IS it too early to say I’m already disappointed with the election result?
Don’t get me wrong. Obviously, there are upsides: no anti-Jewish pogroms; no being reduced to eating my spaniel as the economic benefits of Fully Automated Luxury Communism start to kick in; no 3am knock at the door from Ash Sarkar and Grace Blakeley in their NKVD leather coats as they drag me off for questioning in Comrade Owen Jones’s Lubyanka interrogation suite.
Even so, while I felt a brief rush of elation last night as my kids rang to tell me about those first eye-watering exit polls, I’m feeling much gloomier today. Yes, it’s great that we dodged the Marxist bullet; yes, it’s amusing and delicious and nourishing, drinking all those leftie loser tears; yes, well done, Boris, you really have pulled it off this time. But it’s not June 24, 2016, is it?
The Brexit referendum result was special because it was so totally unexpected. None of the pollsters had predicted it; not even Nigel Farage – or so he claimed the night before – thought it was going to happen; the people had stuck two fingers up at an Establishment that had done everything in its power to frustrate their desire to reclaim their country from an entrenched Remainer elite.
This runaway Tory victory, on the other hand, you could see coming a mile off. Well, I certainly did. I predicted a majority of 50 to 60 seats. All right, it was even bigger than that in the end but my point stands. The Conservatives were always going to win this one for a number of blindingly obvious reasons: the cackhanded awfulness of Magic Grandpa; the charisma and charm of Boris (that little-boy-lost expression he wore as he pleaded for the yummy mummy vote on the Love Actually spoof: genius!); the Brexit-party-slaying ruthlessness of the Conservative election machine; the yearning among Leavers and most Remainers to ‘Get Brexit Done’; the widespread public desire not to live in a country where the Home Secretary has two left feet, where the Chancellor wants to model the economy on Chavez-era Venezuela’s, and where the PM likes taking tea with terrorists.
Also, while the Brexit vote was definitely a victory for the people, this latest result smells to me like a vote for the liberal Establishment, draped in the mantle of faux-populism. Already we’re being told by the squishier form of Tory expert commentator – ie most commentators – that because the Conservatives won lots of working-class seats there must therefore be a realignment of Tory politics. A ‘lurch to the centre’, no less.
Really? This is a bit like arguing that the Soviet victory at Stalingrad was a vindication of Stalin and the Socialist economic model. It tells you far more about the spin and wishful thinking of the fake-Tory media, moving in lockstep with the Cameroon-style wets who still run the roost at CCHQ, than it does about what actual working-class people either want or need.
I felt similarly suspicious of Boris’s claim in his (admittedly jaunty and uplifting) victory speech that: ‘You the people of this country voted to be carbon neutral by 2050 and we’ll do it.’
No, actually. People only ‘voted’ for it in the sense that they had no option not to vote for it. Labour’s green policies were even more stupid, pointless and unaffordable, as were the Greens’ (of course) and the Lib Dems’. The Brexit Party were only going to split the Brexit vote. So if you wanted a semblance of Brexit and a non-Marxist government where else were you going to go except the Conservatives, crap environmental policies notwithstanding?
If I had to guess what it was that persuaded so many working-class voters – including many natural Labour voters – to come out for the Tories, I’d say it was two main things: one, a recognition that Boris was their best hope of finally getting the Brexit they voted for three years ago and so nearly had snatched away from them; two, an appreciation that the identity-politics-obsessed, unpatriotic, anti-Semitic, pro-immigration, free-unicorns-for-everyone Labour Party was inimical to working-class values. All that wishy-washy One Nation, high-spending, ‘we heart the NHS’ greenie stuff in the manifesto was a total irrelevance.
Now I don’t want to be too much of a killjoy on this glorious day of triumph. Clearly, for those of us of a Right-wing persuasion, today’s result is infinitely preferable to a Marxist/national socialist coalition under Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola Sturgeon. But let’s not pretend it represents a victory for limited government, free markets and fiscal responsibility. Nor, I fear, can we be 100 per cent sure we’re going to get meaningful Brexit. There’s something very suspicious about the way the liberal Establishment has decided that Boris is its man and got so completely behind him. I smell a rat.