When out and about during campaigning and leafleting for the EU Elections I interacted with people with a variety of political views. Even my Daughter-In-Law didn’t know who to vote for but previously she and her daughters were strong supporters of UKIP.
A lady with a small-holding out of town seemed to think Theresa May’s plan was Leave and those awful people in the Commons were stopping her getting it through. There must be a lot of people like that who don’t pay much attention to politics. They have always voted Conservative and believed whenever Theresa said her Withdrawal Agreement was the only way to honour the Referendum result.
Some people who usually voted Conservative and Labour wanted to Leave and were only too happy to vote that way in the referendum and also in the EU elections where it wasn’t for a Member of the Westminster Parliament. In both the Referendum and in the EU Elections tribalism didn’t count!
In By-Elections and General Elections tribalism takes over. In the case of Peterborough recently against the insurgent Brexit Party and in Thurrock a few years ago against the insurgent UKIP, the Conservatives knew they were going to lose but what was most important was to campaign hard to deny a third force gaining a foothold in Westminster. That would have been a watershed moment and could trigger a domino effect and it still is a possibility.
The people who supported Labour in Peterborough were acting tribally. They were voting for old Labour values of looking after the low paid men and women workers. In that, they were or are delusional because the party no longer represents them.
The Labour party continues to be funded and supported by the unions as it always was and the union block vote probably takes no notice of whether a union member pays the political levy or not. The majority of people in unions these days are relatively well paid ‘so-called’ public servants, who also largely support the Liberal Party.
The candidate who won the Peterborough election and her party leader, of course, claimed it was a victory over divisive politics. It was nothing of the sort as the Conservatives managed to hold onto 7243 votes, down from 22,343 in 2017. It was a victory for the two-party system.
Nearly every day in the preceding week there had been a senior member of the Conservative Party including Cabinet Members doing the rounds there. By keeping the Brexit Party from winning it was a great victory for the maintenance of the two-party see-saw in Westminster.
I fear that the Brexit Party will achieve much the same as UKIP did and gain hundreds of second places but not a single seat in Parliament. Maybe it doesn’t matter because it is the threat of that which achieved the Referendum being granted eventually and it was the foot soldiers of UKIP, which are largely responsible for that win.
Likewise, the threat of the Brexit Party is now forcing the Conservative Party to elect a Leader with a strong intention of obtaining Leave. So if they elect Boris and he somehow achieves that goal, probably with a lot of blood on the floor of the Commons, what then for those of us who are now supporters of either UKIP or the Brexit Party.
I am not sure even Boris Johnson can get us out of the EU because the Remain v Leave arithmetic in the Commons hasn’t changed. He can’t go to a General Election because the effect of the Brexit Party will be to remove many more marginal seats from the Tories than from Labour, leaving Labour the biggest party. With support from the SNP and maybe the Liberals as well, a rainbow coalition will simply revoke Article 50.
Do we support Boris if that looks like the only chance of achieving Leave? If we soldier on with the BP and UKIP we won’t get any centre-right MPs and we won’t get Leave. If we get Leave then what future has either party whose main purpose has ceased to exist. Most will walk away and return to a peaceful political retirement.
I presume that if we Leave and the dust finally settles then many former Labour and Tory supporters who have steadfastly supported either UKIP or the BP will return to their roots. Both Tories & Labour are well left of centre, and the Liberals further left still, although they try to deceive voters into believing they are the middle ground.
It is such a shame about UKIP because their manifesto exactly matches my political aspirations but the media has managed to brand it the nasty party and it has lost the support
of the electorate. Will the voters in the UK ever support the politics of centre-right again? Where else can they go except back to the two-party system where you don’t vote for what you want but against what you don’t want.
The continent of Europe is not a happy place and people everywhere are beginning to rise up against the straight jacket of the EU. Some still forlornly believe they can reform it from within. How many times must they see that the EU never wavers from the conveyor belt to a United States of Europe? Maybe when the next aspects of the Lisbon Treaty come into effect in the next two or three years will be the trigger point for the continent to go up in flames again.