Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Changing the Electoral Cycle

George Osborne continues to screw the young and the poorest, but has carried out a few retreats, U turns and a Blairite spending review.

Instead of dishing out the pain, come what may, and exploiting a supposed weak Labour party in opposition, he's retreated to a less painful stance, with a reliance on cuts to Universal Credit and its philosophy to do his bidding.

But the news organisations keep missing why he might have altered the electoral cycle in economic terms. It's because whatever happens in the European Referendum, the Tories will then start to eat each other. Whether we stay in, or come out, the accusations will fly, and they are doing already about Cameron's fake renegotiation stance - one further weakened by his need to co-operate over terrorism.

Whatever the result, the Tories will lose, but the loss by bad feeling might be delayed by the first sense that 'a decision was taken' and the losers losing. And that's the best moment the Tories can go for an election. If they wait longer, Labour might strengthen either behind the admirable Jeremy Corbyn or after some coup attempt within the Parliamentary Labour Party.

So I expect an attempt to repeal the Fixed Term Parliament Act,
where the Tories might find sympathisers elsewhere for a majority. At present the PLP and others might well be for its maintenance, plus a few Tories - in other words, it cannot then be changed. But it could well be repealed if it doesn't simply involve a return to the Prime Minister's decision to dissolve Parliament (an ability that derives from him being the Monarch's first minister - how Royal power continued to function).

Osborne is also positioning himself to take over from Cameron, and he will be keen to make this sooner than later, even if he is already acting as Chief Executive to Cameron as Chair. The 'Blairite' positioning is therefore now, deliberate and with the Referendum timing in mind. This government will want more than its effective majority of about 16, certainly as that will be gone after the Referendum.

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