Boris Johnson will get his general election.
After a third bid to force a snap vote went awry on Monday, Johnson finally got the support of Jeremy Corbyn. Labour will now back an early trip to the polls.
Corbyn notes that the conditions for his support were met this week, following the UK’s acceptance of the EU’s offer to grant a three-month Brexit extension to January 31. “For the next three months, our condition of taking no deal off the table has now been met”, he said.
The date isn’t on the books just yet, but whenever it happens (likely between December 9 and 12), it will represent one more chance for voters to rethink the divorce. You’d imagine public support would have waned considerably over the last three years, but populist politics is galvanizing, and feeds off controversy.
“The first Christmas election in Britain since 1923 would be highly unpredictable: Brexit has variously fatigued and enraged swathes of voters while eroding traditional loyalties to the two major parties”, Reuters notes.
Apparently, Boris isn’t inclined to go along with any ideas about lowering the voting age or allowing EU nationals to participate. Opposition parties have floated those ideas recently.
Of course, Johnson could simply emerge stronger after the vote. Corbyn has promised to “launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change our country has ever seen”.
That’s somewhat ironic – it’s hard to imagine proposing something more “ambitious and radical” than pulling the UK out of the EU with or without a deal that cushions the blow, which is presumably what Boris will promise, only weighed down by the baggage of his failure to deliver a divorce by October 31.
As Reuters goes on to say, summarizing, “voters will have a choice between an emboldened Johnson pushing for his Brexit deal or a socialist government under Corbyn renegotiating the deal before a referendum”.
Before you cringe at the thought of a socialist government under Corbyn, do take a moment to reflect on the reality of the last three years and, more to the point, the last three months.