Aware of the possibility of an impending successful vote of no confidence in the Tory government deputy chair of People’s Vote Hugo Dixon wrote a convoluted piece for the Guardian wherein he presented spurious reasons why Labour should not call such a vote.
He noted that remainer Tories would probably fail to support a vote of no confidence because their attachment to their party’s policies (aside from Brexit) is much stronger than their integrity as people (my words). Dixon said that such an outcome would “knock Corbyn’s credibility.” No, it would reaffirm the dishonesty of those Tories who claimed to be thoroughly opposed to a cliff-fall no-deal Brexit but were unwilling to do anything about it. Rather than Corbyn’s credibility being damaged, the spineless duplicity of Grieve and his colleagues would be exposed.
Dixon suggested randomly that a failure to achieve a vote of no confidence would make it harder for Corbyn “to stitch together a cross-party pact.” Whatever the result of a vote of no confidence, what would a “cross-party pact” be for? Does Dixon want a pointless Government of National Unity?
“It could be even worse if the vote of no confidence succeeded,” asserted Dixon because, apparently, Johnson could sneak in a no-deal departure before the election. However, that scenario could be averted easily by parliament: If there is a majority for a vote of no confidence then, obviously, there would be a majority to stop a no deal departure on 31st October.
Dixon claimed he thinks the Tories could win a general election outright. “The Tories might squeeze the Brexit party and win the election with less than a third of the popular vote.” He cited opinion polls as evidence for his claim despite the fact that polls consistently show Labour as the party with the largest support and he forgot about recent poor election results for the Tories in council elections, EU elections and two parliamentary by-elections.
Dixon’s reasons for opposing a vote of no confidence were false, logically and practically. He knew they were false. His words were just a distraction, an act of confusion. They were a concoction to arrive at his chosen deduction:
“A better plan is to pass a law to force Johnson to ask the EU for extra time so we can hold a new referendum. The choice in such a ‘people’s vote’ would be between the crash-out Brexit the government wants and staying in the EU.”
Whatever description is applied – second referendum, confirmatory referendum, people’s vote – there is no reason to assume that the result would differ from 2016. Equally, putting no deal versus remain as the choice would not be different from the first referendum because that was what most people thought the choice was three years ago.
A second referendum has always been a daft idea but, more importantly, it has always been a distraction and a means to dissuade interest in a general election. It is a dampening tactic on plans toward securing an election.
The convolutions in Dixon’s arguments descended into chaos. He said Corbyn could call a vote of no confidence if attempts to call a second referendum failed and also said that if Johnson called an election then Corbyn should not support it if there existed the possibility of a second referendum.
“But what if at some point Johnson himself just calls an election? Well, under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, he needs two-thirds of all MPs to vote in favour of such a snap election. That means, if Corbyn says no, we won’t go to the polls. And so long as a new referendum remains a viable way out of our political crisis, he should just say no.”
Additionally, he said a vote of no confidence after no deal departure might be easier to win.
Dixon was all over the place with his arguments. It remains the fact that People’s Vote’s simple aim is a second referendum as a tool to delay or cancel a general election.