This blog was written on Aug 26, 2018.
In the end, democratic politics comes down to the brutality of numbers… of hard numbers. Either you have the votes to get measures through parliament or you don’t.
Politics is about being able to count. Ask the Australian politician Peter Dutton about hard numbers. Last Monday he believed he had the votes to oust the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and take the top job himself. He had the votes, as they say in Australia to ‘spill’ Turnbull but lost to Scott Morrison when it came to the decision as to who would replace Turnbull. Dutton counted the wrong numbers.
For a great part of the past 100 years parliamentary majorities and party discipline generally gave UK governments the numbers they needed in the House of Commons.
But not when it comes to Brexit.