The politics edition

17861804_10208277712079798_6959968742351560083_n I find myself unable to resist the calls to comment on the surprise calling of an UK election. But while here I’ll comment on Trump, too.

Theresa May seeks snap election to take UK through Brexit

[Update: this post was hopelessly wrong although, as one commentator was kind enough to say, it appeared perfectly sensible at the time. Follow the trail forward in time if you like: The politics edition, pre-election special and The politics edition, post-election special.]

Says everyone, including the FT, which adds things like The pound rose on expectations that Mrs May would win a much increased Commons majority, allowing her to sideline implacable Eurosceptics in her Conservative party and ensure a phased Brexit concluding with a UK/EU free-trade deal. Polls predict a heavy defeat for the opposition Labour party, which has been in disarray under the leadership of leftwinger Jeremy Corbyn. The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 says she needs to lose a vote of confidence, or get 2/3 of parliament to agree; she will get the latter3 which means that no-one will be able to complain that she promised not to seek an early election, since everyone else at least officially wants one too1. Via Timmy I find current poll figures:

* Conservatives: 44% (up 1 since Guardian/ICM two weeks ago)
* Labour: 26% (up 1)
* Ukip: 11% (no change)
* Lib Dems: 10% (down 1)
* Greens: 4% (no change)

What will happen? Labour will do badly, obviously; though Corbyn, trapped in his deranged world, is obliged to welcome an early election. Their loss will presumably trigger a new leadership contest allowing Corbyn to go back to being the back-bencher he always was. But, by then it will be too late to have any influence on the course of Brexit. The UKIP, nominally well placed to benefit, are (as Timmy points out) in a pretty poor state having recently indulged in another round of self-inflicted wounds (and perhaps that helps explain the timing). The Lib Dems are the obvious home for anyone pro-European. But, but: at the moment it is hard to take them seriously. Perhaps they’ll manage to pull themselves together for the campaign and impress? That would be good2. And the Greens too.

And so, inevitably, the prediction is for a Tory win and increased majority. TM sez

We have also delivered on the mandate that we were handed by the referendum result. Britain is leaving the European Union and there can be no turning back. And as we look to the future, the Government has the right plan for negotiating our new relationship with Europe… That means we will regain control of our own money, our own laws and our own borders and we will be free to strike trade deals with old friends and new partners all around the world. This is the right approach, and it is in the national interest. But the other political parties oppose it… In recent weeks Labour has threatened to vote against the final agreement we reach with the European Union… And unelected members of the House of Lords have vowed to fight us every step of the way… Because what they are doing jeopardises the work we must do to prepare for Brexit at home and it weakens the government’s negotiating position in Europe… So we need a general election and we need one now, because we have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done while the European Union agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin.

Which is all fairly believable and will definitely Do. It is clear what strategy she has decided on. Quite how this can be reconciled with her pre-referendum weak-pro-remain stance I don’t know; perhaps she is just as much of an opportunist as Boris, but more competent; probably that question doesn’t matter.

I’m still very doubtful that the idiots on our side will be capable of talking to the idiots on the EU side and stitching up a useful deal within two years; given EU speeds, this seems implausible. So the most likely outcome must be exit with no deal, but then again there’s always the British muddle-through and the Euro-fudge, so who knows?

Anyway, it is clear that I have nothing beyond the obvious to say on the subject, so feel free to add your more valuable thoughts.

Trump the Killer

As played by Neil Young. Well it was all terribly exciting, wasn’t it? At least briefly. With a brief reprise. I’m looking forward to the third act in North Korea. Slightly more seriously: I think he has lucked out on this particular one or two, which (I’m prepared to be generous and guess, accidentally) serves as a useful distraction from his previous failures.

What about the Frogs?

Votez Macron.

And the Turks?

The idiots in the villages have voted themselves a dictator. Shades of the Commies.


1. Various people – such as the NS – will point out that she said, though not very firmly, that she wouldn’t call an early election. This will not gain any traction, because she is a pol, and no-one expects pols to keep to their promises, especially when expressed as weakly as she did.

2. As the Lib Dems themselves say, we will seize this chance. In any general election air war, the media want two sides. And, far more importantly, the voters want a real choice. They will be presented with three other parties all offering the same, pro-Brexit message… We will be the only party calling to keep Britain in the single market.

3. She did: The SNP wimped out.


* The Crucible of the Application Process by Dillon Bowen

18 thoughts on “The politics edition”

  1. In brief – you, like the rest of us, are screwed.

    [I don’t think so; at least, not necessarily. It is entirely possible for this to end well. Unfortunately that requires skill, which is in short supply -W]


  2. Very few if anyone talking about this election turning into Brexit referendum 2. Guess if it stays that way, it won’t happen. I am inclined to abandon torys for best opposition in my constituency (probably labour). If enough people indicate this, could it gather momentum towards being Brexit ref2?

    [Both the Tories and the Lib Dems are, effectively, talking of it as such. A Lib Dem win, unlikely as that seems, would cancel Brexit. Labour, who have no real policy on anything, are talking about the Tory record, but they’re the only ones doing so -W]

    Second referendum will sound unfair to brexit leave supporters, but is it really? If the majority are against it continuing to leave would be undemocratic and if majority are in favour then it will happen. So what is wrong with another referendum?

    I suppose TMay can wait and see: if it stays on political lines fine she wins easily. If it looks like becoming brexit ref 2 then add a brexit ref at same time as general election.

    But I am probably taking nonsense and nothing like this will happen and TMay wins a landslide.


  3. The question I have is who will carry Scotland, if the SNP maintain their domination of Scotland, it will influence the issue of another Scotish Independence referendum.

    [I suspect the answer is that Scotland has been given up on. Perhaps the election turns into a mini-referendum on Independence-post-Brexit? I’m not sure -W]


  4. Luckily for those of us outside the DPRK, this weekend’s launch attempt was a failure. I can imagine Kim Jong Un’s reaction to the news.

    It turns out Donald Trump is one of the people name checked in R.E.M.’s 1987 hit “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”.

    [Excellent; that’s one of my favourites -W]


  5. It can’t work as an election on brexit, with Labour not opposing brexit. Perhaps in the South West.. if only the Lib Dems hadn’t committed suicide by coalition. The problem I have is that I don’t regard any of the major parties as fit for government, which makes voting tricky. Doesn’t matter anyway, Rees-Mogg is our local MP with a 12k majority.


  6. From this side of the pond, I’m afraid that after Brexit, “Great Britain” will soon come to be called “Lesser Britain”, or “The Britain formerly known as Great”.

    [It’s a bit late for that. I think Suez was our last hurrah as “Great” -W]


  7. A 2nd referendum, after all the terms are negotiated, seems entirely sensible. To not have the terms play any role in whether you stay or leave is not so sensible.


  8. 2nd referendum after negotiations ended will be a no go with the EU. Article 50 is written to give the EU the upper hand in the negotiations. Allowing for retreat from article 50 after negotiation terms are not agreeable for leaving party w/o consequences would yank the doors wide open for every member to trigger article 50 to maybe get better terms.


  9. David@10: But the country’s full official name, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, implies that Scotland is indeed part of Great Britain. Which makes sense, as it’s on the same island as England and Wales. Northern Ireland is on a different island.


  10. Dave , since it’s on another island too, one the British won fair and square at the Battle of Long Island, is there a case for selling Queens back to the queen in a sort of reverse Louisiana Purchase, thus endowing the borough’s First Citizen with dual citizenship, and qualifying him to stay home and play kig, or quit our shores to run against Farange for the chairmanship of UKIP?


  11. Any comments on the situation? Things seem to have evolved a bit over the past six weeks.

    [It’s getting a bit weird, isn’t it? Probably time for a nail-my-colours-to-the-mast post, before the election -W]


  12. Yes indeed. Re-reading this post from mid-April, nothing in it seemed wrong at the time, and yet it is shockingly different from the election coverage today. It reads like a dispatch from a different universe, actually.

    As an uniformed outsider, I still expect the Tories to win, but by a smaller margin than everyone assumed in April, and the interpretations will be different.


  13. Phil Hays: ‘And the Tories lost.’

    Yep. The real winners were the Women’s Equality Party.

    The Women’s Equality Party (WE) this morning hailed the results of its first ever Westminster elections as a stunning vindication of its founding principles of collaborative politics, progressive values and the need to fundamentally reimagine the democratic process. … The Women’s Equality Party also celebrated the extraordinary achievements of its seven general election candidates, who changed the conversation and raised the game, forcing gender equality on to centre stage.

    WE’s novice candidates averaged about 500 votes each. Fellow first-timer Mr Fish Finger, a cod-bothering independent, got 309 – not totally stunning but surely enough to plaice a clam on a more-than-halfly stunning findication of his own floundering principles, which, if you cast your mind back, included free fish for all NHS staff and free fishing rods for everyone.

    (The BNP’s candidates got about 500 votes each too. A stunning vindication of racism, street fighting, the nationwide reintroduction of red squirrels and opposition to fracking?)


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