Monday, May 27, 2019

Why an early general election is now more likely

I've heard suggestions in some quarters today that the implosion of both main London parties in the European election means that a general election has got further away, because our political masters will want to avoid the verdict of voters like the plague.  I can see how seductive that logic is, but I've actually reached the opposite conclusion.

First of all, Labour will still want an election to take place.  In a perverse way the timing is actually quite good for them, because the Tory vote has plummeted even further than the Labour vote, and that could lead to some kind of Labour victory by default in a first-past-the-post election.

Secondly, the usual reason for thinking that MPs from the governing party will not vote against their own side on a confidence motion may no longer apply.  It would normally be career suicide, because the whip would be withdrawn and the MPs would not be able to stand as Conservatives in the next general election.  But there is now a perfectly plausible scenario in which MPs could retain their seats even after losing the whip.

Let's suppose, against current expectations, a compromise candidate emerges as Tory leader.  Someone who will refuse to take Britain out of the EU without a deal.  The ERG would be up in arms and they would now have somewhere else to go.  For any hardline Brexiteer who happens to represent a constituency that voted Leave, there is the option of defecting to the Brexit Party, and in the current climate they would have an excellent chance of retaining their seat under new colours.  They could therefore bring down the government without paying a personal price.

Or let's suppose the opposite happens - Boris Johnson or Dominic Raab becomes PM and goes all-out for No Deal.  In that event it would be the Tory Remainers who would be looking for an alternative - and they would have one as well.  As long as they represent a constituency that voted Remain, they could defect to the Lib Dems, carry across any personal vote they may have built up, and have a decent chance of remaining an MP after bringing down the government.  One thing is for sure - the Lib Dems' own reluctance to support a no confidence motion will evaporate after last night.

It may yet be that once the memories of the European election fade, the main parties will reestablish themselves and both the Brexit Party and the Lib Dems will slip down in the polls.  But for as long as a major political realignment at the next election looks likely, there is a clear and plausible route by which we might be heading back to the polling stations sooner rather than later.

63 comments:

  1. Confirmed: Remain parties win 67% of seats in N. Ireland.

    A massive victory for Remain. The people have spoken. Again.

    Also, no majority for unionist parties in voting; the neutrals (on reunification) hold the balance of power.

    Hard to understand where the claim 'N. Irish people are majority unionists and so it should be in the UK' comes from now. The unionists don't have a majority at any level of government. Not at Westminster (minority % share), Stormont, council nor EU level.

    Seems its time for the province to move to a neutral status where it's not reunified, but no longer British. A sort of 'backstop' midway position.

    ---

    As for a new UK GE. I can't see it happening. Crash out brexit looks most likely. There's no strategy for anything any more. It's all gone to shit and nobody is in control. May just jumped from the out of control train before it went off the broken bridge.

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    1. A crashout Brexit may happen, but before we get to that point Tory Remainers would have the opportunity to pull the plug on the government. As I understand it, even the incumbent Chancellor of the Exchequer is refusing to say he wouldn't take that step.

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    2. I've been wondering how long Hammond has. He's quite the remainer, so likely to be removed by a new leaver PM. God knows what might replace him. A racist version of dianne abbot most likely.

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    3. Guid nummurrs.

      Give Ireland back to the Irish.

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  2. I tend to agree with this.

    Even if the new Conservative leader doesn't want a GE fairly soon (which is unlikely anyway), pretty much regardless whoever it is will be divisive enough to piss off enough other Conservative MPs to make the Government vulnerable to losing a vote of no confidence.

    Even without that element if it's a No Dealer PM there will presumably be enough people like Grieve etc. working against the Conservative government (as we saw under May) to effectively deprive them of a working majority even if they maintain some sort of notional FTPA confidence majority, which will just increase the likelihood of a new leader having to go to the polls anyway.

    I can't see the route to a second referendum now regardless of Labour "clarifying" their position or not because it was most likely to happen tied to the WA which is now pretty dead, so I think it'll end up being a GE.

    But who knows any more, everything's basically a mess.

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    1. Contracepta Rees MoggMay 29, 2019 at 7:53 AM

      Help! My brother has lost his accent and found one belonging to the Duchess of Thimbleford in 1873.

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  3. A GE obviously doesn't stop a crash out. Neither does a new government promising EUref#2.

    The only thing that stops a crash out is revoking article 50, signing off the current deal (yes, the one that's been rejected umpteen times), or the 27 being kind enough to offer yet another extension.

    We've just five months to go, yet have a Tory leadership contest to get through before any of the above can be looked at.

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  4. "A GE obviously doesn't stop a crash out. Neither does a new government promising EUref#2.

    The only thing that stops a crash out is revoking article 50, signing off the current deal (yes, the one that's been rejected umpteen times), or the 27 being kind enough to offer yet another extension."

    Agreed.

    But when a crash out is starting to look nailed on when the Conservatives elect a crash out PM, the Government will probably end up losing a vote of no confidence as some Conservative MPs give up their support, and the result may be a GE whether anyone actually wants it or not.

    Will that stop a crash out? Probably not, and indeed depending on timing will possibly make it even more likely. But it may still be the next step on the road to a crash out.

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  5. Farage keeps up the pressure, Boris is selected as PM. UK out of EU without an agreement. Boris calls election. farage steps aside and endorses Boris. Boris campaigns on a union flag fest national unity/make Britain great again ticket. Tories win with a 200seat majority. Farage is weighed in with coin and titles.

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    1. I doubt Bojo will make it to PM. While he gets the Tory matrons wetting their knickers, he's got too much bad history and more than a few enemies in Westminster. I don't see him overcoming that. Plus he's not heart and soul Brexit, just out for himself. That makes him vulnerable.

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    2. That would maybe be a pity Alistair, something needs to happen to move a percentage of the Unionist parties voters.

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  6. Lord Ashcroft Westminister (EU elect Voters only) VS/Seats

    LAB: 21%/276
    Brex 18%/51
    Con: 18/196
    LD: 17/47
    Green: 7/1
    CHUK: 4/0
    SNP: 4/56
    UKIP 3/0
    PC: 5 seats

    Rolling average

    LAB: 29/308
    Brex 16/2
    Con: 24/240
    LD: 14/22
    Green: 3/1
    CHUK: 2/0
    SNP: 4/55
    UKIP 3/0
    Plaid - 4 seats

    So even though Labour probably would not want want just now, they have nothing to fear - Corbyn would get the keys to number 10, just depends if its with support of other parties.

    So Labour will back second ref, it may loose some vote to Brexit party but will gain some from LD etc. Also in a GE campaign how many left wing voters will actually vote for Brexit party campaigning on a far right manifesto?

    Question is not is there going to be a second ref, but if it will be forced by a GE or not.

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    1. From a Scottish independence perspective, both the Ashcroft prediction and the rolling average indicate that a Labour LibDem partnership would either govern as a coalition or Labour by confidence and supply support from the LibDems.

      Even though Labour and the LibDems on these predictions would be down to 3/4 seats in Scotland, they would still oppose a second independence referendum.

      The UK needs Scottish energy (renewables and oil and gas), Scottish territorial waters (for all the fish and so that they could continue willy-waving with Trident) to underpin the pound and to finance Labour's 'grandiose' plans to redistribute wealth.

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  7. Then the Tories violate campaign spending rules in ridings where the BBC won't authorize the expense for reporters to go to check.or they just miss..and bury the second party in this district. The press tells everyone Corbyn is anti semetic, even though he is only party leader who campaigned for a Jew to be PM. The queen will sit by and let them trash all the promises they made in her name. They will NEVER ask for a budget with the extra NHS funding when a candidate says Brexit is " the will of the people"!! Am I the only one that remembers Cameron's win included pledge to close tax loopholes? Thought so. But seriously good show by SNP but they need to hear up on the ground getting ready to prove Tory cheating before the election this time. Otherwise ...

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  8. Trixie WiddecombeMay 27, 2019 at 7:18 PM

    Interesting to think how Conservative Remain MPs representing Leave constituencies might jump. Will they risk their careers by sticking to their principles of will they act like Conservatives?

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    1. Is Nigel doing you these days too, babe?

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  9. Another reason the tories may want a GE - Labour win, inherit the poison chalice - then get blamed for the fallout!

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    1. Jill "Sniff Sniff" StephensonMay 27, 2019 at 8:45 PM

      That's a fairly compelling reason for them to stop committing slow suicide as they've been doing since catastrophic Cameron took over the mantle from bumbling Brown

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    2. That's worked out well for Labour; the doing eff all and hoping the Tories get the blame for brexit thing that is.

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  10. Look at the Scottish Westminster VI. And the size of the sub-sample. This is looking like SCon-SLab carnage.

    https://lordashcroftpolls.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/European-election-post-vote-poll-May-2019-2.xlsx

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  11. Late 2020 for iref2. Rules to be published on Wednesday.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-48424906

    Announced in Dulblin after related discussions with Leo Varadkar in Dublin.

    Off we go!

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  12. Nope James can't see your logic. If the Tories can just annoint a new leader. They will not risk a GE. Its really quite simply about survival for as long as possible.

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    1. I don't think you've followed the point at all. If individual Tory MPs defect to other parties because they've given up on getting the Brexit outcome they want, then it doesn't really matter if what is left of the Tory party wants to "risk" a general election - the matter will be taken out of their hands.

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  13. The Nat sis got 38% of the vote in an under 50% turnout. 64% did not vote for the Nat sis. Bring on the next referendum chaps. Varadkar interfering in British electorate decisions on behalf of the EU is a bonus for the Union and Brexit.

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    1. 38 plus 64 is 102. I'm sure it all makes sense inside your head.

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    2. Well indeed James if a typing error gives you comfort I am pleased for you. Although if you Nat sis could win by 102% I am sure that would give you comfort.

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    3. You did forget the Greens...

      But anyway. 62% Remain + 9% Second EUref! = 71% stay in the EU or at least get a second vote.

      Leave got crushed. Ruined. Destroyed. We have had our second EU referendum and Remain have won an epic landslide victory. Again.

      Even better is that it was a 'Scotland-only' vote, i.e. it is only the Scottish result that matters as it's a completely separate EU constituency. So what the rUK voted doesn't matter*.


      ---
      (*any 'union-wide' result would be the EU union one, which was for Remain parties)

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    4. Spewing out shite again, ladyboy. Learn to count. Learn to do geography - your so-called Scotland is part of UK. We all voted to remain a part of it, expect for you seperatists.

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    5. You really are a Clown, you would be better off commenting on a Circus than politics as you are totally clueless. If the SNP did as bad as you claim then how bad was it for the Yoons? you Plum! Nobody likes a sore Yoon LOSER!

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    6. "We all voted to remain a part of it" = less than 47% of us did

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    7. I think you'll find all means 100%. If not more. Wally!

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    8. "If not more"

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    9. Exactly. Maybe the facts have got through to you. Better late than never.

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  14. Trying to make sense of WM is like trying to understand numberwang.

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    1. Miss S C Yaxley-LennonMay 27, 2019 at 11:11 PM

      Are Farage and Widdicombe the new Harry and Marple?

      Do we expect the patter of little feet?

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  15. The only reason for an early general election would be if BJ wanted to win by promising a to leave without a deal and have 5 years in power while the population starves. He may see that as being worth the risk. Not that likely though.

    On another topic. It seems that the civil service are the ones responsible for replacing SEX with gender and driving through the hated GRA reforms. Funnily enough the person responsible is the same yoon who changed the rules to retrospectively stitch up Alex Salmond with her faked assault claims. Long since time for leslie evans to be removed. Will anything break through sturgeon's hysterical feminism long enough to maker her see sense?

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    1. Again, the route I'm suggesting to a general election has little or nothing to do with whether the Tories or their leader want it to happen.

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  16. The EU are now in the process of electing the new potential millionaire Commissioners. The Scottish Nat sis approve of this. The Nat sis have been rather quiet in condemning the Lords 300 quid a day lately. Keeping their options open!

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    1. Cheers, Cordelia! Bottoms up, my lovely.

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    2. You need to accept the 62% remain vote (twice) and move on.

      The people have spoken twice now, and in the second case, it was a 'Scotland only' vote.

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    3. There shouldn't be Scotland only votes. Scotland = UK = GB = Scotland.

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  17. Can't see that a GE will provide any kind of solution to any of the problems the current government are facing.
    Can't see a no confidence vote succeeding.
    Labour will abstain in droves to avoid having to be responsible for the inevitable galactoshambles that awaits at halloween.

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    1. A Labour win would be equally disastrous. Imagine Corbyn got into downing street after 70%+ rejected him at the ballot box.

      That's hardly going to end well. We all know what happened last time a useless duffer of a Labour PM took office on 1/3 of the vote.

      And unless Corbyn wins England (or together with coalition partner), he can't govern properly anyway due to EVEL. Unless he revokes that so as to allow Scots/Welsh/N. Irish MPs to start making English Education/NHS laws again etc, so rolling back English devolution but keeping it for other home nations...

      The UK is collapsing constitutionally, and there's absolutely no way out of this mess other than it all coming tumbling down.

      It's been too long in the making; the collapse began at the peak of the empire and has been quickening towards the finale for 70+ years now.

      We are watching the final series of 'The UK'.

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    2. No, Labour MPs will not abstain on a confidence vote tabled by their own party. Not even Chuka Umunna or Chris Leslie did that when they were still Labour MPs.

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  18. Meanwhile, back in reality:

    "In a separate BBC interview, Ms Sturgeon said she would bring forward legislation later this week at Holyrood paving the way for a second independence vote.

    She said: "This week we will bring forward legislation to put in place the rules for giving people the choice in an independence referendum over a Brexit future or a future as an independent European nation."

    Now, that is interesting.

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    1. I imagine May will deny Holyrood permission!

      No wait, hold on...

      :-)

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  19. Or in other words we need a 2 state solution (or make that three) in these islands.
    The obvious solution which is unacceptable to hard core unionists.
    Most folk however are realists and on the great day will grasp the chance for real democracy.
    Meanwhile the SNP play a canny game.

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    1. A Unionist is not necessarily hard core. And skier should note that the MEPs elected in Northern Britain represent the United Kingdom in the corrupt EU Parliament. I reckon skiers frog Mrs is doing far too many trick on his ego.

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    2. No, Scottish MEPs do not represent 'Britain'.

      Scotland is its own EU constituency and MEPs don't represent nations, they represent the people of their constituency.

      The 'Council of the EU' is for nations / national governments, the parliament is for the people.

      So the EU elections were either Scotland-wide or EU-wide, but not UK-wide. So the election result was Remain (Scotland) & Remain (Union-wide) as far as us jocks are concerned.

      It doesn't matter what England/Wales/N. Ireland voted, Scotland and the union as a whole vote Remain!

      ---

      Next you'll be telling me Scottish MPs in the UK union parliament are not British at all, but only Scottish, representing Scotland and Holyrood!

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    3. I don't know why you bother. GWC obviously failed the eleven plus. And joining the Orange Order was seen by him as a logical alternative.

      Sad wee bugger, but there you go...

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    4. Poor Cordelia. She's not the brightest.

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    5. Skier, I did not say the MEPs represented Britain. Douglas Clark is an excuse for an excuse and obsessed with the Orange Order. Guthnetta is the child of a Glesga East End drug dealer and will be pregnant before it is 13 and three quarters.

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    6. Nigel gets Cordelia's pussy juicy and Jacob gets her moggy soggy.

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  20. Obviously, without a new GE, the PM + cabinet have no democratic mandate / legitimacy.

    So, for example, they can't refuse a Section 30.

    The entire British system is based on having a mandate. May's was weak due to the 2017 debacle, but it was there for the UK and 'almost' sort of there for Scotland. Kind of. Maybe. A bit. Hard to convince people, but she was UK PM via election right?

    That's totally gone.

    Without a GE, any UK PM becomes simply a dictator. Totally unelected. No mandate whatsoever.

    The Scots electorate, righly, sees a humiliated Tory party defeated at the ballot box not only in Scotland, but UK wide. If a section 30 is refused, the Scottish electorate will simply give the UK government the finger and happily accept iref2 as legit.

    That's why Holyrood is now passing the bill. The historic SNP + (2nd epic) Remain win just put the cherries on the icing.

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    1. Actually a section 30 is irrelivant now. If the UK Gov sends the bill to royal consent without contesting it then a section 30 would not be needed as the legislation would be in place.

      If they do contest it it would be down to the Supreme Court to decide. If they come in favour of the Scot Gov then again no section 30 needed.

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    2. Good point.

      I imagine the bill will fall within the legislative competence of Holyrood too (it must to get through). Therefore, it will be difficult to contest short of a further attempt to undo devolution retrospectively again. And by a PM/government without any democratic mandate / legitimacy...

      In the Sturgeon vs May battle, May lost.

      In the SNP vs Con battle, Con lost.

      In the unionist vs nationalist battle, the unionist lost.

      And so iref 2 goes ahead, and with a quadruple SNP mandate (Holyrood, Westminster, council and EU).

      Sturgeon was waiting; she was waiting for the Tories to defeat themselves, helped by Farage and the ERG.

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    3. When you were in school I bet you were called Sylvia Handbag.

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  21. To add to a previous point.

    There is a documented case where the revolting L Evans, while at the CEC, blocked a funding application for a community film-making grant as they were not tranny-fanny inclusive enough.

    She has previous.

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  22. I think your hypothesis makes too many assumptions, too many moving parts, too many individuals involved. I think the UK Government and the main parties are well and truly caught in the headlights. IMO: Tories are being stage managed by ERG & DUP along with 1922 Committee. No Tory PM candidate would be willing to sacrifice their chances with the Tory membership by voicing support for a re-negotiated deal that would be spun as 'bending the knee to Germany'. No Tory PM candiate would be willing to sacrifice their chances with the Tory membership by even suggesting support for any kind of second or confirmatory vote. They're maneuvering Boris into place, because he'll win them the next election. The question is when. I suggest they'll seem to 're-negotiate' with a new EComm but will leave in a 'managed format' on 31st Oct. I think @Wings called it correctly in his recent article. A period of adjustment (assume no major calamity) and then have the general election once Brexit Party has been sidelined, Labour imploded. I would not be at all surprised, under a Boris Govt, to see a large Tory majority at UK Parliament. I think that the UK is very 'nearly' at the point of no return at this stage. The EU 'nearly' has what it wants: United Ireland, reluctant UK out the way (bonus: Scotland as new member?). The (Hardline Brexiteers: puppet masters) Tories 'nearly' have No Deal, and a return to Empire 2.0. Who's missed out? Well, no-one that has any power.

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    1. You got too much to say for yourself.

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  23. I see people are starting to resign from Scottish Labour. Someone called Finley and another fella called Johnson.

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    1. Bouncing LeonardMay 28, 2019 at 11:15 PM

      Who?

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    2. Who are you you little prick? You nat si fash brigade and your Jennie Kranko slag in charge of you telling you what to do. Were going to sort you seppies out and it won't be pretty. Get on your nat sis knees and pray to your pope abuse boss. He likes them fresh.

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