At Last British Voters Can Drain the Swamp
Guest post by Niall McCrae
Boris Johnson saw no way through the impasse.
Lacking a majority in the House of Commons, it was impossible to fulfil the will of the people as expressed at a referendum back on 23rd June 2016.
Although few Labour MPs admit it, they simply want to stop Brexit.
At least the Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party are honest in striving to overturn the largest democratic mandate in British political history.
A new parliament is the only way forward, and so there will be a general election now on 12th December.
Boris is taking a risk.
When the last general election was called in 2017, the Conservatives led Labour by as much as 20 points in the opinion polls. But crusty old socialist Jeremy Corbyn drew 40% of the vote, and prime minister Theresa May lost her small majority.
However, the cloud had a silver lining for the union. Defying predictions of a renewed push for independence, the Conservatives took swaths of Scotland from the SNP. Parliamentary arithmetic left May relying on the neglected representatives of Northern Ireland, and the Democratic Unionist Party became a powerbroker.
If she hadn’t gone to the country, May could have pushed her dreadful withdrawal agreement through, meaning Brexit in name only.
For Leave voters, it’s Boris or bust.
The Tories have reached 40% in opinion polls, while Labour languishes at around 25%.
In personal ratings, Boris is like Marmite: loved or loathed, but his challenger Corbyn is rated worse than any opposition leader in living memory.
While Boris is confident, political pundits are cautious after the surprise Labour surge in 2017, and old party loyalties have been shattered by Brexit.
Dozens of MPs have defected, and at least 47 are not standing again. Research shows that voters primarily identify themselves as Remainers or Leavers; a Europhile Labour candidate in a pro-Brexit seat is speaking the wrong language.
If the Tories fail, the writing is on the wall for Brexit. Labour, which previously promised to honour the referendum result, now wants to be a colony of the EU.
The neoliberal Blairites have regrouped and the few hard leftists who abhor the EU as a capitalist project have been marginalised.
Compromise between the traditional working-class base and the progressive intelligentsia is unsustainable, because the former are patriots and the latter are post-nation globalists.
Labour has betrayed its lifelong voters in the neglected industrial heartlands, favouring metropolitan liberals and minority ethnic communities.
In seats where the Leave vote was typically over two-thirds, Labour candidates who regard Brexit as a stupid mistake will be deservedly harangued on the door step.
When the votes are counted in the early hours of 13th December, expect some long faces on the Labour side. The likes of Yvette Cooper could be dumped: why vote for someone who does the opposite of what constituents voted for?
As the election will be dominated by Brexit, a Remain alliance is likely in some form.
Opinion polls show that the Leave parties’ share is no more than that of Labour, LibDems, Green and nationalists combined. Although an electoral pact could be potent, the relationship between Labour and the LibDems is sour. Although new leader Jo Swinson appeals to the ‘woke’ generation, her radical anti-Brexit stance is blatantly anti-democratic (she supports a second referendum but would only accept the right result).
This offends the liberal heritage of the party, and some members think that Swinson has made a strategic error. Recent polls show the LibDems slipping back from over 20% to about 16%.
Will the Conservatives come to an agreement with Farage’s Brexit Party?
They could step aside in working-class seats where there is no chance of winning, if the Brexit Party refrains from pitching candidates against Leave-supporting Conservative MPs.
But for Boris and his advisors, this would be dancing with the devil: Nigel Farage has not hidden his animosity for the staid Conservative Party. Furthermore, some Tories believe that winning their seat in the last election was aided by Farage’s former party UKIP taking votes off Labour.
The Brexit Party will huff and puff but will only blow two or three houses down.
Some very cold dishes will be served by vengeful voters. As Shereele Jacons wrote in the Daily Telegraph, ‘after three and a half years of deceit, chaos and torpor, our opportunity to drain the swamp is finally here’.
Boris could be the man who goes down in history for doing Brexit, while it was really Nigel Farage who started this revolution.
Brexit by New Year!