Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Election 2019: the danger points

At last we know how and when the story of this parliament ends, and it's interesting to cast our minds back a hundred plot twists and recall what the conventional wisdom was immediately after the 2017 general election.  We were told that this parliament would never allow a Hard Brexit on its watch, that it wouldn't run to its full term, and that Theresa May wouldn't still be Conservative party leader at the end of it.  All of those things proved to be true, but there were plenty of times when it looked like they might not.  And the assumption of many people that "not allowing a Hard Brexit" would amount to the same thing as ensuring a soft Brexit proved to be wide of the mark.  If the coming election turns out in the way opinion polls currently suggest, a number of Remainer MPs in the Tories, Liberal Democrats and Change UK may bitterly regret spurning the chance to work with Labour and defeat the Hard Brexiteers when the parliamentary arithmetic was still in their favour.

That said, I don't think we can say that we're doomed to a Tory overall majority just yet.  I'm not in any way predicting that it won't happen, but we won't really know until the progress of the official campaign starts to concentrate minds among pro-EU voters.  In theory the votes are there to defeat Johnson, but at the moment they're just not coalescing in the most effective way.  Actually that's an understatement - they're coalescing in just about the least effective way imaginable.  Normally I would scoff at the grandiose claims made by tactical voting websites, but given how passionate some voters are about stopping Brexit, it could be a very different story this time.  Remember also that there looks likely to be a limited electoral pact between Plaid Cymru, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats, which in itself should be enough to limit the number of seats that Johnson wins.  (And isn't it intriguing that Adam Price's enthusiastic embrace of the word "independence" hasn't deterred the Lib Dems from working with Plaid?  The pact won't be replicated in Scotland, but the double standard of treating the SNP like the devil incarnate may undermine the Lib Dems' message somewhat.)

One thing we have learned today, if there was ever any real doubt, is that the Fixed Term Parliaments Act isn't worth the paper it's written on.  If any future majority government wants to hold an early snap election, all it'll have to do is pass a one-page Bill setting a date, and the two-thirds majority supposedly required by the FTPA simply won't apply.  Theoretically a minority government might have greater difficulties, but it's hard to imagine too many circumstances in which the opposition would keep such a government in office in the way that Labour MPs have attempted in recent weeks.  Spare a thought tonight for the editor of Stormfront Lite, who has staked his reputation over the last nine years on endlessly repeating that the FTPA makes early elections nigh-on impossible.  Even after he was proved wrong about that in 2017, he just carried on saying it as if nothing had changed.  He was jubilant last month when an early election was blocked, and insisted that this proved his theory was correct, but that turned out to be merely a temporary reprieve.  Now all we need is for one of the "oldies" to prove him wrong by winning the Democratic presidential nomination next year, and the people of East Dunbartonshire may completely lose faith in his credentials as an impartial Liberal Democrat election expert.

Spare a thought also for Change UK and the likes of John Woodcock, for whom today's events were a nightmare come true.  At the start of this year the theory was that the Change UK breakaway would tip the balance against an early election, because there was such an incentive for those MPs not to face the verdict of the electorate any time soon, but in the end they proved to be nothing more than a noisy irrelevance when the decision was made.  Chris Leslie, who probably once fancied himself as a future Prime Minister or Chancellor, may have thrown his career away.

We're entitled to feel optimistic about the SNP's prospects for the coming contest, but that should be tempered with caution, especially after the bruising experience of 2017.  Nicola Sturgeon has clearly learned from her mistake of downplaying independence in that campaign, but even if the SNP get their pitch just right, there are any number of things that can go wrong due to factors outwith their control.  Westminster elections will always be an "away fixture" for them.  Labour might get back in the game in Scotland simply by being mentioned far more often than the SNP.  Jo Swinson will be the darling of the liberal media, and any Lib Dem bandwagon effect could damage the SNP, just as the Cleggasm did in 2010.  And look out for potential stitch-ups in the TV leaders' debates - we know that Johnson desperately wants them to be head-to-heads with Corbyn, and the broadcasters will be all too happy to oblige if they think they can get away with it.  The good news is that it'll be hard to justify excluding Ms Swinson given the Lib Dems' position in the polls, and if she's included it'll be very hard to exclude Ms Sturgeon.

46 comments:

  1. The odd part is I posted last week the date as Dec 12th. How did I know over here? Question: by how many million pounds will the conservatives overspend the limit on social media etc. To win. How stupid will labor and snp be by following law and getting whipped in close seats? Will the LibDems , now dominated by Tories, just overspend also?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kinda weird to be facing a GE where all the likely outcomes result in the UK breaking up.

    Watch N. Ireland. It could be the wildcard. With Corbyn supporting Sinn Fein's reunification and the Tories kicking the North out of the UK (CU,SM & IU), it could well swing Republican / neutral even more than last time. What's the point in voting there if you are a unionist? England hates you and wants to see the back of you after all.

    Essentially, this vote is about kicking NI out. That's the mandate the Tories are looking for.

    And if the Tories get a majority for leaving on a minority of the vote, the same applies for the SNP and indy. That's how a court would see it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People understand that full free movement is going to stay in place in N. Ireland right? The UK gov is not shouting it out loud for obvious reasons, but there's no practical way around it. It's instrumental to the GFA and backstop.

      How could it not with an open border? Irish builders could bring their polish staff across for the day and N. Irish builders could not? Or are English gestapo going to stop folks at the border? Do Irish NI firms employing EU staff who live just over the border in the south need to now get visas for everyone?

      Or are English nazis going to decide who Irish northern Irish can date / live with? If you have a Bulgarian girlfriend in the south, are you going to be stopped from taking her to your place at night?

      And what happens when Scots discover this other benefit NI is getting that they are not? One which can only be explained by deep anti-Scottish hatred/racism from the current UK government?

      There's a reason the DUP are up in arms. England is breaking the union.

      Delete
    2. There's another point that has barely been mentioned but might get heard more now that the British have dumped the DUP. The British have to have a border between themselves and the EU AKA Republic of Ireland due to the big deal the British made of immigration in their Brexit panto. The British couldn't allow a land border in Ireland because it is too permeable with over 300kms in length and 200 crossings. There would be no way to police such a border and never was.

      All that an immigrant would have needed to do was take a ferry to Cork, Rosslare or Dublin, or a flight to any of the international airports, from mainland Europe then pop on a bus or train to NI with no border checks. If there were checks on the main roads, just stroll across the border on a field or farm. Simple. Once in NI, jump on a ferry to Cairnryan it Liverpool and hey presto - you're in!

      The British could never gave allowed such a huge back door to be permanently open, so they had to manage checks manageable. A handful of ferry routes is easier to control than the land border.

      Therefore NI us getting the heave. Nobody in Britain thought they were British anyway, so they won't be missed, and England can keep the money they've been spaffing up against a wall for 100 years trying to keep the DUP types happy.

      Goodbye.

      Delete
  3. The UUP have stood down in the last 2 GE allowing the DUP to scoop up all the Unionist votes to limit Sinn Fein, however the UUP aren't very happy with the DUP and they announced they will stand in all 18 NI seats, splitting the Unionist vote, making it likely that Sinn Fein will come successfully thru the middle and gain crucial extra seats. Hence less MPs at WM and stronger calls for Irish Unity

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's not true; I've just looked at the 2017 results and there was an UUP candidate in 14 of the 18 seats, with a percentage drop from 2015, so they obviously stood in those seats then too.

      The DUP gave the UUP a free run in Fermanagh and South Tyrone (in vain) in 2017; the UUP had won that seat in 2015.

      They did not stand in Belfast North, Belfast South, North Down or West Tyrone, but they certainly did not "allow" the DUP to scoop up the unionist votes - that's what happened, mostly, but not because the UUP didn't stand. They might not have campaigned very hard, perhaps, but they had candidates.

      Delete
    2. If I was a DUP voter, I'd be voting UUP. The DUP have helped England betray NI. If the DUP had not propped up the Tories, there'd be no backstop deal.

      In terms of the bigger picture, Ireland + the EU are standing shoulder to shoulder with the people of the north while England treats them like shit on their shoes.

      Delete
    3. I have a thing about Emma Little-Pengelly in uniform.

      Delete
  4. "That's fine. But just one snag - I wasn't talking about tactics or positioning, but about the rather more fundamental point that a mandate cannot be both legitimate and illegitimate depending on which year it occurs. Schrodinger's Mandate?"

    2011 Mandate considered valid and respected section 30 order granted.

    2016 Mandate not considered sufficient and hence not respected section 30 order not granted.

    Two different years, two different mandates and most importantly two different outcomes. The reality of a a Tory governed UK

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Prime ministers questions. SNP member, asked PM if he would issue a 30 section order, the PM did not say no, he only refered to a once in a lifetime vote. I therefore take it that he knows that he has to issue one.

      Delete
  5. Young James, there's a lot of tweeting around a Herald readers' poll this morning showing positive numbers amongst the readers for the SNP, Remain and Yes. Is this poll "proper"? Clearly it isn't even pretending to be representative of the population as a whole, i.e. it's of "Herald readers" but does it otherwise look to have been conducted in line with the proper standards?

    ReplyDelete
  6. What do people think about a possible Tory / BxP alliance with candidates being stood down in certain places? Seems to me that if the Tories offered BxP a handful of winnable seats -- maybe places (like Grantham?) where the Tory has resigned and the Tories and Faragists more or less hold hands -- and a few dozen 'hopeless' ones in ex-industrial areas including West Central Scotland it would be their best bet. (Amber Rudd has just annnounced that she won't be standing in any constituency.)
    Not sure that the Tories will necessarily be wiped out in Scotland. I think they might hang on to three or four - but not if BxP stand against them in places like Moray and Banff & Buchan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sir Marmaduke PerksOctober 30, 2019 at 5:46 PM

      You sound like you're not even wearing a poppy. Shame on you.

      Delete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My prediction is that the outcome of this election will be the UK lurching into an even bigger constitutional crisis as a result of it.

      If the Tories think a GE win for them will solve things, they're in la la land. If English remainers think a Lab/Lib +/-SNP win will solve things, they've lost it. Until such time as ~60% support leave or remain, this is not going away. The UK will remain in purgatory. It's that or it completely breaks up, which will largely solve things, at least outside of England.

      Still cannae believe the Tories will go into this GE campaigning to break up the UK. Wow.

      Delete
    2. Scottish Skier - have you considered getting your own blog? Every article could cover the reasons why the break up of the UK is imminent and utterly inevitable. ;)

      Delete
    3. Well, if the Tories win and sign off the initial stages of the reunification of Ireland, bringing an end to the UK as we know it, I might just do that.

      Delete
    4. I'd be interested in reading your own blog although I think your posts here fit in well too. There are so many interesting contributions on here. Thanks to everyone.

      Delete
    5. Well than you kind sir. I'm sure GWC would turn up as well, so I can look forward to at least two readers.

      I shall be sure to include lots of posts on the trans issue; that should draw the crowds. :-)

      Delete
    6. Oh god, NO. Anything but that!

      Delete
  8. So far, all the Brexit voters I know are saying they won't be voting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are they saying why? Seems a weird choice, unless maybe they're "lexiters".

      Delete
    2. I thought so too, but I didn't argue.

      They seem to be more on the left and a common theme was that while they had wanted brexit, their vote for this had created such a mess they wanted to walk away. A Tory brexit was certainly not something they'd ever vote for and they hate Johnson.

      Delete
    3. That's where Corbyn will gain ground when his campaign gets rolling. Corbyn is at a disadvantage between elections as he gets attacked by both the Tories and the Blairite Labour. But, during the campaign, two things change. One is that even Blairites can understand that knocking down the Labour leader during a campaign isn't good for their faction either. And, Corbyn's message of "For the Many, Not the Few" will play well because there are many of the many and few of the few.

      Plus, these seem almost like the easiest people for Corbyn to roll in, as it seems that he personally holds a similar few. Corbyn has been against being in the EU, but also against Tory Brexit and during the UK into an offshore pirate economy of shady banking and few regulations.

      Thus, I'd say watch and these people may tend to drift back into voting for Labour.

      Delete
    4. The guy I was talking to today cancelled his labour membership recently. He'd been a lifelong member.

      Delete
  9. Skier, you should have your own fake news blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are the only brexit voter I've met that doesn't hate N. Ireland and want rid of it so they can get their brexit.

      Again, who am I to argue if unionists want to break up the UK!

      I cannot believe the English Tories have taken out Ruth - the darling of Scottish unionism / BBC shortbread star - and are now going to campaign on kicking NI out of the UK proper. The Tories camping for reunification in earnest. F**k me.

      What's Sturgeon got on Johnson that has him doing her bidding like this?

      Delete
    2. "What's Sturgeon got on Johnson that has him doing her bidding like this?"

      The possibilities seem to be almost endless. I'd imagine Boris hardly goes through a day without creating blackmail material for someone. And if he seems to be falling short on a given day, just send a smiling blonde with a big chest his way, and its almost sure to happen.

      Delete
  10. Neat idea, Westminster as an "away fixture".

    Trouble is, even in a Scottish election, that can still feel like an away fixture, albeit in your own city - against local rivals - with a more proportionate share of the crowd.

    But the media overlays all its own biases, because whether Westminster or Scottish elections, we always get a double dose - of London UK-centric biases overlain on the Scottish ones, and even then the Scottish media are mostly pro-union, even Scottish editions of British papers, or Scottish sub-channels of British institutions.

    To the extent that pro-Scottish voices are always outnumbered in every competition, they could be said to be all away fixtures. Like not having a proper home ground at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The BBC have been anti brexit and Chanel 4 obviously pro EU. I suspect if this next election is entirely about brexit then the Scottish Nat sis will have friends in the aforementioned.

      Delete
    2. BBC backing freedom and democracy? That's hard to believe. Modern propaganda channels are very capable of carrying on separate Two-Minute-Hates towards different people, thus I'm sure they will find away to fight to stay in the EU while not giving favorable coverage to the SNP.

      Delete
    3. LOL ... there's a good description of independence. Trying to gain a proper home ground of our own. :)

      Delete
  11. Glasgow's Lord Provost to resign. GWC welcomes prospect of 'nickerless' successor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have met the woman on a few occasions and she is very pleasant however I do not agree with Nat si ism so it is not personal.

      Delete
  12. I would suggest Matt Kerr as the next Lord Provost. He has a good track record as a trade union rep and is prominent in fighting against poverty. He does not have a bad word to say against his Nat si parliamentary opponent.

    ReplyDelete
  13. BBC headline = Leaders clash on NHS.

    God it would be nice to live in a country where the headlines were about your country.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well maybe your god will prevail or perhaps your god is not interested in countries.

      Delete
  14. RT were using English subtitles when Knickerless was speaking.

    ReplyDelete
  15. The BBC have started their leave the EU scare stories and we will be skint in ten years time.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Tories Labour Liberal Democrats all offering England all sorts of stuff to get votes for things they won't do anyway but they all agree on one thing, they don't want Scotland to have a say on anything

    Tories , no Scotland no Brexit they can't afford it, Labour mibbees aye mibbees naw we'll talk in a few years, Liberal Democrats, well we're really Tories and won't win anything but we're the best liars we've proved it in court

    It's all so predictable from the England squad again, wave their Union flag and talk about *the country* which to them means England, oh aye and the colonies they think they own

    ReplyDelete
  17. People forget that during campaign BBC has to give labor equal representatives as Tory. Campaigns decide reps for each day. So they get to at least answer the lies.

    ReplyDelete
  18. The Scottish Nat sis still have to explain to the Scottish people why they want the EU to run Scotland.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's pretty obvious to everyone who's making a grand fuck up of running the UK.

      It's not the 'Krauts', that's for sure.

      Delete
    2. Answer the question Skier.

      Delete
  19. The English Nazi Tories and their Labour Lib Dem chums have to explain why they want America to run the countries of the British Isles £££££££££

    ReplyDelete