SO here we, at the end of our Brexit year, with the last of our review posts.
Boris Johnson’s unexpected landslide leaves him in control of whether we really do take back control. It is now no longer a clean Brexit, a hard Brexit or even a Brino, but BoJo’s Brexit – one decided by Labour’s Leave voters, as Patrick Benham-Crosswell predicted in advance of the vote.
I SUPPOSE it was inevitable that there would be a spat in the Brexit Party and that it would happen in time for the Andrew Neil interview. Four MEPs disagree with electoral strategy and have flounced off to the Tories and enjoyed their moment in the spotlight. Their postulation is that the Brexit Party is splitting the Leave vote in Leave seats that do not have a Tory incumbent and that this could lead to Jeremy Corbyn in number 10, propped up by SNP and Lib Dems if required. I think they have this back to front.
This is an odd election; it was called to fix Brexit but has become a re-run of the battles against socialism in the 1970s and 80s. Inevitably our state education system seems to be churning out snowflakes whose objective understanding of history and economics is warped by the Stalinist views of the NUT (now the NEU) and the Department for Education.
To my horror, the socialist approach of magic money trees and centralisation has taken hold of our Etonian Prime Minister. I’ve lost track of the various unfunded pledges being made by the Tories as they seek simultaneously to outspend everyone on the NHS and develop infrastructure. What the Tories should be doing is demolishing the Labour Party and socialism which, with a leader like Corbyn and the economic programme of McDonnell, should be as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. As Fraser Nelson points out, the Scottish economy proves that socialism and throwing money at centralised government departments does not work. For example, for every £100 spent on a English NHS patient, Nicola spends almost £110 on a Scottish one (paid for by the English). Yet the Scot is more likely to wait more than four hours in A&E, and three times as likely to die in a non-emergency admission.
Any decent Tory politician would be eviscerating Corbyn along the lines of ‘your economics demonstrably don’t work’, which would also be eating into Wee Nicola’s credibility. They’re not, which speaks volumes about their convictions and capability. None of them has put the case against nationalising the utilities (short version: it costs more and robs voters’ pensions), against ‘Treasury raids’ on the City (it costs voters a fortune), against price caps (which bit of free market is it you don’t understand?) or excessive spending on staff salaries mislabelled as investment (it puts the tax burden up and drags GDP down).
The Brexit Party has not stood against any Tory incumbent, which should mean that the chance of an absolute Labour majority is slim.
It is investing huge effort in those seats with a Labour or Lib Dem incumbent and a Leave majority – some of these seats have never returned a Tory and are unlikely to now. The message in those seats should be (and indeed is) if you want to leave the EU, vote Brexit Party. It is the Tories who are splitting the Leave vote, which also happens to be the vote against economic Armageddon.
The polling is conducted nationally but this election will be determined in the Labour Leave constituencies (a point made by Nigel Farage on Thursday night). Those of us in Tory seats do not have a Brexit option and so will (probably) vote Tory, which probably leads to the Brexit Party vote being understated in the key seats, no matter how much number-crunching the statisticians do (and generally every time you try to ‘correct’ data you increase the potential error). Where constituency data is available it appears to Nigel Farage that the Brexit Party is hurting Labour.
Longworth and his acolytes have it wrong. If the Tories are so lacklustre that they can’t win in the marginals, the answer is to vote Brexit.
The message to Leave voters is simple – vote Brexit Party where you have a candidate, otherwise grit your teeth and vote Tory. The message for Longworth’s gang of four is shut up – you are now yesterday’s news; stay that way.
Postscript: While The Conservative Woman shared the massive relief felt at the dispatch of Corbynism, our euphoria has been tempered by our concerns. We wonder: Do the Tories begin to understand the sleeping giant of patriotism that crushed Corbyn? Have they any appreciation of the public’s need for a new politics? And do they think the British people will be indefinitely conned into a watered down Brexit or Brino because it is Boris not May at the helm?