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Either Boris or Remain

There are two realistic outcomes to the General Election. Either there will be a Conservative majority or there will be a hung Parliament. It is highly unlikely that Labour can form a government on its own. This has been the case ever since the SNP started winning the majority of seats in Scotland. Most Labour Governments of the recent past depended on the block vote of Scottish Labour to win a UK majority. Labour still depends on them, but now they are the block vote of the SNP. For Labour to win an absolute majority without the help of the SNP it would have to win an absolute majority in England and Wales. This would be hard enough with a moderate Labour leader. It is simply impossible with Corbyn.

Any party and any party leader can dream of an election that changes everything. The Lib Dems might go from less than twenty to three hundred and twenty-six seats, but the statistical chance of this happening is miniscule. Likewise, it might be possible to kick out every SNP MP, but everything we know about odds, polling and human behaviour tells us that the SNP will win at least thirty seats in Scotland and probably many more. The Lib Dems would be delighted if they kept their Scottish seats and in total won around fifty. It is hundreds of times more likely that Jo Swinson loses her own seat than that she ends up as Prime Minister.

So, the alternative to a Conservative majority is what? Could there be a Brexit Party Conservative coalition? There could be. But again, it is unlikely. The odds of the Brexit Party winning even five seats is minimal. It is most likely of all that it will win no seats. What this means is that anyone voting for a Brexit Party Conservative coalition has a tiny window of opportunity. They need the Conservatives to win just less than a majority and for Brexit Party MPs to just give them that majority. Moreover, if the goal is to force a “no deal” Brexit this would require every Conservative MP to be willing to vote for it. If only a few rebelled, we would be back to stalemate or worse we would end up with a Remainer Alliance led by Corbyn. A Brexit Party goal of a “no deal” coalition requires very precise numbers of Conservative MPs to be elected and for them to act in a very precise way. Too many and Boris has a majority for his deal, too few and Corbyn wins. The likelihood of the Brexit Party holding the balance of power and being able to force “no deal” is so statistically unlikely that it might as well be dismissed. For any Brexit supporter to rely on it is like betting on a hundred to one shot.

Could the Conservatives once more form a deal with the DUP? The DUP would prefer no Brexit to the Boris deal. They may be Brexiteers, but they are concerned most with Northern Ireland being treated exactly the same as the other parts of the UK. Which way would things go if the DUP held the balance of power? Would they support Corbyn? This is doubtful. But they might well abstain as Corbyn’s Remain Alliance voted either for a second referendum on the EU or got rid of the middle stage and voted simply to revoke Article 50. Oddly the DUP support either “no deal” or no Brexit, but nothing in the middle or at least nothing that is ever going to be available. The Conservatives would have to win a large majority for “no deal” to be possible in which case they would not need the DUP. But a Conservative Party dependent on DUP votes would struggle to get “no deal” through the Commons. The DUP then are most likely to be non-voting members of the Remain Alliance.

If the Lib Dems and the SNP hold the balance of power, which is by far the most likely result if the Conservatives fail to win an absolute majority, they will each demand that the price of their support is paid. The Lib Dems are now a single issue Remain Party. The SNP have always been a single issue Scottish independence party. The Lib Dems might in addition ask for something on proportional representation, but I wonder if the SNP would agree given that they benefit from first past the post in Scotland. But two things are clear. The condition for the possibility of Corbyn’s Remain Alliance continuing and getting anything done would be that he agreed to a second referendum on Scottish independence and that he held a second referendum on Brexit where the choices were between Brexit in name only and Remain.

Would the Lib Dems be able to stop a second referendum on Scottish independence? They could indeed vote against it as could any pro UK Labour MP. But this would immediately bring down the Remain Alliance as the SNP would no longer support it. The price the Lib Dems would have to pay for blocking a second independence referendum would be a new General Election. The Lib Dems would know that they had the chance to stop Brexit if they paid the SNP price, or risk the Conservatives winning an overall majority in another General Election that would resurrect Brexit from the Remainer Alliance grave in which it had just been buried.

Corbyn’s Remain Alliance will only occur if Brexiteers split the Leave vote. It is helpful that the Brexit Party will not stand in Conservative held seats, but it still remains the case that if the Brexit Part takes enough votes from Conservatives in the rest of the seats, we may end up with Remain. Still Leave voters might be fooled once, but we are unlikely to be fooled twice. The chances of a Conservative victory would be massively increased in a second General Election if it had become obvious that if you don’t vote Conservative, but instead vote for the Brexit Party you not only lose Brexit, you also end up with Marxism.  Even Farage has effectively admitted that if you vote for the Brexit Party you might end up with a hung Parliament. The logic of not standing in Conservative held seats is that the Brexit Party ought not to stand anywhere where it might prevent a Conservative winning a seat. Only the Conservatives can deliver Brexit. By standing down half his MPs Farage has admitted that it is indeed Brexit a Conservative Government will deliver. Let us hope that it will not take a Corbyn Government for Brexit Party supporters to learn this lesson. We won’t get a second chance.

If Lib Dems and Labour moderates ended up as part of a Remain Alliance Government, they would realise that if they didn’t stop Brexit now, they wouldn’t be able to stop it at all. Brexiteers would unite in a second General Election if the Remain Alliance somehow did not last.  Would the Lib Dems then really be willing to bring down the Remain Alliance by refusing to give into SNP demands? No. Of course not. To do so would be to all but guarantee a Conservative Government and Brexit.

It has become ever more obvious that the Lib Dems prefer the EU to the UK. Their Euro federalism means that they would be happy for the UK to be submerged into “ever closer union”. Would it matter to them that much if the parts of the UK were subsumed as a whole or separately? The Lib Dems therefore are not so much a Pro UK party as a Pro EU Party. This is why given the choice they will prefer Remain even if it led to a second Scottish independence referendum. Anyone who wants to maintain the UK as a united country which will neither be split by secession nor subsumed into the European Federation that EU nationalism demands as the price of EU membership must avoid voting for any party which will form the Remainer Alliance led by Corbyn, Swinson and Sturgeon. One way or the other the Remainer Alliance would destroy the UK. The Brexit Party cannot stop this. They probably cannot win any seats at all.  The only way to guarantee Brexit and protect the UK is to vote Conservative.

This post was originally published by the author on her personal blog: https://www.effiedeans.com/2019/11/either-boris-or-remain.html

About Effie Deans

Profile photo of Effie Deans
Effie Deans is a pro UK blogger who works at the University of Aberdeen. She spent many years living in Russia and the Soviet Union, but came home to Scotland so as to enjoy living in a multi-party democracy! When not occupied with Scottish politics she writes fiction and thinks about theology, philosophy and Russian literature.

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