Donald Tusk and the Remainers seek a Jan 31 extension. France wants a shorter extension. Jan 31 is counterproductive.
In the misguided belief that extension after extension increases the chance of remaining, the alleged "Stop No Deal" crowd actually increase the odds of No Deal.
I have made that case before, and Eurintelligence (a Remain supporter), laid out a point-by-point scenario this morning.
Long Delay Scenario
- European Council extends for three months;
- UK holds elections;
- Tories win with a small majority;
- Johnson brings back the bill but falls short of a majority after a rebellion among hard-line eurosceptics;
- the House of Commons has no majority this time for Letwin/Benn style wrecking tactics.
- UK crashes out without a deal on January 31.
This is not a prediction, only one of many scenarios. But, from today’s perspective, it is more plausible than a second referendum or a customs union. We don’t think the opposition would help Johnson. After the next election, both Labour and the LibDems will compete for the pro-EU votes. The die-hard eurosceptics in the Tory party may feel less of a need to compromise if they believe their no-deal nirvana is possible.
We don’t think that Brussels has really thought this through. If the goal is to avoid a no-deal Brexit, Macron’s strategy is a more promising route: put pressure on UK MPs to pass the bill by keeping the extension short. A three-month extension would bring back the uncertainty.
Understanding the Setup
I agree on all but bullet point 3: "Tories win with a small majority."
A "small" majority most likely but not necessarily results in Johnson's deal.
It's the large and especially moderate-sized wins that are the problems.
Assume having won the election Johnson is at least somewhat ambivalent between No Deal and his deal.
Assume a Tory majority of 20 or so, not counting DUP.
Assume 15 of the Tories are still closet remainers, customs union backers, or No Deal advocates.
Assume 30 ERG and Hard Brexit lovers still prefer No Deal.
If the Hard Brexit supporters hold support and DUP holds support, there is no majority for anything but No Deal.
This is not at all far-fetched.
Moreover, if Johnson was just faking wanting a deal to get re-elected, then even a small majority might suffice if the closet Remainers, customs union backers, and No Deal advocates are mostly outed from the Tory Party.
Thus, any Tory win is more likely than now to result in No Deal.
The hard-core No Deal advocates only went along with Johnson to ensure a "reasonable deal" they could live with.
If they get a chance, and any Tory win with the right conditions (and there are numerous right conditions) may result in No Deal.
Heads Johnson Wins, Tails Johnson Wins
Two days ago, I commented Brexit Coin Toss: Heads Johnson Wins, Tails Johnson Wins
Flip a Coin
Remainers have a choice. They can force elections and lose or they can pass the Johnson's deal and lose.
There is no majority for another referendum.
No Deal Liars Exposed
Labour MPs secretly think that all Leavers are numbskulls. They believed that if they could force a delay in Brexit, the working-class Eurosceptic thickoes would blame Boris. Now, that strategy lies in tatters. https://t.co/2cW49Ebc5g— Daniel Hannan (@DanielJHannan) October 23, 2019
Yes, and the fools still would not agree.— Mike "Mish" Shedlock (@MishGEA) October 23, 2019
I suspect that offer will now be withdrawn! https://t.co/Rsr4qcGy1K
Expect Johnson to Withdraw Offer
Johnson offered an amendment that would have guaranteed not "crashing out" with a WTO agreement a year from now.
That still was not enough for the "Stop No Deal" liars.
In the event of election or even a short extension request, Johnson can safely withdraw that offer because the clock has nearly run out.
Eurointelligence commented "The two most likely scenarios are that Johnson pulls the bill and goes for early elections, or a short extension to allow passage of the bill under a more relaxed timetable"
I agree, while pointing out this Eurointelligence view, also the same as mine, and as described above: "We argue that the risk of a no-deal Brexit would increase with a three-month extension"
In regards to that position, it's not just a small Tory victory that increases the chances of No Deal, but rather any Tory victory.
Playing With Fire
If needed to win, Johnson can easily change his mind and court the Brexit Party while the Liberal Democrats and Labour remain seriously split.
The polls indicate a victory outright, without such a deal.
Stop No Deal Makeup
Most of the "Stop No Deal" crowd are nothing but liars who want to outright remain.
The rest are simply fools.
Johnson offered a guaranteed way to prevent No Deal!
The alleged "Stop No Deal" crowd refused the offer, even with an amendment that would prevent a WTO settlement.
Both groups are seriously playing with fire. Their antics dramatically increase the odds of No Deal.