It's very important to remember that a Government of National Unity (GNU) to stop No Deal Brexit would not be the same as a post-election coalition Govt.
A GNU wouldn't necessarily even need to be a coalition. It could be, but it could also be an agreement to support a govt on specific issues and for them not to bring other, non Brexit-related legislation.
A coalition govt is put together with the expectation of serving a full 5-year parliamentary term.
A GNU could, by agreement, place a time limit on the agreement, either in duration or until a specific event. It should be short-term by design.
Very specific conditions, with deadlines, could be placed for continuing support of the GNU. Breaking them would result in the fall of the GNU.
Policies would not have to be sacrificed for posts as in the 2010 coalition negotiations.
Who does each thing is not that important if the programme is fixed by agreement, as long as it is balanced across participating parties.
(or not at all if it was just an agreement for support).
So, here are some thoughts on the basics of what a GNU agreement could look like:
- No new business or policies other than:
- Brexit-related, as agreed
- Emergency or crisis response
- Urgent administrative fixes if needed and as agreed
- Support withdrawn if anything outside this is brought without agreement.
- Requirement to:
- Request Art50 Extension
- Bring legislation for a referendum
- General Election either 1 month after ref, or if ref legislation doesn't pass.
- Bring legislation to require revocation of Art50 in the event of approaching No Deal (i.e. @joannaccherry's bill.)
- No further (inevitably failed and politically motivated) attempt to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement.
Smarter people than me can add others, and parties (not least my own) may have other requirements to be negotiated. Support can be withdrawn at any moment though, and the programme so closely prescribed, that who is in charge should not be the key issue.
Ultimately though, if you care more about who is in charge to implement a programme you agree with, that would be impossible to deviate from, and that the UK desperately needs to avoid catastrophe, I don't think you have your priorities right.
I would hate to see, for example, Corbyn as PM. I don't like his politics and there are much better candidates in his own party and others.
I'd hate to see Johnson take the UK out on No Deal, with all that follows that, an order of magnitude more, and it may come to that.
It may not come to it. There may be other ways (though I don't see MPs voting to revoke, unfortunately). There may even be other ways to form a GNU. That'd be great.
Ultimately though, a GNU or No Deal may be the only choice.
If it is, tribalism on any side cannot be allowed to take primacy over stopping such a dreadful act of harm being visited on the UK and its population.
Rule nothing out now.
P.S. This is not a thread about who my preference would be to lead a GNU (Hilary Benn, as it happens). It's a thread about why that preference is not the most important thing.
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