For ages the Labour Party in the UK has argued for a General Election. The election one year after Brexit was so close it spelled defeat for Labour and anything but a mandate for the Conservatives. Because of how close the vote was and Labour wanted a say about how that procedure would look, it wanted another vote. It was clear many (a near majority) didn’t want a “Brexit” at all, but if it were to happen, Labour wanted it done their way. When Boris Johnson became Prime Minister he called Labour’s bluff almost immediately and demanded a General Election. Labour then resisted, and argued that Conservatives didn’t have a plan that was worthy of being used as a referendum for voters, because the Europeans would not even approve of it.
Upon rising to Prime Minister of the UK in July, Boris Johnson moved to aggressively pursue completing Brexit and he was met by resistance from the opposition at every turn. In addition, all efforts by his predecessor, Theresa May, were met with serious resistance on the Continent. This put Labour in the amiable position of being nothing but the critic, pointing out how Conservatives repeatedly failed. That all changed with the rise of Johnson.
Before Johnson, every effort towards Brexit came up short among the European Union. Johnson’s power of persuasion and understanding of the players in Europe finally made Brexit possible in the eyes of Europe. He got a deal that addressed many — if not most — of the issues that prevented its passage both at home and abroad. He came to Parliament ready to get this deal done
Years of Labour resistance has led to a continued tension in the culture of the UK, negative speculation about economic prospects, and a dark cloud over the country. Labour was beginning to be seen by many as intentionally trying to hurt the Conservative led UK economy and government in order to promote its own prospects.
With Brexit passage of a referendum by the smallest of margins in June 2016, a case could be made that the issue deserved to be revisited by the voters before implementing. They voted for a vague idea with no idea what it would practicably look like. For the future of the country, it deserves another vote. However, the original Brexit referendum was long, arguably damaging to national unity, and too arduous for voters. Furthermore, voters would easily see another referendum so close to the last as an effort to undermine the will of the people. However, a General Election makes perfect sense so that the people of the UK can give a sense of the direction they wish to go. Now that Johnson has created a bill that the Europeans and even many of the Brexit critics in the UK call “realistic,” the country has something to vote on in a General Election.
After months of speaking out of both sides of his mouth — both begging for and resisting a General Election — Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has finally conceded to such and one has been announced for December 12, 2019. This creates an intriguing scenario.
- Will the vote show that the people are no longer interested in Brexit?
- Will the vote show that Johnson has provided that “light at the end of the tunnel” many in the country have been looking for on this topic?
- What will this election do for the future prospects of the UK? Not only when it comes to its relationship to the European Union, but its own domestic situation.
Because of these questions and more, this December election will be one of the most watched political events of 2019.