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Strange Election Strategy

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced his election strategy today.

He seeks a referendum on Brexit while having no official position on the outcome of the referendum.

The Guardian reports Labour May Stay Neutral if Referendum is Between its Brexit Deal or Remain

The Labour leader was clear that the party would campaign to remain against a no-deal Brexit, as he pledged to do everything possible to prevent crashing out on 31 October.

But when asked if the party would stay neutral given a choice between a deal negotiated by Labour and remaining in the EU, Corbyn did not say which side the party would support.

“In a general election, we will put forward the opportunity for people in this country to have the final say,” he said on Monday.

No Official Position on His Own Negotiated Deal

How can that possibly make any sense?

But wait, it's even more convoluted.

Shadow Chancellor Supports Remain

Labour Shadow [opposition] Chancellor John McDonnell officially supports remain.

Convoluted Strategy Synopsis

  1. Corbyn has no position other than to hold a referendum asking people to decide between allowing him to negotiate a deal and remaining in the EU.
  2. Apparently there will be no choice offered for no deal. Clearly his proposal does not provide the "opportunity for people in this country to have the final say".
  3. The shadow chancellor officially supports remain thus widening a rift between various Labour factions.

Everything Possible to Stop Hard Brexit? Not Quite

Meanwhile, Corbyn pledges to do "everything possible to prevent crashing out on 31 October"

Well, no, not everything.

On August 15, I noted Corbyn Seeks to Stop Brexit Via "Make Me Temporary PM" Pretty Please Offer.

Corbyn appointed himself as the Brexit Savior via volunteering to become a caretaker PM. Even some Tories agreed to consider the idea.

Corbyn's scheme blew up precisely one day later as noted in Checkmate! Corbyn's Please Make Me "Temporary PM" Scheme Fails Already.

The Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson refused to go along and Tories quickly distanced themselves from the effort.

Swinson Rules Out Corbyn

The Guardian Live Blog quoted Corbyn again today regarding "everything to stop a hard Brexit.

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I am the leader of the opposition, the leader of the Labour party. All the constitutional precedents are, when a government collapses, it’s the leader of the opposition that takes over.

There seems to be an awful lot of very imaginative what iffery in the press at the present time. We will put a motion of no confidence in the government. We will do everything we can to stop a no deal Brexit.

Everything We Can (Except That)

  1. Corbyn will do "everything we can to stop no deal" except back some other candidate as temporary PM.
  2. The Liberal Democrats will do "everything we can to stop no deal" except back Corbyn.
  3. The Torie Remainers will do "everything to stop no deal" as long as it is a Tory who becomes the temporary PM.

Clearly, everything does not mean what it used to for everyone involved.

UK General Election Polls

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Hopelessly Split

The Liberal Democrats and Labour are hopelessly split. Those backing Brexit will return to the Tory fold. Many already have. Tory support fell to a shocking low of 17% in one poll before Johnson became the prime minister.

Conservatives rate to get 40% of the vote or more with Labour and the Liberal Democrats splitting the rest.

As with US voting, UK parliament winners are not proportional. Even something like 40% could result in a landslide in a first-past-the-post system (the candidate with the most votes wins).

Electoral Calculus

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As of July 27, Electoral Calculus estimated the Tories would win the election but fall 15 seats short of a majority.

Seat Delta

For the Conservatives to get a working majority, they have to increase their support in the polls. A useful rule-of-thumb is given by the 'seat delta' which indicates approximately how many more seats each party would win if its support increased by 1pc. Both the big two parties have a seat delta of around 15 seats for each 1pc. So an increase in Conservative support of 1pc would gain them about 15 seats, which would take them (just) to an overall parliamentary majority. Each additional increase in support of 1pc would add another 15 seats, which would increase their parliamentary majority by 30 seats (since every new seat adds two to the majority).

Discussion Points

  1. Electoral Calculus numbers are stale and the numbers also overweight the Brexit Party which strongly rates to return to the fold.
  2. Johnson rates to have delivered Brexit. The need for a Brexit party will vanish.
  3. If Brexit has been delivered, the confusing message of Labour certainly will not carry the day. Many disgruntled Labour Party and Liberal Democrats will not even bother to show up on election day.

Making of a Tory Landslide

Assume the Tory delta is 1% = 15 seats near the current totals as per Election Calculus. Heck, assume a more cautious 10 seats.

Assume the Tories manage 38% of the vote instead of the projected 30% and you have another 80 seats going to the Tories. That's a landslide.

If you care to be even more cautious, flip just 60 seats for a total of 371. That would make it 371:278.

So you can be even more cautious. All the math requites for a solid Tory majority is for a fair number of the Brexit Party to return home while Labour and the Liberal Democrats split the rest with conflicting messages.

Both prospects are highly likely.

All Johnson has to do is deliver Brexit then immediately hold elections. I propose October 31.

Happy Halloween.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock