Friday, 14 October 2016

The Case For a General Election


Theresa May has resisted calling a general election. She has done so for entirely understandable reasons. Constitutionally she is well within her rights. The Lib Dems, who are most prominent amongst those who want an election, are one of the chief reasons why having one is more difficult. It used to be at the discretion of the prime minister of the day with the permission of the Monarch to dissolve parliament and call an election. The Lib Dems foisted the Fixed Term Parliament Act upon us, an act of vandalism that was entirely unnecessary and yet had long been a fetish of many on the left. Effectively this parliament and all that follow it will be bound by the coalition that ruled us between 2010 and 2015.

Under the circumstances that prevailed prior to 2010, an election might well now be regarded as necessary and even desirable. We have a new Government following a referendum that is going to change Britain. This is an outcome that people like me regard as wholly desirable and necessary. Yet there is a majority in parliament and in the unelected House of Lords that is intent on stymying this if it possibly can. They will use every tactic at their disposal. Their first in a long list is the claim that simply invoking Article 50, essentially a letter from the Government to the EU to begin the process of negotiation and Britain leaving should only take place with the consent of parliament. This is patent nonsense. Take that to its logical conclusion and parliament would have to have a vote every time the prime minister held a meeting with anyone. That is not the way our system works and never has.

But this is why an election is desirable and is probable. We have had a referendum and yet some do not regard this as binding on them. We need a general election in addition. As things stand this would lead to a much larger and more comfortable Conservative majority and would silence the kind of empty and self serving rhetoric we are hearing from Labour MPs like David Lammy and of course from the SNP who are threatening another referendum that the Scottish people clearly do not want and would likely vote against. Just like the referendum we have just had in the whole of the UK, the SNP do not accept the result of the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence because they didn't like that result. They should be punished for their obsession by the Scottish people. Indeed they were this summer when they lost their majority in parliament even if they remained the largest party. The second largest party in Scotland is the Conservative Party - an avowedly and unashamedly unionist party.

The farcical part of all of this is that in reality all of the parties are in broad agreement with the possible exception of the serially opportunist and mendacious SNP. The people have spoken via the referendum and we must leave the EU. We must do so by maintaining the best trading relationship vis a vis the Single Market that we possibly can, but we must also regain control of our borders. But it is impossible to set out at this stage how things will turn out. That is the stated aim of the British Government and we have a good negotiating hand. The EU will try and resist this, largely to deter others from following our example. There will be a long drawn out game of bluff. But Britain will get a deal eventually. And we will prosper. We will do so because, as with Schengen and the euro, we have had the good sense to resist and now reject the worst excesses of the EU.

Ultimately though, given the state of denial of the remainers in our midst, the only way we are going to settle this is by calling an election. Mrs May should consider it anew.

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