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The toppling of Theresa: Day 38


NIGEL Farage must be a very happy man. He’s steaming away at the polls – as the Telegraph’s exclusive this morning blared out:

‘Brexit Party beats Tories in general election poll and would win 49 seats in Commons’.

The delightful Guy Verhofstadt has even come over to give him a helping hand and no doubt a further boost, bless him. As if he needed it with Mrs May so busy insulting her own MPs, councillors and constituency party chairmen into voting for the Brexit Party, if not into switching camps. That’s all on top of the two free party political broadcasts the BBC inadvertently gave the Brexit Party last week, described by Tim Bradshaw in TCW today.  Not so much ‘Brexit Behind Closed Doors’ as a window into a ‘Despicable Me’ EU.

With friendly fellows like the Guardian’s Nick Cohen weighing in – going full Gavin Esler  – to tell us that in any other country Claire Fox, Nigel Farage and Jacob Rees-Mogg would be ‘challenged as the far rightists they are’, Nigel’s job is being done for him. No wonder he is so confidently asserting that his party will be a lot bigger than the Conservatives. The winds are all blowing his way for once.

Meanwhile in Toryland, things are going from bad to worse. Party insiders say only diehard supporters can save them from an election drubbing. But can their hearts be in it any longer when they read of the de facto deputy PM David Lidington planning with his Dear Leader for a second referendum? He and Kim May should know one thing: the EU elections are a second referendum and the vote will be decisive. As the great Charles Moore says, they are the first EU elections in history to feel enthusiastic about.

But in vain, it seems, does Dan Hannan write in for the second time in eight days that May must go if theTory party is to survive. Yet in the same pages David Davis saves his ire for Amber Rudd and her HS2 plans, as though it were business as normal. Why is the former Brexit Secretary not also demanding Mrs May’s head on a plate? Where is the silent Boris? What is Jacob up to? Why is Michael Howard silent? What has happened to Bill Cash, Steve Baker et al? I have not even heard from the vociferous Mark Francois recently.

And therein lies the problem. It’s more than a failure to co-operate and get behind one leader (too many egos), though that is part of it

Sherelle Jacobs got to the heart of it in her column last week (I really should be thinking about asking the Telegraph for a commission for TCW, we give them such a good puff). The diehards and their would-be followers (enough, I fear, for Nick Cohen to take over Scotland for the gulag to accommodate them all) need to get over their self-indulgent bout of fatalism, she says. Brexiteers must not bottle their final chance. For ‘while Leave voters are indignant at Theresa May and Remainer saboteurs, they are also waking up to the full cowardice of the Brexiteers. Leave MPs can only redeem themselves by bringing down the PM and putting a no-deal leader at the helm. To do this, they need to immediately declare a grassroots guerrilla war.’

I would like to reprint her whole article – it deserves reading. Why indeed aren’t the the Brexiteers allying with those constituencies, councillors and chairmen already in revolt?

‘At the very least they should go on a parallel voting strike, and help campaigners to up the ante – by, for example co-ordinating a headline-grabbing no-confidence vote, passed by the hundreds of anti-May local Tory Associations in a single day.’

Their biggest failure, Jacobs continues, has always been that they do not realise the strength of their hand: ‘What more ammunition could they possibly want to persuade pathologically risk-averse colleagues of the repercussions if the Tories fail to deliver a hard Brexit?’

She concludes that they are paralysed by two other terrible flaws: they are squeamish about conflict, they feel ‘vain discomfort’ at being labelled ‘extreme’ (as by the Nick Cohens of this world) and some ‘are petrified that being bullish will damage their leadership bids’.

Bullish is exactly what they need to be – before there are more leadership contenders than party members to woo.

At TCW we continue to count the days till then and their failure to topple Theresa.

Today is Day 38 . . .

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Edited by Kathy Gyngell

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