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Parliament Approves UK General Election for December 12th

by John Brian Shannon

The UK Parliament voted today to hold a UK General Election on December 12, 2019 which should help end the present Brexit impasse in the House of Commons.

Some 3.5-years after the June 23, 2016 referendum a majority of Britons voted to leave the EU (that’s 1,223-days ago!) and the UK is no closer to leaving the EU. So with the House of Commons deadlocked, Prime Minister Boris Johnson pressed for a General Election to allow their bosses (the UK People) to decide the future of the country. Smart!

A Quick Look at the Brexit File:

  • On June 23, 2016 a majority of Britons voted to leave the EU,
  • Followed by the February 1, 2017 House of Commons vote where MP’s approved  the Article 50 Withdrawal Act to Leave the European Union (498-114),
  • And then PM Theresa May’s June 8, 2017 General Election win (an election where every party ran on a platform of delivering Brexit),
  • Followed by last week’s House of Commons vote approving Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal (but in a separate vote, MP’s didn’t approve the timing of the deal)
  • Now Britons have another opportunity to weigh-in via the ultimate ‘People’s Vote’ — a UK General Election — where citizens of legal voting age can support Brexit or not, support the domestic platform of any party or not, etc.

With polls favouring the Conservatives and their lead increasing, it might be a tight race.

YouGov UK General Election 2019 voting intention tracker October 2019

YouGov Westminster voting intention tracker October 2019. Image courtesy of YouGov/Express.co.uk

Certainly the ruling Conservatives are a known quantity, in power since May 11, 2010; First with PM David Cameron until June 24, 2016, followed by PM Theresa May until July 23, 2019, and now, PM Boris Johnson since July 24, 2019 — while Labour hasn’t formed a government since PM Gordon Brown stepped down almost a decade ago.

The only way Labour can manage to stay-on as the official opposition is to run on anything but their Brexit platform, and instead, run on what they could do for the NHS, for low-cost housing, for worker’s rights and other social issues, IMHO.

While this election shouldn’t be all about Brexit, it will be for a majority of voters who want 3.5-years of economic uncertainty to end and they know the Conservatives will deliver.

The issue of our times, at present, is Brexit. And that’s what The People will be voting for, or against.


Predictions?

Based on nothing except that I always get these things right… hehehe, here are my UK General Election 2019 predictions.

The Conservatives will form a small majority government, Labour will gain many seats — while the Lib Dems, the SNP, and independent MP’s will take a beating at the polls. The Brexit Party will become the 3rd party in the House of Commons behind Labour, while the Greens and Plaid Cymru will barely hold onto their existing seats. UKIP won’t win a seat.

Whatever happens, I hope that every MP who is dedicated to serving their constituents does well in this election no matter what side of the Brexit divide they’re on.

Good MP’s like that are worth their weight in diamonds. Good luck, MP’s!


Read: UK set for 12 December general election after MP’s vote (BBC)

Read: UK General Election: A Really Simple Guide (BBC)

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall; A UK General Election is the Best ‘People’s Vote’ of All

by John Brian Shannon

Why would some UK politicians attempt to delay Brexit by pushing for a so-called ‘People’s Vote’ when holding a General Election is the best ‘People’s Vote’ of all?

There must be a reason.

And the reason some UK Members of Parliament are running scared of voters is because they know they might possibly delay Brexit by contriving the conditions necessary to hold a 2nd EU referendum, but they also know they’d probably lose their seat in the House of Commons should a UK General Election be held anytime soon.

Which doesn’t strike me as democratic.

Some of these MP’s are very shouty about the benefits of democracy and freedom of choice. I hate to point out the obvious here, but if you’re calling for a 2nd referendum (that you wrongly imagine you can win) and are simultaneously trying to prevent a General Election, you’re not a democrat.

In short, if you’re using your elected position to inflict your personal agenda on Britons it means you’re a pirate, not a democrat.

A UK General Election is the best 'People's Vote' of all?

A so-called ‘People’s Vote’ via a UK General Election is the best ‘People’s Vote’ of all. Image courtesy of The Sun.


What do ‘The People’ Think?

Some 60% of Britons want the government to get on with it!

And that percentage includes former Remainers who respect the fact that the democratic Will of the People is more important than their personal bias.

Now, that’s a subgroup of people who believe in democracy and they deserve plenty of respect from Brexiteers.


Are We There Yet?

I’ll remind you that it took the UK working with its allies 2042-days to defeat the biggest war machine ever created in World War II. Meanwhile, it’s taken 1,209-days (as of today) to get almost nowhere on the Brexit file. Pathetic! But the UK shares the blame with the EU as both seem to have a problem delivering on the democratic Will of the People.

Such democracies can only be seen as something less than pure democracies because they aren’t as responsive as they should be in delivering on the Will of The People.

Most Britons believe MP's had plenty of time to discuss Brexit

Most Britons believe MP’s had plenty of time to discuss Brexit. Image courtesy of USA Today.


The ‘Will of Parliament’ is Nothing Compared to The ‘Will of The People’

If UK politicians derive their political legitimacy from voters (and they do) then those politicians have agreed to be bound by the wishes of the people who elect them.

Democracy can’t work any other way because by any reasonable definition, any other way isn’t democratic.

So, why are these politicians using the power granted them by their constituents to pursue their own agenda, instead of doing the job done they’ve been hired to do?

And what more do they think can be accomplished that wasn’t accomplished in the 1209-days (40.3 months) since the 2016 EU referendum?

Yes, it is the remit of the government to decide ‘how’ and ‘when’ things happen, but it is not the remit of the government to decide ‘what’ happens — that’s decided by UK voters on election day.

To put it bluntly; ‘Policy and Procedure’ are decided by government while ‘Direction’ and ‘Empowerment’ are decided by voters.

For some inexplicable reason, these lines have been blurred in the UK to the detriment of democracy writ large.

As to how Britons view Parliament’s handling of Brexit, the same poll referenced above found British MP’s lacking; “The poll found 89 per cent of people said “all of Parliament” were to blame over the lack of progress in Brexit.”

Take note Parliamentarians! That’s a memo from YOUR EMPLOYERS — the UK people.

Theresa May’s Weird Winning Strategy

by John Brian Shannon

As of this writing (5:00am BST, June 9, 2017) election results for the UK General Election are beginning to trickle-in and pundits are lining up to lambaste Prime Minister Theresa May for calling a snap election while in majority government, and then losing the majority just as the UK is poised to head into Brexit negotiations.

‘Oh yes. She fumbled it. Absolutely.’ Said every headline.

And on the surface, that’s what it looks like.

Surely, any majority government that calls an election they don’t need, becoming a minority government in the process, are losers. What else could it be?


But what if Theresa May is smarter than pundits realize?

Short-term pain, for long-term gain?

Maybe. She’s a shrewd operator. Although she can seem cold, standoffish, and even awkward in certain situations, it also seems she’s a patriot who was willing to ‘take a hit for the team’ in order to realize her dream of ‘Building a Better Britain’.

What if everything she’s done has been done with great purpose and resolve, balancing huge risk to her standing as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and to her party fortunes in order to accomplish some great goal that will eventually result in a better Britain?

What if Theresa May has been playing chess whilst everyone else has been playing checkers?


Viewing the UK through a Prime Minister’s lens

Holding a snap election vs. not holding a snap election.

What would be the point of staging a successful getaway from the European Union, and then with the SNP still powerful because it was holding 56 seats, the SNP decided to take Scotland out of the United Kingdom via (post-Brexit) Indyref after Indyref?

Wouldn’t it follow that either Northern Ireland or Wales might then consider staging their own independence referendums and possibly leave the United Kingdom?

What if both devolved territories followed Scotland out of the United Kingdom?

Suddenly, there would be no more ‘United’ in the name United Kingdom, only England remaining.

At that point, the European Union would probably prevail upon the newly independent territories to join the EU — and if successful at that, the EU would become emboldened to invite London into the EU family by promoting London referendum after London referendum.

Had Theresa May not called a snap election, she might have left the SNP in a powerful position, with Scotland leaving the UK (post-Brexit) and the SNP inviting both Northern Ireland and Wales to leave the UK with Scotland.

Such are the matters that keep Prime Ministers awake at night.


Trading a majority, for a Kingdom that remains United

It appears that Theresa May knew what she was doing all along — she chanced losing a majority in the House of Commons for a chance to stick it to the SNP.

Yes, it cost her. But because of the 2017 election results the SNP is now a weaker force, with much less momentum than it had pre-election. Momentum that could have been used in the immediate post-Brexit timeframe to break up the United Kingdom.

Such is the nature of strategy; In order to safeguard the ‘United’ part of the name ‘United Kingdom’ Theresa May used her tactical assets to accomplish those goals.

And that’s the difference between strategists and tacticians. Master strategists like Winston Churchill won WWII, but were forced to expend many of their tactical assets to do so.

(Read about the Battle of Britain to fully understand how this played out in WWII. Many times it may have looked like Britain was losing the war, or at least taking a severe beating, when in fact Winston was setting the Nazis up for later defeat. And he did it in broad daylight, right under everyone’s noses, including his own staff)

Is Theresa May that good? In broad daylight, quite under everyone’s noses, did May just save us from a SNP-led break up of the United Kingdom in the post-Brexit period?


Let the facts speak for themselves

Prime Minister Theresa May spent some of her chips in order to take down the SNP — the same SNP that represented the number one threat to the UK remaining united in a post-Brexit Europe.

Now that the SNP has lost a significant number of seats to Labour and Conservatives alike, the SNP is no longer the threat to UK continuity, harmony, and stability it once was.

In baseball parlance, this is known as a ‘force play‘ when the base runner is in a position to score a point and is forced by the playmaker to run towards home plate knowing full well they’ll be ‘tagged out’ in the process.

If that’s what Theresa May is up to, she’s playing the game of politics at a level far above the understanding of her critics, and it also means she’s a true British patriot, a citizen par excellence, of a permanently United Kingdom.

Having weakened the greatest potential threat to UK unity in decades, the noble Theresa May can now proceed with a safe Brexit — a Brexit where the United Kingdom doesn’t risk losing Scotland, or Northern Ireland, or Wales, in the process.

Well done, Theresa! Right… under… their… noses!