Thursday , October 17 2019
Home / Simon Wren-Lewis
The author Simon Wren-lewis
Simon Wren-lewis
Professor of Economic Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University, and a fellow of Merton College. This blog is written for both economists and non-economists.

Simon Wren-Lewis

A People’s Vote or a General Election: how does Johnson’s new deal change things

There is a big debate at the moment among those who support a People’s Vote (PV) about whether it should become before or after a General Election (GE). Let’s assume for now there are sufficient MPs willing to vote for the PV before a GE option, and that Johnson prefers a GE which he thinks he can win so there would be no PV. From a Remain point of view, should a GE or PV come first. I last discussedthis when a Johnson deal was dead and there was talk of the Conservatives advocating No Deal...

Read More »

If the UK and EU can do a deal is everything now fine?

In case you hadn’t seen it, hereis my article that was published in the Guardian yesterday. It was my luck that on the evening of publication, and after it appeared that Johnson had put a hopeless deal to the EU, his talkswith Varadkar suddenly sounded positive. But is everything as it seems? The obvious point is that one set of bilateral talks do not make a deal. Both parties had reason to sound positive. The EU does not want to be blamed for obstructing a deal, and Johnson wants grounds for...

Read More »

The Liberal Democrats in the next General Election may win a few seats at the expense of a Johnson overall majority

Brexit could be decided in the forthcoming General Election. If Johnson wins an overall majority (or a majority with the DUP) then Brexit will happen: maybe something like May’s deal but more probably No Deal. As I suggested in my last post, holding a People’s Vote before the General Election has no impact on that reality. If in contrast Labour wins (most probably with a Labour/SNP understanding) then Brexit dies at least until the following election. That is because Corbyn is sure to lose a...

Read More »

Should a second referendum happen before the General Election and what should accompany Remain on the ballot?

Some have suggested that an interim abC Prime Minister (abC = anyone but Corbyn), appointed by parliament after dismissing Johnson in a vote of no confidence, should hold a second referendum before a General Election. If the idea of this is to end the Brexit issue before an election, I think it is misguided for one simple reason. Johnson is likely to boycott the referendum. The reason is straightforward. Brexit is the issue that could win him the General Election. If the polls are correct and...

Read More »

How the Brexiters have controlled the narrative around Brexit

“Senior allies of Boris Johnson have warned that Britain will face civil unrest on the scale of the gilets jaunes protests in France or the riots in Los Angeles if Brexit is frustrated.” So reportsthe Times. A well known far right activist sayson TV that he is amazed that there have not been riots yet, and also says there should be. In truth the absence of riots is not amazing at all. Let us leave aside the implication that when Leavers protest it will be a riot rather than a peaceful...

Read More »

This is the most dangerous UK government we have seen in our lifetimes

It used to be the case that a Prime Minister that had deliberately shut down parliament against its will might have felt sufficiently ashamed that they would have resigned when the courts found against them. It certainly would have been true for most of my lifetime that they would have shown some contrition when the verdict became clear. If you ask me to prove those claims of course I cannot, because no previous PM would have even thought it permissible to shut down parliament against its...

Read More »

Corbyn stakes everything on tactical voting by Remainers

Those who argue that a Corbyn led Labour party can never win a general election need to remember the days after the 2017 election, when Labour were ahead in the polls. Contrast Corbyn’s and May’s reactions to the Grenfell fire, and don’t imagine Johnson would be much better than May. Grenfell itself was a consequence of a ‘let’s end red tape, private sector knows best’ culture that is still rife in the Conservative party, and will not change if a Conservative is Prime Minister after the next...

Read More »

On the supposed gap in the centre of UK politics, or the alleged powerlessness of the UK median voter

A remarkable feature of the UK political landscape is how powerless what could be called the political centre currently feels it is. By the centre I don’t just mean individuals that call themselves moderates, but also UK business: capital if you like. How did this happen? It is a long story I’m afraid. The first and most obvious factor is the UK’s first past the post (FPTP) voting system for MPs. In earlier decades this was thought to empower the centre. If any party drifted towards a less...

Read More »

Why the Supreme Court must protect our constitution

This is a very short post about a critical matter. It will not be a 'on the one hand, on the other' type of discussion because there is one overwhelming argument. It is about protecting our parliamentary democracy, a democracy that in one area in particular relied on norms of behaviour that have now been broken. The Prime Minister has shut down parliament for his own political reasons, and the only institution that can stop both that and a Prime Minister doing it in the future is the UK’s...

Read More »

Some observations on tactical voting in the forthcoming General Election

The first and most obvious is this. If you say you are a Remainer, or if you understand the nightmare that No Deal will create, or want to end the threat to democracy this government is, you haveto vote tactically. The converse is also true. If you don’t vote tactically, you by your actions are supporting a No Deal Brexit. You will be partly responsible for a No Deal Brexit. If you want a Brexit that does not involve crashing out, you might tell yourself that the only way of getting a good...

Read More »