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General Election or Referendum? Interesting reading

(16 Posts)
Nonnie Wed 29-May-19 16:56:27

Just read this and didn't feel it really fitted in the other thread so starting a new one.

may 28 2019, 5:00pm, the times
There’s no avoiding election or a second vote
daniel finkelstein

Tory leadership hopefuls can talk about no-deal or renegotiating Brexit but the same stark choice confronts all of them
Every profession has its jargon, designed to allow insiders to talk to each other without accidentally enlightening outsiders. My first jobs were in computing, a field which raises jargon to an art form. But when I started in politics I found that didn’t do too badly either.
The most important technical term I was taught was “LTT”. This stands for line to take: the position every leading member of a party should take on any given issue. There is an LTT for everything, even the smallest question a politician might be asked. It is usually a single paragraph and then, to help if further detail is sought, a couple more paragraphs are provided under the heading “if pressed”.
When someone in politics is described as “a safe pair of hands” it means they are able to remember the LTT on anything, even under pressure. They can make it sound convincing and as if they’ve just thought of it, even when, as is often the case, it isn’t and they haven’t. I recall one minister in the Lords following the LTT and then reading out loud the words “if pressed” before reciting the rest. This person was not “a safe pair of hands”.
During the Tory leadership election each candidate will have an LTT for themselves and their followers about Brexit. A single paragraph that sets out their position and a couple more paragraphs if pressed.
Jeremy Hunt gave his LTT an outing yesterday, announcing that no-deal is a disaster, no Brexit an equal disaster, and Theresa May’s compromise deal dead. So he proposes going back to Brussels to get a new deal. When pressed, this LTT creaks but it doesn’t break. Nobody can say for certain that Europe will not offer a new deal. It seems to me incredibly unlikely, but who can be sure?
As a result, this idea about going back to Europe will feature in the LTT of most of the candidates. Others will argue that no-deal can indeed get through the House of Commons, or even that Mrs May’s deal can get through the House of Commons without her presence to hold it back. And provided their assertions about the future aren’t actually physically impossible, they will get through their interviews.
The leadership election will thus consist of a great deal of dancing around the topic that really matters. What would the leading candidates do in the position they are actually likely to face?
Here is the choice that I think really faces the new Conservative prime minister. Try to resolve Brexit by holding an election or try to resolve it by holding a second referendum.
Look at the alternatives. Might a new government that looks serious about no-deal get a proper fresh offer from Brussels, one that changes things? Just about tenable but improbable. Could a no-deal government just power on without parliament’s support and without falling? Possible, arguable, but probably not. Could a new leader get Mrs May’s deal through in his or her honeymoon? Could get you through two minutes on BBC Radio Kent, but far fetched.
The reality is that in this parliament there isn’t a majority for any solution to Brexit. Yes, you can argue that somehow there might be, and maybe that will turn out to be the case, but we all really know that is pretty unlikely. So you either change the parliament or you seek to make the decision outside parliament. That’s the choice. An election or a referendum.
No Conservative MP wants a general election. Boris Johnson might well lose even his own seat in an election. It’s really quite possible that in an election fought before the government has delivered Brexit, the Conservatives will not merely be defeated but actually flattened.
So the LTT of all the no-deal candidates will simply deny that their policy would produce an early election. But they are all perfectly well aware that it is highly likely that it will.
The government has a majority of just five and this is not big enough to do what is necessary to ram no-deal through a parliament that doesn’t want it. No-deal Brexit itself might provoke some MPs to withhold their confidence, but what is even more likely to produce such an outcome is the constitutional issue. I do not believe the government would survive trying simply to ignore parliament on the way to no-deal.
So if the government cannot get no-deal through without an election, can’t change the deal, can’t get the deal through and can’t fight an election until it has achieved Brexit, there is only one option left. A referendum.
Just as none of the no-deal candidates want to talk about an election, none of the anti no-deal candidates want to talk about a second referendum. They think it would mean certain defeat in the leadership race and they are probably right. When I suggested in this column a referendum just between Mrs May’s deal and no-deal (in other words without Remain on the ballot), more than one contender said to me that even mentioning the word referendum would be curtains for them.
Yet if trying no-deal means an election, and the Tories would lose an election, a referendum is in the obvious interests even of Tory Brexiteers. Jeremy Corbyn would fight, and probably win, an election on a platform of renegotiating the political declaration and then having a referendum. No-deal wouldn’t even be on the ballot. The choice would be between a soft Brexit and Remain.
As the leadership candidates carefully craft their LTTs they will ignore all this. They will advance positions that are plausible, but unlikely, and then refuse to answer further questions, dismissing them as defeatist.
But with Mrs May’s deal sadly and stupidly rejected, the chance of a “get out of jail free card” is small. In real life the next leader will in all likelihood have to choose between an election and a referendum, with an election probably leading to a referendum anyway (just a soft Brexit one with a Labour government).
For any candidate to say this is to court defeat. I know that. But Tories should reflect on this — that things are in a bad state when telling it how it is makes you a certain loser

Framilode Wed 29-May-19 17:33:36

If it comes to a choice between a referendum and a general election I think both of the big parties will choose a referendum. They are both scared of a general election at the moment.

GrandmaKT Wed 29-May-19 18:17:46

What about the revoke option?

LarrythecatknowsitAll Wed 29-May-19 18:24:48

With this remain parliament i think it’s inevitable we will have a second ref.

Not sure How this will heal the country unless it stays leave.

If it’s a narrow leave I think it’s very frightening for the country.

LarrythecatknowsitAll Wed 29-May-19 18:25:19

Voted leave btw.

LarrythecatknowsitAll Wed 29-May-19 18:26:03

I mean remain grin but Brexit in the euro elections

GrandmaKT Wed 29-May-19 18:52:37

Gosh, that's a strange mixture Larry do you mind explaining your logic behind the way you voted?

crystaltipps Wed 29-May-19 18:53:20

Problem for a referendum is, if it’s a narrow result whichever way it goes, which seems likely, the divisions won’t be resolved.

Grandad1943 Wed 29-May-19 19:31:28

Jeremy Corbyn has resolutely supported the Brexit Policy brought forward by the twelve thousand lay delegates that attended the Labour Movement Annual Delegate conference of last September. As has been stated on this forum many times, that policy is that the parliamentary Labour Party should seek as priority to bring about a General Election and should that not prove possible to then seek a second referendum (Peoples Vote).

In the last week and in the light of the European Parliament Election results, pressure has dramatically been increased on the Corbyn office by some Labour MPs to adopt a policy of a second referendum as priority. However, i believe that Jeremy Corbyn will remain in full support of the Conference policy of "seeking to bring about a General Election as priority.

The reason for the above would be that should he turn away from the "General Election first policy" he would very much sacrifice the support of the lay member affiliate activists that carry out so much of the organising in the Labour movement. That policy those activist wish to see maintained are for the reason that the broader Labour policies outside of Brexit are very much in their favour should a Labour Government come about.

Of course, I feel with the present situation in the Conservative party it's inconceivable that a second referendum will be brought forward, but it is conceivable that the Tory party could be forced into a General Election due to Brexit rifts in the party.

However, never has the Brexit policy adopted by those lay members attending last Septembers Labour Conference looked to be the right choice. In that, should a General Election come about resulting in a Labour Party victory, then an attempt at renegotiation with the EU regarding Brexit would be forthcoming, and should that bring about any change or not, a second referendum would be placed before the electorate.

MaizieD Wed 29-May-19 20:21:59

As has been stated on this forum many times, that policy is that the parliamentary Labour Party should seek as priority to bring about a General Election and should that not prove possible to then seek a second referendum (Peoples Vote).

Well, without having followed proceedings closely at the time, I recall that this was a composite motion which delegates were bullied 'managed' into accepting by the party executive. Nice and fudgey ...

At what point do they accept that they aren't going to get a general election? 29th October?

Despite the evidence that Labour voters ( of whom the majority voted Remain) are not happy with Labour's handling of the Brexit issue they plough on regardless, losing members and voters, trying to appeal to both sides and failing. I understand that there have been calls for a Special Conference but I can't see that happening.

jura2 Wed 29-May-19 20:37:53

Many more remain LP members and supporters have been appalled by the sacking of Alistair- especially as the dreaded and dreadful Kate Hoey, is still there- having openly campaigned with NF sad

Anyone, individual or group - has to adapt and adjust to new circumstances especially in very dangerous emergency situations - or disappear into oblivion. Simple's.

Grandad1943 Wed 29-May-19 21:08:03

MaizieD, regarding your [email protected]:21 today, there would be no point in organising a recall Labour Delegate Conference at this time as the next one is only three months away.

There has also been little demand for such a recall due to present circumstances outside Labour Party control. The major among those circumstances would be that the Tory party will not bring about either a General Election or a Second Referendum within the next three months as they are in the throes of a leadership election with will take up a least the next six weeks.

By that time Parliament will be on the point of adjourning for its Summer recess and following that we have the party conference season.

So, there is little chance I feel that Britain will actually leave the EU at the end of October as Parliament will have only just reassembled by then. I believe that the first thing the MPs will put through the House of Commons at that time will be a further bill to ensure we do not leave without an agreement.

Problem is MaizieD, the Labour Party are not the Party of government, and therefore (as always throughout this crisis) it is the Tory Party that has and always had sole responsibility for all that has happened and all that is to come until a General Election is held.

MaizieD Wed 29-May-19 21:55:56

I'm afraid, Grandad, that 'ordinary, non party member voters don't see it in the same way that you do. Labour voters are fed up. Labour Leavers are following their froggy faced Messiah and Labour Remainers are going Green and orange. They care very little about the wording of conference motions. They'd like to see some action.

I am perfectly well aware that Labour are not in government. Problem is, they're not in opposition either.

Grandad1943 Wed 29-May-19 22:14:25

MaizieD, it makes little difference whether the Labour party are a good or a bad Parliamentary opposition.

It makes little difference if the Labour Delegate Conference policy is a good or bad policy.

The reason for the above is that the Conservative Party in conjunction with the Democratic Unionist Party on Northern Ireland are the ruling coalition in the House of Commons and it has been their joint decisions that have continuously prevailed throughout this ever-growing Brexit crisis.

As stated, Labour in opposition (either good or bad) cannot or could not change the above situation. Only a General Election can change that.

MaizieD Wed 29-May-19 23:12:03

I think you underestimate the worth and influence of a good Opposition; Grandad.

Also, one of their tasks when out of office is to build support for their party in preparation for fighting and winning a General Election. They aren't being spectacularly successful with that, are they?

Nonnie Thu 30-May-19 12:31:23

I suspect they are all trying to avoid a GE and a referendum because they are scared of saying what they stand for and losing their jobs. Very few are prepared to put the good of the country first. If we have either one it will realistically be a referendum because it will be the major issue for most people. Depending on which side the main 2 parties stand on we could see huge swings to Libdems and Brexit.

They seem to be quaking in their shoes at the moment because of the Boris case. So many of them have tweeted about how wrong it is to take him to court but if the CPS pull the case there will be outrage.