Batten down the hatches: we’re in for the roughest of political rides

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I feel for the USA with Trump as president. Who wouldn't? With a man so incompetent in charge so much is at threat.

There are signs of hope in the US model though. The Senate has just voted to oppose a third attempt to get Obamacare repealed, with the Democrats voting down, with slim Republican support, a bill supposedly intended to achieve that goal but so devoid of content that Senators of sound mind, including John McCain despite his brain cancer, could not bring themselves to vote for it.

This matters for the US. It certainly matters for millions of US citizens who would be denied healthcare. It matters for the writers of House of Cards, who could not make this stuff up. But maybe it also matters here.

I am, of course, very aware of the differences between the US and UK political systems. The whip counts for more here, but maybe not as much as it did. And the fact is that this autumn parliament is to be asked to vote for a vacuous bill that is unclear as to meaning and which affords a clearly divided executive that is quite unable to agree what its own policy is far too much power to determine the detail on a major issue. I refer, of course,  to the Great Repral Bill that no longer has that name because in a rare moment of insight someone decided it did not justify it.

Is it possible that this will fail as Obamacare is, precisely because some of good conscience will have to vote with that conscience and say that this is asking for unspecified powers that it is simply not reasonable to grant when those with the power to use them appear quite unable to determine between themselves what might be best done with them? I think that plausible in the Commons and likely in the Lords.

Will this matter? Of course it will. What it will mean is that as Article 50 approaches the UK may be in potential deadlock with itself as well as  the EU and a desperate appeal for time and compromise will have to be made. That will not be a negotiating position of strength, but the UK hasn't got one of those in any case. The issue may tear our parties apart. My feared national unity government may come to pass. What the EU might do will be unknown.

What I think likely is that the UK's status will be irreparably changed. But maybe, just maybe, the best possible outcome based on both common sense and even consensus might come out of it all, as it looks as if it might in the face of a ghastly political threat in the USA .

Or to put it another way, batten down the hatches fir the roughest political ride imaginable (and then imagine some more). That, I think, is what is coming our way.


PS: it looks like others think broadly the same way this morning.