A Week in Parliament

The Splitters

Some Labour and Tory MPs have resigned from their parties. It seems Tory and Labour criticism just come from someone like myself but within the parties themselves! We really do have political turmoil- the Tory party is clearly split and these factions make good strategic government decision making impossible. The European Research Group (ERG) of Tory MPs actually have their own whip. So within the Tory Party is effectively another party making its own decisions. This is not good for stability and it weakens Theresa May as a leader of her own party let alone Government. 117 of the Tory MPs voted that they have no confidence in Theresa May as leader of the Tory party. How then, are others supposed to have confidence?

In June 2016, an astonishing 172 Labour MPs voted to show no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn. To be fair, Corbyn did win the subsequent leadership with a strong mandate from the Labour membership. He or Labour also performed much better than predicted in the 2017 General Election which quelled the rebellion for a bit. However, his leadership has been too poor in the eyes of Labour MPs and it is only a couple of weeks since 8 of his shadow ministers broke the whip over a European vote. Not disciplining them while taking action against others shows a level of hypocrisy and creates further party tensions. Given so many Labour MPs still do not think he is capable of being a leader and have openly stated he will not make a good Prime Minister then he would have the same problems as May in leading his party as a PM.

So now we have 11MPs from both parties who say “enough is enough”. It is expected that there will be more defections. It really is symbolic of the failings of the Westminster system and what in England is a failed two party state. I welcome any genuine political shake up that might arise. However, from my perspective, it just seems logical that Scotland could do better at running our own affairs. I also believe that completely autonomous Conservative and Labour parties in an independent Scotland would have a better chance at starting afresh, flourishing and attracting wider support.

ISIS Terrorist

Many people are glad that the Home Secretary revoked the UK citizenship for Shamima Begum. However, I disagree with the decision – the Home Secretary shouldn’t unilaterally decide these things. Far better to see she faces justice. I would also expect the authorities to try to understand how she was radicalised/indoctrinated, how Daesh [ISIS] operates and try to ensure others do not follow her example. Fair interrogations might reveal more names for the intelligence services, and ways to counteract Daesh. She also has a new born baby which presumably would be put in care of social services or wider family, rather than being brought up in a situation where the child will also be radicalised. Short sighted populism by a Home Secretary is a missed opportunity that could make the UK safer in the long term.

These views were first expressed in the Kilmarnock Standard.