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Vote Reform, not Lib Dem, to give Boris a Salop in the face


IF any Tory really wants to make things better in the country, then a vote for the Lib Dems in tomorrow’s North Shropshire by-election is exactly the wrong thing to do.  

We can all understand the frustration and the wish to send a very loud and clear message to Westminster. I have seen staunch Tories seriously suggesting going up to Oswestry to campaign on behalf of the Lib Dems. This would be a crass and, both strategically and tactically, bizarre decision. Lib Dem leader Sir Edward Davey’s outriders are not the way to do this.  

If you really want to make an impact on Boris and his frat house regime, then I humbly suggest that voting for Kirsty Walmsley of Reform UK would be a far more effective way of doing so than handing a protest vote to the Lib Dems.   

I have to declare an interest. I have been a media consultant for Reform and I wholeheartedly support Kirsty’s candidacy; she has the county running like quicksilver in her veins. Be that as it may, I will try to explain why voting Reform will be a far more effective protest vote than voting Lib Dem. 

I do not believe many of the 35,444 constituents who voted for the Tories’ Owen Paterson last time round are currently sitting in North Shropshire thinking: ‘What I really want is a more Left-wing government.’  

Since the general election on December 12, 2019, the Conservatives have fudged Brexit, waved tens of thousands of migrants across the Channel, raised taxes, taken another swipe at the military, threatened eye-watering new climate-related costs, taken their eye off the Foreign Affairs ball in Afghanistan, gone wildly woke – failing to stand up for the country’s culture and history – and presided over the biggest peacetime transfer of power from the individual to the state in the democratic age. None of these things are high on the normal Tory agenda. 

The Lib Dems offer higher taxes, even more eye-watering climate costs, a disdain for the military, even more wokery, more immigration, and a demand to haul us back into the bureaucratic, floundering, bullying, economic basket case that is the EU. 

Worse, if the Lib Dems were to win, then they would take what would be a message to Boris that people are angry as a sign of support for their brand of centrist, defeatist drivel.   

They would be voting for somebody, in the person of Helen Morgan, who believes that Brexit is being achieved through behaving like ‘Hitler did in 1933’. This, in a constituency that voted 57 per cent Leave. You know what she actually thinks of her prospective constituents, and it’s not nice. 

Instead, Reform UK offers lower taxes, and an NHS policy that cuts through the Gordian knot of waiting lists, while ensuring treatment free at the point of use. It offers a package of ideas from rejecting the Net Stupid approach to climate policy and stands firmly for personal autonomy in our day-to-day lives.  

These however, the details that is, are not the reasons for not voting Lib Dem when taking the opportunity to give Boris an electoral shiner.  

Governments react and change their policies only if they fear losing seats. There are not enough seats where the Lib Dems can make a serious challenge to take out the Tory majority.  

So, despite the insufferable bragging that would be indulged, it would only have the impact, if at all, of dragging the carcass of the Parliamentary Conservative Party further into the centrist quicksand. That sand is already sucking Boris in as far as his Goodyear midriff, and he seems to be perfectly happy there.  

The real threat to the Tory majority does not come from there. It comes from the great gaping hole that has opened up on its Right flank. Not for nothing were there shivers of fear in Conservative HQ when Nigel Farage mused aloud about returning to politics.  

In July, Reform received 1.1 per cent of the vote in Chesham and Amersham. In Old Bexley and Sidcup earlier this month it reached 6.6 per cent.  Over the weekend, YouGov polling had the party’s popularity up to seven per cent – only one point away from the Lib Dems’ national eight per cent.  

If it gets seven, eight, nine, or even ten per cent in North Shropshire, this will be seen as a far more potent threat to the Conservative ambitions than a Lib Dem win. 

There were more than 60 Tory seats with a majority of fewer than ten per cent in 2019. Many of these are in the so-called ‘Red Wall’ and did not have a Brexit Party candidate standing against them.  

If any conservative-minded voter wants to send a message to No10, but not have that message misinterpreted as support for tofu-weaving and compulsory pronouns, with a side order of tax hikes and power cuts, then they should vote for Reform.  

It didn’t require UKIP to storm the green benches of the Commons to force a referendum on leaving the EU in 2016, just the existential fear in the hearts of loyal foot soldiers with jobs and patronage to protect that it might not be them next time. 

Should Reform make its mark tomorrow, the whispering campaign on Tory backbenches would rise like an Advent descant. 

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Gawain Towler
Gawain Towler
Gawain Towler was a press officer for the broader Eurosceptic cause, working first for UKIP and latterly for the Brexit Party. He is a public affairs and media consultant who now writes for a number of publications on post Brexit Britain, and other cultural and political topics.

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