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Turkeys vote for Christmas

by Frank Schnittger Wed Oct 30th, 2019 at 11:29:11 AM EST

And so the turkeys have finally voted for Christmas. The House of Commons has overwhelmingly voted for an election on Boris Johnson's preferred date of 12th. December.

The vote gave Boris Johnson the date he was looking for and there were no amendments to expand the franchise to include EU nationals or 16- and 17-year-olds. But the prime minister is facing the voters with Brexit still not delivered and his pledge to leave the EU by October 31st in shreds.

Some Conservative MPs fear their constituents will punish them for spending five weeks campaigning rather than scrutinising and passing the withdrawal agreement Bill. And all Conservatives are conscious of the electoral mountain they must climb to return to power.

More than 30 seats short of a working majority of 320 as they go into the campaign, the Conservatives expect to lose seats to the Scottish National Party (SNP) in Scotland and to the Liberal Democrats in the southeast and southwest of England. At odds with the DUP over the Brexit deal and with no other potential coalition parties, the Conservatives will need to win a majority if they are to form the next government.

Labour is on 25 per cent in an average of opinion polls, 11 points behind the Conservatives and just 7 per cent ahead of the Liberal Democrats. Labour started the 2017 election campaign polling 25 per cent too, but more than 20 points behind Theresa May's Conservatives.

Corbyn's allies draw comfort from the outcome in 2017, which saw Labour draw almost level with the Conservatives with 40 per cent of the vote. And Labour has more coalition options than the Conservatives, so it does not need a majority or even to emerge as the biggest party to have a chance of forming the government.

On the other hand Corbyn is by far the most unpopular of the party leaders and the Conservatives are targeting Labour-held seats that voted Leave in 2016, particularly in the midlands and northeast England, and in Wales.

Quite why the House of Commons should have given Boris precisely what he was looking for without any strings attached is difficult to fathom. The date suits the Tories as many students will have left college by then and be unable to vote. The SNP will be relieved that the vote takes place before their former leader, Alex Salmond, stands trial on charges of sexual assault and attempted rape early next year.

Most independent MPs - Tory dissidents who have lost the whip, ChangeUK, and even Jo Swinson, leader of the Lib Dems - will have an uphill task to retain their seats given the FPTP electoral system. Overall the SNP and the Lib Dems can expect to make some gains but Labour faces major losses unless Corbyn can achieve a similar turn-around in the polls during the election campaign, as he did against Theresa May in 2017.

But Boris Johnson is an altogether more formidable campaigner than Theresa May and he has a coherent narrative that may appeal to a plurality of the electorate: he is the man who is trying to "get Brexit done" against the combined opposition of the House of Commons who can agree on little else but to procrastinate and delay.

The opposition did not even try to propose an amendment mandating the government to organise a second referendum before Boris could have his precious general election. As such they have effectively taken themselves out of the game: a relatively united Leave vote should give Boris the 30-35% of the vote he needs to gain a majority against a hopelessly divided Remain vote. So much easier to do than gain the 50% required to win a referendum.

The only hope now for the Remain parties is to hope that Farage will divide the Leave vote sufficiently to prevent an overall Boris victory. Recent polls put the Brexit party at 10-12% of the vote - not enough to make a decisive impact. But the Boris Withdrawal Agreement deal is wide open to criticism from both a Leave and a Remain perspective and perhaps alternative narratives will take hold as the campaign progresses.

Overall it is very difficult to have any sympathy for the UK political classes. They have pfaffed around for three and a half years unable to decide what they actually want or come up with a coherent process for making a decision on it. They have allowed the buffoons and charlatans to take over the circus and veered onto the edge of fascism. It is not too late for the British people to change their minds, but I wouldn't be holding my breath. The depth of ignorance which the Brexit campaign has revealed of the workings of the EU, international diplomacy, global and domestic economics, and the UK political system itself has been breathtaking to observe.

You reap what you sow...

Perhaps Corbyn can still pull off a shock victory, but it will be just that, a shock. You would think that in any normal polity the Conservatives would be punished for three years of unmitigated division and disaster for the country, but then the UK is no longer a normal polity. Old conventions need not apply, and I wouldn't place too much trust in the opinion polling just now.

Meanwhile, back in N. Ireland, the DUP will be facing an electorate seriously discombobulated by the economic uncertainty Brexit has unleashed and now the political instability created by Boris Johnson's effective betrayal of the DUP and the Union. I doubt their electorate will thank them too much, and yet the hardline unionist response to any crisis has always been to batten down the hatches and ride out the storm.

Loyalist and Unionist voters don't have too many options as to who to vote for even if they feel the DUP has made a right hash of things. Nationalist voters are similarly somewhat disillusioned by Sinn Fein's failure to have any influence on the process through their policy of abstentionism in Westminster and failure to influence either the media narratives or the Varadker government in Dublin.

So the vote in Northern Ireland will probably once again degenerate into a tribal headcount with the Alliance Party perhaps making some marginal gains with voters disillusioned with both tribal narratives. But it is the DUP themselves who needlessly put the union with Britain in play, and it will be interesting to see how their voting base reacts.

Once a Tory...
Amber Rudd, the former UK home secretary and work and pensions secretary who was once tipped as a future Conservative leader, is to quit as an MP at the coming election, she has said.

Announcing the news to the Evening Standard, Ms Rudd said: "I'm not finished with politics, I'm just not standing at this election."

Ms Rudd quit the cabinet and gave up the Conservative whip in September over what she said at the time was Boris Johnson's seeming unwillingness to work for a Brexit deal. However, since then she has sought to return as a Tory.

On Tuesday, 10 of 21 other Conservative MPs who were stripped of the whip for supporting a backbench-instigated Bill seeking to block a no-deal Brexit were readmitted to the party.

Ms Rudd said she planned to meet the Conservative chief whip, Mark Spencer, to formally seek a return: "I'm happy to leave the House of Commons as a Conservative MP."

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 30th, 2019 at 11:50:06 AM EST
Polls point to Boris Johnson at risk of May's electoral debacle
Two-and-a-half years after Theresa May's risky decision to call a snap election that lost the Conservatives their majority, her successor Boris Johnson finds himself in a strikingly similar position.

An analysis by the Financial Times of the opinion polls suggests Johnson's party is facing an electoral landscape hardly changed since the 2017 election was called. Labour was polling on 25 per cent on Tuesday, exactly the same level as when May called her snap vote.

Worryingly for Johnson, however, the Conservatives are significantly further behind than at the start of the last campaign. Whereas the Tories were polling 44 per cent on the day the previous election was called, they are currently projected to garner 36 per cent share of the vote.

The political circumstances mirror those of May, who was seeking to win a majority to secure a Brexit deal; Johnson is doing so to achieve the same goal.

Johnson's push for a vote before Christmas was in part motivated by his party's healthy lead in polls, which has grown steadily since he became prime minister in July. Last week, one pollster had the Tories as much as 16 points ahead of Jeremy Corbyn's Labour.

But polling experts have warned that the December 12th election will be even more unpredictable and difficult to anticipate than the last. The British Election Survey noted earlier this month that there was an "unprecedented" level of voter churn between the parties and allegiances were shifting as the electorate orientates down Remain/Leave lines.

John Curtice, the UK's leading pollster, said that Johnson's hopes of victory would depend on how well the Brexit party does. The better Nigel Farage's party polls, the more votes they will take off the Tories and risk letting in Labour.

"This election is not about Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, it's about Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage. Labour's hopes rest heavily on the Brexit party doing well - that's the paradox of this campaign," he said

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 30th, 2019 at 01:12:02 PM EST
No general election this year, Taoiseach tells FG Ministers
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has told his Fine Gael Ministers there will not be a pre-Christmas Irish general election.

Mr Varadkar made the comments at the weekly pre-Cabinet meeting of Fine Gael Ministers. No Fine Gael Minister disagreed with the Taoiseach's view at the meeting.

It follows several days of internal Fine Gael speculation about the possibility of a pre-Christmas election with many in the party believing the party's fortunes are riding high now.

Some Fine Gael TDs were keen on a snap election to capitalise on the new Brexit deal and the discomfort in Fianna Fáil over `Votegate' (where TDs voted for colleagues who were present in the Dáil chamber but who were not in their designated seats)and the uncertain outcome for Government TDs in the four by-elections to be held next month.

There was also a feeling among some in the party that the decision to hold a general election in Britain on December 12th created a possible window during which an election could be held.

Many in Fine Gael are also mindful of Enda Kenny's decision in October 2015 to delay until the spring. As one senior Fine Gael figure said: "He rued the day of not going early. We will never get as good a chance. By January, the kudos will not last."

Irish governments tend to lose mid-term bye-elections and so the government may not do well in the four bye-elections due next month caused by the election of Dail deputies to the European Parliament. Varadker (and to a lesser extent Fine Gael), have gotten a polling bounce due to the perceived success of the Government Brexit negotiating strategy, but that polling bounce is unlikely to persist long into the new year. Varadker has previously stated that his preferred polling date is next May.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 30th, 2019 at 01:59:59 PM EST
+0.5: "votegate" mention, no relevant exegesis
+1: "by-election" mention

## Democracy is not well understood.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Oct 30th, 2019 at 06:39:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unless the Leave Party siphons enough votes from the Tories I'm thinking the SNP will win some seats in Scotland, possibly approaching their 2015 'take,' and otherwise status quo.

IOW, "meet the new parliament, same as the old parliament."

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Oct 30th, 2019 at 03:48:11 PM EST
I wouldn't even try to predict. A slightly different hung parliament feels most likely, but the situation is chaotic - we're watching the transition from one configuration of parties to another during a major constitutional upheaval driven in part by massive changes to the communications and media infrastructure. I'm not convinced old models or previous results are terribly useful.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 30th, 2019 at 03:50:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, that's my feeling too.

Even tho I think the polls inflate the Tory position and under-estimate Labour's, I simply don't see any major changes to the numbers.

tbh, they should. Brexit notwithstanding, the country is in a serious mess from 10 years of Tory austerity and, by rights, we should be looking at a Labour win of 1997 standards. But, truly, we are in strange days

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 30th, 2019 at 04:40:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, but Corbyn is a crap Labour leader in this environment. He can't operate effectively in the media world that exists.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 30th, 2019 at 04:51:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you and I can agree on one issue, there is hope for all of the UK's political institutions and ahh vassal states.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Oct 30th, 2019 at 05:56:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It will be interesting to see how much of the campaigning is on Brexit and how much is on traditional Labour/Conservative partisan issues.
by asdf on Thu Oct 31st, 2019 at 12:55:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
from a US American view.

Little known fact: Some voters do it every two (2) years. Some just wait for the NEW! Decider to appear.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Oct 30th, 2019 at 04:57:08 PM EST
btw, yes, US "mid-term" general elections include ~ 1/3 US senators' seats ("class" division of ahh "sitting" terms) as well as all US House of Representatives and any elected offices (states' legislatures and political subdivisions of each, eg. municipal and county) as provided by states' "constitutional requirements" which do not coincide with teh Presidential Election.

10th Amendment: Whose idea was that? Check your Miranda (not that one, the other one) Federalists Papers No. 1-65.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Oct 30th, 2019 at 06:15:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the US there are also special elections almost every year. School boards, city commissioners, tax changes, recalls of last-year's politicians, etc.
by asdf on Thu Oct 31st, 2019 at 12:58:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By mail, so who cares if it is 10 degrees F outside.
by asdf on Thu Oct 31st, 2019 at 12:58:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
'tis the season of ill-will
Listen up, you ... people who ain't "dark."

I've lived in Britain during the season colloquially known as "winter". Low 40 F + typical overcast + typical rain ain't "winter" in ROW, or even USA. It's perennial mold season with or without CLIMATE CHANGE.

I am not a fan of neologism.

Say what you mean. You do not understand democratic authority or "proportional representation": You haven't the faintest fuckin' idea who a bunch of Vit-D voters, imprisoned on Britain for 1,000 years by UK political institutions, will elect to Parliament this time, because this time is sooooo different than the last time some feared a minority of voters who are unwilling or unable to flee the islands. You are UNCERTAIN how your political institutions will placate a homicidal minority of people should the majority THWART (Sep word of the month) their political ambitions., their "rights."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Oct 30th, 2019 at 07:24:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Other factors besides Brexit:

  • Greta tour
  • Oil price
  • Position statements by movie stars
  • Politicians suffering heart attacks
  • Global economic collapse due to idiotic policies on all sides
  • Thermonuclear war
  • Etc.
by asdf on Thu Oct 31st, 2019 at 01:01:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]

That could be a game changer.

I'm not holding my breath.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Oct 31st, 2019 at 11:12:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe FB will sit back for a while so Twitter can set the rules for what counts as political advertising.

Example #1. The entire topic of Global Warming is a socialist hoax, driven by political goals, therefore anybody who mentions it on Twitter has their account suspended?

by asdf on Thu Oct 31st, 2019 at 11:00:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd say Jill is at the bottom already.
political message reach should be earned, not bought
Failure to communicate race.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Nov 1st, 2019 at 01:46:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From Wikipedia, it looks like turkeys voting for Christmas is a long British tradition.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Oct 30th, 2019 at 07:17:35 PM EST
That's strange. The bibble tells me
Boris Johnson won his fourth bid to go to the polls by 438 to 20 after Jeremy Corbyn declared that Labour would support an election as a "once-in-a-generation chance to transform our country". The pre-Christmas vote will be the first December poll since 1923.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Oct 30th, 2019 at 07:37:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who in HELL born in 1902 is alive to vote in 2019?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Oct 30th, 2019 at 07:47:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you know why I subtracted 21 (b. 1902) from 1923? I am well-versed in strings of non sequiturs STREWN by the presses in UK or US to this day.

wkiwtf, Representation of the People Act 1918

The Representation of the People Act 1918 was an Act of Parliament passed to reform the electoral system in Great Britain and Ireland. It is sometimes known as the Fourth Reform Act.[1] The Act extended the franchise in parliamentary elections, also known as the right to vote, to men aged 21 and over, whether or not they owned property, and to women aged 30 and over who resided in the constituency or occupied land or premises with a rateable value above £5, or whose husbands did.[2][3] At the same time, it extended the local government franchise to include women aged 21 and over on the same terms as men.[4]

1928, 1948, 1969, 1983, 1985, 1991, 2015, et seq.

I'm not even trying, but I hope y'all see a PATTERN in acts of Parliament (HoC, HoL) to devise any and all impediments to universal sufferage, or "democracy" in the UK. IF Brits don't know their "rights", how in hell do MEDIA personalities inform them about legal terms of the Withdrawal Agreement and exit from the EU "debated" by their representatives, much less "democracy"?

These people need practice, and they will not get it from watching MEDIA.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Oct 30th, 2019 at 08:36:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah but if the purpose of democracy is to keep the proletariat from rioting, and the proletariat isn't rioting, then the amount of democracy is adequate.
by asdf on Thu Oct 31st, 2019 at 01:03:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... and the UK is more democratic than France, by that metric.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Oct 31st, 2019 at 11:17:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Thu Oct 31st, 2019 at 09:41:31 PM EST
There could be trouble ahead for both Labour and the Tories if Farage follows through on his threat to to contest every seat absent the Conservative's abandoning Boris' Brexit deal, "which is not Brexit", and joining a leave alliance for a "clean" no deal Brexit instead.

Although Farage is targetting Boris' deal, his party is more of a threat in more working class Labour seats with Leave majorities but where voters are reluctant to vote Tory.

However just by joining the national conversation about Brexit and where the UK should go next, he complicates the picture for Boris and makes it harder to unite the Leave vote.

Leave voters may also be more inclined to remember the last three years of chaotic Tory rule if they have an alternative Leave party to vote for.

While recent opinion polls are continuing to show a clear (average 11%) lead for the Conservatives, Labour is increasing its lead over the Lib Dems (average c. 8%), which means the familiar two horse first past the post horse race seems to be taking shape again.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 1st, 2019 at 02:03:25 PM EST
I understand in those Labour districts with clear preference for Leave, many will not vote. Never will these men vote for a Tory. Farage could pick up these scattered Labour voters, he is not Tory, unless he presents his party as a close union with Boris. Just as the blue collar workers in the States liked Trump, many like the populist creed of Boris. Corbyn should tag Boris as a capitalist, conservative agenda, pro business owners, London financial district (LSE) and the wealthy.

This election should not be about Brexit, people are tired of it. Play out the protection of workers rights, housing, poverty rise, NHS deficiency and inequality in the policy of the Tories.

I watched the debate between Boris and Jeremy, Boris is full of hot air on data and statistics. "Don't publish the economic effects of any type of Brexit until AFTER the Xmas election." Yuletide.

UK cancer survival rates below European average | NHS - Year 2013 |
UK cancer survival rates still trailing European peers | Deloitte - Feb. 2018 |
UK cancer survival rates are too low - our priorities are all wrong | The Guardian - Sept. 13, 2019 |

by Oui on Fri Nov 1st, 2019 at 03:59:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A tough mountain to climb for Jeremy Corbyn as leader ... fighting the right-wing press and how his policies are framed.

[Source: IPSOS]

by Oui on Fri Nov 1st, 2019 at 07:09:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Fri Nov 1st, 2019 at 10:46:10 PM EST

Landssakes, won't the MPs have a bit of European (Withdrawal) Bill of 2019 fine print to read.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Nov 2nd, 2019 at 01:19:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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