majority of seats there, giving the Prime Minister a useful buffer in the event that Anna Soubry leads a revolt over repealing the European Communities Act. (She won’t lead a revolt over the terms of the deal with the EU, as there won’t be a deal to vote on and we’ll simply revert to mutual tariffs under WTO rules).

I can see UKIP picking up a couple of seats, possibly including Thanet South. The Tory candidate there has been charged with electoral expenses violations, the Crown Prosecution Service, very obviously, caving in to Cabinet Office pressure to delay the charging decision until after the closing date for nominations. Thanet South was where that nice man Nigel Farage stood in 2015.

The Silly Paris Climate Accord

Well done the Pres. for pulling out of Paris. Since the US signature on the treaty was never ratified by the Senate it’s not binding and the US can simply pull out, without notice.

You only need to denounce a treaty if you have ratified it. The global warming hoax is a subject worthy of a column in itself and I’ll be returning to it after the election. Thankfully, Theresa May was shrewd enough not to sign the silly letter drawn up by Angela Merkel and co-signed by the German puppet leaders in France and Italy.

The Prime Minister hasn’t yet grasped what the President, who is somewhat smarter than she is, with respect, grasped years ago – that the whole thing is the biggest scientific hoax since the Piltdown Skull. Human CO2 output is only about 3.3% of the total, CO2 is only a trace gas in the atmosphere and only accounts for about 5% of the Greenhouse Effect, and CO2 levels follow temperature rises, not the other way round, with a lag, due to the oceans, of about three-quarters of a millennium.

This Week’s Movie Review: The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970, dir. Basil Dearden)

Moore

This was Sir Roger Moore’s favorite movie. It’s a taut psychological thriller, with Roger Moore playing both lead characters, both named Harold Pelham. The real Harold Pelham nearly dies in a high-speed accident, whilst driving his Rover 3.5 Liter. He survives of course – you usually do, in a 3.5 Liter. They’re built like tanks, with high-quality steel. They also had lovely old seat-belts made by the Irvin parachute company, complete with little parachutes on the buckles.

Harold Pelham’s dark side emerges as a separate personality and starts doing strange things. The nice Mr Pelham starts to think he must be going mad, as his doppelganger starts turning up everywhere. It’s a movie about split personality and life after death. It therefore asks serious questions, without answering them, and at times is quite dark.

It also asked serious questions of Roger Moore as an actor. Those questions were answered. He turned in a superb performance, playing both a goodie and a baddie at the same time. The support cast is strong, and includes Gerald Sim (the vicar in To The Manor Born), Charles Lloyd-Pack, Anton Rodgers and Thorley Walters.

It may well be played on US TV as a tribute to Sir Roger Moore. If so, it’s well worth watching, and not just for the cars! He really was a fine actor. He was just too modest to say it, preferring, like me (!) to hide his light under a bushel.

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28 Responses to "The British General Election"

  1. mb.  June 11, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    http://www.wellaware1.com/royal-mess/

  2. JS  June 9, 2017 at 3:50 am

    I’m looking at BBC’s numbers this morning. Hung Parliament (minority government). The change in vote share from the last election tells the story. Third parties (other than Cons. and Labour) lost about 15% (UKIP -11, Greens -2, SNP ~ -2). Where did the 15% go? Labour got +9.5, while Conservatives got only +5.5. UKIP had been splitting the vote in the past. But not now. No wonder the pound fell last night.

  3. JS  June 8, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    650 seats in the Commons. 326 needed for a majority. Right now, Sky News forecasts May to win 308 to 328 seats. Their best case scenario is a very slim majority, and one that has the Conservatives with fewer seats than before the election.

  4. JS  June 8, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    I woke up this morning dreaming of the movie Wag the Dog, for no reason. Then former FBI Director Jim Comey admitted today in testimony, that he had leaked his memos to the press, with the express intent of getting a special counsel. Well, he succeeded in getting special counsel Mueller. Today, Comey revealed himself to be the biggest unelected prima donna I’ve ever seen on TV, not to mention “operator”. And it has just occurred to me: We DO indeed have a wag the dog scenario going on right now in the US. Comey is the tail that has wagged the dog of government. Are the Trump WH, the Justice dept, and the Congress going to let him get away with his attempted slow-motion coup?

    • JS  June 8, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      Comey as sharp operator… Comey was acting as AG in 2004 while AG John Ashcroft was in hospital. WH Counsel Gonzales and Comey had a dispute which resolved itself in Ashcroft’s hospital room. And last year, a sharp Comey twice managed to fend off meeting with Obama in Obama’s 8th yr of office: 1st fending off the beer invitation, and 2nd fending off Obama’s invitation to play basketball. Yet Comey would have us believe he wasn’t smart enough to fend off meetings with neophyte POTUS Trump, and was “forced” to take memos to defend himself. All lies. Comey took memos because that is standard FBI procedure. And Comey could have resigned (or refused) if asked to do anything improper. But what is NOT standard, is for an FBI Director to attempt to lead a POTUS into a trap, the trap that was sprung with the appointment of special counsel. I don’t think we’ve had an FBI Director this arrogant since J Edgar Hoover. Trump didn’t fire him soon enough.

  5. JS  June 8, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    One thing which I find absolutely astonishing about UK entitlement to vote… It looks like if you reside in the UK, you are likely entitled to vote. Those entitled to vote include nationals of the UK, the Republic of Ireland, any Commonwealth country, as well as any EU member. That’s ridiculous! I don’t think that anyone except a national of the UK should be allowed to vote. Period. That’s what borders are supposed to be for. How did it come about that any Tom, Dick, and Harry from anywhere is allowed to vote?

  6. JS  June 8, 2017 at 5:00 am

    Wall Street Journal June 7: “The U.K. is heading to the polls for the third time in two years after Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election for June 8.” General Elections are supposed to be held every 5 years. The last one was May 7, 2015, with the Conservatives getting a 12-seat (now a 17-seat) majority. The election didn’t have to be called until May 2020. So Brexit vote was held June 23 last year, after which Cameron resigned, but so what? The PM is not like a President who is independently elected. The PM is a creature of the party, in this case the Conservative party. So I don’t understand the why some people felt a need to call an election now. I believe that a VERY hard look should be taken at the motives of whoever convinced Theresa May it was a good idea, especially after the March 22 attempt on her life.

    • JS  June 8, 2017 at 3:15 pm

      I should have said working majority, rather than majority, above. Even so, the Conservatives had an outright majority. But as of right now, a hung parliament is being predicted. It takes real genius to throw away a majority.

  7. Michael Shrimpton  June 6, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    Understandable JS. The problem is that we didn’t win the intelligence war and as in 1918 let German Intelligence carry on unhindered, guaranteeing the Cold War, Korea, Vietnam and 9/11.

    Should be a Tory win tomorrow, but my goodness me they’ve made heavy weather of it.

    London terrorist attack looks like an attempt to fool people into believing the Westminster Bridge deaths were deliberate, as opposed to Theresa May being the target, with police assistance to get Masood into the House. No doubt Germany and GO2 were also hoping to intimidate the electorate into voting for anti-Brexit candidates.

    The Krauts still don’t get us. We’re not Europeans, cowering in terror, we’re British. We’re standing on our own two feet again.

    • Ian Greenhalgh, Managing Editor  June 7, 2017 at 4:40 am

      Michael and I infrequently see things in quite the same way, but I endorse his statement that “We’re not Europeans, cowering in terror, we’re British. We’re standing on our own two feet again.” We Brits are still a proud race and still a thoroughly belligerent bunch, so whoever is ultimately responsible for these terror attacks better pray to whatever deity they recognise that the British people never find out their identity. Personally, I aim to do everything I can to expose who is behind these attacks on Britain.

    • JS  June 7, 2017 at 5:49 am

      I’ve been keeping one eye on the UK election. I will have some things to say after it’s over! I hadn’t thought of the idea that London is a red herring to take the attention off the previous attack on Theresa May. In the meantime, I heard Nigel Farage’s comments yesterday, that it’s time to arm the police in the UK. Yes, it is. Police and ordinary citizens could use some martial arts training too, to protect against knife attacks. And the death penalty, abolished in 1998, needs to be brought back, at least for terrorism and treason. But that means the UK would have to dump the European Convention on Human Rights, and its Protocol 13 which prohibits the death penalty.

  8. JS  June 6, 2017 at 3:55 am

    D-Day, 73 years ago today. 1 relative died and is buried on Dutch soil. An uncle went ashore on D-Day, was shot at all over Europe, and had PTSD until the end of his life. Considering the grief that Germany and France are giving us now, I don’t know why we bothered to save Europe. As a Canadian, I must say that it’s the offenses of the Netherlands and of France that bother me the most. Too many Canadians died at Dieppe alone, and more in the liberation of Holland. Again, why did we bother?

    • Gary Kraut  June 6, 2017 at 12:05 pm

      Hello JS. I read your above comment. I am sorry what happened to your loved ones. But please, in all honesty and with respect, what grief do Germany and France give you now?
      Please help me to understand.

    • JS  June 6, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      Gary, I said the Netherlands, not Germany, but whatever. I should have included Belgium, too. Read Spyhunter. If you don’t have time, then just look at the Appendixes, which are lists of names. Or just read past Shrimpton columns and my comments there. I’ve made it very plain that France and Germany together have been screwing the western world ever since their Élysée Treaty signed in 1963. So Merkel and her junior partner Macron are just the latest pair of losers. Canada is part of La Francophonie, and I believe we should pull out of that organization for now. But that would probably mean ditching that idiot Trudeau first.

    • JS  June 6, 2017 at 4:58 pm

      It would be tough, but not impossible, to pull out of La Francophonie while Canadian Michaëlle Jean is the Secretary-General there. And her husband was born in France. She is 2 years into a 4-year term.

    • Gary Kraut  June 6, 2017 at 10:19 pm

      Thanks a lot, JS. Got you. I understand. And I agree.

    • JS  June 7, 2017 at 5:27 am

      Gary agrees! Holy cow. This may require a stiff drink to get over the shock.

    • Gary Kraut  June 8, 2017 at 2:12 am

      Cheers, JS.

  9. Gary Kraut  June 5, 2017 at 11:56 am

    Amen.

  10. JohnZ  June 5, 2017 at 7:40 am

    Now, now, Gary, we will refrain from anything disparaging of the German people unless you nasty Huns begin attacks on our blessed freedom and demockracy. After all the British government has nothing but the best for the British people in mind when it makes decisions regarding foreign policies.
    I think Monty Python could do a better job of running the government.

  11. Gary Kraut  June 4, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Michael makes a prediction, OK, probably based on a lot of sound intel, as an expert, so to speak.
    Let´s see who is going to win.

    Then I will also make a prediction, although one only based solely on historical records. Whoever wins, it is going to be the cabal´s man or woman. Just like last time. And the time before. And the time before that…

    • Khalid Talaat  June 5, 2017 at 2:57 am

      True but saf.

  12. JS  June 4, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    7 dead in last night’s London Bridge attack. Among them are a Frenchman and a Canadian. And of course Macron and Trudeau made meaningless noises of sympathy. Anyone want to bet against me, that the Bilderbergers meeting here in Virginia were enjoying the carnage overseas?

  13. Michael Shrimpton  June 4, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Good points re East Anglia and NOAA. There is no doubt that data has been manipulated.

    The hoaxers got into a panic as surface and oceanic temperatures started to fall, gently, after 2000, confounding most predictions, although not those made by my late friend Sir Patrick Moore, the astronomer, who understood that the biggest single influence on our climate is the Sun.

  14. brabantian  June 4, 2017 at 5:08 am

    Very good of VT to continue its diversity of opinions & give Mr Shrimpton a forum here

    Re a topic Mr Shrimpton mentions above, two big items that most media are neglecting, as they bash US President Donald Trump over his decision to exit the Paris climate change agreement –

    In 2009, there was a leak of thousands of e-mails amongst PhD scientists, centred in the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, showing that they manipulated & hid data to fraudulently support the ‘man-made global warming’ sales pitch so as to win more ‘climate change’ grant funding

    In 2017, Dr John Bates blew the whistle on his fellow PhD scientists at the USA national weather monitoring agency, the NOAA – National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration – who had also been manipulating & hiding data to fraudulently support the ‘man-made global warming’ sales pitch

    Trump has been announcing to the world that (1) There is Fake News from leading mass media (2) Professionals such as climate scientists can be corrupted by their funding (3) European countries who want to leverage Nato need to pay for it … Seems there is some merit to Trump regardless of other wrong-doing

  15. JS  June 4, 2017 at 4:27 am

    I was wondering when the DVD would show up, with ad hominem attacks and no arguments to back them up. When Brexit actually occurs, your “tout-puissant” Germany will be gasping like a fish out of water.

  16. JS  June 4, 2017 at 4:20 am

    Agreed that Theresa May didn’t need to call an election. It’s a waste of time and money, at minimum.

  17. Khalid Talaat  June 4, 2017 at 4:14 am

    “He is not a gentleman, with respect, but he has behaved like one.”
    Let us reverse this wonderfully written sentence “He behaved like a gentlemen, with respect, he is not a gentlemen. I say gentlemen is what gentleman does. In your case Mr. Shrimpton, to quote Forest Gump, with respect, stupid is what stupid says. Yeah I got it right with a minor adjustment for the situation at hand, with respect of course.

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