Great Game Previews In History: 28 March 2014

by J.R.

Today In History

In 1979, Margaret Thatcher — then Leader of the Opposition — puts the motion “That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government,” at the time led by Prime Minister James Callaghan, a historic dingbat, who led (“led”) Britain through the devastating Winter of Discontent.

The motion carries by one vote, forcing Callaghan to call an election and resulting in 18 years of Conservative government in the UK.

This is all very complicated, but in short, Callaghan had considered calling an election in 1978, but decided to wait a year so the economy would improve. The economy did not improve — it, in fact, fell apart — and then a referendum on devolution in Scotland failed, which angered the Scottish nationalists, which had supported the Labour government and angered the Liberals, which supported devolution and were miffed by the high vote threshold set for passage.

Anyway, everyone was put out with Callaghan and there was a very exciting vote and debate on March 28, 1979.


Predators at Stars, 7:30 PM

Records: Predators (32-31-11, 75 points, 6th in Conference III); Stars (34-27-11, 79 points, 5th in Conference III)

Last Time They Met: The Preds won 4-1 and Kevin Klein and Antoine Roussel got in a good scrap:


Last 10: Nashville 6-3-1; Dallas 5-4-1

Historical Context: Gentlemanliness is not a huge part of the Chambers Pot, as noted above and by the inclusion of Rich@richcluneshowClune and Antoine Roussel. Twas the Chambers Pot (though not then named) that inspired this blog. Gentlemanliness is nice, but gentlemanliness can stop you from doing all the things in life you’d like to.

And gentlemanliness got Callaghan beat. See, Sir Alfred Broughton was very old and very sick but he was very Labour and was very willing to come down and cast his vote, which would have locked it at 311 and under Speaker Denison’s rule, the Speaker would have voted against the motion of no-confidence, saving Callaghan. Even sick as he was, all Broughton had to do was ride in an ambulance to the Speaker’s Court, cast his vote and go. But there was concern about what the procedure would be if he died en route, so Callaghan, not wanting to risk his health, told Broughton to stay in the hospital (the old man died in early April).

As the vote loomed, Labour’s deputy Chief Whip approached his Conservative opposite number, Bernard Weatherill, to enforce a gentleman’s agreement that if a sick MP from the Government could not vote, an opposition MP. Weatherill said that the convention had never been intended for such a critical vote and it would be impossible to find a Conservative MP who would agree to abstain. Instead, Weatherill offered that he himself would abstain, because he felt it would be dishonorable to break his word. The Labour whip was so impressed by Weatherill’s offer – which would have ended his political career – that he released Weatherill from his obligation.

He shouldn’t have done that of course, because Labour lost. Dummy. Weatherill eventually became Speaker of the House.

Blackhawks at Senators, 6:30 PM

Records: Blackhawks (42-17-15, 99 points, 2nd in Conference III); Senators (29-29-14, 72 points, 6th in Flortheast)

Last Time They Met: Andrew Shaw got the odd one in an odd one: 6-5 Hawks October 29.


Last 10: Chicago 5-4-1; Ottawa 2-5-3

Historical Context: Some people see Chicago as the great hope for pretty hockey, the rapier to the rest of the league’s big stupid stone club.

And boy was there some rapier wit in the no-confidence debate.

This from Callaghan:

“We can truly say that once the Leader of the Opposition discovered what the Liberals and the SNP would do, she found the courage of their convictions. So, tonight, the Conservative Party, which wants the Act repealed and opposes even devolution, will march through the Lobby with the SNP, which wants independence for Scotland, and with the Liberals, who want to keep the Act. What a massive display of unsullied principle! The minority parties have walked into a trap. If they win, there will be a general election. I am told that the current joke going around the House is that it is the first time in recorded history that turkeys have been known to vote for an early Christmas.”

And from Leader of the House of Commons Michael Foot described Liberal leader David Steel as having “passed from rising hope to elder statesman without any intervening period whatsoever.”