Time to predict the political future of the UK post-Brexit?

I love sport, football in particular. Although I had an opportunity to serve as a local councillor in Welwyn Hatfield, I occasionally feel that I am a “spectator”, not a “player”, when it comes to my voting rights in the UK. In a way, it is a shame that although I have been living here for almost 16 years, I have always paid taxes, I have always worked and I have not been a “burden”, I have never had a chance to cast my vote in GE or, more importantly, in the EU referendum. When I first visited the Houses of Parliament, I was told that “taxation equals representation”. Really? I don’t think so.
I don’t have any predictable abilities or a magic wand. I am also aware that we have only a few days ago ended the transition period and therefore the “dust has truly settled yet”, however if someone asked me to guess what will happen in the UK in the next 5-10 years, I would say that:

1. Scotland. The Prime Minister will have to eventually give in and allow the people of Scotland to have another referendum on their independence. Scotland has voted to remain in the EU (62%) and many Scots might feel that the decision to leave the EU has been imposed on them. If I was Scottish, I would also want to ‘take back control’ and I would like my ‘sovereignty back’! The longer the UK government resists calls for the second referendum, the easier it will be for the Scottish National Party (SNP) to win the referendum. In actual fact, if the referendum was to take place today, various polls show that the SNP would win it anyway. The day after winning the independence vote, SNP will apply to join the EU. And they will, quite quickly.

2. Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland has also voted to remain (55.8%). However, regardless of the Brexit vote, the situation on the island of Ireland is quite complex. I have a feeling that, due to a number of political, ideological and economic factors, we might see calls and some pressure for the Irish reunification. The referendum is won by the republican voters. Northern Ireland leaves the United Kingdom.

3. The Welsh government won’t be sitting on the fence and therefore, it is possible that calls for a greater devolution will only intensify in years to come.

4. I can’t see any elections between now and May 2024. The Conservative Party has a huge majority in the House of Commons however, I am quite certain that the Conservative Party will lose the next two General Elections, with or without Mr Johnson as a Prime Minister.

Could these possible outcomes have been avoided, had we voted to remain in the EU? Quite possibly. Could this be the end of the United Kingdom as we know it? Quite possibly. From now on; there is no more blaming Brussels for the UK government faults and failures.

In my view, the political future of the UK has never been more uncertain and unpredictable. I am also aware that until I become a UK citizen, I won’t be able to vote for or choose my local MP, however I will do my best to continue being part of the political and democratic process wherever I am or whatever I do. I will now allow for the outcome of the EU referendum to define my “civic future” in Britain. I still have a lot to offer and I will not be treated as a second class citizen, only because of the colour of my passport.

* Michal Siewniak is a Lib Dem activist and former councillor

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15 Comments

  • John Marriott 4th Jan '21 - 3:02pm

    Mr Sewniak, are you really brave enough to lay money on the Tories losing “the next two general elections”?

    As for the next big question, given their desire to hang on tight to their wallets, I do wonder whether the Scots really would vote for total independence. As someone asked; “Why vote for independence from London and then go (or try to go) straight back into ‘subservience’ to Brussels?”. Don’t get me wrong, living where I do, I would like to get away from rule from London; but that doesn’t mean I want independence for Lincolnshire. Indeed, the Scots were promised back in 2014 that the best way to stay in the EU was to stay in the Union. However, that was when North Sea Oil revenues were high. Take away a large part of those revenues, the Barnet Formula cash, plus the jobs in Faslane etc and the pound Sterling and that Promised Land might be a bit short on milk and honey.

    Yes, the SNP might romp home next May and little Ian might keep snapping at Boris’s heels at Westminster to give in to ‘the voice of the people of Scotland’; but there’s a very angry ex First Minister up there with a few scores to settle and his successor might actually know where some of the bodies are buried. If she doesn’t, I bet he does. So, what are your odds on the SNP winning a second referendum if the excreta does hit the proverbial?

  • David Evershed 4th Jan '21 - 3:53pm

    Public opinion poll post the Trade Deal with the EU shows swing from Lib Dem to Con.

    Conservative 43% (+6)
    Labour 38% (=)
    Green 5% (+1)
    SNP: 5% (+1)
    Lib Dem 4% (-5)
    Brexit Party 3% (=)

    Deltapoll December 26-30

  • Barry Lofty 4th Jan '21 - 4:17pm

    Excuse my naivety but it seems you can find an opinion poll to suit any scenario at the present, the one above predicts a totally different outcome to yesterday’s Guardian poll??? Perhaps we should give this government enough time to hang itself.

  • The success of the SNP is due to the comprehensive failure of all the other parties. Labour, in particular, threw away a large majority by sending their most able (everything is relative) politicians to Westminster and regarding Scotland as an insignificant backwater. Now there is no competition to challenge the SNP and their aim is to have the referendum while that situation remains.

    The only possible obstacle that I can think of is for Boris or whoever is in the position to grant a referendum to insist on a condition: The SNP must first publish what they propose to do about currency, the inevitable border, and all the other complcated issues that need clear plans before the public is aked to choose. The SNP fudged these last time but this time they may be more complicate especially if the SNP wants to rejoin the EU which may or may not be allowed by the EU.

  • Paul Barker 4th Jan '21 - 5:02pm

    To answer the question at the top of the page – No.
    We will know a lot more when we see the results of the Local Elections in 4 Months time, the current situation is still dominated by Covid, we are not even in the Mid-Term of this Parliament yet.

    On the Polls, we are currently in the range of 4-10%, that suggests that we are still on 7%, as we have been for the last 8 Months.

    On Scotland there is a perfectly good case for delaying the 2nd Referendum until a Generation has passed, that was what The SNP agreed to before The 1st one. Certainly it should wait until well after The next Westminster Election.

  • Denis Mollison 4th Jan '21 - 5:38pm

    “delaying the 2nd Referendum until a Generation has passed, that was what The SNP agreed to before The 1st one.”
    Sorry, Paul, but that carries no weight. It was in no formal agreement, just a campaigning slogan to encourage voters out. You could equally say that the UK government’s campaigning argument that voting NO was the only way to stay in the EU should mean that Scotland should have been allowed to stay in the EU – that one didn’t seem to work out!

  • @ Paul Barker, “On Scotland there is a perfectly good case for delaying the 2nd Referendum until a Generation has passed”.

    And if the people of Scotland decide to give an overwhelming vote to the SNP and the Greens next May , Paul, what should Johnson do about it ? Send in the SAS to yomp over Carter Bar and machine gun posts at Gretna and Burnmouth ?

  • My prediction is that a constant cycle of lockdowns, fear and complacent political opposition to them will end very very badly for some seemingly stable political systems.

  • Little Jackie Paper 4th Jan '21 - 9:20pm

    Denis Mollison – ‘It was in no formal agreement, just a campaigning slogan to encourage voters out.’

    The foreword to ‘Scotland’s Future’ says, ‘If we vote No, Scotland stands still. A once in a generation opportunity to follow a different path, and choose a new and better direction for our nation, is lost.’ So whilst I’d agree that probably does not constitute a formal agreement, seeing it at a mere slogan seems a stretch. People who took ‘once in a generation’ as a reasonable expectation have a point. I do appreciate of course that ‘Scotland’s Future’ is a Scottish Government document and not an SNP one.

    Scotland and the EU is a very interesting question but I am not certain that the application process would be quite so straightforward. Iceland (in the EEA) applied and danced through all the acession chapters except fish, before withdrawing. Montenegro applied to join the EU in December 2008 and is still waiting. The currency is a major issue for Montenegro: Montenegro uses the euro as a non-EZ member and as such its central bank is not a lender of last resort. I very much doubt that the currency arrangement previously proposed in Scotland woud comply with TFEU (happy to be corrected). The closest analogue to Scotland’s current position in my mind is Montenegro

    I note in passing that the EU set a condition of a 55% majority and a 50% turnout in the 2006 Montenegro independence referendum.

    The EEA route might be more open to Scotland, at least in the short term – but I don’t think anyone’s talked about that. Yet.

  • Little Jackie Paper 4th Jan '21 - 9:27pm

    Out of interest – ‘When I first visited the Houses of Parliament, I was told that “taxation equals representation”.’

    Who on earth told you that nonsense?

    No taxation without representation was a slogan at the ‘Boston Tea Party.’ When I go to my wife’s country I pay things like sales taxes and the like – it doesn’t mean I get the vote. Representation laws decide who gets a vote, not tax slips.

    ‘I still have a lot to offer and I will not be treated as a second class citizen, only because of the colour of my passport.’ No – you are not a citizen. This is the point, you are a denizen. When my wife came here we made certain she got citizenship at the first opportunity for exactly these reasons.

  • I will keep saying it – some of you guys are still so anglo-centric! Lookbat your language above – if a second I dudes is ‘granted’ by London, Scots must wait for 30 years or meet ludicrous conditions ! Guys, you’re meant to be liberals and Democrats. Liberals and democrats don’t find ways to hold other countries hostage within an empire they’ve tired of.

    Heavens above, no wonder the party is on 2% in Scotland. And no wonder that what’s left of the party is so pro Union – everyone else has left.

    Imagine substituting ‘the soviet union’ for Westminster above, and ‘Ukraine’ or ‘Estonia’ in place of Scotland … Estonians should wait 30 years before being able to self determine? Ukrainians must publish their plans for their currency before being ‘granted’ a referendum on independence from the Soviet Union? Really?

    Westminster has failed, get over it.
    And if you are so phobic about the Scots getting to the UN you’d best hope the SNP don’t decide to invoke the Claim of Right before an election. And if you think that doesn’t matter, it was what did for Boris’ prorogation/ attempted coup last year. It matters and it’s been used recently.

  • I don’t know why *indy referendum* got turned into ‘I dudes’ above, but …

  • John Marriott 5th Jan '21 - 7:44am

    @Little Jackie Paper
    Welcome back to LDV, Mr Paper. Has Puff finally lost his fascination for you? On the topic of taxation, I always preferred the late Lord Ashdown’s version; “No taxation without explanation”.

  • Peter Hirst 5th Jan '21 - 3:20pm

    The often unspoken elephant in the room is electoral and constitutional reform. FPTP is so blatantly unfair that all 3 countries can use it to justify their stance on leaving the UK. If we can persuade Labour to support PR as a primary manifesto commitment, there is a chance that they will remain.

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