Even though we are just a few days into 2019, politics has already been shook by the revelation the Home Secretary Sajid Javid has begun referring to himself as ‘The Saj/Sajid’ in what can only be a bizarre homage to Donald Trump or ‘The Donald’. While the Home Secretary may be enjoying some kind of breakdown, the rest of the political world moves on. With this odd start to the year in mind, I am going to (foolishly) make a series of political predictions for the rest of 2019. Some will be obvious, some will be bold, most will be wrong. If I am right, the 2019 promises to be a big year.
Theresa May Resigns
Fans of political resignations will be in for a treat this year as it is very likely that the Prime Minister will bring an end to her tenure as the worst premier since David Cameron. 2019 will see one of two things happen. One scenario is that May will fail to deliver Brexit, which would almost certainly result in her resignation. Another is that she will secure the UK’s exit from the European Union, either navigating the Withdrawal Bill through parliament, or through a no deal Brexit. By achieving Brexit she will have fulfilled her purpose as PM in the eyes of her party and will make way for her successor. Even if her deal is rejected by parliament and she refuses to resign, she will likely face and lose a motion of no confidence, triggering a general election. It is difficult to see her winning a tombola let alone a general election. This year will bring an end to May’s disastrous and despicable contribution to politics.
Jeremy Hunt Succeeds May as Tory Leader
When May eventually stands down as leader of the Conservatives, it will create a rush for the leadership that will almost make the Democratic presidential primary field seem sparse. The problem for the Tories is that there is no obvious replacement for May. This means that she will be replaced by either a limited cabinet minister, or a backbencher who inspires Tory MPs and members in a similar fashion to Corbyn’s surge to the Labour leadership in 2015. I think the likeliest scenario is that Boris Johnson, ‘the Saj’ and a remainer liker Anna Soubry all fall short. Instead, Hunt, a man known for being a political cockroach who manages to survive any (usually NHS related disaster), will scuttle his way to the leadership.
May to Gamble on No Deal
In what seems like the worst and longest episode ever of Deal or No Deal, the Brexit saga will eventually come to an end this year. Well part one at least. The UK is set to leave the European Union on March the 29th unless parliament votes to stop Brexit, or every EU member state agrees to extend the process. Given that May insists her deal is the best and only deal, as well as the EU’s refusal to negotiate further, it is possible that it will be May’s deal or no deal. If May cannot get her deal through parliament, and remainers fail to force a second referendum, then the Prime Minister may simply choose to run down the clock. May has already delayed a meaningful vote once and is rumoured to be considering doing it again. She is obviously trying to pressure those vehemently opposed to no deal to back her deal but such is the opposition to it I cannot see it getting through parliament. Yes, no deal would result in an unbelievable political fallout and chaos across the country, but why would this concern May? Her reputation is already shot, and she knows that she will not be allowed to carry on as PM regardless, so she may just leap off the cliff that is no deal. It would be a popular move with the Tory grassroot, as well as the right of the party and could at least salvage her reputation with them. She has long said that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ which would allow her to bleat ‘nothing has changed!’ on Andrew Marr. No deal would be a disaster, but I think it may be the most likely scenario at the minute.
Jeremy Corbyn Becomes Prime Minister
Yes, 2019 is the year that Jezza will become Prime Minister. If Brexit has shown anything it is how difficult it is to govern Britain with a minority government. If May resigns on her own terms her successor will likely seek a mandate from the electorate as they will not want the beginning of their premiership to be limited by a minority government, especially if the party splits. The other scenario is that Labour call a vote of no confidence and manage to defeat the government, which would almost inevitably result in a general election. Either way, the nation is likely to be sent to the polls. While the media love to criticise Corbyn, most admit that he is a fantastic campaigner. This was for all to see in the 2017 election, in which he was instrumental in turning a 25% deficit in the polls into a hung parliament. Corbyn excels at rallies and with media election regulations requiring broadcasters to give his ideas more of a fair hearing than usual, it is easy to see Corbyn entering Number 10 this year. Expect Labour to capitalise on Tory chaos and become the first Labour leader to win a general election since Tony Blair.
Anna Soubry Will Vote For May’s Deal
When May finally summons the courage to put her deal to parliament I think we will see the resolve of the most prominent Tory ‘rebel’ crumble. While Soubry has made a name for herself as a champion of a ‘People’s Vote’ and has become the darling of centrists across Britain, her record is not particularly rebellious. According to http://www.theyworkforyou.com, Soubry has voted against UK membership of the EU on 13 occasions while she has voted for it just three times in parliament. On top of this, she has voted against a right to remain for EU nationals 12 times and for just once. Soubry has been perfectly clear that she fears a Corbyn government more than a no deal Brexit, meaning she will likely vote in favour of the government. When it comes to being a Tory ‘rebel’ on Brexit, Soubry is all bark and no bite. She will vote for May’s deal.
Boris Johnson Will Resign as an MP
This prediction is based on nothing other than my low opinion of Johnson’s character. It is obvious to virtually everyone that Johnson desires to be PM almost as much as Vince Cable wants people to remember he exists. Given Johnson’s last attempt at getting the top job showed that he could not organise a piss-up in a brewery, it is difficult to see him winning a leadership election, even if his Islamophobia is popular with Tory members. If Johnson tries and fails to become leader again, it is difficult to see what is left for him in politics. He has already served as London Mayor and as the worst Foreign Secretary in history, while another defeat would end his leadership ambitions once and for all. I suspect this would drive him from politics and into a high paying establishment job in the style of George Osbourne and David Miliband. The British public would not miss him.
Dozens of Democrats Dream of the White House
The week has seen Elizabeth Warren break cover as the first major contender for the Democrat nomination for president, however she will not be the last. It is likely that 2019 will see numerous high-profile Democrats declare that they fancy a crack at being commander-in-chief. Former Vice-President Joe Biden is thought to be a popular choice with the right of the party, as is Cory Booker, while Beto O’Rourke will look to capitalise on his name recognition following his unsuccessful campaign in Texas. If the party decided to swing leftwards then the likeliest contenders will be Bernie Sanders and Warren. Kamala Harris is also an option and may prove attractive to liberal voters who want to move away from the white male image of the White House. Even Hilary Clinton cannot be ruled out as rumours persist that she might run, even after her disastrous campaign in 2016. On top of this, lesser known names will likely step forward in the hope of surging to the nomination or just improving their own brand. 2019 will see the Democrat field become more crowded than a Greggs that sells vegan sausage rolls. However, candidates should not view 2020 as an easy chance to reach the White House. While Trump has been scandal-ridden since he first announced his candidacy, he remains in power. If the Democrats refuse to learn from the mistakes of 2016 and put forward another bland establishment figure like Clinton, then they will lose again.