Brexit, Israeli election results and upcoming elections

Latest Brexit developments, stalemate in Israel and previews of elections in Austria, Portugal, Poland and Canada. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at The University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

Boris Johnson said he wants a deal with the European Union, but has also said that if there is not a deal, he will ignore parliament’s legislation, and break free of the EU like “the Incredible Hulk”. Courts in Northern Ireland and England upheld parliament’s prorogation, but a Scottish court rejected it. The Supreme Court is expected to rule by next week. Polls in the last week gave the Conservatives nine-point or better leads, except for ComRes (just a one-point Conservative lead).

The key question is whether Johnson is serious about coming to a feasible deal with the EU, or is he pretending so he can blame the EU and parliament once talks collapse? A feasible deal would be attacked by Nigel Farage and hard Leave Conservative MPs, and be unlikely to pass parliament, which three times easily rejected Theresa May’s deal.

The remainder of this article will be a recap of the Israeli election, then previews of elections in Austria (September 29), Portugal (October 6), Poland (October 13) and Canada (October 21). Except for Canada, all these countries use proportional representation.

Neither side wins Israeli election 

The 120 Knesset members were elected by proportional representation with a 3.25% threshold. At the September 17 election, right-wing PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud won 31 seats, one behind the left-leaning Blue & White. With potential allies, Netanyahu had 55 seats, to 56 for the opposition.

Yisrael Beiteinu (YB), with nine seats, is the kingmaker. Netanyahu failed to form a government after the April 2019 election because YB advocated introducing conscription for the ultra-Orthodox, which religious parties opposed. YB’s leader, Avigdor Lieberman, said prior to the election that he would only join a Likud and Blue & White government. Neither the left nor the right can claim victory in this election.

Austria (September 29) 

Austria uses proportional representation with a 4% threshold. At the October 2017 election, the conservative ÖVP and far-right FPÖ formed government, having won a clear majority of seats. In May, this government collapsed after the FPÖ leader was accused of collusion with a Russian oligarch, and new elections were scheduled.

Polls have the ÖVP leading with 35.5%, followed by the centre-left SPÖ at 21.6%, the FPÖ at 19.8%, the Greens at 10.9% and the liberal NEOS at 8.5%. The ÖVP would prefer to govern with NEOS, but it is unlikely that these parties will have enough seats. The alternatives are another ÖVP/FPÖ government, or a grand coalition, which had governed prior to the 2017 election.

Portugal (October 6)

Portugal uses proportional representation at the regional level; bigger parties win a greater share of seats than their national votes imply. After the October 2015 election, the Socialists formed a minority government supported by the Left Bloc, Communists and Greens.

There has been a trend towards right-wing and far-right parties internationally, but Portugal is the exception. The Socialists have 39.6% in the polls, the combined vote for conservative parties is just 24.5% and other left-wing parties have a combined 24.1%. The only question, given the bonus for big parties, is whether the Socialists win a majority in their own right.

Poland (October 13)

Poland uses proportional representation in multi-member constituencies with a 5% national threshold for single parties and 8% for coalitions. At the October 2015 election, the Law and Justice (PiS) party won a majority on just 37.6%, as the centre-left coalition fell below the 8% threshold and was wiped out. While socially conservative and anti-immigrant, PiS is economically left-wing.

Polls for this election give PiS 45% of the vote, followed by a coalition of right and left-wing parties on 27% and a centre-left coalition on 13%. It is likely that PiS will win another majority, but the centre-left should return to parliament.

Canada (October 21)

Canada uses first-past-the-post. At the May 2011 election, the Conservatives won a majority on just 39.6% as left-wing parties split virtually all the remaining vote. Prior to the October 2015 election, which the centre-left Liberals won with a majority, current PM Justin Trudeau promised to reform the electoral system, but disappointingly he wimped out.

I will use CBC analyst Éric Grenier’s Poll Tracker. This currently gives the Conservatives 34.4%, the Liberals 34.1%, the left-wing NDP 13.8%, the Greens 9.5% and the Quebec Bloc 4.4%. Although the two major parties are tied in vote share, the Liberals are expected to win 167 of the 338 seats, the Conservatives 139, NDP 16, Quebec Bloc 12 and Greens four.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

68 comments on “Brexit, Israeli election results and upcoming elections”

  1. Thanks Adrian.

    Does anyone know for how long Liz Truss plans to be in Australia?
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/18/britain-will-aim-for-freedom-of-movement-deal-with-australia
    I’m curious because it might indicate how serious the UK are in getting free movement with Australia or whether it’s merely another feint in the Brexit dance. On the topic of free movement, isn’t that one of the reasons the UK supposedly wants to leave the EU?

  2. A YouGov poll has the Lib Dems surging ahead of Labour after their conference. It appears that the Lib Dems move to advocate revoking Brexit without a referendum is appealing to hardcore Remainers.

    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 32% (-)
    LDEM: 23% (+4)
    LAB: 21% (-2)
    BREX: 14% (-)
    GRN: 4% (-3)

    via
    @YouGov
    9:09 am · 19 Sep 2019

  3. “What is the point of the Morrison Government” indeed!:

    [‘Linda Burney:

    This Prime Minister is obsessed with urine tests, saliva swabs, and cashless cards – and young Australians and their families are right to ask themselves:

    · Where is the evidence to support these policies?

    · How will this help me find a job?

    · How will this help me pay the bills?

    · How will this make things easier to raise and build a good and healthy life for my family?

    · Why isn’t this Government doing anything to stimulate a weak economy and that is only getting weaker?

    · What is the point of the Morrison Government?

    This Prime Minister and this Liberal National Government – and their refusal to stimulate the economy – is creating an economic environment that is making it so difficult for young Australians to raise and build a life for their families.

    Of course Labor supports the Bill, but there is much more that needs to be done.

    Which is why Labor has moved a second reading amendment calling for the Government to

    (a) Guarantee it will not make any cuts to Paid Parental Leave;

    (b) Increase paid family violence leave [and Labor wants to see two weeks paid family violence leave]; and

    (c) Work with business to close the gender pay gap.

    The Government has absolutely no reason not to support this amendment – and I commend it to the House.’]

  4. A single member FPTP system is so perverse.

    If the Conservatives and Brexit Parties form a tactical electoral alliance and the others are so split, surely on those figures they must be favoured.

    Not that it will happen, but the consequences of a LibDem Government elected on less than 40% of the vote and just cancelling Brexit will not be pretty.

  5. I’m not at all surprised by the surge in support for the Liberal Democrats after their adoption of a hard line remain position. The problem they face though is that an election prior to Brexit now appears extremely unlikely, which would make this irrelevant.

    In other Brexit news, some EU countries appear to be hardening their position, with talk of giving the UK until the end of September to come up with a viable alternative to the backstop in order to continue negotiations. There seems to be a growing view among the Europeans that Johnson is not serious about negotiating. I’m not surprised by this deadlock either, as the backstop itself is and always was a completely ridiculous idea that does nothing but use Brexit to create a united Ireland through the back door.

    I also note a Scottish poll out today with a 59-41 lead for remaining in the UK. The poll however is already being dismissed by supporters of independence, due to it being commissioned by a Unionist organisation. What I would say though is that there is every chance that a second referendum would again return a remain in the UK result.

  6. When I think about the UK government’s singular Brexit focus and related actions (I suppose that means Johnson and his closest) only two scenarios make sense. Either they are incredibly clumsy and bull headed, or they want a no-deal Brexit and need someone to blame so to best profit from that. I’m leaning towards the latter with the former as a smoke screen.

  7. The lesson from that and other polls is that prevaricating and trying to please everyone never works. It’s a lesson one or two political leaders in Aus could learn.

    On Scotland, how do we reconcile the stratospheric vote for a party whose sole reason for existence is to leave the UK, with the contrasting low vote for the idea of actually leaving the UK? Surely they can’t both be right.

  8. Matt31

    “I also note a Scottish poll out today with a 59-41 lead for remaining in the UK. The poll however is already being dismissed by supporters of independence, due to it being commissioned by a Unionist organisation.”
    ————-

    Are you referring to the poll by Scotland in Union?

    It’s question is spurious and designed to catch a percentage of punters.

    The question plays on the strong support for remain in the EU in Scotland and does not ask the “independence” question. Its figures of 59% “remain” versus 41% “leave” are at odds with more reputable polls that have the figures close to 50:50 or pro-independence just in front.

    The other figures that SiU do not publicise is their polling showing a large increase in and majority for a new independence referendum. Something they oppose.

  9. Matt31

    The poll was not dismissed by independence supporters because it was commissioned by a Unionist organisation, even one as unprincipled as SiU, but because the question asked is not the referendum question on independence. I mean what does “leave the UK even mean”? The Channel Islands, are not in the UK but Crown dependencies.

  10. For anyone interested in how the Canadian Tories play, here is the background to the spot of bother that Justin Trudeau finds himself in.

    In the 1980’s, in a high school concert, he did an impression of Harry Belafonte doing Day-O, the Banana Boat song, unfortunately with brown make-up. Someone found the picture in the school year-book.

    They also dug up a 4 second video from the early 1990’s when he was in his early 20’s, which purports to show him in blackface and handed it to one of the television networks.

    And 18 years ago, in 2001 when he was a 29 year old maths teacher who also taught drama at a Vancouver school, he appeared at a school “Arabian Nights” costume party as Aladdin, unfortunately again in blackface and there is a photo of the event.

    That’s all there is folks!

    But the Canadian media which was being bored to death by the election campaign, have gone berserk . This despite a majority of those of Canada’s visible minorities interviewed on the street saying that it was no big deal and did not reflect the Justin Trudeau they know.

    This afternoon Trudeau, arguably Canada’s least racist leader, met with the media and answered questions for more than half a hour. He issued a profound apology and accepted responsibility for what he admitted was a serious mistake in using blackface, even though it was long ago.

    While the subject matter is serious, it has gotten so silly that one television reporter even suggested that the Prime Minister consider stepping down, in the middle of the election campaign, in favor of one of his Liberal colleagues.

    I’m surprised the Tories didn’t send their investigators to interview my two sons who skiied with Justin in a nippers ski group in the 1980’s. Who knows what nefarious activities he might have gotten up to when he was 10.

  11. In Israel, what I think are final figures give Blue & White 33 seats to 31 for Likud, and the overall left 57 seats to 55 for the right. Eight seats are for Yisrael Beiteinu.

    If this report is correct, YB’s leader Lieberman said he will back B&W leader Benny Gantz in the initial vote on who should be PM. This vote is not decisive, but the winner gets the first shot at building a governing coalition.

    https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/09/19/report-behind-closed-doors-lieberman-has-said-he-will-recommend-gantz-to-form-government/

  12. A good article on the differences between Scotland and England over attitudes to Europe and Brexit.

    “Scotland’s relationship with the EU and Europe has always been more constructive than the hysterical pearl-clutching that has characterised the English approach to continental dealings. This is due in part to the greater similarities in legal systems, to distinctive historical alliances, and to a largely positive political narrative. As the smaller partner in the UK, Scotland has also found the compromises that come with EU membership easier to wear.”

    https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2019/09/real-question-brexit-asks-scotland-who-governs

  13. swamprat @ #15 Friday, September 20th, 2019 – 5:29 pm

    A good article on the differences between Scotland and England over attitudes to Europe and Brexit.

    “Scotland’s relationship with the EU and Europe has always been more constructive than the hysterical pearl-clutching that has characterised the English approach to continental dealings. This is due in part to the greater similarities in legal systems, to distinctive historical alliances, and to a largely positive political narrative. As the smaller partner in the UK, Scotland has also found the compromises that come with EU membership easier to wear.”

    https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2019/09/real-question-brexit-asks-scotland-who-governs

    Thanks for the link. I find a lot the Brexit “logic” akin to emotional foot stamping, like how dare a “little” country such as Luxembourg disrespect a “Great” one like Britain. This from your link is a good summary.

    [Scotland is] an afterthought if not an outright pest, worthy only of token attention and flying visits.

    Boris Johnson is not popular, and from the north both his government and Corbyn’s opposition look – with good reason – to be peculiarly English constructions.

    Brexit pushes us beyond concern about the economics, and into broader considerations of self-respect, legitimacy and a simple desire to engage with the rest of the world on our own terms.

  14. Adrian Beaumont @ #14 Friday, September 20th, 2019 – 2:27 pm

    In Israel, what I think are final figures give Blue & White 33 seats to 31 for Likud, and the overall left 57 seats to 55 for the right. Eight seats are for Yisrael Beiteinu.

    If this report is correct, YB’s leader Lieberman said he will back B&W leader Benny Gantz in the initial vote on who should be PM. This vote is not decisive, but the winner gets the first shot at building a governing coalition.

    https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/09/19/report-behind-closed-doors-lieberman-has-said-he-will-recommend-gantz-to-form-government/

    Thanks Adrian. algemainer.com is a new source for me. But the kindest word I have for some of the comments under the article is “nasty”. Here’s one.

    …which is all part of the OVERALL PLAN God has in motion for the Jewish People — the Ultimate Era of Redemption, where Israel shall, not only not need to yield more land, but she shall regain all its Abrahamic territory and more, with the “palestinians” and the rest of the world spectators to a resurgent Jewish period of world glory.

  15. Exploring algemeiner.com I came across this.

    Since the founding of the State of Israel, no Arab party has ever joined a coalition government. Joint List leader Ayman Odeh has pledged not to support a Netanyahu-led government; however, if the Joint List were to break its longstanding tradition and join an Israeli government led by Gantz, the left would have a clear majority.

    Gantz himself, and other natural Blue and White allies, have pledged not to sit in a government with the Arab parties

    https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/09/19/the-results-are-in-who-will-emerge-from-israels-election-deadlock/

    I found some party breakdowns on Wikipedia.

    “Left” 57: Blue and White 33, Joint List 13, Labor-Gesher 6, Democratic Union 5
    “Right” 55: Likud 31, Shas 9, UTJ 8, Yamina 7
    “Secular” 8: Yisrael Beiteinu 8

    As Adrian says, it would seem to be Lieberman’s call at this stage. But if Joint List sidelines its 13, per the opinion in algemeiner, then it looks more like this.
    “Right” 55: Likud 31, Shas 9, UTJ 8, Yamina 7
    “Left” 44: Blue and White 33, Labor-Gesher 6, Democratic Union 5
    “Arab” 13: Joint List 13
    “Secular” 8: x/W Yisrael Beiteinu 8

    Joint List may be in for a bit of attention. My guess, if Joint List stays out, then Likud will form government, with a chance for yet another election soon.

  16. Two UK polls out today. Opinium has a 15-pt Tory lead, but YouGov only gives them a 7-pt lead with Labour retaking 2nd spot after the Lib Dems got that in the last YouGov. YouGov has generally been worse for Labour than other polls, so this result is better than expected given Opinium.

    Britain Elects
    @britainelects
    ·
    5h
    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 30% (-2)
    LAB: 23% (+2)
    LDEM: 22% (-1)

    via
    @YouGov

    Chgs. w/ 18 Sep
    Britain Elects
    @britainelects
    ·
    5h
    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 37% (-)
    LAB: 22% (-3)
    LDEM: 17% (+1)
    BREX: 12% (-1)
    GRN: 4% (-)

    via
    @OpiniumResearch

    Chgs. w/ 13 Sep

    At this stage, Brexit party support has not yet been listed in the YouGov poll.

  17. swamprat @ #21 Sunday, September 22nd, 2019 – 10:14 pm

    The attitudes of a failed Party.

    According to the “leader” of the North British Branch of the Labour Party there is no democratic route open to Scotland to achieve independence. So what is it that he suggests we do?

    https://youtu.be/LCo0-fj8b2o

    Thanks. Unfortunately I had to stop listening about half way through. I was laughing too much. Brexit has rotated the political axis. Everything I hear and read is pointing to a “successful” Brexit in 39 days and a further tumultuous 5(?) years of politics for England, Scotland, Wales and NI. (I hesitate to write “the UK”.)

  18. ComRes is far less bullish on the UK Tories than other polls, giving them just a 2-point lead.

    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 29% (+1)
    LAB: 27% (-)
    LDEM: 21% (+1)
    BREX: 13% (-)
    GRN: 5% (-)

    via
    @ComRes
    , 18 – 19 Sep
    5:35 am · 23 Sep 2019

  19. In non-UK news, the Arab parties in Israel will support Blue & White leader Benny Gantz for PM. That gives his bloc 57 seats to 55 for Netanyahu’s bloc, with 8 for Lieberman, who currently says he won’t back either PM candidate.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/22/israeli-arab-parties-back-benny-gantz-for-pm-breaking-with-precedent

    The Canadian brownface Trudeau stuff doesn’t appear to be having much impact on the polls so far.

    At a Portuguese regional election, there’s been a massive swing towards the Socialists (PS in this results table). This is the best ever vote for the Socialists and worst for the conservatives in this region. The federal Portugal election is on Oct 6. From Europe Elects on Twitter.

    Portugal (Madeira regional election), Final Results:

    PSD-EPP: 39.4% (-5.0)
    PS-S&D: 35.8% (+24.4)
    CDS-PP: 5.8% (-7.9)
    JPP-*: 5.5% (-4.8)
    CDU-LEFT/G/EFA: 1.8% (-3.7)
    BE-G/EFA: 1.7% (-2.1)
    PAN-G/EFA: 1.5%
    PURP-*: 1.2%
    RIR-*: 1.2%

    Final Turnout: 55.5%

  20. I can’t get my head around the UK polls; they are all over the place! Struggling to read anything in to them. Which polls were the most accurate at the last GE? I know most underestimated the Labour vote.

  21. Matt31 @ #25 Monday, September 23rd, 2019 – 6:14 pm

    I can’t get my head around the UK polls; they are all over the place! Struggling to read anything in to them. Which polls were the most accurate at the last GE? I know most underestimated the Labour vote.

    Yep. Polls need faith. At best you might say that the current xkcd is relevant if you replace “cosmologist” with “psephologist”. I’m not saying they’re totally useless, just that they’re not very accurate, they’re all we’ve got, and I hope they get better.

  22. The EU President has stated that the EU will insist on a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in the event of a no deal Brexit. I guess the question is, is he bluffing in order to keep Northern Ireland at least partially tied to the EU, or will the EU really throw Ireland under a hard border bus? https://www.news.com.au/finance/work/leaders/brussels-will-put-up-hard-border-in-northern-ireland-if-theres-a-no-deal-brexit-juncker-admits/news-story/75a8822737a51a2e03bbc9a35b5fce4f

  23. Matt31,

    Juncker is stepping down, making any no-deal Brexit von der Leyen’s headache. My guess is that this is a belligerent negotiation tactic, targeting “do-or-die Johnson”.

    Have you seen anything of what von der Leyen is saying on an Irish border? I haven’t seen anything recent, or in fact anything more than, “It will be difficult.”

  24. Late Riser

    No, I can’t say I have. I think you are probably right re Juncker’s comments!

    In other news, Sky UK is reporting that we will get the Supreme Court ruling on the prorogation of Parliament.

  25. Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament was unlawful, the Supreme Court has ruled.

    Mr Johnson suspended – or prorogued – Parliament for five weeks earlier this month, saying it was to allow a Queen’s Speech to outline his new policies.

    But the court said it was wrong to stop Parliament carrying out its duties in the run-up to the Brexit deadline on 31 October.

    Downing Street said it was “currently processing the verdict”.

    Delivering its conclusions, the Supreme Court’s president, Lady Hale, said: “The effect on the fundamentals of our democracy was extreme.”

    She added: “The decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification.”

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-49810261

  26. On Brexit and the UK Supreme Court decision, unanimous by 11 judges, Boris is displaying breathtaking arrogance, even by his own high/low standard:
    “I strongly disagree with what the justices have found,” he said.

    “I don’t think that it’s right but we will go ahead and of course Parliament will come back.”
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-24/brexit-boris-johnson-british-parliament-suspension-unlawful/11544148

    So does anyone know where it will go from here? Surely his opponents should realise now is the time to strike against him, and vote to delay a no deal Brexit. If Corbyn won’t oppose Brexit now, he is part of the problem, and has not read the job description of a leader of the opposition.

  27. Voting intentions in 3 hypothetical situations according to ComRes last week.

    If election held after a no-deal Brexit, Tories lead by 11 pts (this probably changes after reality of no-deal comes home)

    If held after Brexit extended past Oct 31, Labour leads by 3, with Lab, Con, LD and Brexit between 20 and 25%.

    If held after Brexit revoked, Lab leads Brex by 4 with Con in 3rd.

    Westminster voting intention
    … if held after the UK has left the EU without a deal on 31 Oct:

    CON: 37%
    LAB: 26%
    LDEM: 18%
    BREX: 6%
    GRN: 6%

    via
    @ComRes
    , 18 – 19 Sep
    Britain Elects
    @britainelects
    ·
    23 Sep
    Westminster voting intention
    … if held after the UK revokes Article 50 and remains in the EU after a period of extension beyond 31 Oct:

    LAB: 26%
    BREX: 22%
    CON: 20%
    LDEM: 20%
    GRN: 6%

    via
    @ComRes
    , 18 – 19 Sep
    Britain Elects
    @britainelects
    ·
    23 Sep
    Westminster voting intention
    … if held after the deadline for Brexit has been extended beyond 31 Oct:

    LAB: 25% (-3)
    CON: 22% (-4)
    LDEM: 21% (+1)
    BREX: 20% (+3)
    GRN: 5% (+1)

    via
    @ComRes
    , 18 – 19 Sep
    Chgs. w/ 06 Sep (same Q)

  28. ComRes poll out today taken after the prorogation ruling has it tied. ComRes has been the worst pollster for the Tories lately.

    Britain Elects
    @britainelects
    ·
    1h
    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 27% (-2)
    LAB: 27% (-)
    LDEM: 20% (-1)
    BREX: 17% (+4)

    via
    @ComRes
    , 24 Sep
    Chgs. w/ 19 Sep

  29. I hope there will be another brexit thread…

    meanwhile, a thought just occurred to me… everyone’s saying that the first-past-the-post system is what will probably save Johnson in the election. So what the opposition parties should do, if they can muster the numbers of course, is quickly pass a new law abolishing FPTP for a preferential system. Presumably Labour would do better off Lib-dem+SNP prefs than the tories would do off brexit party prefs (not to mention there must be a lot of brexit voters who are ex-labourites and will return to them in prefs).

  30. Boris Johnson has again stated today that he will not request a Brexit extension under any circumstances, in spite of the legislation requiring him to do so. So it seems to me Parliament has two choices; either wait it out and see if he is bluffing, or remove him via a motion of no confidence and replace him with someone who will ask for an extension. So far, there seems to be no agreement on who would replace Johnson as Prime Minister, leaving the most likely outcome still as no deal on October 31.

  31. “…leaving the most likely outcome still as no deal on October 31.”
    Yep. That’s how I see it too. And if he has to he’ll play the martyr card and somehow trigger a General Election. I’m interested in how he is going to fight off the Brexit Party.

  32. Johnson is benefiting from the disunity of his enemies. There are enough MPs who want to get rid of him, if only they could agree on a replacement for the common good. But they’re politicians, so it won’t happen.

  33. Hmm. From the Guardian today, if the death threats towards MPs and their children aren’t being overblown (Johnson labelled them “humbug”) then I fear some ugly events if Brexit doesn’t eventuate on October 31. The revulsion that follows would be the only thing a Brexit-blocked Johnson would fear at an election. Words like “do or die” and “die in a ditch” etc would come back to haunt him.

  34. @Late Riser

    I think the Brexit Party is a big part of why Boris Johnson can’t and won’t move on delivering Brexit on October 31. If he fails to deliver on that and has to go to an election, then the Brexit Party are going to be a massive headache for the Conservatives. If, however, he is able to deliver Brexit prior to an election, regardless of whether it is deal or no deal, the Brexit Party surely becomes less relevant. One of the polls posted above tends to indicate this also.

  35. The only way I can see a hard brexit happening from here is if the EU don’t agree to an extension. But there is no question that an extension will be asked for, as UK law now requires it. And Boris will not disobey the law – his office affirmed that during the prororguing furore. The only question is whether it will be Boris or his replacement who asks for it. If Boris sticks to his guns and won’t ask for an extension, then he will resign. Thats his only option. He will not refuse to ask for an extension while remaining in office.

  36. Hypothetically, if Johnson were to disobey the law and not ask for an extension as well as stubbornly hanging on to his job, what sanction(s) can be be brought against him? Can he be jailed, fined, forcibly removed from office (not by the parliament, I mean by a court of law), or what? My understanding (correct me if I’m wrong) is that the legislation requiring a request for extension is a toothless tiger, and I wouldn’t put it past the man to defy it and just dig in.

  37. Brexit is scheduled to occur in just under 36 days. For me the question has become, how does Johnson stall any parliamentary and then legal proceedings against him? If he manages to finesse Brexit on October 31 he’ll be ready for the legal and political consequences and an election, which he’ll want soon. And that’s also how he fights off the Brexit Party (agreeing I am with Matt31). I can’t see Johnson relinquishing his British bull-dog demeanor any time soon. I think the ball is now in the opposition’s court.

  38. I’ve been working on a US politics article for The Conversation this week. Warren is doing well in the Dem primary polls, but Trump’s ratings are up on the good economy. Will the impeachment affair make a difference to his ratings? I don’t think so. Biden still has a big lead over Trump, which I think is because Biden’s a bit un-politically correct.

    https://theconversation.com/warren-placed-second-after-biden-as-trumps-ratings-rise-but-could-the-impeachment-scandal-make-a-difference-123989

    The next Brexit thread will be Tuesday. The article I submit Monday will include Austrian election results for Sunday’s election.

    On Brexit, Survation has the Tory lead at 3 points, down from five, with the Lib Dems up four.

    Britain Elects
    @britainelects
    ·
    7h
    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 27% (-2)
    LAB: 24% (-)
    LDEM: 22% (+4)
    BREX: 16% (-1)

    via
    @Survation
    , 25 Sep
    Chgs. w/ 06 Sep

  39. “Hypothetically, if Johnson were to disobey the law and not ask for an extension as well as stubbornly hanging on to his job, what sanction(s) can be be brought against him? Can he be jailed, fined, forcibly removed from office (not by the parliament, I mean by a court of law), or what? My understanding (correct me if I’m wrong) is that the legislation requiring a request for extension is a toothless tiger, and I wouldn’t put it past the man to defy it and just dig in.”

    Word is, if he really does refuse, then he will be taken to court (supreme court?), who will presumably then order him to make the request. Boris’s office stated during the proroguing procedings that they will not disobey a court order – which no one would expect him to, because if he did, it would literally amount to a coup – by an unelected government no less. So I think we can dismiss that possibility.

    Its also been suggested that Boris can simply fiddle and faddle around for 30 odd days, obstructing and delaying – and suddenly times up. Brexit has then arrived. This is also not possible given the Benn Bill specifically states the extension request has to be made no later than October 19. So come October 20 and he still hasn’t made the request, presumably on that day Boris will be taken to court.

    What Boris’s office has been hinting towards is that they may very well make the request, as the law requires, but will do everything to sabotage their own request and try and convince the EU not to grant the extension. If and when it becomes clear to parliament that this is the route Johnson is taking, I think there’s a strong possibility they will finally unite in finding a replacement PM and tossing out Johnson in a NCM.

  40. Quick observation on the polls:

    From the admittedly scant evidence I’ve seen, polls seem to be showing:
    – Tories taking a small but noticeable hit
    – labour has stemmed the decline
    – lib-dems rise has plateaued

  41. @Big A Adrian
    Thanks for the reminder. I’d forgotten the date part of the Benn Bill.

    * October 20 leaves 11 days for the EU to respond and the UK to accept.
    * Could Johnson ask for an extension, adding his own terms?
    * Will the UK parliament be sitting on October 20, 21, …31?
    * How quickly can the EU respond?
    * Can all 27 EU members be relied on the grant an extension, and if so how long and under what terms?
    * Is there any evidence the EU27 are working on terms for “yet another extension”?
    * Does the UK parliament have a role in accepting the extension and any terms?

    Ahh…Brexit. How to sideline a major international player and distract a bunch of others.

  42. Yes, so many questions and possibilities when it comes to the extension! It is of course worth remembering that all 27 EU countries must not only agree on granting an extension, but the terms of the extension for it to happen. It has been suggested that Boris Johnson is working on ensuring no extension is granted, possibly through discussions with Hungary and or Poland. The French have floated the suggestion that they may only agree to another extension if it is two years.

    On the question of Parliament’s role on agreeing to the terms of another extension, I am reasonably sure that Parliament would in fact have to agree to the terms via passing legislation to extend article 50, happy to stand corrected on that. Which raises an interesting dilemma for Parliament should the EU insist on a lengthy extension.

    Having said all that, I am far from ready to dismiss the idea that Johnson may refuse to ask for an extension. The assurances given in the prorogation hearing, as I understand them, were no more than an agreement to comply with a Supreme Court order to bring Parliament back if the prorogation was declared unlawful.

  43. In his recent Conversation piece Adrian suggested:

    ‘To win elections, perhaps the left needs to break free of elite opinion in ways that do not compromise its core agenda.’

    https://theconversation.edu.au/article-123989

    If this applies to Canada Trudeau may lead his party to a better outcome in the forthcoming federal election than the polls currently suggest since he has dramatically distanced himself from elite opinion by recently admitting to wearing blackface 18 years ago.

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