Another Shot and Miss
Reast’s article, which this is a contrast to, entirely misses strategic merit in favour of rhetorical references. The very same trap Leave voters fell into. For those unfamiliar with aspects of game theory, statistical evaluation of risk and propositional calculus, Reast’s position isn’t in any way controversial. Especially to those familiar with party politics and the First Past the Post System, who regularly think exactly like the author, as it happens.
However, for those wanting to actually stop-Brexit and process the logical landscape, this requires a systemic view that very few in the political sphere can actually see. The only high-profile person being Dominic Cummings. As demonstrated by his seemingly limitless capacity to identify and exploit loopholes in the system that very few on our side can see coming or even begin to imagine.
Game Based Approach
To the author, examining their assertions in more detail, we can see where the merit of the LibDems strategy lies.
To be precise, the LibDems have two positions, not just one:
- An outright win is a mandate to revoke A50
- If they don’t win an outright majority, they will support a second referendum
This latter one, which has seemingly been forgotten, is done in the knowledge that Labour are now at the position of supporting a second referendum on a deal against a ‘sensible’ Brexit option. Politicking, this means the LibDems are trying to differentiate themselves from Labour in the event of a General Election. Her statement on Sky News above, isn’t inconsistent with that.
That second clause in Jo Swinson’s statement 2 days ago, makes clear that LibDems support a second referendum in the event they don’t gain a majority. Regardless of their total disdain for Corbyn at the helm. However, the practical implication of this stance on Brexit, really means that the LibDems will actively support Labour!
The benefits of this position don’t stop there. LibDems are campaigning with what, to strategists, is an elegant solution. To observers like us, it actually provides a very clear position if one has the capability to look past words. A standard formulation that has LibDems actively “delivering” support for Remain whatever happens (i.e. acting to Remain. Country over Party):
- Jo Swinson thinks the LibDems can win it and they do win, then Revoke
- Jo Swinson thinks the LibDems can win it and don’t win it, with their stance, then they support a second referendum*
- Jo Swinson doesn’t think the LibDems can win, but they do win, then it’s revoke A50
- Jo Swinson doesn’t think the LibDems can win (even if she blusters for conference) and they don’t win, then LibDems go back to the position they held on a second referendum (nothing changed), thus ultimately supporting Labour and the SNP in a 2nd referendum position
*The asterisk: The reality is the polls don’t have LibDems anywhere near winning a majority and in the event of a hung Parliament, the Tories and Brexit Party likely make up the majority. LibDems nor any party, have ever seen an election swing as big as needed to put them in government in the UK’s First-past-the-post electoral system, as it is in its contemporary existence.
Furthermore, in the event that Swinson’s position is offensive, and deemed arrogant by some of the newer LibDem membership, they most likely move back to Labour, making scenarios 2 and 4 (both LibDem losses) more likely. Thus, it delivers a second referendum requirement by the mandate of a general election as a poll of the people. In essence, LibDems win a second referendum if Labour win. That’s fine for fair minded Remainers and indeed, is arguably a win-(semi)win for LibDems, regardless.
Running an election only on the basis of the outcome of that one election, given that manifestos die the moment they’re rejected, has always been a stupid idea. Yet, voters are so conditioned to that thinking, that it’s easy for them to criticise plans that have a two-stage process. A safety-net. A backstop. Politics has never had to be an all-or-nothing position. Indeed, that is the very premise of traditional tactical voting. Vote for the party most likely to win, that is closest to one’s own political stance.
Yet, again, the usual criticism of the UK education system comes into play. It teaches analytical subjects so hideously badly, that very few people can now process information and sadly, the original article is another such example. and I’m certainly not a fan of the LibDems. What’s worse, for some, offence is taken to criticism in such a way that articles supporting their position better than they thought, are rejected without consideration. So how the author takes this is a reflection of how mature both their analytical skills are and their ability to accept constructive criticism to improve the analytical portions of their journalistic work.