Thursday, September 05, 2019

Why the opposition parties should make Boris Johnson wait for his general election

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Though the Fixed-term Parliaments Act was necessary to prevent David Cameron ending the Coalition as soon as it suited him, Liberals and Liberal Democrats have long advocated fixed parliamentary terms.

They limit the electoral advantage enjoyed by the governing party, because everyone knows when the next election will be, and they encourage parties to work together.

So there is no reason for the Liberal Democrats to hurry to allow a general election.

And there is a very good reason why we should put if off for a good while: Boris Johnson is desperate for it to take place soon.

You can see why.

His party is falling apart by the day. He looks more ridiculous by the day. And if he can't deliver by Brexit by 31 October a large part of his party will cry "betrayal".

So it is in the opposition parties' interest to keep him in office and powerless for as long as they can. The longer he survives in such a humiliating state, the less chance he has of winning the election when it comes.

Let me end with a chess analogy. Just occasionally, you get a good position out of the opening and your opponent sits squirming and using up time because he cannot find anything to do.

In those circumstances playing aggressively can even help him. If you make a threat his next move is clear: he has to defend against it. Suddenly there is something to do.

So you are better off playing a quiet move (tucking your king into the corner is perfect) and then getting up and strolling round the tournament hall while your opponent continues to squirm and use up time.

Let's just leave Johnson sitting there. He will blunder before long and lose the game. He's not much of a chess player.

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