Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Some predictions

Having deliberately not written about the Referendum before it happened, because I found almost all the commentary and discourse around it so damn depressing, I am going to stick my neck out about what's going to happen next.


I think it's hard to see an outcome where Boris does not get onto the members' ballot. So far the only other declared Leaver running is Liam Fox (the Disgraced Liam Fox, as he's formally known), and I can't see him being the final choice for members. If Boris does make it, he'll almost certainly be elected. I'm conflicted about this. I've always liked Boris, and he is (I thought) on exactly the open, liberal, non-ideological wing of the Tories that hits my buttons. Against that, of course, he is a manipulative, treacherous, lying weasel. So, conflicted.

Anyway, whether it's Boris or Theresa May I think the Tory strategy is pretty much the same. Campaign for leader on a 'compromise' approach whereby details of access to the single market vs. free movement will be negotiated, but the ultimate endpoint is some form of Euro-fudge. Call a General Election for, say, 13 October and set out negotiating details (such as they are) in the manifesto. Win the election and then hope for the best.


Hoo boy. I'm a lot less clear about what Labour will do next, because I'm not even sure there will be any such thing in a month or so. Let's be optimistic first of all. Let's assume the coup against Corbyn works, he is removed and either Tom Watson or Angela Eagle take over without an election. The PLP should not then be  a problem, but there will be a big disconnect with the members. Assuming that can be overcome, Labour then need to come up with a policy on Europe.

But Labour are in more of a bind than the Tories here. They really can't argue for the full withdrawal/pull up the drawbridge option, because none of them agree with it. But if they don't they expose their northern seats to an obvious attack from UKIP that Labour won't listen to their own voters and members (as already shown by dethroning the High Sparrow). That's such a potent attack line that I can see Labour struggling to defend it. So maybe they have to argue for a more extreme vision. But then, that puts them into conflict with their urban professional vote (that, again, will have been enraged by deCorbynisation). Not a pretty picture.


Easy peasy. "Betrayal! Treachery! You, the ordinary decent people of Britain, voted to leave. And what do these Quisling politicians do? They try and weasel in by the back door. Vote UKIP for a proper leave." Nasty, but it's going to be bloody effective.

Liberal Democrats

The first good news for the Lib Dems since 2010. Offer a platform of a second referendum, with a view to remaining in the EU. Impractical and highly unlikely ever to be achieved, but that's what Liberal Democrat political positions have always been. Throw in a couple of contentious bar charts and we're back in business lads! Particularly effective if Labour opt to shore up the north and abandon the cities.


Good for the SNP too, but they have to be careful not to overplay their hand. The temptation will be (as Sturgeon showed immediately) to say that Brexit is a material change in circumstances and warrants a second referendum. But (despite the instant opinion polls) I'm not sure that this is a slam dunk. In 2014, Scotland voted to remain when independence was sold as being virtually zero-impact (same currency, same head of state, both members of the EU etc) and when oil was US$100pb. Independence now would mean joining the Euro and setting up a customs barrier at Berwick when oil is US$45pb. If the SNP lose a second referendum that really is it for a generation.

And there we are. It's Labour's future that looks bleakest, but there;s plenty of scope for bleakness all round.


Blogger Recusant said...

Don't disagree with any of that.

On Scotland, I would be even more pessimistic for the SNP. Their raison d'etre is independence and they will seek any excuse to go for it, so they will be demanding it if Salmond stubs his toe.

But But. We know that their trigger for actually calling a referendum is polling showing an independence vote of at least 60% for at least six months: on Saturday a poll in Scotland showed support for independence at 52%. That was immediately after the vote, when emotions and anger at the English should have been at their highest.

12:21 pm  

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