Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Yesterday In Parliament

I did something I don't believe I've ever done before and tuned the TV to the proceedings of the House of Commons mid morning and kept it running until early evening because I wanted to see how a minority government that has been found to have done an illegal thing in proroguing the house explains itself to the house when it starts sitting again. The answer is that it acts cocky.

First man up is Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General- and what he gives us are courtroom tactics- rising to histrionics when he thinks he can get away with it. The less you feel the justice of your case the more righteously indignant you become.

When the Prime minister finally shows up in the early evening- more tousled than ever- his strategy is to cast the Brexit debate as a straightforward party political issue. His lot are trying to do the will of the people as expressed in the Referendum and the other lot are obstructing him. In reality he knows it's not that simple- and anyone who has followed proceedings knows it's not that simple but...

The other strategy, employed by most of the speakers on the Government side, is to challenge the opposition to force an election. And here the language descends to playground taunts; Corbyn is a coward, a yellow-belly for refusing it. Everybody knows that the government would be the most likely beneficiary from an election called at this time (it might even scrape itself a majority) and that Corbyn is exerting the simplest tactical wisdom by refusing to dig himself a heffalump trap but...

An air of disingenuosness hangs over proceedings. Arguments are advanced that the speaker only partly believes in and emotions expressed that he or she only partly feels- if at all. Complexity is avoided. Negotiations may be going on behind the scenes but here- under the lights- our lot are right and your lot are wrong and it's a wonder you don't slink off into a corner and die of shame. Everyone knows that games are being played, rituals gone through, a performance being given but no-one ever turns to wink at the camera. The chance that anything truly significant will be said or done under these circumstances is vanishingly small.
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