Sunday, June 26, 2016

The idea of a snap General Election should be stamped on HARD

There should NOT be a snap general election and this idea should be strongly discouraged.

This hare appears to have been set running by Peter Mandelson who was re-fighting the argument about whether Gordon Brown should have called one when he became PM. It has been picked up by journalists who are the only people in Britain who profit from uncertainty and excitement and by some Remainers, who hope that MPs could use that General Election to seek a mandate to overturn the referendum result. (Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has already said he will do this)

That is a recipe for chaos.

First of all, is any of the parties in a position to fight an election properly? Our machine might be in a better state than most, but that's not saying much.
Secondly, We've already had one Pro-Remain MP, David Lammy, calling on his fellow remain MPs to block the referendum decision and one party leader Tim Farron of the Lib/Dems, saying he will seek to use the next general election to reverse it.

There is a huge pro-remain majority in parliament and may well be another one after a fresh election.

What happens if a significant proportion of candidates try to use a snap General Election as an opportunity to seek a mandate to overturn the referendum decision?

I think the degree of uncertainty and chaos which that might cause would be an order of magnitude worse than we have now, during the election campaign and, depending on the result, possibly even more so afterwards. 
Thirdly, calling this referendum was in the Conservative election manifesto, which included a programme for five years' work. There was nothing in our manifesto which said "Oh, and if the referendum doesn't go the way we expect, forget everything else in this manifesto and we'll call a fresh election."

I don't usually find myself in agreement with the posters to comments on Conservative Home, but today was an exception - the great majority of comments on a piece by my old friend Paul Goodman making the case for an early election did not agree with the idea and I don't either.

The reason Brown's "election which never was" hurt him so badly was not because there was any vital reason to call one.

What hurt Brown was that by

1) allowing speculation to build remorselessly that there was about to be an election with no attempt to spike it -

2) then suddenly killing it at the last minute following a bad opinion poll, and

3) making the grossly implausible claim that he hadn't meant to call an election but been frightened off by a bad poll,

he seriously damaged his credibility, looking weak and like a ditherer and, worst, appearing untruthful.

The new Prime Minister should say when he first addresses the nation that the next General Election will be held in May 2020.

1 comment:

Andrew Tettenborn said...

I absolutely agree. The Remain people are desperate to find an excuse to kick Brexit as a whole into the long grass, encouraged by DC's failure (contrary to previous assurances) to invoke Art 50 as soon as there was a no vote.