In his fourth bid the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson managed to get the approval of the MPs to finally resolve the Brexit deadlock by calling a general election, on 12 December which would be the most unpredictable in a generation.
The margin of 438 to 20 underlines the fact it was by no means a victory for Boris instead it was a unanimous decision of the members of the house. The Labour leader Jeremy Corby who had planned during earlier three votes to ensure the defeat of Johnson’s bill this time supported the bill. He had announced that Labour would support an election as a “once-in-a-generation chance to transform the country”. The pre-Christmas vote will be the first December poll since 1923.
Though uncertainty looms over the final verdict the experts nurse the view that Boris might find it very difficult to have his way and win the election notwithstanding he has been ahead of Corbyn by at least 10 points which is likely to be more with the polls reaching nearer.
The Britons are too happy with the view to elect a new parliament. They criticise Boris for foisting an election them for no tenable reason. They point out that there are many other important issues than Brexist. They strongly nurse the opinion that General elections must be about the issues. The 1997 election was about 18 “wasted” years of Tory government, with Tony Blair’s manifesto saying “Britain deserves better”. In 1974 Edward Heath called an election seeking an answer to the question of who governs Britain – the prime minister or the unions. The answer the electorate returned was the unions. More often than not, politicians overestimate their ability to frame the terms of political debate.
This was clearly visible during last three and half years of Tory rule. While Theresa May reasoned that Brexit was the only issue in her snap election of 2017 Johnson is doing the same thing. Both these Prime Ministers literally ignored the needs of the country and this happened at a time when UK is facing financial distress. The issue of austerity was staring at Britain. During May it dominated voters’ thoughts but that did not help her. Boris Johnson is on the path of making a similar mistake.
Democracy should be about more than cynical calculation. Forcing the country to go through an exercise that generates little enthusiasm is a way of feeding the distaste for politics to the people. MPs voted for Brexit last week in the shape of the withdrawal agreement bill. Mr Johnson could have pushed ahead to get this deal through the Commons. But Boris, the Tory leader lacks that intellectual grace to accommodate divergent views.
Undeniably Brexit will be central to the campaign this time. The scenario will be dictated by on the one hand plebiscitary demand to leave the EU and on the other parliamentary compulsion to hammer out the Brexit compromise.
Interesting to watch that left and socialist forces are trying to check the rightist political forces but their strategy fail to have much impact on the voters. Significantly forces are openly gearing to take on Labour and particularly Corbyn, but unfortunately he has not succeeded in providing a clear direction. It is his dithering on Brexit that has inflicted much damage to him. In contrast his stand on political and economic issues that has attracted young voters.
But he has struck a cautious note, and told his party men that he had not wanted an election but was forced to seek one because Labour would have “sliced and diced” his Brexit legislation beyond recognition.
In order to strengthening his position while Boris has decided to readmit 10 of the 21 MPs he expelled last month for defying his Brexit plan, the major battle lines of the campaign will be drawn on the subject of Brexit, after Johnson failed to take the UK out of the EU on 31 October “do or die” as he had promised.
The Conservatives will campaign to get Brexit done by pushing through Johnson’s deal, while Labour is promising a second referendum to let the people resolve the EU question. The fact of the matter is Labour has been deeply split for months about whether to back an election or a second referendum first. It was due to the confusion more than 100 Labour MPs abstained and 11 voted against the motion. Tories on their part have been decrying him for his leftist and Marxist ideas. They argue that he is inconsistent and not fit to rule Britain.
What is interesting to watch is, in spite of all their reservations and reluctances to Jeremy, the people nurse the view that Boris’s stance would not augur well for UK and it may possibly witness some part of the country raising the voice of split. Nevertheless Corbyn said. “We would tell the people of this country there is an alternative to austerity. There is an alternative to inequality. There is an alternative to sweetheart trade deals with Donald Trump.” Britain of Johnson and Corbyn is two different country, moving on divergent paths.