Monday, September 2, 2019

A Different Kind Of Labour Day

Apparently the future of the United Kingdom as a going concern, as they say, comes down to a classic conundrum: who is the bigger idiot, Boris Johnson, or Jeremy Corbyn?

Boris Johnson is considering seeking an early general election if MPs wanting to block a no-deal Brexit defeat the government this week.
The BBC understands "live discussions" are going on in No 10 about asking Parliament to approve a snap poll.

Political editor Laura Kuenssberg said it could happen as soon as Wednesday but no final decision had been taken.

Mr Johnson is due to make a statement in Downing Street at about 1800 BST setting out the choices facing MPs.

Tory ex-ministers are joining forces with Labour to stop the UK leaving the EU on 31 October without a deal.

Amid mounting speculation about an election, Mr Johnson is due to hold an unscheduled cabinet meeting at 17.00 BST and will also speak to the wider Conservative parliamentary party later.

The prime minister has said the UK must leave the EU on 31 October, with or without a deal, prompting a number of MPs to unite across party lines to try to prevent the UK leaving without an agreement.

They are expected to put forward legislation on Tuesday to stop no deal under "SO24" or Standing Order 24 - the rule allowing MPs to ask for a debate on a "specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration".

Sources have told the BBC the bill would force the prime minister to seek a three-month extension until 31 January if no withdrawal deal has been passed by 19 October - the day after the next EU leaders' summit.

Tory rebels - who include former ministers and prominent backbenchers - have been warned that those who support the legislation face being expelled from the party and deselected.

But leading figures, including ex-Justice Secretary David Gauke, have insisted that despite the threat, they will press ahead and - in their words - put the "national interest" ahead of their own.

Fellow rebel and former Chancellor Philip Hammond has written to Mr Johnson to ask for details about the state of negotiations with the EU and what alternatives to the Irish backstop - the major sticking point in the talks - his government has put forward.

A No 10 spokesman said it was treating this week's Brexit votes as an issue of confidence - those traditionally trigger a general election if the government loses.

Now, there's no way a snap election can happen before the Halloween deadline for Brexit, Johnson knows this, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn knows this, British voters know this.  But by making everything about Corbyn, arguably the only person in British politics more hated than Boris Johnson right now, Johnson figures everyone will fall in line, including his own party.

It's a pretty classic move, make everyone focus on the "real enemy" so you can consolidate power among your allies.  Johnson is betting everyone in his party will fall in line now. Thing is, this is Boris Johnson trying this, and he's not that bright to begin with.  The problem is if Johnson's threats to expel any Tories who oppose him actually manages to alienate even one or two of his party and they test that bluff, his entire government collapses.

Now, best case scenario, Johnson's arrogance backfires spectacularly and forms a coalition government called "Boris Johnson Is A Stupid Wanker And We're Putting A Stop To This Brexit Thing Until We Can Get This All Ironed Out" and the UK works out a real government without the Damocles effect of Brexit hanging over everyone, and we get on with things.

Ideally, this new coalition government would form around a Labour party leader who isn't raging anti-Semite asshole Jeremy Corbyn, either, and then everybody wins because the next PM isn't Johnson and isn't Corbyn, and there's no Brexit.

On the other hand, Johnson could actually try to call for snap elections before the Brexit deadline and the whole thing blows up.


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