While the Tories are busy being inwardly-focused and dreaming of the easily-won Brexit paradise as promised by Boris Johnson, the Remain side need to be thinking of the likely next General Election. The million dollar question must be whether they can form an Anti-Brexit alliance. The lesson of the last few years should be that the old two party voting pattern has broken down, or is at least on its last legs, to be replaced by a multi-party system, and that winning a majority has become very difficult. Thus a coalition will be needed and Remain need it to be their one.
As Ian Dunt argues here, there are only two pro-Brexit parties and there are signs that they could ally. Given the multiplicity of Remain parties, the facing-both-ways ambiguity of Labour, and lack of a political home for the liberal metropolitans dissatisfied with the major parties’ positions on Brexit, the risk is of a split vote in the First Past The Post (FPTP) system of a simple majority letting in a candidate who previously would have been squeezed out by FPTP.
The electoral challenge of a multi-party system
While at a general election situations can vary across the country, the recent Peterborough by-election gives a useful example of how results might be different due to an insurgent party. The constituency was a Tory/Labour marginal and the incumbent Labour member had just been ejected by a recall petition due to her criminality. Yet the right wing vote was split by the BP and Labour squeezed in to win seemingly against the odds. This sort of three-way or four-way voting can produce different results than a couple of decades ago. At the moment, electoralcalculus.co.uk, who do election predictions, are showing another hung Parliament but there are arguably enough votes out there for pro-Remain parties to be able to form a coalition. The trouble is that this is very unpredictable, and no doubt there will be plenty of you with other ideas of how this could pan out!
You would have thought that there should be a massive sense of urgency engendered by the biggest crisis to face the country in modern times which should concentrate minds wonderfully. Yet, at present, it seems that parties like the LDP and Greens are not that keen on an alliance and the coterie around JC still dream of socialism in one country. This is an election, if it happens, that is there to lose.
A Popular Front
An anti-brexit alliance makes electoral sense. In the 1930’s in France and Spain, who were faced by a major challenge from the right, Popular Fronts were formed. Arguably we desperately need one today in the UK. This is about fighting Brexit but it is also about defending democracy against insurgent populism that proposes to take the UK over the Brexit cliff edge.