One of the big questions will be to what extent the election to be held on December 12 will be a proxy referendum on Brexit, the deadline for which has been pushed back yet again to January 31, 2020. There is clearly a lot more at stake on the outcome of a general election than what will happen with Brexit but it will undoubtedly loom large. Those for whom it is a major issue and want to leave the EU will mostly vote for the Conservatives while those who want to remain in the EU will mostly vote for the Liberals and Labour.
While Labour has not been as unequivocal as the Liberals in saying they want to remain, they seem to be committed to supporting the People’s Vote movement that is asking that any final deal be put to the public for a vote, which is effectively a second referendum, although this time people will have a much better idea of what they will be voting on. The People’s Vote website lists Labour, Liberals, Greens, Women’s Equality, and Change UK as being the parties in favor of a People’s Vote, while the Conservatives, UKIP, and the Brexit party are listed as opposed.
Cory Doctorow points out an interesting piece of information, that there has been a big spike in the number of young people registering to vote, though what that means about the mood of the electorate is hard to tell since we do not know why they are particularly interested in voting this time.
Of course Donald Trump had to insert himself into the discussion, coming out strongly against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in his own incoherent and inarticulate way.
“I have great relationships with many of the leaders, including Boris,” Trump said. “He’s a fantastic man. And I think he’s the exact right guy for the times.”
“And Corbyn would be so bad for your country,” Trump said of the Labour Party leader. “He’d be so bad he’d take you in such a bad way. He’d take you into such bad places. But your country has potential potential. It’s a great country.”
Corbyn on Thursday accused Trump of “trying to interfere in Britain’s election to get his friend Boris Johnson elected.”
From over here, it is not clear that the British public cares two cents for what Trump thinks but I wonder whether, given the fact that Trump is highly unpopular over there, Boris Johnson may wish that Trump would butt out since his endorsement might have a negative effect on his chances.
Meanwhile Nigel Farage, another Trump acolyte and verbose advocate of the hardest possible Brexit and erstwhile ally of Johnson during the Brexit referendum of 2016, clearly seems to find the deal that Johnson proposed to parliament highly distasteful. He has demanded that the Conservatives form an alliance with his Brexit party in pushing for a no-deal Brexit, threatening to contest every seat in the general election if he does not do so. This would split the Leave vote and endanger the Conservative party’s chances of winning the outright majority that current polls suggest is quite possible, even likely.
Nigel Farage has launched his general election campaign by saying his Brexit party will contest every seat in the country unless Boris Johnson agrees to drop his deal with the EU and sign up to a “leave alliance”.
The former Ukip leader also praised the US president, Donald Trump, for his intervention in which he suggested the prime minister and the Brexit party should form a partnership and claimed some government ministers have discussed his offer of a pact with him.
At the launch in central London on Friday, Farage said his message for the prime minister was: “Drop the deal because it’s not Brexit. Drop the deal because as these weeks go by and people realise what you’ve signed up to … people will not like it.
Will Farage carry out what could be a serious threat or is it just a bluff to wring more concessions out of Johnson?
Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of Brexit: The Story That Never Ends.