Failing, flailing, and doing surprisingly well in the polls

I read everywhere that Boris Johnson’s government is flailing and failing. They have been soundly defeated in the Commons. It looks like Boris will be forced to ask the EU for another extension, and according to the Times it has been pre-approved:

Rebel Tory MPs and opposition leaders received private assurances from European leaders that a request by parliament for a three-month Brexit extension would be granted in one last attempt to break the deadlock.

The Times understands that senior figures behind the bill to force an extension on Boris Johnson cleared their plan with EU capitals before it was published this week. They received reassurances that the European Council, which is made up of EU leaders, would not stand in the way of one final extension if it was approved by parliament.

Amber Rudd is but the latest high-profile Tory to resign the Conservative whip, to the delight of her brother Roland Rudd, the chairman of the People’s Vote campaign.


“If Parliament is unable to decide on Brexit it would be better to have a snap General Election”

Agree: 50%
Disagree: 18%

-Tweet from the “Britain Elects”, quoting a poll by ComRes carried out from the 4th-6th September. It is not the only such result. The Independent‘s John Rentoul has observed,

Average of 3 polls this weekend (Survation, Opinium, YouGov)

Con 33%

Lab 23%

Lib Dem 18%

Brexit 14%

Updated: 7th September 2019 — 11:46 pm


  1. Ces institutions périssent par leurs victoires. [These institutions perish by their victories.]

    is a very well known quote whose origin I cannot for the life of me recall at this moment. And maybe that sums up the situation perfectly. 🙂

    Provided Boris and the rest do not imitate Niall-a-quote-for-every-occasion-Kilmartin and forget something just at the crucial moment, then we should not only win but win far better than if the establishment had never decided to undo a vote they’d promised to respect. if PM Boris had been appointed in 2016, he’d have been hemmed in by an unreconstructed not-very-conservative party – and a lot of what we disliked in the EU would have been preserved, or diminished only slightly and slowly.

    Instead, parliament has spent this year making my joke poem’s lines

    Too statist to say, even at their most livid,
    “Take back control? Look at us, to whom you’ll give it!”,

    seem more prescient than I expected when I wrote it. 🙂 All the experts, the ‘great and good’, the ‘we know best’ crowd, suffer with every decline in respect for parliament – and especial, of this parliament, where they are so obviously a faction independent of party.

    Even the widespread cynicism that will be applied to Boris as to his foes empowers him relative to them: it is basic political theory that such cynicism weakens the polity as a whole but relatively empowers the executive against the legislature. Every time they ‘win’ by refusing an election, they lose twice. Firstly, SW1 chatter and cunning about precisely why they are refusing does not penetrate to the voters beyond, where “they don’t want an election” leads instantly to “they think they’ll lose an election”. Secondly, when ordinary voters can’t be bothered with details and all seems just one sly maneouvre against another, speaker Bercow’s well-acted fury over some technical irregularity in whatever mechanism Boris will use (to evade the intent of the act and/or secure an election) will be assumed to be phoney but will also be assumed to be unimportant. There will be ordinary voters who don’t read Guido, let alone this blog, who will not know of Major’s prorogations or Blair’s withholding of the royal assent and so will lack any argument against Bercow’s claims – but they deeply, deeply will not care. And the more the establishment’s SW1-thinking campaign managers focus on such issues, the more they will lose.

    This is not in every way an ideal situation. But the establishment made it and own it. And I am confident that we on this blog, who do know of Major’s and Blair’s antics, will be able to see that, like ‘catastrophic’ global warming, what the public don’t care about is not happening anyway.

  2. The fixed term parliament act needs to be the first thing to go ‘come the revolution’.

  3. I wonder. What if Theresa May had put BRINO on a confidence motion?

    Oh hang about! She would have needed the support of the DUP who I am pretty sure were always against it.

    Yeah. Scrap it. Bizarre piece of legislation.

Comments are closed.