About this Section
The London March planned for October 20th by People’s Vote has to be supported to make it bigger than the June 23rd demonstration. The People’s Vote itself has severe limitations, but keeping the pressure on the politicians is vital. The Prime Minister has said there will be No Vote under any circumstances, so while the ideal solution is a Third Referendum the priority is to put pressure on Westminster to reverse the Prime Minister’s position.
This issue will be focussed by the vote on the Deal, now due in November. Theresa May has said the options are her Deal or no Deal, and No Deal is increasingly threatening chaos. Under this threat, MPs may vote for the Deal rather than have chaos. However with the Tory Hard Liners threatening to vote against the Deal whatever it is, Labour could get a majority to defeat the Deal if their MPs vote against it. However a no Deal solution could be imposed by May using Crown Prerogative and the 2016 mandate of the Referendum if MPs vote against the Deal.
The spectre of a hung parliament with MPs refusing to vote for the Deal if Labour votes with the Tory Brexiteers would not automatically lead to a further vote. There would be a constitutional crisis with the PM’s options being to call a General Election or use Crown Prerogative to force through a No Deal solution. May expects MPs to vote in favour, but if they do not we have a constitutional crisis. The last time there was this kind of crisis it led to a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister (1979, James Callaghan) and a General Election. What would happen now is much more difficult to forecast give the specific problems of the specifics of Brexit.
Updates on the State of Play Section will focus on this key issue with Data in Focus looking at the state of public opinion.
Weather Report looks at the current state of play. This changes almost daily but it is clear that the Tory Party is now deeply split with the hard liners prepared to vote for No Deal. Theresa May has said all the way through it is Her Deal or No Deal which threatens that if MPs vote against it she will go for No Deal and WTO rules. It is possible this is a ploy to force Labour to vote for her Deal to avoid No Deal, which the unions certainly do not want. We will learn how Labour plan to play it at Labour Conference.People’s Vote is the current favourite of the rank and file, but MPs in Leave seats are nervous. If Labour vote with Boris Johnson and Co, this could trigger a General Election, but as Labour would not be in favour of Brexit – unlike the Brexiteers, then Labour may lose votes to UKIPPERS. If they voted with the Tories to push through BRexit, they lose Remain votes to the Liberal Democrats and Scots Nationalists.
A People’s Vote would be a way forward for Labour, but a majority in the House of Commons would be need to force this and this would need a split in the Tory Party with Remain Tory MPs voting against May. How those MPs are shaping up, especially if there is the danger of a General Election in which their seats would be vulnerable to a revived UKIP or similar Brexit group would be the key issue. However at the time of writing – mid September pre conference season – May is sticking rigidly to her My Deal or No Deal position assuming this can keep her majority in the Commons together and this is the framework for analysis.
Additonally, the threat of social unrest if the issue is delayed by a further vote is also coming on the agenda. There is likely to be a backlash from Brexit hard liners who thought they won a unique victory, and that democracy is being denied. This cannot be allowed to stop the political process, but has to be factored into discussion. The fuel for a right wing backlash is the belief that a democratic decision is being ignored by a liberal establishment, presumably a message their social media networks and media allies would press.
The democratic argument becomes central, with the need to contest the media blanket assumption that a further vote would be a second referendum essential. Recovering the First Referendum of 1975 and the rules established – badly – at that point is the precondition to an antidote to a Brexit backlash which will happen if \May cannot get a parliamentary majority for the Deal with the EU and exit on March 29th 2019.
Data in Focus The key to understanding the state of public opinion is that while there has been a modest shift in public opinion against Leaving this has been little more than moving a 52-48 vote in favour of Leave in 2016 to around the same split in favour of Remain today – not the 60-40 split Hugo Dixon argued a year ago would be needed by Remain to be secure. Within this headline figure are important groupings moving significantly – Remainers seized on data showing Labour seats shifting towards Remain, but ignored the solidity of Tory Pro Brexit voters with Tory Remain MPs fearing they could be de-selected if May fails and Boris Johnson became leader.
The latest UK Opinion Polling data on their site is September 5th which concludes “slightly more people opposed to Brexit than in support of it”. The Remain camp tends to overestimate the importance of the swing – 3% to 5% on this report – and the headline in the Independent “2.6 million Leave voters have abandoned support for BRexit” was overstating the case. The actual report stated that in addition one million Remain supporters had switched to Brexit. Net gain for Remain was 1.6 million.
This gives Remain a slight majority and in terms of the actual votes from 2016- ignoring death and new voters, which is becoming a major issue – the voting figures have moved from
Year Leave Remain
2016 17,410,742 (51.8%) 16,141,241 (48.11%)
less 1.6million plus 1.6 million
2018 15,510,000 17,810,000
How this relates to a real vote is unknowable, but points up the fact that with over 15million voters, Leave is not a spent force.
Remain should not overestimate its potential support.
The Brexit Skeptic 19 9 18
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- WR23 Options for Brexiteers – build on limited gains (4/4/2019) - Opinion poll gains at the Spring equinox Peter Kellner commented (26th March) on the National Centre for Social Research data showing for those voters who expressed a view, 46% were now Leave, 54% Remain. Kellner noted for a three option choice – no deal, may deal or remain, the Remain lead was greater. Kellner noted
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- WR17 March 29th and Brexit Endgame (2/17/2019) - February 14th’s Valentine Days massacre in the Commons marked the point where May finally lost control of Brexit and the Tory Party split into warring factions. The comment by Defence Minister Tobias Ellmore that the 72 Brexiteers who did not back May were “A party within a party” was well founded, but there will be
- WR16 EU Membership Does Not Preclude Rail Renationalisation (2/17/2019) - [From Open Democracy, December 2017] Of the Tory privatisations visited upon the UK in recent decades, few arouse such intensity of feelings as that of the railways. A much-loved public institution now dogged by a reputation for exploitative and above-inflation price increases paired with poor service, commitments to renationalise the network offered an early emblem
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