Nigel Farage has said that a vote for his Brexit Party would be a vote for a WTO Brexit – his name for a no deal Brexit. He also said that if his party won big in the EU elections, they should have a place at future talks with the EU. Farage is something of a hate figure with Conservatives being seen as someone who split the Conservative vote, but on this occasion he should be listened to. He has done so much for making Brexit a reality. If he receives a massive vote in the Euro elections it is the electorate sending a message that they want Brexit. It would make sense for that massive vote to translate into an input into future negotiations. Talk of him being like “an arsonist sent to put out a fire” is poppycock.
Farage’s Brexit Party is the only party openly campaigning for a no deal Brexit. If they attract a large percentage of the electorate it will be an expression of support for that position. For the Tories it is a question of keeping your enemies closer. Farage has the space to do a great deal of damage to the Tory cause. If they bring him into the tent there is at least the possibility of limiting that damage. The Brexit Party is likely to hoover up a great deal of core Tory support. By involving them in future discussions at least that support is represented. At the moment Mrs May’s Conservatives are floundering. Drawing in help from the Brexit Party is at least a way of finding some direction.
Reaching out to the Labour Party has been largely a waste of time. Labour is essentially a Remain Party and waters down the Brexit that Mrs May is aiming for. If she thought that she could persuade them to vote for her deal she was wrong. The Brexit Party, on the other hand, chimes with the views of many in the Tory Party.
Change UK is basically the Lib Dems. They are both Remain Parties who want the same thing. They will get some of the Remain vote in the Euro elections but not a significant amount. A sizeable proportion of those who voted Remain in the referendum have now accepted that they lost and simply want us to get on with leaving the EU. Change UK and the Lib Dems desire to derail Brexit does not have wide ranging purchase with the electorate.
Right now the Conservative Parliamentary party is completely demoralised. By now, MPs have returned from their constituencies and will have heard from unrelentingly angry voters. The assessment of many Westminster Tories that only a “unifying” leader can avert the electoral disaster that awaits the Conservatives, is facing precisely 180 degrees in the wrong direction. It is a typical “Westminster bubble” approach. The problem is not now just the delivery of a real Brexit, it is democracy itself which is under threat from the very establishment that considers a remainer leader to be the answer. It is no longer a matter of “uniting the Party” – it is a matter of survival of democracy in the United Kingdom.
This is the message that Farage is now punching out relentlessly – and will continue to do so until the next General Election, whenever that occurs. The electorate have mostly understood that their instructions to the government have not been delivered and never will be, whilst May is still PM. Those that have not yet grasped this will definitely have done so by the time Farage has worked what is an increasingly sophisticated campaign.
The effect of Brexit not having been delivered, but only watered down into Remain-by-another-name is that voters will twig that we have descended into what is now being described as a ‘Liberal totalitarianism’ or dictatorship. Many will be conflicted between feeling that their vote is useless and so not worth the bother of casting it. But on the other hand they will be seriously angry and will vote for any protest candidate they can in order to get rid of both Tories and Labour. The Brexit Party will hoover up those votes like a dredger finding a sand bar.
The election will NOT be decided in London, inside the M25 boundary. It will be decided predominantly in the rest of England where most of the constituencies are. And the rest of England are absolutely furious, not just with Westminster MPs, but with the Conservative Party in particular. Just as in 1997, the Tories will fall with huge losses. In 1997, they lost 171 MPs. This time it will be more, because the damage that the Tories have done to the country far exceeds the minor scratches inflicted by Maastricht and John Major’s weak leadership. As things stand, there is a real risk that the Tories will be left with a rump of 50 – 100 MPs; mostly from the Home Counties and possibly from Scotland (where they are less exercised by Brexit and more by the Union).
Theresa May is now an utter joke and a humiliation to the country. She is perceived as having descended into madness – Tory MPs as too weak to remove her. We are being run by a mad King George III all over again. George III lost America, but May will lose the entire country. This is another reason why the Tories in particular will be singled out by the voters as the source of their anger.