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On Monday, I commented Brexit Extension to January 31 is Meaningless.

The January 31 extension is moot if there are elections in December as now seems likely.

Prognosis Confirmed

That prognosis has been confirmed as MPs Vote for General Election on December 12.

  • The UK was gearing up for a December 12 general election after Boris Johnson’s plan to go to the country received the backing of the Commons. MPs voted through the prime minister’s proposal for a pre-Christmas ballot and rejected an opposition move to hold it three days earlier.
  • Proposed amendments that would have enfranchised 16 and 17-year-olds, as well as EU nationals, were not taken forward. No 10 had said it would pull the bill altogether if the amendments were passed.
  • The Tories restored the whip to 10 of the 21 MPs from whom it was withdrawn last month. The party stressed that the fact the other had not had the whip restored did not mean they would not.
  • The UK might not get a further delay to Brexit if it cannot be sorted by 31 January 2020, Donald Tusk warned. The outgoing president of the European council again urged the UK not to waste the time it had been given.

The Votes

  • MPs voted against a December 9 date by 315 votes to 295, a majority of 20.
  • MPs voted in favour of a December 12 date by a margin of 438 to 20, a majority of 418.

What Difference Does 3 Days Make?

The Liberal Democrats wanted a December 9 election. So did Labour (not that Labour really wanted an election at all, because it didn't).

The significance of December 12 is that college students who are likely registered to vote near in districts close to their schools may not vote at all since they will be on recess.

That was a win for Johnson.

The amendment to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote was struck down when Johnson threatened not offer December elections at all was also a major win for Johnson.

Regaining the Whip

Regaining the whip means the expelled Tory MPs are now back in the party.

I have mixed feeling about that. I suspect Johnson does too.

So why did Johnson let them back in the Tory party?

They voted for the Withdrawal Agreement. They will do so again. Having voted for the WA, they are unlikely to cause further trouble.

It would be better to have hard core Brexit MPs but Johnson does not want them running as independents, splitting the vote. In essence, this was a political compromise to help win the election.

Ken Clarke can go to hell as far as I am concerned. It was his idea to let 16-year olds vote to defeat Brexit.

Caving In to Victory

Those who suggested Johnson "caved in" by agreeing to an extension to January 31 seriously missed the boat.

Johnson got exactly what he wanted: An early election when he is way ahead in the polls.

Heck, as noted in this corner, Johnson even phoned Macron telling him to OK an extension.

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

Johnson was adamantly opposed to an extension (or at least he said).

And he was, if there was no election attached to it.

Assuming elections, however, it was a purposeful lie. So be careful of appearances.

Johnson colluded with French President Emmanuel Macron, who demanded a "way forward".

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The way forward meant either elections or passage of the Withdrawal Agreement (WA). The WA had the Liberal Democrats scared to death.

Understanding What's Happened

  1. Johnson is so far ahead in the polls that he would rather gamble on elections before the Withdrawal Agreement is settled.
  2. The Liberal Democrats desperately need elections to pick up seats from Labour. That is their second agenda. Their first agenda, outright staying in the EU is dead.
  3. The Liberal Democrats "Remain" strategy blows up the moment the Withdrawal Agreement is approved.
  4. A Johnson win would strengthen the case for another Scottish Referendum

Staring Into the Abyss

Once Johnson got Macron to hold firm, SNP and the Liberal Democrats caved in, not Johnson.

They had to, and Johnson knew it.

Again, mainstream media got this hopelessly wrong.

Curiously, once SNP and the Liberal Democrats folded, Johnson no longer needed Macron.

UK Polls

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  1. Johnson will run on a "Get Brexit Done" campaign.
  2. Corbyn will run on the amazing platform of working out an agreement with the EU then campaigning against it in favor of a new referendum.


Instead of health care, labor policies, wages, etc, the main focus of the campaign will be Brexit, not other issues.

Those who genuinely want to remain, have one choice and it isn't Labour.

What About No Deal?

"No Deal" is back in play as discussed in January Brexit Extension Increases Chance of No Deal.

I believe Johnson wants a deal. But if the election are such that he needs cooperation from DUP to achieve Brexit, then expect No Deal.

Threading the Needle

Regardless of what outcome you want or believe best, Johnson did an amazing job of threading the needle.

  1. May's deal was on the verge of revival.
  2. Were it not for collusion between France and Johnson, this could have dragged on for years.
  3. Were it not for the arrogance of Corbyn, there would have been a caretaker government led by Ken Clarke with disastrous results

Political Reality

Many of my readers wanted "No Deal". Some wanted Remain. Some wanted a customs union.

Labour, SNP, the exiled Tories, and the Liberal Democrats all gave Johnson a chance at a deal, believing it to be impossible.

Nearly everyone underestimated Johnson.

Guess what? The impossible happened.

All that remains is an election to prove it.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock