Yes Polly

In jumping in with Boris Johnson, even moderate Tories have lost all credibility
Polly Toynbee

That’s why more people say they’ll vote for Boris than Grandpa Death.

What other form of credibility did you have in mind in a democracy?

Our question for today

MPs are sceptical about briefings that the Labour leader goes on long runs, cycles and works out in the gym to keep himself in shape for becoming prime minister. “There have been rumours about his illness for a bit and all that rubbish about him going running and being fit. He’s obviously not well and it’s not just ageing, something has happened — he doesn’t seem all there sometimes,” an aide to a senior Labour politician says. “Everyone says it.”

How much of this is just another attempt to get rid of the bugger and how much is true?

Savour the joyousness here

The_Donald plays an outsized role in shaping the tone and content of pro-Trump internet discourse and memes, and the disciplinary action is sure to inflame those Republican politicians who claim – usually without evidence – that social media platforms are biased against conservatives.

A rap lyrics board which featured “Kill da Police” would not be so limited. But there’s no evidence that social media platforms are biased, none.

The Pointless Procession

Boris is asked about morals

Boris Johnson is going to be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. You know it, I know it, he knows it, and his remaining opponent(s) know it. At the time of writing this article, the likable and yet lightweight Rory Stewart has been eliminated. By the time you read it, the list of contenders is probably down to two. Those two are almost certainly Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, although at the risk of looking foolish, I’ll concede that it could conceivably be Jeremy Hunt going to the final showdown with Boris instead. In either event, it’s immaterial. Johnson is going to win, and this entire process is one more lamentable waste of time in a political year that’s already been full of them.

There is little doubt that Johnson is far more popular among Conservative voters than Theresa May ever was. Every reliable poll – even accounting for how far wrong ‘reliable polls’ have gone in recent times – says so. In the third round of voting conducted among his fellow MPs, Johnson picked up as many votes as his top three rivals combined. The eliminated Dominic Raab and Esther McVey have thrown their weight behind him. Even if all of the Tory MPs who have voted for a candidate other than Johnson decided to team up and split their votes between two other viable candidates, they still wouldn’t have the numbers to prevent Johnson appearing on the final ballot that goes to Tory party members. We already know what happens when the leadership election reaches that point; Johnson wins in a landslide.

Boris becomes PM

All of this begs the question of what the point of persisting with the leadership election process is. From the outside, it looks like a vanity exercise for his remaining competitors. When Theresa May stood to become leader, her opponents backed down the moment it became plainly obvious that she was going to win. The membership – and the country as a whole – were spared the spectacle of a one-sided series of hustings, and an extended distraction as we waited for the inevitable to be confirmed. David Cameron was spared the indignity of having to parade on as a nominal Prime Minister, stripped of all authority, for months. Unless Gove and/or Hunt (yes, we’re ignoring Javid, just like his fellow MPs largely are) decide to bow out of the process, Theresa May will spend the summer as a paper Prime Minister, performing her duty and being mocked for it while Johnson waits for someone to polish his crown. She hasn’t been afforded much in the way of dignity or respect from her party during the past twelve months. It doesn’t appear that she’s going to get any on the way out, either.

If this were happening at any other time, it would be an irritating distraction. For it to be happening when we’re staring down the barrel of a No Deal Brexit, with the trigger cocked and loaded, is bordering on the unforgivable. The race is over. Some bookies are no longer even accepting bets on Johnson to become Prime Minister, and when the world of gambling calls’ time,’ you know the game is up. If this were a casino game, you’d find Boris’ face on every row and reel, and when they all lined up, your jackpot would be paid out in off-hand offensive remarks and tawdry quirks. If it were poker, he’d be holding pocket aces, if it were slots, he’s just hit a mobile slot bonus round with a 100x multiplier. If it were roulette, he’d have a magnetized ball. Even if you as an individual can walk away with a profit from a Mobile Slots website, the house generally always wins overall. The Tory party is now Johnson’s house, and everybody else is just living in it. Some of them may be about to find out that he isn’t the most sympathetic of landlords.

Current PM pre-Boris

Where all of this leaves us is another matter. Johnson’s popularity with his own party doesn’t necessarily translate into popularity across Parliament as it currently stands. He’s no more likely to be able to get No Deal – which he says he’s willing to proceed with – past Parliament than anybody else is – the House simply won’t allow it. For all the noise he’s made about wanting to renegotiate the Brexit deal that’s currently on the table, the EU has remained steadfast in their insistence that they’re not going to look at it again. We keep talking about being ‘prepared to walk away’ if we’re not happy with what’s on the table. What very few have yet taken into account is that while we’ve been distracted by the small matter of finding a new Prime Minister, the EU has been going ahead with No Deal planning. By this point, they may well be happy to watch us walk away and do it.

There is another option open to Johnson, of course. He could call an instant General Election, and see if he can change Parliamentary arithmetic that way. The fact that he’d comfortably defeat Jeremy Corbyn isn’t in question – Labour’s support has hemorrhaged away as brutally as the Conservative Party’s has. Their lack of a coherent Brexit strategy has seen to that. Johnson is significantly more popular with the public than Corbyn – more so than May – and defeating Labour handily is all-but guaranteed. Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party are another matter. In Leave voting areas, they could push the Tories into second place. Even where they don’t win, they could badly dent the Tory vote. If votes are split between the Tories and the Brexit Party, Labour could yet take advantage of the confusion and slip in by soaking up the Lib Dem and Green vote. That, one suspects, is why Corbyn is suddenly keen to commit to the second referendum that everybody knows he doesn’t really want.

Boris Johnson has waited for years for the opportunity to lead his party. It’s now a virtual certainty that he’s going to get it. He may just not get to be Prime Minister for anything long as like as he probably imagines. And if Labour does sweep past a squabbling pack of Brexit Party and Conservative supporters, it’s still entirely possible that Brexit may never happen at all.

So who were those who recorded?

Sure and this was all just out of concern for the neighbours – the distaff side of the neighbours. Nothing at all to do with politics, leadership races, Brexit or anything else:

Boris Johnson: police called to loud altercation at potential PM’s home
Exclusive: Neighbour records shouting and banging at flat MP shares with Carrie Symonds

Err, yes?

The neighbour decided to call 999. Two police cars and a van arrived within minutes, shortly after midnight, but left after receiving reassurances from both the individuals in the flat that they were safe.

When contacted by the Guardian on Friday, police initially said they had no record of a domestic incident at the address. But when given the case number and reference number, as well as identification markings of the vehicles that were called out, police issued a statement saying: “At 00:24hrs on Friday, 21 June, police responded to a call from a local resident in [south London]. The caller was concerned for the welfare of a female neighbour.

“Police attended and spoke to all occupants of the address, who were all safe and well. There were no offences or concerns apparent to the officers and there was no cause for police action.”

Hmm, OK. And yet:

The neighbour said they recorded the altercation from inside their flat out of concern for Symonds. On the recording, heard by the Guardian, Johnson can be heard refusing to leave the flat and telling Symonds to “get off my fucking laptop” before there is a loud crashing noise.

Symonds is heard saying Johnson had ruined a sofa with red wine: “You just don’t care for anything because you’re spoilt. You have no care for money or anything.”

The neighbour said: “There was a smashing sound of what sounded like plates. There was a couple of very loud screams that I’m certain were Carrie and she was shouting to ‘get out’ a lot. She was saying ‘get out of my flat’ and he was saying no. And then there was silence after the screaming. My partner, who was in bed half asleep, had heard a loud bang and the house shook.”

Thin walls in South London, eh?

And, of course, this was all just out of concern for the distaff side of the neighbourly couple. Absolutely not to do with anything else.

So, how long before the claim that Boris can’t be PM because he’s a domestic abuser? 3….2….1…..


Johnson’s team accused of skullduggery after Michael Gove knocked out by narrow margin

Tactical voting is skullduggery now? You know, like the admonitions to vote Green, or Lib Dem, or anyone but Tory, in a seat Labor can’t win?

Just a slight amusement

Trump’s re-election kick off was:

The president claimed 120,000 people had applied for tickets for his launch at Orlando’s Amway Center.

Amway – Betsey De Vos’ family company.

I’m sure there’s already some groupuscule out there shouting that this is evidence of collaboration so impeach him!

Didn’t they do well?

Change UK, the breakaway group of MPs who promised to break the mould of British politics, has split in-two just seven weeks after registering as a political party.

In the wake of a dismal performance in the European elections, six of the fledgling party’s 11 MPs walked away on Tuesday, with several now understood to be in talks about joining the Liberal Democrats.

No, really, very well done indeed:

Six of Change UK’s 11 MPs, including its spokesman, Chuka Umunna, and interim leader Heidi Allen, have abandoned the fledgling party after its dire performance at the European elections.

Change UK announced that it now had just five MPs, who will be led by the former Conservative business minister and anti-Brexit campaigner Anna Soubry.

The others remaining are the former Labour MPs Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie, Joan Ryan and Ann Coffey. In their statement, they said they would embark on a “nationwide programme of deliberative democracy”, across the UK.

They’ve managed in weeks what it took Ukip years to do – lose such a large portion of elected members.

What joy to watch the infighting

Jeremy Corbyn was on Tuesday night facing a mutiny in his party as a series of crises threatened to engulf his leadership.

In a direct challenge to his authority, Labour grandees including former Cabinet ministers Charles Clarke and Bob Ainsworth publicly dared Mr Corbyn to expel them after they admitted to voting for other parties in the European elections.

Their act of defiance came after Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former communications director, was thrown out of the Party for voting LibDem and helping condemn Labour to its worst electoral result in a century.

I assume that now they’ve seen how well Change UK did they’ve no fear of throwing these people out…

Ain’t this fun? Labour third in Wales

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party stormed to victory in Wales, knocking Labour into an embarrassing third.

Mr Farage’s movement claimed 32 per cent of the vote in the country, more than 10 points ahead of their nearest rivals.

Sure, it’s not quite the knock out the SNP delivered in Scotland but wouldn’t it be fun if the Celtic vote simply abandoned Labour at Westminster. We’d have to fear them a great deal less, no?

This isn’t decimation

Nigel Farage’s party came top in the North East, North West, East of England, Wales, West Midlands, East Midlands, Yorkshire & Humber, the South West and South East.

This came largely at the expense of the Conservative Party. Theresa May’s party have lost a huge share of the vote across all regions, so far losing 15 MEP seats to a total of three.

Them’s the results. Described as:

The Conservatives have been decimated in the European elections and recorded their worst result in history as Nigel Farage’s six-week-old Brexit Party triumphed.

Closer to a nonagintamation, no?

Ah, yes, the far right

Austria’s crisis is a lesson for Europe: far-right parties are unfit to govern
Julia Ebner

That particular party does indeed seem to have had more than just the one scumbag in it.

Leaked video recordings show the now-resigned vice chancellor HC Strache and parliamentary whip Johann Gudenus offer Austrian contracts and assets, including the country’s most widely read media outlet, Kronen Zeitung, to Russian oligarchs in return for campaign support.

So different from offering contracts and assets to prop up Cuba, as Chavez and Maduro have done, isn’t it? Corruption and idiocy being an entirely far right wing construct, obviously.