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Voting fatigue has certainly set in across Britain, with major votes in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, comprising of two referendums and two general elections. With Boris Johnson enjoying a ‘bounce’ in his popularity since taking the reins of power, he might be tempted to consider going to the ballot box. The mainstream media are certainly trying to push this narrative, although their intentions are probably not sincere. Avoiding a vote would probably be in Boris’s long term interest, especially as enough of his time until October 31st will be taken up by the summer recess and Brexit.
On the domestic side of things, the right-wing vote is being split by the emerging Brexit Party, and the Tories could find themselves in a precarious position if they fight a general election before delivering Brexit. If Boris does deliver Brexit, then according to most polls, he will cross the line with a majority of seats in the House of Commons. With Britain out of the EU, it is unlikely that the Brexit Party could possibly fight an election campaign, as their entire reason for existing would be gone.
On the foreign side of things, Boris has been dealt a rather lucky hand. Economic figures, which came out the same day he became Prime Minister, indicate that Germany, the EU’s largest economy, is suffering its worst slump since the 2008 banking crisis. This will no doubt have a knock-on effect across the Eurozone. Angela Merkel, the country’s chancellor, is also clearly not very well and has lost a lot of prestige since announcing the date of her departure. Meanwhile in Spain, the country’s socialist caretaker Prime Minister has failed to form a government again, and it looks like the Iberian state is heading for its 4th general election in 5 years. The European Commission has also just launched legal proceedings against Hungary because of the latter’s so-called ‘Soros Law’, and in Italy, the country’s debt to GDP ratio is currently at 130%, with the country facing possible legal action from the EU as a result.
To cut a long story short, the EU is in a weaker state now than it was when Theresa May was negotiating a deal, and so focusing on leaving the EU rather than an election or anything else makes a lot of sense.
The Conservative Party also has the tendency to overestimate its likelihood of success in general elections against Jeremy Corbyn. As we saw in 2017, Theresa May failed to get a majority, and there is no clear indication that this will change unless the Conservative Party delivers Brexit. On top of that, the recent allegations of voter fraud in Peterborough, coupled with proven cases in Tower Hamlets and elsewhere, make going to the polls a very risky business. Voter ID trials are only in their infancy, and a small number of swing-seats affected by such criminality could throw the Conservatives out of Government.
I’m not exactly the biggest fan of the Conservative Party these days and thinking from a strategic perspective, a general election could land Britain with three more years of political stalemate. Delivering the EU referendum result will (hopefully) re-unite the right-wing vote, and that, in turn, will hopefully ensure that a Corbyn/McDonnell/Abbot administration doesn’t occur. However, in the short term, if Brexiteers want to leave on October 31st, they’ll have to pressure the Conservative Party to keep on track all the way to the finish line, because it looks like they’re being tempted to head for the ballot box, which risks throwing the Brexit timeline once more into chaos.