+++ TOP LINE: Government could fall in next few weeks as MPs panic and no compromise on Brexit is acceptable either to Parliament or the population +++
In our discussion with John Curtice he presented the following facts:
- There are now four spaces for UK Political parties to occupy
- Classic Economic Left vs Right
- New Social Liberal vs Conservative
- Brexit cuts across the latter
- Remainers = Social Liberals
- Leavers = Social Conservatives
- The new Independent Group occupies the former ground. “Calling it a centrist party isn’t a helpful term“. “On Brexit, regard them as extremists“. It will cost votes for both main parties. According to British Social Attitudes survey 2015, social liberals account for:
- 37% of Labour voters
- 33% of Conservative voters
- The 2017 Election was about Brexit and the widening of this cleavage:
- The Brexit division is deep and unresolved.
- 75% of Leave voters want a Hard Brexit as their first preference
- Half of Remain voters want to Remain completely
- Norway & Customs Union only attractive to 32% of voters
- There are no acceptable compromises, leaving Theresa May in the unenviable and impossible position of pleasing almost none of the people all of the time
- Polling on a second vote suggests the wording is key: if it’s a People’s Vote it yields more support than if it’s a 2nd Ref. “You cannot unambiguously say there is clear support for a Second Referendum“.
- Opinion has shifted against Brexit, but the “Remain lead rests heavily on whether those who did not vote would turn up to vote this time“. “Loyalty of Leave voters has declined to a degree“.
He also notes:
TIG is similar to SDP in that it arose from division over Europe, and it will likely have to form an alliance with the Lib Dems to gain enough ground to matter. If they can get >35 MPs then they will become the 3rd largest party which will award them privileges over parliamentary time.
An early General Election would be “disastrous” for TIG but they might do well in the European Parliamentary election as the anti-Farage Brexit Party, should the UK have a vote in those elections.
Few expect Brexit to be wrapped up by 29th March. All the legislation will be held up by the House of Lords anyway.
- At what point do MPs start to panic?
- Real risk that if Cooper/Boles amendment fails and TM can’t get her Deal through then the government will fall
- Brexit has disrupted the traditional pattern of support for the main parties and it’s difficult for them to keep together
- Brexit attitudes are so deeply polarised that it will be difficult to find an acceptable compromise
- A second referendum is not a panacea
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