Theresa May is threatening to call a general election if she loses a vote in the House of Commons over the Article 50 Notification. But surely she is bluffing? What makes her think a House of Commons which votes against A50 will give her the two-thirds majority necessary to dissolve Parliament under the terms of the Fixed Term Parliament Act?
I suppose there’s no underestimating the potential duplicity of the Labour party.
When both the Conservatives and Labour are deeply divided on the one crucial issue the election will be about, and Labour are saddled with a weak and incompetent leader, all an early election will achieve will be to muddy the waters. At best it’s a combination of a crapshoot and a game of Prisoner’s Dilemma when nobody really has a clue what they’ve voting for. It promises to be even worse than the referendum campaign, and is mostly unlikely to result in a Parliament that reflects the electorate.
What will happen when Theresa May’s plans unravel and her authority crumbles is anyone’s guess. Perhaps we’ll end up with some form of ad-hoc coalition of moderate leavers and moderate remainers from both the Tories and Labour that will attempt to negotiate a deal with the EU that’s satisfactory to a critical mass of the country as whole? Or perhaps something even more unpleasant will crawl into the political vacuum?
This has to have been the ugliest and nastiest Tory Party conference I can remember while the party have been in power. Yes, there were some vile hate-fests when people like the sadistic Iain Duncan-Smith were leader, but in those days they were the unelectable opposition to the imperial pomp of Tony Blair, and they were in little danger of winning an election.
But, though we never elected them, this lot are the actual government. And they seem to have gone Full Donald Trump.
Yes I know Tory conference attendees are essentially the comment section of The Daily Mail and it’s traditional for ministers to play to the gallery and throw them red meat in return for rapturous applause. And some of what’s said gets watered-down or quietly forgotten in the following weeks and months. But come on, ministers channelling Mein Kampf? And being praised by French neo-Fascist leader Marine Le Pen? What the Hell is going on?
Despite all the nastiness and bigotry of Momentum, in terms of actual policy Labour have not shifted as far to the left as the Tories have just shifted to the right. There are a few economic announcements that sound like an overture to the traditional working class with the intent of parking their tanks on Labour’s lawn. But it’s quite wrong to think of that representing any sort of move towards the centre ground. This is more Fascism-lite.
Theresa May does not speak for me. Her small-minded and backward-looking vision of Britain is an alien land to the cosmopolitan nation where I have lived and worked all my life.