The Joseph de Maistre quote that “Every nation gets the government it deserves” has never been more apt. Sadly, it’s not just Governments, but politicians in general. Have we ever had such a lacklustre bunch – of all political shades?
Here’s an example – and a confession.
I used to vote for this person when I lived in London. By instinct I’m a natural green voter. But, over the past few years I’ve had a lot of interaction with the party’s politicians potential candidates and members. Now, I wouldn’t touch the Green Party with a barge-pole, because their dogmatic indifference to the science and the real issues – as well as their ineptness and dishonesty – is infuriating.
Here’s yesterday’s example. This blustering tweet from Baroness Jenny Jones regarding the HS2 Phase 2a: High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill which is about to complete its journey through the House of Lords.
“Fight”, Jones? A fight is something you have a chance of winning. There is no fight as the Hs2 bill is already a ‘done deal’ – this is pure bluster. Either Jones doesn’t know how Parliament works (quite possible) or she’s being dishonest and grandstanding (equally possible). Of course, it might even be both as Jones has repeatedly proved attention to detail or facts really isn’t her forte. But then she is a also a ‘Green’ who backed Brexit in this infamous shambolic justification.
What Jones isn’t being honest about is the Hybrid Bill process. This starts in the House of Commons then moves to the Lords. Here’s the full timeline of the Phase 2a bill.
You can find a link to the actual document here.
Now, what Jones either doesn’t know or isn’t admitting is that some stages are more important than others. The most crucial of which is the 2nd reading of the bill in the House of Commons. If a bill gets a majority at this stage then the ‘principle’ of the bill is established. That means it’s gone beyond the point of no return. It cannot be stopped. Oh, amendments to the principle can be made at Committee stage, but the bill cannot fail.
Second reading – the general debate on all aspects of the Bill – took place on the 30th January 2018. The bill passed by 295 votes to 12, a massive majority of 283. The 12 opposing were the usual suspects, many of whom representing constituencies HS2 passes through.
- Barron, rh Sir Kevin
- Bridgen, Andrew
- Cash, Sir William
- Cunningham, Mr Jim
- Edwards, Jonathan
- Fabricant, Michael
- Gillan, rh Dame Cheryl
- Hollobone, Mr Philip
- Holloway, Adam
- Lucas, Caroline
- Saville Roberts, Liz
- Williams, Hywel
Of course, some of the 12 have since left Parliament! Meanwhile, when the Bill passed 3rd reading in the Commons on the 15th July 2019 the Bill had 263 votes for and 17 votes against – another huge majority.
So, since January 2018 there’s been no ‘fight’ against the bill. To reinforce that fact when the bill had its 2nd reading in the Lords on the 9th September 2019 it passed without a vote as it was clear there was no need for a ‘division’. Why? Because there’s something else Jones isn’t telling people – HS2 enjoys even more support in the House of Lords than it does in the House of Commons! This isn’t a ‘fight’, it’s a walkover! The final stages of the bill are now a formality, it’s only a matter of time now before it receives Royal Assent, at which point it becomes law. This afternoon the bill is back in the Lords at what’s known as the ‘reports’ stage. This gives a further chance to closely scrutinise elements of the bill and consider (minor) changes – nothing more, as the Lords Ctte noted themselves on Page 6 of their report.
“It is not for this Committee to consider the general merits of the scheme.
Parliament has already approved it by passing the 2017 Act and by giving a
second reading in both Houses to the West Midlands–Crewe bill. We note
these general issues by way of background”.
So Jones is blustering. Needless to say, quite a few people pointed this out to her on Twitter. Her response? A mixture of arrogance and (typical of Green party ‘leaders’) an absolute unwillingness to listen to opposing views. Jones clearly prefers the security of her own little echo-chamber.
Worse was to come. How’s this for an example of patronising contempt – and cringeworthy sexism!
“Big boy toys”? Seriously?
Sadly, this sort of stuff is par for the course from Jones who is one of the main architects of the Green Party’s mad policy to oppose HS2. Still, it’s a good example of why they can’t be taking seriously as a credible political party. There’s a whiff of good, old fashioned Stalinism about the way they won’t tolerate any dissent – either from ordinary voters or within their own ranks.
Why does this matter? Good question. The Green Party only have one MP and their chance of getting any more is pretty much zero. But…
Climate Change is the biggest issue facing us all. We need a credible, strong, Green Party to continue to push for positive change and work with others to achieve it.
Sadly, that’s the last thing we’ve got. Instead we have a bunch of tone-deaf people at the head of a dogmatic party that’s incapable of meaningful engagement with ordinary voters. So where does that leave politically homeless people like me who can see the problem? I’m damned if I know.
Anyone looking forward to some political pugilism as promised in Jones’ bluster will have been sadly disappointed by this afternoon’s debate. It was a walkover!
I won’t bore you with the political minutiae and ins and outs of the procedure that involved Lord Berkeley trying to put forward an amendment using Transport and Works Act Orders as a way of delaying the bill’s progress, but it failed. Badly. From the outset it was clear Berkeley had no support, so he didn’t even press for a ‘division’ (vote), instead he withdrew his amendment.
And that was the end of that! Jones did speak, but there was no ‘fight’ in her. In an anondyne speech (sans StopHs2 T-Shirt) the gist of which was “I like trains, me”, she expressed her concern that people weren’t being listened to and that there was a lot of expertise out there people weren’t paying attention to!
Her weapons-grade hypocrisy nearly caused a coffee/keyboard interface issue here in Bigland Towers. The same person who was boasting on Twitter how she blocks and mutes people who don’t agree with her lecturing on ‘listening’? You couldn’t make this stuff up!
One bright point of the debate was Lord Adonis who was as fluent and passionate as ever, gently poking fun at Lord Berkeley and making the case for HS2’s Eastern leg whilst sporting a rather impressive tie!
If you want to watch the events on Parliament TV, you can follow this link, which will take you to it. After Lord Berkeley’s amendment was withdrawn the debate continued to discuss HS2 and another amendment from Lord Adonis that would commit the Government to building the Eastern leg of HS2. Lord after Lord from all sides of the political spectrum spoke in favour of, including many Ex-Government Ministers like Lord Blunkett (Labour) and McLoughlin (Conservative). Anyone watching the debate would be left in no doubt of the strength of support for HS2 in the Lords!
I’ve a favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this blog, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course (although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab!), but the revenue from them helps to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site – and right now (because of Covid), us freelances need all the help that we can get. Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website – https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/