I’ll admit that I am still hoping for a general election in 2019, although I think the possibility of it is fading quickly. Corbyn doesn’t want to ram it through against the will of the PLP – although I do think he wants an election, as it is the only way for him to avoid having to do things that are worse from his perspective. A second referendum hangs around like a terrible possibility and he has to pretend he wants one while thwarting it. It must be exhausting; much better to get into his campaigning element, fighting for his socialist vision of the future in a GE. He either wins and becomes prime minister or loses and refuses to quit until Long-Bailey or some other flunky manages to be guaranteed to walk into the leadership. Either way, he doesn’t have to face a referendum that will destroy his project completely.
What’s depressing is that both the government and the opposition seem to be bluffing each other on the GE front. The government is talking up wanting an election, bringing it to a vote on Monday, when they don’t really want one. Yes, the Tories are way ahead in the polls, and yes, Corbyn’s personal ratings are abysmal. Yet the idea of going to the electorate before Brexit is “done” in any way that even they can pass off such a concept is tricky. Farage looks a little defeated at the moment, yet the Tories have thought this before only for him to come roaring back loud and strong. To underestimate Farage’s influence on Leave voters would be foolish. Meanwhile, across the way, Labour are saying they will vote for an election when no deal Brexit is “taken off the table” (they really like metaphorical tables, don’t they?). And the only way that no deal Brexit could really be eliminated as an immediate threat is to revoke Article 50, which they are not in favour of doing.
So, if we don’t have a general election, what happens next? The government has said they will “go on strike”, which is a little rich. “We won’t do all that stuff you specifically don’t want us to do” isn’t much of a threat to the opposition. The big problem for Remainers is that even if the EU does extend the Article 50 period to January 31st, pulling another Benn Act out of the hat in the new year is far from guaranteed. The new speaker might not be so flexible in terms of what he will allow the opposition to do. No deal Brexit could loom pretty large in January, with no way for the opposition to stop it without a speaker willing to let them. What happens then is anyone’s guess. A no deal Brexit destroys Johnson’s premiership reasonably quickly, but extending again might be too politically risky for him at the same time. He might be forced to go through with it.
At least a general election would allow us all to get to the next phase of Brexit, the gift that keeps on giving. But no, we are confined to purgatory for a little longer from the looks of things.
I cannot understand your yearning for an imminent General Election.
First Past The Post is likely to deliver a Conservative majority. Liberal Democrats may get the votes, but as in 1983, when they had over 25% but only 23 seats, they may struggle to even double their numbers. The best you could hope for is another parliament with no overall majority.
A Tory majority would see Brexit bulldozed through. Do you think anyone in purgatory would say ‘bugger this I’m off to Hell’?
An unknown is what extension might be offered. If I were in the shoes of EU leaders, I might be tempted to offer a long extension, in order to put Brexit on the back burner.
Why is a new referendum such “a terrible possibility”? Johnson has a Brexiters’ agreement (of sorts), Labour nor anyone else has to concoct one (which would indeed be terrible). Moreover in a vote between ‘Remain’ and any specified Brexit, Brexit always loses (because fantasy Brexit is no longer available). Johnson can hardly advocate his agreement to Parliament, let alone sell it to the country.
The other point about going for a referendum is that rather than have to defend his it, Johnson would probably jettison his Brexit.
Moreover in a vote between ‘Remain’ and any specified Brexit, Brexit always loses (because fantasy Brexit is no longer available). Johnson can hardly advocate his agreement to Parliament, let alone sell it to the country.
I don’t think so. Straw polls suggest that most Leavers, while they would prefer to leave without a deal, are willing to (reluctantly) back Boris’s deal if it’s the only way to get out of the EU.
It’s not like May’s deal, which Leavers would have rather boycotted the poll than vote for; Boris’s deal would, I think, get a majority, with the support of most of those who voted Leave last time and enough of those who voted Remain last time but are appalled at the anti-democratic shenanigans of the past three years and recognise that we have to respect the vote to leave even if they personally disagree with it, to make up for the ultra-hard-liners who stay away.
Yet the idea of going to the electorate before Brexit is “done” in any way that even they can pass off such a concept is tricky
I think the reverse. I think the Conservatives are far more vulnerable in an election after we leave the EU.
If the election is before we leave the EU, then a lot of people will vote for Boris as he is the only politician who is both trusted to get it done and has a chance of doing so (Farage is trusted but hasn’t a chance; nobody else is trusted).
Remember, Cameron won in 2015 party because a lot of Leave supporters voted Conservative rather than UKIP because a Conservative government was the only practical way of getting a referendum, and that was more important to them than simply registering a protest as they had in 2014 at the Euros. Combine that with the general tendency of geneal elections to concentrate minds and cause voters to go back to the major parties because those votes are serious ones about who runs the country, and not joke votes like the locals or the Euros, and I think the threat of the Brexit party in a general election is highly overstated.
But after we leave it all changes. And the British people don’t tend to use their votes to reward poast successes; remember, Churchilll was turfed out after winning the war. So if they don’t need Boris to get us out of the EU, they might well not swing behind him as the polls are now suggesting.
Gerry McGarry says
Like the legend of the phoenix
All ends with beginnings