Chaos and conspicuous lounging
https://wingsoverscotland.com/chaos-and ... -lounging/
So, British politics, eh? We’re basically on strike until things make at least an iota of sense, because there’s no point in attempting political analysis right now when events can overtake you before you’ve finished typing a sentence.
But let’s just have a quick recap on what we know.
– The opposition won a vote last night aimed at preventing a no-deal Brexit by forcing the Prime Minister to request another extension (the third or fourth so far depending how you count) from the EU. The government has withdrawn the whip from all its own MPs who supported the vote, leaving it several dozen short of a majority (and theoretically ending the expensively-bought influence of the DUP).
– Tory peers in the House Of Lords plan to block this legislation by filibustering it. If they fail, the Prime Minister may seek instead to have the Queen refuse to give the legislation royal assent.
– If the legislation passes, nobody knows whether the Prime Minister will abide by it. The government has refused to commit to obeying the law.
– If the legislation succeeds and the Prime Minister is forced to ask the EU for a further extension, nobody knows whether the EU will agree. There’s no obvious justification for it – the UK Parliament has had three and a half years to solve Brexit and failed, it’s not clear how another three or six months would help.
– The Prime Minister claims to be actively pursuing a new deal with the EU. Countless sources within both the government and the EU have revealed that this isn’t true, and that no new proposals to solve the backstop have been offered.
– The Prime Minister, who has been in office approximately six weeks and who this week announced outside Downing Street that he didn’t want to hold a general election, has declared his wish to hold a general election, in effect calling a vote of no confidence in himself.
– But having spent the last two years constantly demanding a general election and proclaiming that it would solve all ills, Labour will apparently NOT support the Prime Minister in voting for one (although this position changes from hour to hour), making it highly unlikely that it’ll secure the necessary two-thirds majority.
– This is because the Tories currently lead by 10-12 points in opinion polls and most analysis shows them winning a majority, either alone or with The Brexit Party. However, the situation is so fluid that because of the vagaries of the UK’s electoral system, another inconclusive hung parliament is also a real possibility.
– As far as anyone can tell, Labour’s plan is to try to force a general election but only after the Prime Minister has achieved an extension from the EU. Nobody is very clear on when this prospective election would take place, and in particular whether it would be before or after 31 October.
– Seemingly the rationale for this is that asking for an extension would severely damage the Tories in the eyes of Leavers, and split the Brexit vote between them and The Brexit Party. But the Remain vote is also split between Labour, the Lib Dems, the SNP and others, and significant portions of those parties’ voters actually back Brexit.
– The Lib Dems have refused to participate in any anti-Brexit alliance which involves Jeremy Corbyn even briefly becoming caretaker Prime Minister. Corbyn, as leader of the official Opposition, has refused to step aside.
– Nobody knows what Brexit policy either the Tories, Labour or the Lib Dems would campaign on in any general election. Would there be another referendum? What options would be on the ballot paper? Nobody will say.
– Labour’s stated position (at least the last we heard) is for a vote “with credible options for both sides including the option to remain”, which appears to open up the possibility of a referendum with three, four or more options – meaning that the winning one would almost certainly have secured less than 50%.
– If the Tories win an election before 31 October, any prior legislation blocking a no-deal Brexit would be effectively null and void and could be overturned by the new administration. If they win an election after 31 October, they could cancel any extension granted by the EU or simply stall until the new deadline and enact a no-deal Brexit on the new date.
– A court in Scotland is currently hearing an appeal on a move to block the government’s plans to suspend Parliament for five weeks, although currently it’ll still be closed for most of that time anyway while all the UK parties hold their autumn conferences to decide what their policies are.
We think those are the basics. We’re off to the park.