British Snap Election - not a re-referendum?

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British Snap Election - not a re-referendum?

Postby Soupspoon » Thu May 04, 2017 9:04 am UTC

I've been pondering this, and perhaps Mods might imagine that this should all be lumped into the Brexit thread, because of a number of questions...
Spoiler:
Is the June election actually a proxy for a confirming referendum?
Given that all major national parties were split1 on that issue at both parliamentary and voter level, is a vote for a party (or a potentially counter-viewed candidate for a party) a useful indicator of where the support is for a May-Leave approach?
In Scotland, will the election will be additionally a mish-mash including a repeat of IndyRef sensibilities?
And then there's Norn Irn, that always has Unionist/Nationalist element.
Should there then just have been a Snap Referendum (perhaps coordinated with a follow-up Snap Indyref, etc, following the processing of the first results) and keep the party politics out of it, as much as possible?

Or with both main party leaders (currently, in two senses) being 'happy' to go with Brexit, are we actually sort-of-validly voting for party policies (only one of which is Brexit) and/or the usual problematic bundle of confidence in candidates/party/leader and local FPTP conditions?

1 And even 7-10% of UKIP supporters were Remain-voters, apparently/amusingly.


But assuming that it is a separate issue, is it a foregone conclusion (even without that issue)? Does the middle-ground of the LibDems benefit from the leftwards-swing of Labour's top of the hierarchy and polarisation at that side of the spectrum? What about the right-of-centre and right-of-right-of-centre? What if there's an upset of whatever kind in the final month - a "Comey"-style one, or worse? Well, if this thread stands then this might be the place to raise it as it happens.

If you're a UK voter (or not (yet), but the results have meaning for you anyway), you now have a choice of loyalties or otherwise, depending on your local political terrain.

Furriners might even have opinions, or at least impressions, although obviously that thread might be more useful if it's solely about aspects of the particular singular issue already in play. But it's only fair to welcome international commentary, as I've definitely opined about the US elections and definitely had thoughts about the progress of the French/etc electoral process, even if I've not mentioned it here.

I'm considering a multidimensional poll, but so far I have been unable to keep it simple in my mind and fred of possible personal bias.


I had planned to leave this until after today's Local Elections were closed (though not run in my own area), but it actually doesn't hurt to set this up before we get to see the loosely-indicative results and the usual significant amount of protest voting that may show the lay of the land before us, and thus get some Wild Ass Guessing going first.

# # # # # #

For myself, so that this isn't just a post of rambling questions, I know that my personal vote will change nothing. Yet as of this moment, I can't even envisage a valid or meaningful protest vote trumping my natural inclinations (I dislike protest/tactical voting, on principle, but I have also previously promised myself that I'd definitely vote OMRLP if they ever appeared on my voting slip). I am not optimistic that the 'right' votes will be cast for the 'right' reasons, and I'm actually quite hoping for a major unforseeable upset in the month ahead just to shake things up and make it more interesting. Ideally just shaking politics, of course, not actual people or society.

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Re: British Snap Election - not a re-referendum?

Postby elasto » Thu May 04, 2017 9:28 am UTC

On your aside, I don't think a snap-referendum would have been political viable or indeed sensible. For better or for worse, we had the referendum and voted out.

I could definitely see the case for a referendum once the UK and EU have negotiated a deal since then there'll be two concrete options capable of detailed analysis on the table; The problem with another one now would be that we're no clearer on what 'Brexit means Brexit' means than we were last year...

Since the EU have said revoking withdrawal can be done at any time, we definitely could have another referendum at the end of the process - though announcing now that we're going to do so could arguably cause the EU to offer the worst deal possible in order for the public to reject it.

Maybe there's a 1% chance that May, Remainer supporter that she is, is playing a really Machiavellian long-game and is going to offer a referendum at the end if the deal is poor, which will almost certainly be won by Remain. (If by some miracle the deal actually is decent, then, heck, why not just run with it).

On the main thrust of your question, sadly, May is quite right that Brexit will be the defining act of the next parliament, and most don't trust Corbyn to lead negotiations on it; So no matter that austerity, NHS/Education funding and so many other things are going to deeply affect the lives of ordinary people over the next 5 years, Brexit is the defining issue of the day.

As I said in the other thread, May is going to win votes at the expense of UKIP which seems to be imploding, and also win votes from the pro-UK anti-EU contingent of the SNP. The Lib-Dems are going to win votes from pro-EU portions of the other parties, and I don't see where Labour are going to win votes from anywhere. You can't please all of the people all of the time but Labour seems to be doing the polar opposite.

I think there may also be an effect at the local level, with outspoken Remain/Leave MPs in marginal seats at risk if their voter base is of the opposite inclination, but I think they will be relatively few in number.

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Re: British Snap Election - not a re-referendum?

Postby Plasma_Wolf » Thu May 04, 2017 9:57 am UTC

elasto wrote:I think there may also be an effect at the local level, with outspoken Remain/Leave MPs in marginal seats at risk if their voter base is of the opposite inclination, but I think they will be relatively few in number.

I think that this will be the most important part of the election. The tories are divided on the most important issue for a government. If you can get a majority of one party which is also a majority on hard-brexit or soft-brexit (Who first came up with these ridiculous names) then you can do whatever you want. If you don't have party majority or a whatever-brexit majority then you're going to have to negotiate with your own MPs and Europe. Doing one of the two is already very tough.

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Re: British Snap Election - not a re-referendum?

Postby elasto » Thu May 04, 2017 12:05 pm UTC

Plasma_Wolf wrote:I think that this will be the most important part of the election. The tories are divided on the most important issue for a government. If you can get a majority of one party which is also a majority on hard-brexit or soft-brexit (Who first came up with these ridiculous names) then you can do whatever you want. If you don't have party majority or a whatever-brexit majority then you're going to have to negotiate with your own MPs and Europe. Doing one of the two is already very tough.

Sadly, I disagree. Negotiations are going to be carried out by the executive not parliament, so it's irrelevant what flavour of Toryism makes up the party.

Moreover I expect Tory candidates to drift to the right during this election anyhow, since there's more votes to be won from UKIP than will be lost to Labour.

Yes, in a few marginal seats, a 'Hard' candidate might be ousted for a 'Soft' one, but it will occur in reverse also - especially in Labour held seats. Overall I'd be surprised if it makes a difference in even 5% of constituencies, and May is going to win such a large majority it's all irrelevant anyhow - probably approaching 100.

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Re: British Snap Election - not a re-referendum?

Postby orthogon » Fri May 05, 2017 12:50 pm UTC

(Support for separate thread. The EU referendum is going to dominate UK politics for a decade or more, so we may as well take that as read and discuss things as separate topics against that backdrop. The referendum thread can be for discussion of Brexit negotiations and related shenanigans specifically).

Personal take on this election: when it was first called I was properly flummoxed as to how to vote.

Labour is a shambles and I place a big portion of the blame for Brexit on Corbyn. I'm pretty sure that part of Cameron's calculation was that the Tory vote would be split on Europe whereas Labour would be firmly pro-Remain and would be able to persuade a big proportion of its voters. In the event the position of the Labour party was unclear thanks in large part to its leader being pretty lukewarm about it (his famous 7/10 in favour). I'm not saying Labour supporters would simply do as they were told, but a strong and united message would only have needed to sway the referendum vote by 2%.

The Lib Dems are an option. I'm still slightly annoyed with them for rolling over on the coalition agreement: they seemed to care most about getting their AV referendum, which basically looked like putting their own self-interest before that of the public, and didn't they do any polling to work out if they were likely to win it? But I don't think the tuition fees thing was totally their fault and I believe they probably did moderate some of the Tories' worst excesses. They're the only party with a clear anti-Brexit message and they're the only mainstream centre-left option with Labour at the mercy of the Corbynistas. On the other hand, they've somehow managed to score a bit of an own-goal with liberals by choosing an overtly religious leader who may or may not think that homosexuality is a sin, even if his voting record on the issue doesn't show it.

I should probably consider the Greens, but with the electoral system we have, I don't think there's any point.

Things got a bit easier when I thought about my constituency: the Lib Dems got less than a thousand votes last time, and the incumbent Labour MP voted against the Article 50 bill, so I'm pretty comfortable voting for her. Labour are going to lose badly which will mean that Corbyn will probably have to go (though I can well imagine him trying to stay) - so there's no need to use my vote to help to oust him. What I want to avoid at all costs is that the Tories win the seat, and voting Labour is the best way to do that.

So there's my decision. It's more or less the definition of tactical voting, but it is what it is.
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Re: British Snap Election - not a re-referendum?

Postby Soupspoon » Fri May 05, 2017 2:25 pm UTC

Insofar as the Local Elections: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2017-39795422

Traditionally used as protest votes, especially when there's a General Election on the horizon, makes one wonder who is protesting against who. Conservatives winning considerably, Plaid gaining an actual council to control (...pob lwc iddyn nhw!), everybody else losing (on current declarations). Labour losing a lot (down significantly, losing nearly half their full Councils, including Glasgae), but UKIP down to one councillor, losing 108 of them.

Frankly, I think the LibDems are going to be the most disappointed, based upon expectations and reality, as they had the possibility of riding at least a temporary wave back into national contention. It'll not bode well for their parliamentary come-back. I'd like to think that this Blue Blip is not an indicator for later but just a false promise from the fickle people, but it's too hard to tell.

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Re: British Snap Election - not a re-referendum?

Postby HES » Fri May 05, 2017 2:46 pm UTC

It will be interesting to see what turnout levels are, given a more important vote on the horizon.
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Re: British Snap Election - not a re-referendum?

Postby sardia » Fri May 05, 2017 2:59 pm UTC

HES wrote:It will be interesting to see what turnout levels are, given a more important vote on the horizon.

I don't see how turnout matters if there's no noteworthy opposition. Honestly France's election is more important from across the pond.

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Re: British Snap Election - not a re-referendum?

Postby elasto » Fri May 05, 2017 9:37 pm UTC

I am disappointed that my predictions were born out so accurately in the local elections. The Tories have gained a large number of seats in England, Scotland and Wales - with Labour losing and UKIP crashing and burning. UKIP never shook off the image of being a single issue party - unlike the SNP, say, which has successfully painted itself as Scotland's sovereign government-in-waiting. Like the Greens, UKIP actually have a wide swathe of policies but noone ever looks beyond the headliners. I wouldn't be surprised to see them disband in 2019.

I am surprised by the Lib-Dem performance though; With Remain supporters numbering 48% of the electorate it must be hugely disappointing that they actually managed to lose seats - even in their South/South-Western heartland. They obviously remain unforgiven and unforgivable in the eyes of many.

The Tories seem on course for close to a three-figure majority in the general, heaven help us...

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Re: British Snap Election - not a re-referendum?

Postby Soupspoon » Fri May 05, 2017 11:13 pm UTC

elasto wrote:I am surprised by the Lib-Dem performance though; With Remain supporters numbering 48% of the electorate it must be hugely disappointing that they actually managed to lose seats - even in their South/South-Western heartland. They obviously remain unforgiven and unforgivable in the eyes of many.

(I won't say that Remain supporters are 48% of the electorate, because that would support the view that the "overwhelming" 52% of the electorate voted Leave. Actual figures: Leave=37%, Remain=35%, Did not bother=28%, Uncountable=trace% (0.05%))

It's hard to say what to make of the LibDem vote without a thorough analysis re: whether they lost more where pushed out of power (in favour of whatever away-from centre/sufficiently-Brexit-lipservicing party ended up with gains) than they gained from the Remain-affiliating disgruntled voters from (probably mainly) Labour. I think they suffered from the uncertainty of whether they were actually a viable successor opposition, and they haven't thus earned the begrudging respect of the voters that could have made them a safe "none of the above" port, in the upcoming storm, who were migrating away from the Brexiting parties.

Between now and the 'real' election, almost anything could happen, but I'm laying quite marginal odds of the map going yellow (SNP shade excepted! ...I don't see that scaling back much, might even take the Shetlands and Orkneys), a low but significant chance that something as yet unforseen that will buff Labour at the expense of the Tories (but more likely it'll have to be something that damages May directly and Labour get the advantage of the backwash) but so long as we don't get a May Surprise (either meaning of the phrase) the worst the C-words will get is perhaps a slightly adjusted majority in the wrong direction, the best being a significant boost...


And I'm not a political strategist, but all I'd suggest the Blues has to do (if I were one of theirs) is to not mess up, whilst I can't think of a darn thing I could say (wearing any other rosette) to bolster the others. This does not fill me with joy. But then politics rarely does, and increasingly less so recently, so no change there. Maybe France will cheer me up, on Sunday? But this isn't a thread for that, really.

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Re: British Snap Election - not a re-referendum?

Postby Plasma_Wolf » Sat May 06, 2017 10:35 am UTC

elasto wrote:
Plasma_Wolf wrote:I think that this will be the most important part of the election. The tories are divided on the most important issue for a government. If you can get a majority of one party which is also a majority on hard-brexit or soft-brexit (Who first came up with these ridiculous names) then you can do whatever you want. If you don't have party majority or a whatever-brexit majority then you're going to have to negotiate with your own MPs and Europe. Doing one of the two is already very tough.

Sadly, I disagree. Negotiations are going to be carried out by the executive not parliament, so it's irrelevant what flavour of Toryism makes up the party.

Moreover I expect Tory candidates to drift to the right during this election anyhow, since there's more votes to be won from UKIP than will be lost to Labour.

Yes, in a few marginal seats, a 'Hard' candidate might be ousted for a 'Soft' one, but it will occur in reverse also - especially in Labour held seats. Overall I'd be surprised if it makes a difference in even 5% of constituencies, and May is going to win such a large majority it's all irrelevant anyhow - probably approaching 100.

Going by the local election results, you're exactly right. I had expected the LibDems to do better than this but they're already a small party.

My main question now is: what's Theresa May going to do after the elections. Suppose she's got that majority (she probably will get it). How is she going to work on Brexit? She was a remain supporter, right? I've been reading two different things about what's going to happen after the election:

1) May will have all the power to go for a hard Brexit because there is no opposition.
2) May will have all the power to go for a not-so-hard Brexit because there is no opposition.

So what's the plan?

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Re: British Snap Election - not a re-referendum?

Postby HES » Sat May 06, 2017 12:01 pm UTC

Plasma_Wolf wrote:So what's the plan?

You think there is one?
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Re: British Snap Election - not a re-referendum?

Postby Liri » Sat May 06, 2017 12:55 pm UTC

Still, better May than some fool Leaver, I'm sure.

David's gonna just hide away in his shed for the next decade or two.
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Re: British Snap Election - not a re-referendum?

Postby Mutex » Fri May 12, 2017 11:37 am UTC

In other news, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon doesn't know what "poisoning the well" means:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2017-39890247

SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon has accused the Conservatives of "poisoning the well" of Brexit negotiations with their treatment of EU citizens in the UK.

Scotland's first minister said the failure to guarantee they could stay was "tarnishing the UK's reputation".

(...)

"It is utterly contemptible that the Tories continue to use human beings as a bargaining chip in Brexit negotiations - and in doing so, they are poisoning the well before talks have even begun."

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Re: British Snap Election - not a re-referendum?

Postby orthogon » Wed May 17, 2017 4:37 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:In other news, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon doesn't know what "poisoning the well" means:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2017-39890247

SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon has accused the Conservatives of "poisoning the well" of Brexit negotiations with their treatment of EU citizens in the UK.

Scotland's first minister said the failure to guarantee they could stay was "tarnishing the UK's reputation".

(...)

"It is utterly contemptible that the Tories continue to use human beings as a bargaining chip in Brexit negotiations - and in doing so, they are poisoning the well before talks have even begun."

I had to look it up. It would help if these logical fallacies had better names, "begging the question" being the classic example. Anyway.

I'm a bit conflicted on the issue of EU Nationals in the UK and vice versa. I wish my friends and colleagues from other member states were not facing such uncertainty, but that's one of the reasons why I voted Remain the first place. We're walking away from a mutually beneficial arrangement, so it's a logical consequence that there's going to be pain on both sides. We'd be foolish to concede a significant negotiating point at the outset. Yes, it's unpleasant: it's a divorce.

This doesn't directly apply to Ms Sturgeon, since her party is Pro-EU (although she's anti-UK, so some similar issues are going to crop up when Scotland gets independence - I wonder what her approach will be then?). But loads of Brexiteers have been complaining about this, when it's their fault that expats of both types are in this position. It stinks, to my nose, of that "present company excepted" variety of racism/xenophobia that you hear down the pub.

And anyway, even if we made some unilateral statement about the status of EU nationals in the UK, there's a lot of detail in which the devil can lurk. Who does it apply to? What date did the person need to have been in the UK? If somebody returns their own country after Brexit, how long before they lose their right to live and work in the UK?
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Re: British Snap Election - not a re-referendum?

Postby elasto » Wed May 17, 2017 4:46 pm UTC

It's a shame that politicians get much more rational when out of power, whether it's drug or sex legislation or, as in this case, on immigration:

The Evening Standard, now edited by the former Conservative chancellor George Osborne, has published a strong editorial today saying the Tories should abandon their target of getting annual net migration below 100,000. Just in case you missed it, Osborne - who defended the target while he was in government, even though he was known to be sceptical about it - has tweeted a link.

Here’s an extract.

"To meet the pledge, the number of both EU and non-EU migrants will have to be reduced by around two thirds. How is that to be achieved? No one in government can identify the third we want and the two-thirds we don’t. Asked whether we want to stop bankers, builders, berry pickers or baristas coming from Europe, ministers are at a loss. The business secretary, Greg Clark, could not name a single sector that should have its supply of labour forcibly reduced. He knows that to do so would push up prices and hurt firms.

We have been here before. Over the past seven years, the government has not been able to reduce significantly the numbers of non-Europeans coming here — though we could. The damage to the economy from seriously reducing work visas was judged too severe by an expert migration committee; the impact on community relations of further limiting family reunion visas was seen as unpalatable; and few thought we were taking in too many refugees. There are no other groups we can turn away.

Mrs May knows all this. She knows that a sensible immigration policy is driven by clear principles not arbitrary numbers. If one of those principles is no longer to be the freedom to move to work between Britain and Europe, we need to hear what its replacement will be. Recommitting to a failed immigration pledge, without knowing how to achieve it, is merely wishful thinking. She still wants to be a new broom. She should use the Tory manifesto tomorrow to sweep away this bad policy from the past."

The editorial also says that no senior member of the cabinet, other than May herself, supports the migration target in private and that “all would be glad to see the back of something that has caused the Conservative party such public grief”.

Immigration should not be curtailed, merely the negative effects of it. Government should take the extra billions in economic activity and invest in housing, education, healthcare and so on. Above all they should not be afraid of making the positive case for immigration. They should lead rather than follow.

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