It’s now a certainty that Great Britain will not be “crashing” out of the European Union at midnight on Thursday without a deal, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously promised. There will be a pause of up to three months before such a thing might happen, but recent news of the EU agreeing to the last deal they were offered has given many Brits cause for hope. But in the meantime, BoJo has been itching to have another election before then, believing that he can bolster his position by picking up a few more seats in Parliament. It’s an idea that the opposition has been treating as dead in the water until now, but in a dramatic turnaround, the Labour Party announced this week that they would actually be supporting a rare December election. (NBC News)
The United Kingdom looks to be heading for an early general election days before Christmas, the latest attempt to break the country’s Brexit deadlock.
The House of Commons is set to vote Tuesday night on whether to hold an early ballot in mid-December — which would be the country’s first general election in that month in almost 100 years.
Leading in the polls, Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants an early election but does not have enough parliamentary power to sign off on this alone.
Hours before the pivotal vote in Parliament, the opposition Labour Party said it would be supporting the bill, meaning it looks very likely to pass.
On the surface, this looks like a win for Boris Johnson. It’s true that the latest polling shows his Conservative Party up by double digits. If the votes played out along those lines, he could regain solid control in Parliament and push forward with his plans. But we should also keep in mind that Theresa May held a similar polling advantage when she called for a new round of elections a couple of years back and wound up going down in a humiliating defeat.
That forced her to form a new coalition with minor parties to retain her majority. In fact, she might have been in serious danger of losing her place as Prime Minister if they could have found anyone suicidal enough to want to take the job off her hands.
This shift by Labour is rather puzzling. As recently as yesterday, the press was predicting that Labour would remain in opposition and the new election wouldn’t be approved. But with Jeremy Corbyn suddenly getting on board with the idea, plans for a new election could sail through later today.
But why? Is Corbyn reading a different set of numbers internally and thinking that his party could wind up prevailing? It’s not impossible. The Conservative Party may hold a decent advantage in public sentiment in general terms but make no mistake here. This election is once again going to be about Brexit and nothing but Brexit. The divide in the nation on that subject is much narrower. You can find a solid majority in favor of leaving the EU, but many of them only support it if they like the deal they’re getting. A No-Deal Brexit is far less popular.
We’ll know if it’s happening in a few hours. At that point, both sides will be back in the streets trying to cajole an electorate that’s largely so sick of this subject that many of them have stopped watching the news entirely. Good luck getting a heavy turnout with that sort of audience, folks.