Much as we admire Nigel Farage’s consistency in supporting his cause, his present political positioning is just madness.
Clearly, he could never have thought that Boris would tear up his deal just because it is not No Deal – which seems to be Farage’s target, So what does Nigel want? Most Brexiteers can live with Boris’ deal – and many remainers can live with the withdrawal, as it least it isn’t a crash, and it moves the topic on. The Brexit Party have no chance of power, and in many close marginals, they risk drawing just enough voters away from the Tories to gift the seat to Labour or the Liberals.
Just as in Peterborough and Brecon by-elections, they could well split the leave vote, and let one of the other parties to win, with many fewer than half of the votes cast. Does Nigel really want to be the man who let Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10? We think not. So the only conclusion is that he thinks there may be a peerage in it for him if he backs down. There can be no other logical motivation for Mr Farage to take such an extreme position.
The Brexit Party will withdraw from all seats except those where the Tories have no chance anyway – ie Northern Labour-held seats. Nigel will magnanimously agree to back Boris’s deal as being better than any of the plausible alternatives. In due time, Mr Farage will enter the House of Lords.
Not going so well for Boris is it? Of course, the stories about his private life are a distraction. Even politicians have domestics don’t they? [By ‘domestics’, I refer to arguments, not below-stairs servants, though I guess Boris could have those too]. The Sunday Times chose to run a front page story about a quarrel BoJo had with his first wife more than 30 years ago. Neither this nor “Carriegate” are relevant to the policies he would deploy, But they do impact on his carefully polished image.
On to More Weighty Matters
However, on policy, Jeremy H seems to be making the running too. His focus on encouraging business has better optics for the general public than Boris’ headline of cutting taxes for the upper middle class. Though we have to remember the electorate this time is 160,000 Tory Party members…….. who may well be largely upper middle class! Could it be that Boris has targeted the correct electorate… again?
However, Mr Hunt has also pulled some clever moves on Brexit, assembling a team of seasoned negotiators, including Stephen Harper, ex-Canadian PM, and Rona Ambrose, another Canadian with experience of landing a deal with EU. Jeremy’s explicit promise to support farmers and rural businesses exposed to heinous tariffs in the event of No-Deal was another smart move.
Perhaps these well-thought through details are exposing that Jeremy Hunt would actually be a sharper operator than Boris Johnson. Mr Johnson’s weakness is his reputation for bluster and waffle instead of concrete command of issues. Jeremy is working well on exposing that.
It’s Not Enough.
We think the vote will be close, but Boris still gets in. What the Tories need more than anything is an election-winner. This means Brexit happening – where JH looks decidedly iffy – and a charismatic leader to pull in the votes. It is no coincidence that Remain-voters all favour Mr Hunt. Ultimately, the referendum was a binary choice. Mrs May’s attempts to keep the 48% on board didn’t win them over, and just alienated the 52% as well. The Leave camp won. Boris can see that he must deliver Brexit. Ootherwise, Mr Farage’s outfit will spell the end of the Tories. Mr Hunt lacks that clarity.
Boris is still winning, but cannot afford to be complacent.
When Tony Blair amended the Labour Party’s Clause IV in 1995, suddenly, New Labour became electable. With the latest leaked plans to confiscate energy, railways, Royal Mail and utility companies, Corbyn has revealed a desire to revert back to the 1970’s .
Will he be re-opening the mines next? This whole concept is way more scary than the prospect of the return of flares and disco!
But if removing the Reds’ commitment to “common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange” made it possible for Labour to be elected in the 1990s, could these policies make them unelectable in the 2020s? Well they are having an effect. Why else would they be only matching such a dismal Conservative Party, and not 30% ahead in the polls?
There is one conundrum though. Membership of the EU would make such theft of property much more difficult. So why are Labour so keen to stay in the EU? Is it just about provoking splits in a badly torn Government? Is it that Labour are just as split as the Tories, but trying to hide it by sitting on the fence? Does the parliamentary Labour Party actually support these policies – or are they just keeping their heads down, afraid that local activists will de-select anyone who doesn’t toe the Momentum line?
The scary truth is that the leftie arguments are gaining traction with the public. Those of us grey enough to remember the 1970’s know that public ownership just breeds laziness, tribal in-fighting, ill-considered and reduced investment, and terrible customer service.
NOBODY is out there making this argument though. The Tories seem to be too transfixed by their own death-spiral to counter the economically-illiterate shouting from across the way. I spy a gap for the Brexit Party. Our next PM may well be Boris Johnson – but the one after that could well be Nigel Farage, if he cares to seize a broader agenda.