Machiavellis left and right in all palaces around where the donkeys to and fro, when will the people have a go?
The suspension of democracy by the unelected conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now being met with an abstenation of it by leader of the opposition, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn.
Let’s get this bill through first, Corbyn said on Wednesday. Then we can have a general election.
He was referring to an act of parliament that was agreed by the rebel alliance whereby no deal is taken off the table unless parliament votes for no deal.
The bill did pass, but concerned about games by conservatives, they wanted Royal Assent first. So Boris called off his troops in the lords, hurried up the law’s passing, to allow him on Monday to say: will you now back an election?
Astonishingly, Corbyn is expected to say no. The goal post has now moved to requiring Boris to first ask for an extension, then there can be an election.
What exactly will happen on Monday remains to be seen, but the board at least has become slightly less complex.
Boris’ game is simple. He wants to end the technical Brexit debate by leaving on October 31st. To do so he needs a mandate. When the rebel alliance thus agreed a legislative approach, he made the arguably unconstitutional act of proroguing parliament to force their hand.
That backfired and would have done so fully had the other side been a bit smarter because just like the prorogation changed everything for Boris, so too the abstention may change everything for labour.
The problem for labour is that they hate this brexit question because they are as divided, if not more so, as the conservatives.
They would rather have an election on anything, but brexit, because they have no real position on brexit, or at least not an appealing one.
They want to stay in the single market, in the custom union, and basically it all be as it is, but without the veto.
The point of that? Why would any rational mind go from a sovereign in a round table making laws and policy, to a rule taker?
That’s the question they would have to answer in a general election and they don’t quite have an answer, so they’d rather there is no general election until brexit looks like it is slipping away and Farage splits Boris’ vote.
At that point, Corbyn would campaign about starving children and all that stuff, beating the drums of his base, hoping that would be enough to get them into power in light of a split conservative vote.
The brexit question would be brushed under the carpet in labour’s mind, but not in the people’s mind for everyone would know if they’re voting for labour, they’re voting for nothing more than just giving up their veto while being under the rules set by others.
It’s a necessary position for labour because some 70% of their supporters want to remain, but there’s a huge chunk that wants to leave, including their party leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
Hence their dread of a proxy referendum election. They know they would be squeezed between the clear choice of leave with Boris or remain with Libdems. So now they’re playing this arguably disingenuous game of we can’t trust Boris to keep to the date of 15th of October.
Libdems, the Kingmakers
Overshadowed by the necessity to get this no deal legislation through, Libdems gave the show to Corbyn. Their aim achieved, arguably Libdems now hold all the cards.
How they play next may well determine their fate and may well determine whether there are three donkeys or just two.
Because much can be said about Boris, but with the no deal law passed and with him unequivocally stating the date of October 15th in parliament and to the public, the trash bin of history for the conservative party would be the outcome if the date is changed.
Appalling as it is the prorogation, there is at least a reason. Just as there is an extremely good reason why he would lose his base if he changes the date of October 15th.
The very simple fact of the matter is that the law is the law. That law clearly says if no deal, then extension or a parliamentary vote for no deal. The European Union has stated it is not necessary for such request to be made formally as they will take the act of parliament itself as a formal request.
Thus if Boris changes the date to November 1st, he breaches his promise of leaving on the 31st of October because due to the act of parliament there would be an extension.
The act of parliament has changed the situation from the date of election being a possible mechanism to exit without a deal, to the date of election being a possible mechanism to extend the deadline.
Meaning Boris has no choice, but to have an election on the 15th of October as otherwise he would be breaching his promise to his own base.
Making this act of parliament a masterstroke by Libdems who organized all this and forced labour into action as the leaders of the official opposition.
A masterstroke because the field is now an honest one whereby the people must decide no deal brexit or remain.
At a conceptual level, the date for such decision does not necessarily matter. If it is say on the 15th of November, there would now pretty much automatically be an extension, so the decision would remain the same as it was on the 15th of October.
The potential aim of labour to bloster the Brexit Party to split Boris’ vote, to someone who stands for liberalism must sound like madness because whether you like Boris or not, we’d sure rather him than Farage, and that is Farage in any sort of position whatever.
There are many people who have a view on brexit and their view should be respected not least because the decision is very difficult.
They can change those views. The arguments for a sovereign Europe can be made, and the positive ones that highlight what would be gained, rather than just what would be lost. The other side makes their arguments, and the people decide, that’s how it works.
Delaying this would require a very clear answer as to why. That Boris can’t be trusted isn’t such answer because the act of parliament no longer requires any trust in him. That was the whole point of it.
There is no other satisfactory answer as to why the people should be denied the right to a timely decision. Moreover Britain can not have a situation of a Prime Minister who is defacto the leader of the official opposition for his majority is minus 40.
Prolonging such situation would require an extremely good reason, and again there is none that can be seen save for Corbyn’s machinations.
As far as the election vote, Corbyn does have the decisive say because 2/3rds have to approve it. Boris however will probably do all he can to get an election on October 15th. That means, perhaps on Monday and straight after the election vote, a vote of no confidence can be tabled by his party.
That requires only a simple majority. Libdems should vote no confidence in our view, for the obvious reason they actually do not have confidence, and because it is right and proper that the people have a say.
Labour can make themselves look even more like fools by voting they have confidence if they want, but there are plenty of labour members from leave seats who may defect.
The vote might be close because some conservative members probably fear an election just as much as Corbyn does. Like Jacob William Rees-Mogg who is in a marginal seat that Libdems may well take from him. Boris however would probably make very sure they do vote no confidence to get the election.
As this vote would be close, presuming labour abstains in collaboration with SNP, then Libdems may have the decisive vote.
For numerous reasons, you’d think they’d vote to get this election going to take Mogg’s seat and many other seats from both conservatives and labour and SNP and have a go at by some miracle becoming the government or at least the leader of the official opposition.
They can then fight a tough campaign where they can make the positive arguments for Europe while attacking Boris for turning Britain against Europe with his bendy bananas. In Scotland they can stand as the only unionist party, while labour they can accuse of potentially selling the union to gain power in a coalition with SNP at the price of Scottish “independence.”
In other words, the ball is not in Boris’ court. This is now Libdems play. How they move may well determine everything.
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