Thursday, 31 October 2019

There is now a big chance that Brexit will never happen

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It used to be the case that British general election campaigns had very little effect on the result. 

The first one of which that was not true was the 1992 election when voters decided that they were not that into Neil Kinnock or Labour. 

The next one where the campaign mattered, and it mattered enormously, was the last one in 2017. Theresa May’s campaign will always be an object lesson in how not to win an election but to throw away an enormous lead in the opinion polls. 

The Zinoviev letter (a forgery) led many Liberals to vote Tory to keep out Labour in 1924  but the Tories would have won anyway. 

This time nobody knows what will happen. The opinion polls suggest a comfortable win for the Tories but absolutely no-one trusts the polls any more – after 2015 which everyone except the clairvoyant Dan Hodge expected to bring Ed Miliband to power, the referendum (which the polls didn’t get badly wrong actually, but people didn’t believe them) and 2017 where they predicted a thumping Tory victory.

The decision to call an election without getting the Brexit deal ratified in the House of Commons makes Tory MPs angry, according to an i newspaper report.

Why is an election being held?

Not because Parliament would not have agreed Boris’s deal. It probably would have done so.  

But if it had passed the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) Boris Johnson’s deal would have destroyed the Liberal Democrats’ unique selling proposition, a pledge to forget about Brexit altogether and just ignore the 2016 referendum. (By the way, they were the first party to call for a referendum on EU membership.) For them a pre-Brexit election is vital.

The SNP want an election before Alex Salmond goes on trial for sex offences, in January. They will win many Tory seats. Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat leader, may lose her seat to the SNP. 

Boris wants to win an election on the back of his deal and while Jeremy Corbyn is still Labour leader.

Jeremy Corbyn wants an election while he is still leader too, hoping he might be Prime Minister, as a result, supported by the SNP, whom he has promised a second referendum. He might get his wish.

Labour has no choice but to pretend to want an election, which they voted against on Monday, as they were not able to prevent one being called. Only Mr. Corbyn means it.

Today is the day when Boris promised the country would leave the EU “do or die”. Will this be a gift to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party or will they just stand against Remain MPs?

Today is John Bercow's last day as Speaker. (Will he resign as MP? Why should he?) At PMQs, Boris likened him to an ‘uncontrollable tennis ball machine’ and saying he has had ‘the longest retirement since Frank Sinatra’ (watch here).

Boris is the first PM since Churchill, and before him Disraeli, who will litter the dictionaries of quotations with good jokes. Tories are much funnier than liberals or socialists - compare Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan with Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter. Harold Macmillan was funny too.

7 comments:

  1. Tories are much funnier than liberals or socialists

    That doesn't seem to be the case in Australia, only enough. Whitlam was probably our funniest and most quotable prime minister. Followed by Paul Keating. Although you could argue that Keating was more of a Tory than a socialist!

    I don't think Menzies would have been considered funny. Billy McMahon was funny, but not in a good way - he was entirely lacking in wit but he was the butt of plenty of good jokes. It may have cost him his job as prime minister. Once you're seen as ridiculous you're finished in politics.

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    1. I love Australia with all my heart even though it is one of the few countries I don't have the slightest desire to visit. Australia and New Zealand are extensions of England and Scotland - very much more so than Canada. What a shame the links between mother and children are weakening.

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    2. I think Tony Abbott looks from afar like the best Prime Minister HM the Queen ever had, except I suppose Churchill. He is an Englishman - as was George Washington.

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    3. I love Australia with all my heart even though it is one of the few countries I don't have the slightest desire to visit. Australia and New Zealand are extensions of England and Scotland - very much more so than Canada. What a shame the links between mother and children are weakening.

      You can blame Churchill for that. No Australian was ever going to trust Britain again after Gallipoli and Singapore.

      And then in the 70s the British decided to dump their boring old friends in favour of their cool new European friends.

      There's no way Britain will ever be forgiven for these things. And now we have our cool new Chinese friends and while I'm not saying I trust them absolutely, I trust them more than I trust Britain.

      It is sad, but it's entirely down to the treachery of successive British governments. They destroyed the Empire, they destroyed the Commonwealth, and then they decided to destroy Britain.

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    4. I think Tony Abbott looks from afar like the best Prime Minister HM the Queen ever had, except I suppose Churchill.

      What about Menzies?

      Tony Abbott looked better from a distance. He talked tough but he was a bit squishy inside. Mind you, Turnbull and Morrison have been much much worse.

      On the whole I'd say that Australia has been badly governed, but not as badly governed as Britain or the US.

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    5. I certainly agree that we betrayed the Commonwealth - but Churchill was not to blame for the failure of Gallipoli - incompetent and cowardly admirals were. See 'A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East' (1989) a very good book by David Fromkin. Still that will not make an Australian any happier.

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  2. I wouldn't blame Aus and NZ for losing trust in Britain after those fiascos. However, and I don't want to be disrepectful to anybody but it is a myth to portray them, particularly Gallipoli as uniquely Aus tragedy. More British soldiers were injured/killed than Anzac by a considerable number.
    British injured 70,000
    British Killed 26,00
    Aus injured 25,700
    Aus killed 7,800.

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