Not so long ago, I would have dismissed talk of a split in the Conservative Party sufficient to jeopardise their grip on power. For decades, the Tories have managed to avoid the kind of torrid factionalism that so fatally weakens their British Labour counterparts. The secret of the Tories’ success – they’ve been in power for three of the last five decades – is their ability to heal, or plaster over, internal wounds when the stakes are high.
British Labour, by contrast, is never more tragically riven by internecine warfare than when they have the most to lose.
Things have changed. The old certainties about the Tories’ capacity for finding the necessary degree of solidarity when the alternative is being out of office do not apply to a party captained by Theresa May and crewed by the likes of Boris Johnson and David Davis. Quite literally, anything can happen. Even – perhaps especially – the previously unthinkable.
In a world where Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Jacob William Rees-Mogg is being touted as Prime Minister, don’t bet against being overtaken by a white rabbit with a giant pocket-watch next time you’re strolling down to the shops.
Only a few years ago I would have dismissed the Morgan Stanley researchers’ prediction that the Tories would lose a vote of confidence as breathless sensationalism. Now, it seems all too credible.
However one views the prospect of yet another UK general election next year, we have to accept that it is a distinct possibility. Which necessarily implies that we must consider the implications. Two things immediately spring to mind. The first is that an election in 2018 would coincide with arguably the most crucial period in the farcical Brexit ‘negotiations’. What the impact might be is anybody’s guess. Cynics might opine that the process could only be enhanced by taking the British side out of the equation. I couldn’t possibly comment. But what I would say is that the UK could not expect any special consideration from the EU. It is extremely doubtful that they would agree to extend the two-year period allowed by Article 50. Having so ludicrously botched things up to now, the British political elite isn’t going to get any sympathy at all from the remaining EU member states who will regard an election as just one more failure.
Just as significantly, a UK general election in 2018 would clash with the new independence referendum – anticipated to be held in September. And that’s when things start to get really messy. The UK Government will use the election as a pretext to prohibit the referendum. The Scottish Government will insist on going ahead with a referendum that would presumably have been sanctioned by the Scottish Parliament. This would give the British state the excuse it needs to suspend Holyrood and impose direct rule from London.
Think I’m being alarmist? Watch out for that white rabbit.Views: 2848
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