Friday 27 May 2016

Hanging Parliament

At Hyde Park in London, there is a place called "Speakers' Corner", where it was possible to stand up and voice almost any opinion, although it is doubtful that it still applies. It is adjacent to the spot where at one time the Tyburn Gallows stood for the public execution of felons and traitors.

The debate on the Referendum on Europe now seems to be engaged at a rather noisier, lower and more confusing level than either of them.  I am for Leave on the grounds of sovereignty and democracy and that historically large complex authoritarian empires always come unstuck and usually badly.

Setting this aside, given what is going on there are risks and what we think we might get or might happen could turn out to be naive or wrong.   The first question is how many people might vote?  If the turnout is on the lower side and the size of the win is marginal then what might happen.  This is simple speculation.

Should the Leave win with a small margin, it may be at best this means only 40% to 45% of the total electorate on a turnout of close to 80%.  With a lower turnout of less than 60%, then perhaps only around 30% to 35% or even less if it is poor.

The theory is that if Cameron "loses" he will resign.  But if the total vote is only around a third to procure a marginal Leave win then he might decide to stay and adopt a dragged heel policy, or even no action one.

His spinners would be happy to dream up a litany of good excuses.  Negotiations would be subverted, crises created and at worst a war or wars begun.

For him to go it would then depend on the House of Commons on a vote of confidence to support or to be against him, the latter usually meaning he should resign.  But given the uncertainties here and with some major groups in favour of Remain, there is no telling what might be. Parliament might be hung as at Tyburn.

Technically, only the Queen can dismiss a Prime Minister.  If she and her advisers are looking at what is a constitutional mess, the sensible thing would be for her to stay out of it and leave the politicians to stew in their own juice.

I have a suspicion that given the financial interests and networks involved there could be a real risk of Cameron carrying on to the 2020 General Election if the Referendum figures are tight and he can get away with it.

He is not a man of his word.  Osborne is now looking like damaged goods and a fight between others for Leadership could be bad for what is left of the Party's credibility.

Looking at what is at stake this is possible even if Leave do win by a better margin given the nature of the commitment of Cameron and cronies and equally the Labour Party and the SNP, to adherence to the higher power and money of Brussels.

Ironically, a strong win for Remain in the Referendum would allow Cameron to hand over to his friends in 2018 or earlier and perhaps move on to work and activity more suited to his particular talents, helping out his local Chipping Norton second hand car dealer.

He could go to the Lords as well, if he chooses, perhaps as the Earl of Loose Chippings.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately Remain seems likely to win, which as you say allows Cameron to hand over to his chums in 2018.