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"It's time for everyone to..." Those always seem to me fairly incantatory grounds for making a major decision. I think there's every reason for the Opposition to bide their time and use their control of the general election agenda.

Corbyn may believe he knows how to campaign on other (vital) issues than Brexit, but the Brexit and anti-Parliamentary noise Johnson and Demonic Cummings can drum up at the moment will, I fear, drown his voice. No election should be held yet, that Johnson can come out of with a comfortable majority (and an agreement with the Brexit Party would be perfectly on the cards in order to ensure that). What we are not thinking much about is how he would use it over five years. Legislation to hobble Parliament (rather than reform it) and increase the power of the executive with plebiscitary backing would imo be the minimum.

So yes, a caretaker government is to be wished for, but the potential parties to it cannot or will not agree. Until they do, leaving the organisation and framing of an eventual referendum in Johnson & Demonic's hands would be utter folly, the result would be a greater manipulation even than 2016.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing, nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 07:41:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Labour frontbenchers discussed the timing of a potential election at a testy shadow cabinet meeting on Tuesday, with Corbyn loyalists Laura Pidcock and Dan Carden calling for the party to back an early poll.

Carden told colleagues the "referendum first" approach espoused by some of his colleagues was a fantasy, which wouldn't win a majority in parliament and which the government would anyway refuse to implement.

The deputy leader, Tom Watson, has argued publicly that it would be better for Labour to settle the issue of Brexit in a referendum and then contest a general election on a wider set of issues.

At the shadow cabinet meeting, the shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, clashed with colleagues over Labour's stance on a second referendum.

So Corbyn wants an early election. On his head be it.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing, nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 09:05:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My working assumption has always been that Corbyn is calling for a general election because he has to, as Leader of the Opposition, but that his call is essentially a bluff, because, as you say, Boris would likely win it.

The bluff is directed not at Boris, but at all those Independents and rebels who, along with Jo Swinson, would probably lose their seats if an election were called now, and to force them to support him as caretaker PM in order to avoid it.

For it to be fully effective he must wait until the drama has played out and we are at the point, post extension, of where the HoC is actually due to vote for it, either by two thirds majority or approaching 14 days after a VONC in Boris.

Then the choice will be clear. Either a caretaker government is formed or we have an election that Boris is well placed to win. If it happens before a second referendum, that means a relatively hard Brexit.

Which do they hate more, a hard Brexit or Corbyn as caretaker PM for up to 6 months with the sole mandate of organising a referendum on Boris' deal versus Remain?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 09:10:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Partly that, but I think Corbyn mostly believes in his political message. Remember, he supported a new election in 2017 when everything pointed towards May winning a much bigger victory than Johnson's lead now.
by fjallstrom on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 10:54:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a far more dangerous game than stringing things along.  It means Corbyn believes he has the pulse of both MPs and the electorate, and that is just delusional because no one has either.  No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy, but the current chaos transcends that by about three standard deviations.  Better to give this large-mouth bass all the line and let him run himself out.  If Corbyn insists on reeling in now, he's only admitting he doesn't know how to play the line or he has no line to run.  And both of those are a tacit admission he doesn't have the tools to pull off a direct confrontation such as an election either.  Proceeding straight to a direct confrontation would therefore lead to a bad end.
by rifek on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 11:15:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is that Parliament, and by extension, Corbyn, are increasingly being blamed for the current paralysis, with Boris being given a pass for at least trying to "get Brexit done". I suspect the electorate, including many remain voters, will punish anyone deemed responsible.

Never mind that it is not the job of the Leader of the Opposition to provide a PM with a majority he doesn't otherwise have. Never mind that Corbyn is trying to straddle a Leave/Remain divide in his own party and has the petty hatred of the rest of Parliament to contend with.

Corbyn may be playing an astute game tactically, but strategically he is losing the war, unless he can change the game somehow, and in my view, that means organising a second referendum.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 24th, 2019 at 08:03:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems to me that "unless he can change the game somehow" is exactly what is going on. A new election would not be the traditional Labour vs Conservative contest, it would be a Brexit vs Euro contest with crossover support from both of the traditional parties. Currently the party structures are not set up to support this new alignment (maybe LibDem is), which is why (if you ask me) an election will not solve anything.

The more interesting question is what will the party lineup be after the Brexit or non-Brexit decision is finally taken (if we are still alive to see it). The Workers do not seem to be very enthusiastic about taking on The City at this point, so maybe the new alignment, or maybe even a third alignment, might persist--and the Labour and Conservative parties thrown onto the ash heap permanently.

by asdf on Thu Oct 24th, 2019 at 02:18:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The reason for my use of an "incantatory" phrase is my perception that the argument for Brexit is gaining ground not for any intrinsic merit, but because even many Remain voters are so fed up with it they just want it done and dusted. It's sad that this should become a winning argument and I have no difficulty with Corbyn frustrating it. But either way it could well drive a Boris victory unless a second referendum provides a means of ending the paralysis. It is also a dreadful precedent for all kinds of fascist policies in the future - "the people are fed up with immigrants taking their jobs"...etc.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 09:39:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Based on the observation that Remain Conservatives seem willing to do literally anything except let Corbyn be PM--which makes zero sense because he would be temporary in any case--it seems to me that if there is an election and the choices are Labour/Corbyn or Conservative/Johnson (or LibDem/useless-person-why-don't-they-get-how-third-parties-screw-things-up) then Johnson would win, probably with an actual majority.

If things seem bad now, imagine five years of Johnson running a party with a majority in Parliament.

by asdf on Thu Oct 24th, 2019 at 02:23:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I still have the feeling that the LibDems are Remain's worst enemies. If they don't manage to coup Corbyn or keep brexit going they end up with nothing to offer. I'd imagine the ex-Tories are more likely to spite-vote Corbyn in(since politics is anyway an extension to Eton games to them).
by generic on Thu Oct 24th, 2019 at 03:12:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The danger is that a stint in power would make Corbyn look like a potential PM. The entire strategy against him has been to make him look unacceptable, which he is useless at countering. When he's been PM for  a few weeks without the world ending that strategy may fail.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 24th, 2019 at 07:37:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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