Now with Boris as the Prime Minister, we can see the following emerge:
- The cabinet has been formed with a singular agenda to secure Brexit.
- People who actively campaigned against Boris have either been cast out or demoted regardless of their Brexit stance. (e.g. Penny Mourant)
- There is a hardcore rump of Tory MPs prepared to stand against a no-deal. Estimates vary but up to 20. Interestingly though arguably very few of these would vote against leaving the EU.
- The Scottish Executive are likely to amplify their campaign for their own independence campaign, regardless of Boris’s self styled title of ‘Defender of the Union.’ The Conservatives currently have 11 Scottish MPs, arguably all are at risk from a Boris no deal Brexit.
- With the DUP, they are already lobbying for more funds and also interestingly, are Union first, Brexit second. This means any scenario where Tory policy could result in a unification of ireland will be opposed by them.
- The Labour party has finally defined its stance as pro referendum on any tory deal. The Lib Dems are just against Brexit. Other than a handful of Labour MPs in a small number of heavily brexit leaning seats, they will vote against him.
- EU officials are standing their ground and actively preparing for a no-deal.
- Ireland is the country most likely to be negatively impacted by no-deal, where there is already an emergency fund being prepared to address the issues emerging.
- For other countries arguably the issue is of no greater importance than the Italian Banking crisis, or the issues to do with mass migration from MENA, where there is a feeling that enough Political Energy has now been spent on Brexit.
- The US President has called for Boris & Nigel to work together, where behind the scenes no doubt, the Brexit party is already in talks with Senior Conservatives on how they can collaborate.
With all this, what can Boris do?
Between now and September, expect a rush of policy announcements, e.g. such as on Policing, Housing or HS3, which will be designed to target the working middle class. These will be vote winners and form the back of a policy platform for an election.
The UK Govt will go into a cold war mode with Brussels where there are no formal talks, only back-channel discussions where both sides re-iterate their stance. During this time, much will be made of the intransigence of the EU, and that given the UK are net beneficiaries, they are making it difficult mainly because they want to continue to lock in the UK, and its funding. This messaging will become prevalent on social media, along with the newspapers.
Expect a foreign policy escalation somewhere, could be Iran, but also could be Russia. Boris will side with USA hawks, while the EU will urge caution. The UK Gov’t will use the incident to show that the place of the UK in an increasingly unsafe world is alongside the USA, not the EU, which relies on the USA for military protection (e.g. Poland and Baltic states.)
The Conservatives will then form some kind of electoral pact with Nigel Farage, to help secure Brexit and against this backdrop will go into a general election that they call.
We will then see a gen election called for October where:
- The two most effective campaigners (Boris & Nigel) are on the same side, where these are also the two sides with the most funding. Their campaign will be “Believe in Britain” or something equally disingenuous or jingoistic.
- The opposition is diluted and split. Labour is fragmented under Corbyn. The SNP stand for their own agenda. The Lib Dems are still finding their way and may win back some centrist Conservative votes, but will end up coming a close second in a lot of seats without significantly increasing their Parliamentary presence. Without that unity of voice and agenda, the message gets lost.
- As a result we end up with London and Scotland turning away from the Cons, but regionally them gaining. Assuming marginals with under 1k majorities flipped (swing 1-2%) it would mean even with a minor swing of 1-2% for Boris in E&W regionally (opposite in London & Scotland) and the Conservatives winning back seats from Change, they end up with 325-326 seats overall, enough to command a majority.
- The gambit from Boris will be to win a swing of 3%+ and with that, command a majority of 20+, which would be enough to implement his vision of brexit, regardless of what back-bench MPs say. Given what a poor campaigner TM was, and how Farage will effectively dovetail the Tories, this is probably the most likely outcome.
What does this mean? All things considered, Hard Brexit is now the most likely outcome.