Thursday, 7 July 2022 – 09:21

The week ahead: Previewing a week in politics

At this point, who knows. After Parliament shot down the Prime Minister’s deal for a third time, before rejecting all other options on the table, it seems like there is no way forward, with only two weeks until the revised deadline of April 12th.

The calls for a second referendum to break the deadlock have stepped up in recent days, however, the government still staunchly oppose such a move. It has also been speculated that the Prime Minister will call a general election, however, given recent polling showing the Conservatives trailing Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, it is difficult to see Theresa May rolling the dice and possibly surrendering the process which she has led for the best part of three years.

Instead, you are more likely to see the PM once again beg for backstop changes, the one element of the deal that seems to be consistently holding it back. This is likely to precede her putting the deal forward once again, perhaps not this week, but given recent reporting that she is still very much holding onto her deal, it is likely to be put before MP’s once again before April 12th.

One thing we probably won’t see is a resignation. The PM last week announced that she is going to step down, largely an offering to her own party to gain support for the withdrawal agreement.  However, despite names in the frame to succeed her being floated by the media in recent days, Theresa May’s exit is not imminent, rather, unless dragged kicking and screaming, she will remain in Downing Street until an agreement is reached and exit from the European Union is decided.

Labour meanwhile, are supposedly planning to trigger a snap election, given their placing in the polls. Although advantageous to them, given Corbyn’s reluctance to really exercise this pressure in the past signals that this event is unlikely. Although regularly talking up the chance of bringing down the government, Corbyn has reluctant to pull the trigger, such as the decision not to table a no-confidence motion in December last year following Theresa May surviving an internal no-confidence motion.

We can expect plenty more talk of an election, but realistically this won’t happen; expect more indicative votes and negotiating, and perhaps the fourth incarnation of May’s withdrawal agreement.

Elsewhere, Biden still hasn’t announced, will this be the week? Currently flying high in the polls, despite not declaring, it has been imminent for weeks that Biden would announce – even last week accidentally stating that he was running, before backtracking.

But given recent allegations of inappropriate touching and the surfacing of old clips about his opposition to the policy of bussing, perhaps we should expect an announcement that he isn’t running.

His poll numbers remain relatively unscathed, but the chinks in the armour that have been exposed recently may have delayed, and ultimately end his decision to run. I am not saying he won’t run, but the likelihood of a run is much diminished from just two weeks ago. Given the crowded nature of the field, and the rising poll numbers of fringe candidates such as Andrew Yang, Biden’s chances of gaining the nomination look slim – perhaps it’s not worth risking his reputation for.

The conversation over tech regulation is also likely to gain traction this week, following Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, calling for greater government regulation. During testimony he called upon lawmakers to assist the big tech firms in regulating content by setting out legal frameworks for online content, an idea likely to gain traction given the recent rhetoric of presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren.

Warren has called for greater regulation and even the breaking up of big tech companies, due to their monopolisation of content. Zuckerberg’s assertion is perhaps a compromise offer, allowing him and others to be regulated, on the condition they retain their oligopolist control over the tech industry.

Whatever comes to pass, expect this week to once again be dominated by Brexit; we’ve got a long way to go until it ceases hold of its media monopoly.

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