IF ever there was a much-too-long tragic political comedy that indeed touched too many people’s lives while simply unfolding with time, look no further than London – Westminster, Downing Street, Buckingham Palace, the High Courts, the Political Parties… And of course, the Prime Minister.
For three years, Brexit has been coming without arriving, prime ministers coming and going without delivering, houses of parliament voting for and against without anything moving anywhere, parliamentarians talking loud and saying nothing.
Britons across the United Kingdom and the world have become very wary, even cynical about the shifting sands and goalposts by the major parties. Just months ago (in regional municipal elections) the Conservatives (Tories) and Labour lost badly to the Liberal Democrats and the smaller parties like the Brexit Party, voters telling the two Big Ben parties they’d had enough of their endless blind dueling in a Brexit battle-without-end.
Where Prime Minister David Cameron smartly didn’t even bother trying to deliver on a Brexit vote his party lost in a 2016 referendum, his successor Theresa May spent the next three years learning why she couldn’t do it either, even if she tried.
And now it’s Boris Johnson, the former London mayor who got mechanically arrested in mid-Brexit flight at the start of his campaign to raise the Union Jack at Number 10.
On his way to possibly having the longest record as the shortest-serving prime minister in modern British history, this unelected prime minister and his Minority Government lost every other Brexit vote he put to parliament – except that which will lead to a general election he swore never to call before delivering Brexit.
Forced to seek a Brexit extension from the European Union (EU) that he also swore he would never seek, he did so through an unsigned letter, but accompanied by a signed one saying he still didn’t want it. But again, the 27 EU Leaders also defied him and gave the extended deadline he didn’t want – up to January 31, 2020 — for Britain to decide it’s either in or out.
His back against a wall and both feet in one shoe, Johnson did just that other thing he said he would not have and decided to give Brits a general election for Christmas, setting December 12 as the date they will get their first chance to decide if they wanted him as their PM in the first place – and whether to endorse five full years of what he’s delivered in mere weeks.
Having been found guilty of misleading The Queen on why he shut parliament down so soon after taking over at Number 10, PM Johnson naturally bets on everyone else also being wrong about his chances of winning a national poll that will also effectively be another Brexit referendum.
But whether he’s right or wrong, there will never be an acceptable national consensus on the divisive Brexit issue, on which Brits are split right down the middle.
Interestingly, neither Labour nor the Tories will be going into the 12th December poll with any assurances.
Neither can predict what’ll be their situation on Guy Fawkes Day, as there’s no sign of voter apathy, but every sign that young voters will indeed take a stand two weeks before Christmas and a fortnight before Boxing Day.
This being the first time in over 100 years that there’s been an election in Britain in December, no party or candidate can safely predict what gifts will be placed below their Christmas trees from their political friends and business supporters for 2019.
The only certainty is that whichever party wins or form alliances after the next election, Brexit will still be a major matter that will continue to attract more than just minor attention after the election.
As things stand now, whether they like it or not, Britons will be discussing Brexit right into the beginning of and at least up to the end of the first month of the next year, until January 31, 2020.
However, with nothing much likely to change after the upcoming poll, most Britons rather refer to the date, not as Election Day, but just as another Twelfth of Never!