In response to Michael St George: Will today be Tory Armageddon or anti-climax?, Malcolm wrote:
Watching the in-fighting of the Tory party over Europe during the last 25 years, ever since the disgraceful decision to ram Maastricht through Parliament without bothering to consult the electorate on such a significant constitutional issue, has been both puzzling and frustrating. Lancing that political boil was always going to require a clear mandate from the people by way of a referendum on membership at some point. Having now, very belatedly, accepted that fact and requested that mandate, and having been refused by a clear if narrow majority, to see alleged Conservatives refuse to accept the outcome of a democratic vote betrays more than just political division within the party: it indicates a nasty, tyrannical streak among the parliamentary party which is inimical to any real Conservative. Is there any wonder that natural supporters are deserting in droves?
We expect hypocritical opportunism from a Labour Party led by Corbyn, but to see a party which calls itself Conservative blatantly betraying the most fundamental ideals of Conservatism – respect for the electorate and democracy itself – is like watching a slow-motion car crash. Delivering on such clear manifesto promises, on which every single Tory MP stood just one year ago – leaving not just the EU but the Single Market and the Customs Union – is now an existential issue for the party, and if that message hasn’t yet filtered through into the brains of the rebels like Soubry, Grieve, Morgan and the rest, then the 2022 general election is going to be a very painful experience for them. The UK is not North Korea, and we expect MPs to respect the expressed will of the people. If they don’t, then we will find others who will.