This was first posted on Facebook on 18th November 2019, with support from my Ko-Fi network.
I have no idea which of these is most likely to happen in GE2019. But I’m pretty sure one of them will.
For the purposes of this scenario slicing: I’m assuming The Brexit Party Ltd wins no seats. It might, but I don’t think it will win *enough* to make any difference to the balance of power.
If on Friday 13th December we wake up to:
Rotten Scenario: The Tories have a majority. Boris Johnson is Prime Minister til May 2024. His Brexit deal is made law and the UK leaves the EU on 31st January 2020 and enters the transition period. Btoris Johnson refuses to ask for an extension to the transition period by 30th June 2020, despite experts telling him a UK/EU trade deal cannot be negotiated by 31st December 2020. There is a very real risk that in consequence the UK crashes out of the EU in no-deal Brexit at midinight 31st December 2020: asking for an extension after June will be much more complicated. Brexit will dominate UK politics with additional layers of Scottish independence and a united Ireland expanding as time goes on.
Uncooked scenario: The Tories are the largest single party but do not have a majority without support from the LibDems. The LibDems hold the balance of power and agree to vote with the Tories to let them form a government by passing a Queen’s Speech and a budget, but not to support any part of Johnson’s Brexit Deal – which the unionist parties of NI won’t support either. Johnson is – with regards to Brexit – still the Prime Minister Who Can’t Do Anything. The only thing we can be sure of in this situation is that there will not be a majority for crashing out of the EU in no-deal Brexit on 31st January, and Boris Johnson might resign before he’s fired.
Scottish scenario: The Tories are the largest single party but Labour and the SNP can outvote the Tories even with support from LibDems and DUP. Labour forms a government with SNP support and gets LibDem support for legislating EUref2. For all matters with regard to English Votes for English Laws (EVEL), Labour can be outvoted by Tories and LibDems, which extremely restricts what the Labour government can do. But the People’s Vote happens before the end of June, and the UK votes either Leave on Labour’s deal or Revoke Article 50 and Remain.
LibLab Scenario: Labour is the largest single party and Labour plus LibDems can outvote the Tories plus DUP. LibDems hold the balance of power and agree to vote with Labour to let them form a government by passing a Queen’s Speech and a budget, and also to support Labour legislation for EUref2. This Labour government can outvote the Tories on EVEL providing the legislation passed is what the LibDems approve of: this Labour government is less restricted on what it can do than in Scottish Scenario, but still fairly tied.
Labour Scenario: Labour has a majority and can form a government – even if it is a narrow majority, LibDems and SNP (and Green and Plaid Cymru) will vote with Labour to keep out the Tories. Labour deal negotiated with the EU, People’s Vote by end of June, and the UK either votes to Leave on Labour’s deal or to Remain.
In all scenarios, if the UK is leaving or has left the EU, there will be a second independence referendum in Scotland before the end of 2020, because Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP leadership have calculated that the independence vote is likely to win this time.
The Quebec Mistake is to assume that if an independence movement nearly won a referendum. having a second one a few years later will bring out the independence vote and ensure victory: if the second independence referendum also loses, then this is really the end of the independence movement.
Nicola Sturgeon will not hazard indyref2 unless she is confident this time the independence vote will win, and the very best chance of indyref2 winning is if the Rotten Scenario or the Uncooked Scenario happens – or if, in the Scottish Scenario or the LibLab Scenario or the Labour Scenario, EUref2 happens and again England votes by majority to Leave the EU and by numerical superiority, beats the Remain vote in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and (if it happens) Wales.
A lot of media was reporting in November that Nicola Sturgeon had said indyref2 should happen before EUref2: this is not the case. What Sturgeon said in response to Jackson Carlow in FMQs this past week, was that indyref2 would be her priority – which it would: as she is a MSP not a MP, she wouldn’t be voting on EUref2.
If the UK as a whole votes to Remain in the EU, and Westminster Parliament then revokes Article 50 and we remain, I think Nicola Sturgeon will quite possibly drop indyref2 – regardless of what excuse she makes to have it not happen: because she will not want to make the Quebec Mistake. The democratic reason for needing indyref2 if the UK is going to leave the EU when Scotland voted to remain, is fairly obvious: but if in EUref2 the UK as a whole votes to remain, this takes away that clear democratic rationale: and further, may take away a significant number of voters who’d vote Yes because of Brexit but won’t necessarily vote Yes if Brexit is done with and over.
And to be clear: If we have EUref2, a majority vote to Remain, and Article 50 is revoked, then providing Labour doesn’t lose of vote of no-confidence twice under the Fixed Term Parliament Act, Brexit is definitely over til GE2024 – and that is long enough for the law to have caught up with Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and Dominic Cummings, regarding the criminal overspend in the 2016 EU referendum. It is long enough for The Brexit Party Ltd MEPs to have had multiple corruption scandals and investigations. It is long enough, even, for Nigel Farage’s links with Donald Trump and Julian Assange to have been exposed.