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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

steepholm steepholm
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Mayday, Mayday!
So, then, it's to be Theresa May. I suppose she's the lesser of two evils, but still. My only comfort is that a I called it the day after the referendum, which enhances my reputation as the new Nate Silver. Unfortunately, I didn't make it to Ladbrokes in time.

Meanwhile, my recuperation continues, as detailed (if obliquely) in today's Awfully Big Blog Adventure. More soon on everything, I hope.

You did. And you can watch me coming around to the plausibility of the idea during the 12 minutes between my two comments in the same thread, so you sold me on it.

Another thought: Now that Leadsom has succumbed to this particular form of electoral logic, how long before the voices say, "Well, Jeremy?"

Voice have been saying "Well, Jeremy?" pretty incessantly for the last two weeks (or, indeed, ten months). Arguably though the cases are rather different, in that the leader of the Conservative Party is also the PM, which makes settling that issue a more urgent one.

But also, to follow your analogy, Leadsom has (by her own account at least) withdrawn to spare the party the messy business of a leadership election. The logic there would be to say, let's spare the Labour party a leadership election, and the way to do that would be by not challenging the recently elected incumbent. After all, even if Corbyn were to step down there would, I assume, be an election for leader, with others standing against Angela Eagle for the role. (Or are elections so pre-July 2106 that we just don't bother holding them any more, or abiding by their results?) The voices ought, therefore, to be saying "Well, Angela?"

But they won't, of course.

I think not. Leadsom withdrew on two grounds:
1) "A nine-week leadership campaign at such a critical moment is highly undesirable." That could apply to a Labour challenger. However, there was also:
2) "Nevertheless, this is less than 25% of the parliamentary party and after careful consideration I do no believe this is sufficient support to lead a strong and stable government should I win the leadership election." Mutatis mutandis with "opposition" for "government" (and I believe it's just as applicable to the opposition), then it applies to Corbyn instead,
In that case, the reconciliation of point 1 with point 2 would require both Corbyn and the other challengers to withdraw in favor of Eagle. Recall also that the Tory incumbent has withdrawn unprompted, and that there were other Tory challengers, two of whom (Johnson and Crabb) withdrew before being forced out by the rules.
It was also be no more inappropriate that, if a government committed to Brexit is being led by a Remainder, that a party that's now marked itself as regretting Iraq be led by someone who voted for Iraq.

You're right, I hadn't listened right to the end of her statement! That did seem to be very much aimed at Corbyn. Of course, I don't take at face value the reasons she gives for withdrawing (rumours earlier today were that she was feeling the pressure over the reaction to her motherhood remarks and was coming to the conclusion that this Prime Minister gig wasn't for her), so the fact that she chose to phrase it that way is interesting. It does seem to be designed to give Eagle's candidature a boost, which (in combination with Cameron's "For heaven's sake, go!" at PMQs recently) does suggest whom they'd rather face across the dispatch box.

Happily, although the Tories may be content to by-pass the trifling matter of a democratic vote in the pursuit of "strong and stable government", Labour isn't obliged to follow suit.

Insofar as you have a "strong and stable government," for those who oppose that government, a strong and stable opposition party is likewise a good idea. A divided and raucous opposition is not going to oppose very well. See the Thatcher era.

Also, consider that in saying "A nine-week leadership campaign at such a critical moment is highly undesirable," Leadsom defined the "critical moment" as being that "to begin the work of withdrawing from the European Union." That job is the work of the government.

If Labour is not obliged to be strong and stable in response to a "strong and stable" government, as you suggest above, then it is even less obligatory on it to avoid a long leadership campaign in the midst of withdrawing from the EU, a task which (assuming no further votes, either by the people or by Parliament) is none of the opposition's business except insofar as it wishes to comment on it.

Oh, I think it would be a very good thing if Labour were strong and stable. I don't think that will be achieved by by-passing the wishes of the party's membership and parachuting in a leader without a vote, even if that leader were in herself the epitome of strength, charisma, and distinctive and popular policy ideas. In this case, however, even the latter requirements are missing, to judge (for example) by her appearance on the Andrew Neill show yesterday, which was a ghastly harking back to the Ed Miliband school of not answering the question.

It did not fill me with confidence, in short.

While we're regretting the idea of by-passing the wishes of the Labour Party's membership, may we shed a tear for the wishes of the Tory Party membership? It appears that they wanted Boris, but they sure and the heck aren't getting him.

Regarding "the Ed Miliband school of not answering the question":
1) Are you familiar with a guy named Marco Rubio?
2) I hope there will be no retrogression to the Ed Miliband school of speaking with a voice that sounds as if you're suffering from a severe nasal infection.
3) Oh, and from the compiler, "wreckless manner" is true genius.

Edited at 2016-07-11 05:55 pm (UTC)

Rather than shed a tear, I will quote a passage from towards the end of Lucy Lane Clifford's "The New Mother", which reminds me strongly of the plight of those Boris-leaning Tories...

“We have done all you told us,” the children called, when they had recovered from their astonishment. “Come and see; and now show us the little man and woman.”

The girl did not cease her playing or her dancing, but she called out in a voice that was half speaking half singing, and seemed to keep time to the strange music of the peardrum.

“You did it all badly. You threw the water on the wrong side of the fire, the tin things were not quite in the middle of the room, the clock was not broken enough, you did not stand the baby on its head.”

Then the children, still standing spellbound by the window, cried out, entreating and wringing their hands, “Oh, but we have done everything you told us, and mother has gone away. Show us the little man and woman now, and let us hear the secret.”

As they said this the girl was just in front of the cottage, but she did not stop playing. The sound of the strings seemed to go through their hearts. She did not stop dancing; she was already passing the cottage by. She did not stop singing, and all she said sounded like part of a terrible song. And still the man followed her, always at the same distance, playing shrilly on his flute; and still the two dogs waltzed round and round after him—their tails motionless, their legs straight, their collars clear and white and stiff. On they went, all of them together.

“Oh, stop !” the children cried, ” and show us the little man and woman now.”

But the girl sang out loud and clear, while the string that was out of tune twanged above her voice.

“The little man and woman are far away. See, their box is empty.”

And then for the first time the children saw that the lid of the box was raised and hanging back, and that no little man and woman were in it.

“I am going to my own land,” the girl sang,”to the land where I was born.” And she went on towards the long straight road that led to the city many many miles away.

“But our mother is gone,” the children cried; “our dear mother, will she ever come back?”

“No,” sang the girl; “she’ll never come back, she’ll never come back. I saw her by the bridge: she took a boat upon the river; she is sailing to the sea; she will meet your father once again, and they will go sailing on, sailing on to the countries far away.”

And when they heard this, the children cried out, but could say no more, for their hearts seemed to be breaking.

Then the girl, her voice getting fainter and fainter in the distance, called out once more to them. But for the dread that sharpened their ears they would hardly have heard her, so far was she away, and so discordant was the music.

“Your new mother is coming. She is already on her way; but she only walks slowly, for her tail is rather long, and her spectacles are left behind; but she is coming, she is coming — coming — coming.”

Well, you have checked me by being cryptic. But I fancy that those not enthused by the depth of Corbyn's engagement with the world could say something similar about his supporters.

You're right - and I apologise for the needless obscurity. This is a story that could be applied to many circumstances, no doubt including Corbyn's, but it suddenly struck me as particularly apt here.

Interestingly, so far there doesn't seem to have been any concerted attempt to apply Leadsom's assertion that she couldn't face down overwhelming parliamentary opposition to Corbyn's position. The Independent, for example, see her true reasons lying elsewhere. Even the BBC's virulently anti-Corbyn Laura Kuenssberg alludes to it only obliquely. This may change, of course, but with Leadsom fading quickly back into obscurity her potential as an effective political object lesson diminishes by the hour.

Brits are always telling Americans that we lack irony. Possibly what most Brits lack is an ability to draw parallels. For a failure to apply the lessons of Leadsom's lack of Parliamentary support to Corbyn's is no less mysterious than the failure, which baffled you earlier, to apply the idea of May's strength as a Brexit straddler to Corbyn.

Quite some time ago, I noted the similarities of Blair's equivocations about Brown's succeeding him and his method of dealing with that to Churchill's about Eden. You noted that the parallel was interesting, and I expressed my astonishment that the exactness of it had gone unnoticed by anyone else.

To digress, that is the single most horrifying story I have ever read. I read it first when I was a teenager and was so upset and bone-chilled I had to ask my mother if she still loved me and would stay with me even when I was awful!

I hope her answer was unequivocal!

She rose to the occasion splendidly, I'm happy to say. Unfortunately she was put to the test over the following few years, but I know she must love me because at no point did she smother me in my sleep!

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Perhaps this is the moment at which we can expect King Arthur to put in his long-anticipated return appearance?

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That was a painfully good series.

Hope you are on the mend!

Thank you! It's not dramatic, but each day (so far) is appreciably better than the last.

Good to hear!