Wednesday 24 July 2019

Changing the Guard - For Now


This Cabinet is turning out to be a one-sided, free-market, fans of Boris Johnson, right wing bunch after a clear out bigger than Harold Macmillan's Night of the Long Knives and surely this is going to head straight into the wall of the House of Commons with the increased likelihood of defections, resistance and blockage. It is a War Cabinet but without the numbers.

So, Boris Johnson made no faux pas, the only way he would not have become Prime Minister, and now that he has ascended to this Office, let's hope it is short and sweet.

There will be an Executive, of course, and Parliament will go on its holidays, so there will be no legislation passed. UK governments can do quite a lot without Parliament, and this one will show its shape and teeth.

This time period may see some defections. The party on the rise here is the Liberal Democrats, so it is most likely to pick up MPs (and Lords), unless defectors go independent.

And then when Parliament returns, it will know what it faces. If it is the 'die' of 'Do or Die' (who will be doing the dying?) Parliament will plan to put a stop to the dying.

How so? If the House of Commons does not grab the order paper, it will instead have the Fixed-term Parliaments Act to rely on as Statute process. When a government loses a vote of confidence, unless by two thirds or more, a fortnight of arranging then takes place, before a further vote, and this majority against (barring a few changling Labour MPS - who won't follow through) can be the basis of a temporary executive whose whole function is to prevent a no deal, and then move presumably towards a General Election.

Boris Johnson may try to bluster to the nation, so to speak, but the MPs know him well enough.

It is quite possible too that Jeremy Corbyn will run out of steam; he is losing credibility and, whilst no one should under-estimate his campaigning skills, he does not have the head of steam he once had - and in 2017 that wasn't enough. Corbyn, like May, has proved to be brittle, inflexible and with a tin ear. Faced by oncoming headlights he seems to do nothing, and when he does something it seems inadequate.

I really believe that the tipping point is there for the Liberal Democrats to achieve big numbers of MPs. It is very difficult, but Labour is losing precisely what the Liberal Democrats are gaining seat by seat. So politics could be realigned, bizarrely assisted by the Brexit Party sucking away both Labour and Tory votes. Johnson won't want an alliance with the Brexit Party because it would admit that his own communication skills and reach are limited, and his ego won't countenance that (and to this extent, our 'intelligent idiot' is similar to idiot Donald Trump in America, although Trump cannot do Johnson's self-effacing humour). Also a General Election before leaving the EU, or instead of leaving the EU, will dent Johnson and his bluster.

Interesting times. I still think the likely outcome is not leaving the European Union. Theresa May may have said, "I think not," but perhaps others have different ideas.