UK PM Theresa May has done a deal with the European Union regarding the UK’s exit from the European Union (Brexit). However, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab resigned on November 15 as he disagreed with the deal, and other ministers have also quit the government. The deal will be finalised at a special European Summit on November 25, and will then need to be ratified by the UK Parliament.
The Conservatives govern in minority, with the support of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The DUP will not support the Brexit deal as they disagree with the Irish backstop arrangement. Hard Brexiteers think the deal a betrayal of Britain, and are also likely to vote it down.
The major opposition parties – Labour, the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) and the Liberal Democrats – will also vote against the deal. In Labour’s case, they want to force an immediate general election. The Lib Dems and SNP will oppose because they do not accept the premise of “no deal” vs May’s deal, and want Brexit called off.
There may be a few Labour rebels who will cross the floor to vote for May’s deal as they fear a “no deal”, but these will be more than compensated for by Conservative hard Brexiteers, hard Remainers, and the DUP. The UK House of Commons is likely to reject May’s deal.
However, while Conservative rebels will vote against May’s deal, they are unlikely to vote for a formal no-confidence motion, the only way an early election can be held without the government’s consent. Any Labour proposal to change Brexit would run into the same problem.
On March 29, 2019, the UK will leave the European Union, with or without a deal. A no-deal Brexit is likely to greatly damage the UK economy, and the Conservatives are likely to be blamed for this damage. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was written off before the 2017 election, but forced the Conservatives into a minority government. If a no-deal Brexit crashes the UK economy, Corbyn is likely to lead Labour to a landslide victory at the next general election.
The next election is not due until 2022, but, if the economic damage from a no deal Brexit is great enough, moderate Conservatives may consider a “socialist” government better than the UK’s economic collapse. In such a circumstance, Labour could win a no-confidence motion, and force an election.
A source for this section is Stephen Bush of the New Statesman’s Morning Call email (though it is more like Evening Call in Melbourne).
The Greens are surging in Germany, not the far-right AfD
At the September 2017 German election, the combined conservative Union parties won 32.9%, the Social Democrats 20.5%, the far-right AfD 12.6%, the pro-business Free Democrats 10.7%, the Left party 9.2% and the Greens 8.9%. In March 2018, the Social Democrats and Union parties formed a grand coalition government, the third time in the past fourterms such a right/left government had been formed.
Both major parties have lost support, with the Union parties falling to 26.4% in Wikipedia’s poll aggregate, and the Social Democrats to just 14.4%. However, the Greens have been easily the biggest benificiary, not the AfD. Greens’ support has surged to 21.0%, while AfD support has increased much less to 15.0%.
The Social Democrats’ 20.5% in 2017 was already the lowest they had polled at a general election since the Second World War, and their support has continued to drop, probably due to the grand coalition. The Greens are likely to be the biggest left-wing party at the next German election.
At the October 2018 Bavarian state election, the Greens were second with 17.6%, up 9.0% since 2013. Both the Social Union and Social Democrats suffered drops of over 10%. The AfD, which did not contest the previous Bavarian election, won 10.2%.