Boris Johnson could have got his Brexit deal through parliament if he had pressed ahead. He chose not to do so because he wants to fight an election from a position of maximum strength, writes Brian Wilson.
Whenever you hear Boris Johnson modulating his tones to achieve an impression of reason and sincerity, it is a signal that what follows will be even more insincere and contrived than usual.
The latest wheeze of a General Election on December 12 falls into that category and no opposition party should fall for it. There are two distinct issues with no justification for linkage.
If Johnson had behaved rationally, when he got a majority for considering his Brexit deal, these deliberations could be underway on a reasonable, agreed timescale.
Instead, he chose the equally absurd condition of three days consideration which MPs rightly rejected. Even now, if he de-linked the timetable from a General Election, he could get his deal through – as amended.
The 19 Labour MPs who opened the door to that route were right to do so. However, Johnson is not then prepared to take his chances on what amendments MPs would support, hence his latest play-acting.
The usual suspects have been sent out to talk about a “zombie Parliament” but it is only as zombie as Johnson and the geniuses around him have made it. Sacking 21 Tory MPs did not help. The “threat” not to bring forward legislation is just another symptom of incurable petulance.
Apart from the disregard a December date displays for the electorate, its sole justification is to allow Johnson to fight from a position of maximum strength. Anyone who does not welcome that will not vote for it.
This includes the SNP. If they are even thinking of helping right-wing Tories hold an early election on the assumption that they too would prosper, I offer a word of friendly advice: “Remember 1979…”