We use cookies to help improve and maintain our site. More information.
close

September 10, 2019

Beware of the Salvini trap

Let’s imagine the following scenario: the House of Commons returns in October. There is a no deal. Jeremy Corbyn calls a no-confidence vote, wins and agrees to support a national unity government under Kenneth Clarke as interim prime minister. Clarke may only receive a mandate to seek an extension. But, as we observe in other parts of Europe, interim government can prove sticky. 

Can’t happen? Consider Corbyn is a much diminished figure these days. Imagine that Labour’s popularity will continue to shrink, and that the Labour leadership concludes it cannot afford elections at this point. What started as a short-lived government of national unity would then remain in office because those that support it are desperate to avoid elections. They are playing for time. That government could seek a Brexit extension until after the next scheduled elections in 2022 - at which point the British electorate may have lost interest in Brexit.

This is not a prediction, only a scenario. But look at what just happened in Italy. Who would have foreseen a few weeks ago that Matteo Salvini’s exit from government would lead to a coalition between Five Star and the PD? But it did, because Salvini’s electoral support surged and so it is in the interest of the two other parties to stop him. We admire Cummings’ strategic acumen, but strange things happen in politics that are beyond the grip of a strategic planner.  

We don’t think it is possible to game the multitude of interacting political scenarios beyond October. Our baseline scenario remains that the House of Commons will ultimately not succeed in stopping Brexit. But it looks increasingly uncertain that Brexit will happen on October 31.

Show Comments Write a Comment

September 10, 2019

After the diesel car, now goes the SUV

If there is one industrial story where events intruded it must be the story of the German car industry. After the diesel emissions fraud that ended up accelerating the decline of the fuel-driven car, a more recent event is now about to face the sale of SUVs, one of the biggest sources of earnings for German car companies. A horrific accident occurred in Berlin, where the driver of a Porsche SUV appeared to have suffered a fit, lost control of the vehicle, and drove onto a pavement killing four people, including a thee-year old child. The Green Party and Germany’s most important environmental groups used the accident for a massive campaign against SUV, calling for a ban of large SUVs in crowded cities. The argument is that tank-like vehicles constitute a danger for the public.

The anti-car lobby in Germany has learned that the best way to drive the industry to despair is through partial bans. The diesel bans are a reality only in a few cities. But that alone managed to kill the technology by driving down sales and profit margins. When people expect restrictions, either now or in the future, they will no longer buy the technology or they will demand steep discounts. SUVs are among the highest-margin vehicles sold by German car makers.

It is also noteworthy for the main report from Germany’s most prestigious car fair to be not about the latest generation of cars, but about an activist group calling itself sand-in-the-transmission managing to infiltrate the show. 

We have no idea whether a ban of SUVs will ever happen. What speaks in its favour is that the fragmentation of the Bundestag makes it more likely that the Greens will be represented in government. In exchange for its willingness to enter a coalition, the Greens will insist on a whole range of measures to curtail the car industry.

Show Comments Write a Comment

This is the public section of the Eurointelligence Professional Briefing, which focuses on the geopolitical aspects of our news coverage. It appears daily at 2pm CET. The full briefing, which appears at 9am CET, is only available to subscribers. Please click here for a free trial, and here for the Eurointelligence home page.

 

Recent News

  • January 24, 2020
  • Is Germany anti-semitic and racist?
  • Did the Greek financial crisis play a role in Brexit?
  • September 18, 2019
  • No doubt, this is a constitutional crisis
  • Macron's immigration bid
  • May 13, 2019
  • Brexit Party has already changed UK politics
  • Orbán visits Trump, after a very long wait
  • Le Pen's appeal to the PiS likely to fall on deaf ears
  • January 04, 2019
  • Will the AfD become the Dexit party?
  • Romania's corruption problem in the spotlight of its EU presidency
  • August 28, 2018
  • Urban politics and national crisis - the Irish case
  • How anti-semitism became one of the main issues in British politics
  • April 25, 2018
  • Macron's pitch to Trump
  • Montoro in Schleswig-Holstein
  • The old world and the new
  • December 22, 2017
  • Will Macron be the new de Gaulle?
  • 2018 through the looking glass
  • August 21, 2017
  • Soft, getting softer
  • Tsipras' chances of a boost
  • On the fallacy of a middle-ground option for the eurozone
  • April 20, 2017
  • Don’t bet on Trump turning globalist
  • A note on UK election polls
  • December 20, 2016
  • The politics of terror
  • On Lagarde
  • Is a disruptive Brexit possible?
  • August 22, 2016
  • Gold for Brexit
  • EU and Turkey talking past each other
  • Switzerland is the next migrant transit country
  • On the death of neoliberal economics
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • February 07, 2020
  • Is Macron the best guarantor against Le Pen?
  • Catalan turmoil means Spain will struggle to pass a budget
  • January 22, 2020
  • Erdogan and European Libya diplomacy
  • On the importance of mutual recognition agreements in the Brexit trade talks
  • January 06, 2020
  • A decade that started with a bang
  • What to expect of Spain's next government
  • Divide et impera: Macron's pension reform strategy
  • December 23, 2019
  • What’s behind the NordStream2 sanctions
  • An important ruling by the Dutch constitutional court
  • This time Popolare di Bari brings EU bank resolution into question
  • The reversal of the eurozone external balances
  • No Christmas truce in France
  • Brace for Erdogan's foreign policy ambitions
  • On the decline of the centrist left
  • December 09, 2019
  • The next three days
  • November 26, 2019
  • Disrupting and glueing: on Anglo-Saxon clichés about France and Germany
  • November 14, 2019
  • Are France and Germany finally converging on security policy? We think they might.
  • November 04, 2019
  • Brexit tactical voting is happening - on both sides
  • Merkel promises 1m charging stations - but doesn't tell us how
  • October 24, 2019
  • Will the Bundestag stop Merkel's 5G unilateralism?
  • October 15, 2019
  • Germany chooses Huawei for 5G
  • US and EU respond to Turkey - too little, too late
  • October 07, 2019
  • What did Conte know?
  • September 30, 2019
  • A pyrrhic victory for Kurz
  • Will there really be UK elections?
  • September 24, 2019
  • Corbyn’s sweet victory, and why it matters
  • Redistributing migrants rescued from sea - a first step
  • September 20, 2019
  • Violence in Northern Ireland - not so far-fetched after all
  • German coalition fails to agree climate deal, but negotiations continue
  • September 17, 2019
  • Beware of the diplomacy of humiliation
  • Germany’s climate hypocrisy
  • September 13, 2019
  • Protecting our German way of life: on the decline of the car industry
  • September 11, 2019
  • What are the chances of a deal?
  • September 10, 2019
  • Beware of the Salvini trap
  • After the diesel car, now goes the SUV