Over the past four years there have been three prime ministers of the United Kingdom, two general elections and one referendum on Brexit. No one has led the UK out of the European Union (EU) yet.
The road to hell, it’s said, is paved with good intentions. And Boris Johnson took over his Conservatives with every good intention of leading his party to the promised land outside the EU. In his own words, he would make Brexit happen by October 31 rather than ask for an extension.
The ghost of Brexit is still very much haunting British politics long after Halloween has come and gone. The EU has said the Brits will remain part of the club until January 31 for now — granting an extension.
Instead, Boris will be walking all the way to a general election on December 12 — a prime minister overseeing a zombie parliament for the past three months lingering between life inside and outside of the EU.
So far, after three months in power, the only vote of significance that Boris has actually won — and even then only after three other failed attempts — is to manage to call a general election a fortnight before Christmas.
If you thought the prospect of a Brexit on Halloween was scary, then watch out for Friday the 13th — December 13 — when the results of this general election will become clear.
There is every chance that it will once more be a parliament paralysed by divisions. And as scary as the prospect is of Boris winning a majority, the equally fearful prospect is that it will once again be a haunted House of Commons where the demons of Leave and Remain roam the division chambers.
Labour will be desperately trying to avoid the subject of Brexit when ever possible. Simply put, its position is rather like the contortionist in a Victorian peep show.
And as scary as the prospect is of Boris winning a majority, the equally fearful prospect is that it will once again be a haunted House of Commons where the demons of Leave and Remain roam the division chambers
Can anyone believe for one minute that voters will support a party whose official position is that if it gets to form a government, it will reopen negotiations with the EU once more, then come back to parliament with a third — that’s right — a third Brexit deal, then put that or Remain to the voters to let them choose in another referendum.
At that rate, Brexit still won’t happen for another year or so — or might not indeed happen at all.
Boris and his Conservatives have not exactly covered themselves in glory on this front either. For all of his bluster, his dead-ditch entreaties, his promise to get it done, he has had to ask for an extension, couldn’t get his much-vaunted deal through parliament either, and won’t be able to say for sure when Brexit will happen — by January 31 or some other yet to be determined date.
You might think this election would be a cakewalk for those who believe Boris is the man to deliver Brexit and he has been thwarted by the combined opposition parties and Remains in the House of Commons.
Or may be not.
According to analysts, there are some four million Labour voters, mostly in the north of England, who might be convinced to vote for Boris and the Conservatives to get Brexit done. They are in constituencies that overwhelmingly voter for Leave in the 2016 referendum.
But those are areas that have been hard hit by a decade of austerity wrought by the Conservatives — and Boris isn’t exactly known for his trustworthiness.
Labour will be doing everything in its power to make policing, the health service, austerity, student finances, trains and crime the issues that matter — anything but its very confusing Brexit stance.
That’s just in the north of England. Head south, close to the capital, to London and the Home Counties, where dozens of Conservative Members of Parliament represent constituencies that overwhelming voted to Remain, the Boris’ party appears very vulnerable to a straight forward approach from the Liberal Democrats, who will be campaigning for a second referendum and Remain — as if these past three years of torture would not have happened at all.
Those same analysts predict that even Conservatives who have a majority of 10,000 votes are vulnerable in the election given the strength of opposition to Brexit.
In his own seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Johnson had a majority of 5,024. That’s considered vulnerable this time out and there has been suggestions in some party quarters that he might consider running in a safer constituency.
And Jacob Rees-Mogg, the ultra Brexiteer? He holds his Devon-area seat for the Conservatives with a healthy 10,000 vote margin. If the Lib-Dems can get a pact with other parties there, they believe they could knock him off.
So yes, be very aware of Friday the 13th.