As we prepare for the Christmas recess all the talk is of an early General Election. A vote of no confidence is apparently to be imminently considered with the prospect of an early General Election on the horizon. A vote of no confidence following the Fixed Term Parliament Act now no longer means that an automatic General Election would follow. Fourteen days have to be set aside to form a new Government and the Parliamentary arithmetic does suggest that no alternative Government readily presents itself.
To secure a Labour led majority all the other parties in the House would have to unite to oppose the Tories, a highly unlikely proposition. There is also talk of a Labour minority Government and where it is possible it would be the lamest duck in the duckpond infirmary. Also the experience of the last minority Labour Government in the 70s should stand as a salutary lesson to my comrade friends.
But do Labour really want a General Election? It is all they’ve been banging on about for the past few months but when offered the support they demanded they went curiously cold on the idea. Yes, they are right, there are optimum times for success but surely it doesn’t get any better than straight after a vote of confidence in a Prime minister who had one third of her party declining
to offer that assurance. Following the meaningful vote is now the time talked about by Labour ‘strategists’ for them to make their move but don’t be too surprised if something else emerges which would mean Labour rethinking this again.
And looking at the polls it’s easy to understand why Labour would be nervous about a General Election. Most opinion polls show the Tories and Labour neck and neck with most showing a continued Tory lead. For all the chaotic shambles enveloping the Tory Party there seems little love for Corbyn’s Labour. Labour are also doubly conflicted by the fact that even in the midst of Brexit meltdown at least 45% of the UK still want to leave the EU and an awful lot of the people who still support leave are represented by Labour MPs. Brexit would continue to dominate a General Election forcing Labour at last to take some sort of stance. Probably the best Labour could seriously hope for in an early general election is to become the largest party at Westminster swapping this hopeless position with the Tories.
Where an early election wouldn’t necessarily be greeted with cheers from the rafters in a Perth and North Perthshire constituency where we ‘enjoy’ a 21 majority it would certainly be welcomed more enthusiastically than last year. All opinion polls show a modest rise in support for the SNP with a similar decline in support for the Tories and Labour. This will be a Brexit General Election and the Tories most certainly won’t get away with the ‘vote Ruth Davidson to oppose a 2nd referendum’ nonsense they did last time. The Scottish public will demand to know what the Scottish Tories will do to deal with this crisis and the conjuring tricks of last year won’t work. The Scottish Tories also now have a Westminster record to defend and the actions of their singularly useless group of MPs will be cruelly exposed. The opportunities to win back seats from the Tories and Labour will be there for the taking.
We have to be ready for an early General Election and we will have to ensure that it stays on our ground this time. We have been entirely consistent on Brexit and have represented our constituents effectively through this crisis. We also have a neat and elegant solution to all of this for Scotland. As solutions go they do not come any better than getting completely out of this mess and making our own way as a nation of our own.