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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?

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 09:10:18 AM EST
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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
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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
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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.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 24th, 2019 at 08:03:04 AM EST
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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
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