LIKE many former Conservative voters, I opted for the Brexit Party in the recent EU elections of 23 May. Disgusted at the government’s failure to deliver on its electoral mandate on the referendum verdict three years ago, leaving the country bitterly divided and humiliated. Irritated beyond belief at the constant psychobabble of the arrogant political class in its mendacity in blocking the greatest democratic exercise in our history, yet insisting that only the people can decide again as long as they vote the right way next time. Wrapping themselves up in a sort of Remainer comfort blanket as if their knowledge and intellect were superior to those who put them in Parliament, wilfully blind to the political whirlwind that was brewing in the form of the Brexit Party. There was a pro-Brexit landslide, and Nigel Farage’s party won a stunning victory, but somehow in the parallel universe that prevails in the blinkered Remain-dominated Conservative parliamentary party, they constructed an alternative narrative to imply that it was business as usual.
The Brexit Party came within 683 votes of winning their first Westminster seat at the Peterborough by-election of 6 June, where the incumbent Labour Party had been on action stations since their disgraced former MP Fiona Onasanya was charged for a criminal offence, and got their vote out. ‘It’s over!’ screamed the headlines; the Brexit Party are one-issue wonders.
Now the runners and riders are jostling for position in the forthcoming leadership election to be Prime Minister of this country. Which brings us to the current front-runner, Boris Johnson.
The Conservative Party is not just in the frying pan, it’s in the fire. It is delusional to ignore the reality that the party’s vote share at Peterborough declined by 25 percentage points, despite some of the leadership contenders continuing with their contortions of how not to deliver Brexit. The Boris-bashing media insist that anybody who imagines that Boris will deliver Brexit is bonkers. After all, they say, he made a hash of being Foreign Secretary, appearing shambolic, scruffy and lazy, almost bored by his brief, bringing embarrassment to one of the great offices of state. It is risible that he could be considered as Prime Minister of this country, given his professional and personal track record. The great saviour of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson, darling of the liberal wing of the Tory Party, apparently loathes him and has backed Savid Javid as leader and potential Prime Minister, calculating that he will not be as toxic north of the border. We are assured that Boris is anathema to the majority of Scots, especially to SNP voters, content to live in a kind of post-war East German society provided by their political masters. The union will be lost, as a Boris premiership will bolster the SNP administration propped up by the loony Greens.
However, this narrative ignores one inconvenient point. A report commissioned by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) after the Brexit Referendum found that 36 per cent of Labour voters as well as the same percentage of SNP voters voted Leave. These voters with their die-hard political affiliations would never stomach a Boris premiership, with an ‘English Tory Brexit’, even if it meant leaving the EU. Therefore, they risk letting Nicola Sturgeon and her party of separatist fanatics tack Scotland on to the whims of the Bundesbank.
Boris Johnson is undoubtedly a divisive figure to many, but he served for two terms as Mayor of London, a Left-leaning, cosmopolitan city. Out of all the leadership hopefuls, he has the flair, intelligence and imagination to take the country forward post-Brexit and, most crucially, he will ‘bat for Britain’. He might like to model himself on his hero Winston Churchill, and critics will point out his many inconsistencies. However, if the Conservative Party is to survive, it must now think the unthinkable and form an electoral pact with the Brexit Party or risk splitting the centre-right vote at such a momentous time in our history. If it does not, the country is at peril from a neo-Marxist government in Number 10, in coalition with their fellow travellers in Edinburgh, which will devastate the economy and destroy the aspirations of millions and the future of generations to come. It’s time for many voters like myself, despite any misgivings, to back Boris Johnson as PM.