Thursday, March 28, 2019

Indicative of Idiocy

I know that I said I was going to try and get this blog back n the pop culture beat after a surfeit of politics in recent weeks and, indeed, I've made a start on that this week, but after the last couple of days, I feel I must comment on current political events.  I've become extremely frustrated by the way in which the series of 'indicative votes' over Brexit carried out by the Commons yesterday, have been represented in the media.  The failure of any of the eight options presented to 'win' an outright majority has been presented as yet another 'failure' of parliament and another stick with which the (mainly right wing) media can beat MPs.  In the wake of the votes last night, we even had 'Guy Fawkes' trending on Twitter, with the usual bunch of reactionary morons going on about how the Gunpowder Plotters had the right idea - MPs are so useless they deserve blowing up.  Which not only betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of the plot (to assassinate a Protestant King) but also as to the entire purpose of the 'indicative votes' exercise.  (Indicative if their idiocy, perhaps).

The clue, obviously, is in the term 'indicative votes' itself: the series of votes was designed, not necessarily to find a single option with overwhelming support, but rather to narrow down the plethora of options on offer in order to see what sorts of options had the most support.  Which is why a second round of 'indicative votes' is planned for Monday (depending on the outcome of other votes), with the field narrowed to those options with the greatest support.  Which, looking at yesterday's vote, seems to be for some kind of customs union with EU, perhaps to be ratified by a public vote.  In fact, Ken Clarke's version of this option would have emerged a clear winner yesterday, if either the SNP or the self-styled 'Independent Group' of MPs hadn't abstained or voted against it.  A wider point to make about this process is that it actually represents Parliament doing what it is meant to do - trying to make legislation.  Let's not forget that it is Parliament we elect, not a government as such.  Parliament is the democratic body with the sovereignty to make binding laws, not the government.  So, stop whining about those 'bloody MPs' etc - this is them doing their job and attempting to do what the government can't: making legislation which is least damaging to the nation's interest.  Or at least attempting to, which is more than this incompetent government is doing.



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