Binary Choice: No Deal Brexit, Good Deal Brexit
Theresa May never really wanted to leave the EU. And her despised customs union deal was not really leaving. Rather, it was a permanent trap.
No one took May seriously. The EU played her for the fool she was. And the UK MPs never seriously believed no deal was ever an option.
Remainers voted against her deal expecting to stop Brexit completely. They too failed spectacularly.
No Way to Stop Brexit
MPs have no realistic way of stopping Brexit. The EU can penalize the UK but in the process hurt itself even more.
That is the only choice on the table.
Latest Polls Good for Johnson
In the three most recent polls, the Tories topped Labour. The latest poll has the Tories in a 6 point lead. In the two most recent polls, Labour is in 4th place.
The Ipos MORI poll has the Brexit Party at 12%. That is woefully misleading as explained below.
Johnson's Best Bet
Please consider a Post-Brexit Election is Looking Like Boris Johnson’s Best Bet.
While YouGov has the Tories and the Brexit party neck and neck, on 24% and 23% respectively, Ipsos Mori shows Tory supporters outnumbering Nigel Farage’s party by more than two to one (26% to 12%).
Which is right? There is no simple answer. The big difference between the two companies is that Ipsos-Mori conducted its survey by phone, and asked respondents how they would vote, without including the Brexit party in the initial list they gave respondents. YouGov conducted its survey online and presented respondents with a list of parties including the Brexit party. By reminding people about Nigel Farage’s party in the main voting question, YouGov seems to have doubled its support.
What If Brexit Delivered?
A second You-Gov poll addresses the critical question: How would you vote if Brexit was delivered. That's the lead chart.
"Fighting an election once Brexit has happened would offer a huge advantage for Johnson: Farage’s fox would have been shot. Of the 5 million Tories that YouGov reckons have defected to the Brexit party since 2010, getting on for 4 million would return home."
The big problem in interpreting UK polls is that the current four-way split reflects uncertainty about the positions of both the Tories and Labour on Brexit. Once positions crystallize during an election campaign, the numbers could change significantly. And, in a first-past-the-pole electoral system, even a small change in the parties' vote shares could have a dramatic effect on seat allocation.
A Times/YouGov poll out yesterday put Labour at 18% behind the Tories, the Brexit Party and the LibDems - in that order. The Tories are recovering their position as Boris Johnson is on course to become the party’s next leader. We think it is possible that he might call immediate elections. This would give him a chance to campaign on Brexit delivery by October - deal or no deal.
The reason we think early elections are possible is that the alternative options might prove to be even more risky. But clearly, Johnson will only call elections if he believes he can win an outright majority. For the moment, the polls still say this is not going to happen. Getting a firm pro-Brexit majority would probably require some accommodation with the Brexit Party - difficult for both sides.
Newsnight reports that Remainers are plotting legislation in September to rule out no deal. This sounds like a half-baked initiative. What the report made very apparent is that the pro-Remain Tories are pulling back from the threat to support an outright no-confidence motion in the parliament. There was talk about a conditional no-confidence vote - which has no legal meaning.
We do not doubt that a majority in the UK parliament is opposed to a no-deal Brexit. But we are not sure that this majority can assert itself in an effective way because of asymmetric political effects. Many people would end their political careers if they went ahead with this. And Jeremy Corbyn would then most likely become prime minister.
I think Eurointelligence has two points wrong.
- Johnson's best strategy is to ensure Brexit, then welcome back Brexit Party members as opposed to calling elections before October 31.
- If by some miracle MPs hold a successful motion of no confidence before Brexit can be delivered (mathematically it seems remote if not impossible due to calendar day scheduling), then the winner could easily be Farage, not Corbyn.
New Binary Choice
- Leave with a good deal.
- Leave with no deal.
Johnson will not seek a delay. Nor will he present Theresa May's pathetic deal. There will not be Brexit revocation.
The new binary choice is not even a decision for UK MPs. The new binary choice is between Johnson and the EU.
If after Johnson delivers Brexit, Corbyn calls for another referendum, then Corbyn would be replaced as party leader or Labour would get destroyed in the next election.
The key to understanding what's going to happen is in the polls. A lot can happen in the next month, but the MPs are essentially out of the process unless they hold a motion of no confidence that succeeds the first day parliament is in session, and even then, the required number of days may be short.
MPs cannot stop a determined PM from delivering Brexit. It's too late.
Good Deal Odds Rising
But if the EU wants to cut off its nose to spite its face, there's nothing Johnson can do but walk away.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock