Here we go, lads.
Here we bloody go.
After three and a half years of terror, torture and tragedy, we are finally in the Endgame. Brexit, one way or another, will be sorted on the 13th of December, 2019.
…Except it may well not be. The sad reality is that Brexit is a part of us now. Brexit is us. We are Brexit.
And we deserve it.
While this election is the closest opportunity we have had for a resolution since the result of the 2016 referendum, a clear end to the deadlock is absolutely, categorically not guaranteed.
This nightmare may yet drag on into 2020. It may go on, indefinitely, interminably, for millennia.
Or it may end in a few short weeks.
It’s all to play for, folks. Who is going to come out on top?
ELECTION REQUEST 4 : ELECTORISE THIS
Finally, at the fourth time of asking, Boris Johnson got his general election yesterday.
As I explained in yesterday’s blog, yesterday’s vote was a one-line Bill, designed to allow a general election to happen with just 50% of the House of Commons’ backing. On Monday, Johnson failed to win an election through the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, which requires a 2/3rds majority.
But it was never fully guaranteed. In their trademark, charge-in-head-first style, the government tried to ram the vote through the House. However, Stella Creasy (Lab) won an amendment that allowed MPs to table amendments to it. As such, motions to extend the votes to 16 year-olds and EU citizens living in the UK were tabled.
Sensibly, however, John Bercow, into his final three days of Speaktatorship, decided that these amendments were not relevant to the matter at hand. He didn’t select them for debate or vote.
Essentially, they were important pieces of legislation that needed more debate, more time, and more thought, before they could be approved.
While if either had succeeded it would have been a huge blow to the Tories, this was the right call. Major changes to the franchise (those allowed to vote) should never be made on the hoof.
But there was still an amendment made to try and make the election happen on the 9th, not the 12th of December. This was to make it easier for students to vote, and further away from disrupting Christmas plans.
However, in the end, the government won, with a strong majority.
An election is happening on the 12th of December.
HOORAY! BREXIT WILL FINALLY BE SORTED
Yeah… about that…
Current polls have the Tories and Labour at exactly the same percentages as May vs. Corbyn at the start of their election campaigns in 2017. While the Tories have a healthy lead, that could easily evaporate in the fickle winds of an election storm.
Additionally, recent research suggests that this current electorate is the least loyal since records began in the 1960s – we are all far more prone to choose parties that we agree with, rather than just whose tribe we grew up in.
So while Johnson will undoubtedly be a better campaigner than Theresa May, who brought all the joy of a wasp in your pint, a Tory win is by no means guaranteed.
Corbyn, for all of his many, many… maaany faults, is a far better campaigner when he can take the conversation away from Brexit. He and his party have a final (if muddy) strategy on Brexit (negotiate Labour-led deal, then referendum), which they can announce and then focus away from.
And our politics is no longer a two-horse race. The Lib-Dems have had a massive surge in recent months since they have taken the most openly anti-Brexit stance. They made huge gains at the local and EU Parliament elections, and won the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election.
They have an untested but confident new leader in Jo Swinson, and aspire for an outright majority win. This might prove to be beyond them, but again – we live in strange times.
A thought for the Brexit Party, too. While the wind has been thoroughly taken out of their sails in recent weeks, expect a strong resurgence. Johnson must campaign for his deal, otherwise he undermines the weeks he spent negotiating it and thus himself (which he often spectacularly does anyway).
While there are currently splits in the Brexit Party about whether or not to support it, they will almost certainly unite to fight an election under a “no-deal” banner, which is still, somehow, a good idea to many. This could split the Brexit vote right down the middle.
Plus, Theresa May only won a majority thanks to a £1bn “investment structure” to the DUP. After throwing them under the biggest of busses in negotiating his new Withdrawal Agreement, they are about as likely to get into bed with him as they would anyone outside of wedlock.
Which is funny coz they hate extramarital sex and gay people and Northern Ireland just voted to make all of that hatred illegal.
Lol. Get with the times, DUP.
Anyway – do not believe the hype. This will not be an easy win for anyone, especially Johnson. He may well do it, and may well get the majority he needs to enforce his own brand of Brexit, but if I were a betting man, I would keep that money firmly in my pocket.
SO… WHAT’S ACTUALLY GOING TO HAPPEN?
My early-doors prediction is that the Lib-Dem/SNP alliance makes them joint-kingmakers. Neither the Tories nor Labour will win an election outright, and will need to get into bed with the opposition.
If it’s the Tories, a coalition won’t happen without a referendum. If it’s Labour, the referendum will happen anyway, and the hard-left socialist policies that Corbyn and McDonnell are pushing for will never get a majority.
Centrist politics will be forced back onto the agenda out of necessity, with the reigns firmly on which ever party leads. No more idealogical politics, just debate, compromise, and common sense.
At least, that’s what I’m hoping for. Unicorns may exist.
In that scenario, Brexit doesn’t end on the 13th of December. Oh no, no, no.
A referendum takes six months to prepare. Six more, agonising months of Brexit debate. Over and over again through the same tired arguments. Paralysed from everything else in the meantime.
We are Brexit. And we deserve it.
See you all in July, 2020.