“Cat (not dead!) on table” – will this strategy backfire?
Well, we did wonder if and when the Tories were going to plonk a dead cat on the election table. Now we know: they did. Yesterday we heard that four MEPs of TBP had left, calling for voters to vote Tory and for Nigel Farage to ‘swallow his pride and pull out of the campaign’, with the customary plea that Nigel Farage ‘has won nearly everything’ and should be content with Johnson’s BRINO.
It is astounding that these four, together with the commentariat in the MSM, apparently believe that we voters are still so ‘traditional’ that we tug our forelocks and obey their command because they’re MEPs.
Apparently it’s not even all over yet as the DT ‘has learned’ that four more MEPs of TBP might jump ship (paywalled link). One wonders if it occurs to those alleged wobblers that it’s their shenanigans which might hand Corbyn the victory. Back to what happened yesterday: we were alerted to this defection shortly before 10am in The Express where we find this statement from a TBP spokesman:
“We also note that one of the MEPs is the sister of a Cabinet Minister, another has a partner who works in the office of the same Cabinet Minister and yet another is a personal friend of both Boris Johnson and Michael Gove. In the case of John Longworth, who was for years the firmest advocate of WTO withdrawal that we have ever met, he underwent a metamorphosis into being a supporter of the new EU treaty following two days of meetings in London. We hope that Mr Longworth is well rewarded for his actions.” (link)
Ouch. But don’t worry – they still retain their wonderful jobs as MEPs! Their letter to Nigel Farage is here – and in addition to their press conference (here) John Longworth penned an article for the DT (paywalled link). Here’s a quote from their letter:
“As we have tried to suggest to you over the past few months, we believe the Brexit Party has taken a wrong turn and is itself putting Brexit in jeopardy. We believe the current Brexit Party strategy risks the UK remaining in the European Union and this is not something we feel able to support.” (link)
Why and how TBP has ‘taken a wrong turn’ – that they do not explain, and why should they when the ‘wrong turn’ was Nigel Farage not supporting Johnson flat out!
Let me provide you with another clue that this defection was well-planned in advance. See this gleeful little report in order-order, about TBP’s ‘Head of Digital Strategy’ having left a couple of weeks ago:
“[TBP’s] Head of Digital Strategy and deputy Head of Digital quit two weeks into the election. Given their lack of air time, digital ads were crucial to their success… Ed Jankowski, who joined the party in April, left a fortnight into the election due to frustration at the party’s ideological – not data-driven – kamikaze campaign. The Brexit Party currently has no active Facebook ads just a week before the general election…”
One wonders where Mr Jankowski has ended up – did he have some offers from Tory head honchos he couldn’t refuse? Are we seeing the dark hand of a certain Mr Cummings in all this? So – to Mr Longworth. He has the gall to write:
“Thank goodness for the EU elections which, via the Brexit Party, were instrumental in seeing a change of leadership of the country and a new Withdrawal Agreement, one which is in fact Brexit. Given the right outcome of the negotiations on future arrangements, as set out in the Political Declaration, we can have, as the PM says, a “great deal”. Hurrah!” (paywalled link)
Oh dearie me! He has obviously not spoken with his fellow MEP Mr Ben Habib, whose articles on the fallacies of this PD we have published. Perhaps he was soft-soaped by Mr Martin Howe QC who found lots to criticise in Johnson’s BRINO but ended up, just like Mr Longworth, declaring it was ‘the best and only deal’ to be had.
Given the Remain shenanigans in the previous Parliament, bound to be repeated because so many of those Remain Tories and Labour MPs will come back thanks to TBP’s withdrawing from all Tory seats and their warfare against TBP generally and Nigel Farage particularly, this shows that Mr Longworth and the ‘Gang of Four’ must be dangerously naive. He does let the cat out of the bag, showing that this is about giving the Tories the victory:
“I realise for some it will require holding of noses, but this election is a defining moment for the future of our country and in my view, it is so important as to put country above party.” (paywalled link)
Why should we hold our noses when we might listen to Farage who said yesterday that this election has turned into one of ‘not to vote’ for? There’s more: in a GE where Nigel’s Party looks to make major gains, be it UKIP, be it TBP, he and his Party are always told to ‘put country before party’ – the others, mostly the Tories, never ever would do so in their wildest dreams, nor have they ever.
I was therefore not surprised to find this ‘advice’ in the DM. They’re a few days early this time round – in 2015 they published their ‘advice on the Tuesday before polling day. The headline says it all: “How you can stop Brexit Party killing off Brexit: The 19 seats where Farage’s party could hand victory to Labour”. Why they don’t tell voters not to vote Tory where TBP could stop Labour – we can have a good guess …!
Call me a cynical old so-and-so, call me a conspiracist if you wish, but isn’t it remarkable how this defection was timed to perfection. It was well known that Nigel Farage would face Andrew Neil that same evening, in one of Neil’s famous, merciless interviews. However, as all who watched the two lock horns saw, the aim of making the defection the main subject backfired.
The unanimous verdict of friends and colleagues – many of whom are not Nigel fanboys – who watched this interview was not just that Nigel Farage won, but that Andrew Neil was outclassed, struggling to get any sort of ‘hit’ on Farage. Andrew Neil attracted their final ire for cutting short the interview and then ‘empty-chairing’ Johnson (here). The BBC couldn’t have made their partisanship any more obvious.
The sketch writers had a field day, from Littlejohn in the DM (here), Quentin Letts in The Times who penned the title “Kamikaze quartet fly off Nigel Farage’s message” (link, paywalled), to Mr Deacon in the paywalled DT – the least said about that the better. You can read the comments under that piece of work without having to pay.
The prize for schoolboy nastiness goes to Mr Martin in RemainCentral. It’s worth quoting some of it because nothing demonstrates better that and how the MSM have understood nothing. Under the title “Pipe down Nigel, you need the Tories to win” (link, paywalled), we read:
“The godfather of Brexit can claim his place in history but only if he resists the urge to undermine Boris Johnson. Ironically, the person who seems least capable of grasping that Farage has all but won is narcissistic Nigel himself. With Britain’s departure dependent on Boris Johnson getting a working majority by unifying the Leave vote, it was obvious Farage should never have chosen to fight 275 seats in this general election.” (link, paywalled)
Ahem. Didn’t TBP already stand down their candidates in all Tory seats, Remain-held or not? Wasn’t that sufficient for the Tories? Did they think they could get all Leave voters, even in the Red ‘heartland’? Really? More:
“Farage is probably right that the Conservative Party should have agreed some form of pact with him months ago. An arrangement in 20 seats or so where the Conservatives have never won would have made sense in this election, giving non-Tory voters a chance to unseat Labour MPs in the party’s traditional heartlands. […] Once [Johnson] had decided not to form any kind of deal with Farage […] it meant Brexiteers subsuming all other concerns and ego-trips beneath the priority of securing a Tory majority. Consumed by self-obsession, Farage missed this central point.” (my emphasis) (link, paywalled)
No more needs to be said! All must submit to the mighty Johnson because: BRINO! It’s odd, isn’t it, that there’s only one politician who has a ‘monstrous ego’, and that only he can ‘wreck Brexit’. All the other leaders, females and males alike, are of course nothing but humble servants of the Nation. They only try to wreck TBP and especially Nigel Farage out of the goodness of their hearts and because they are concerned about Brexit. Yeah right.
There is one more point to make. This attack against Nigel Farage, cloaked in the honeyd words of the Gang of Four’ and the ensuing gleeful reports in the MSM is the Tory Party’s insurance policy should there be a hung parliament or worse, should Red get into No 10.
Their ‘excuse’ will be that it was all the fault of TBP who should never have dared to stand anywhere. We voters are of course still the mindless sheep who need only to decide between Red and Blue. Anyone who dares disturb this set-up must be squashed.
Behind that ‘argument’ I discern the fear of the establishment, not of losing a seat or two, but of the stated aim of TBP and Nigel Farage to work at changing the political system which has given us a HoL with more ‘lords’ than MPs, with postal voting that is open to fraud, and with a FPTP system that does need to be overhauled. Changing constituency boundaries, talked about since 2010, would be a good start.
Keeping their bums on the green benches – that’s what this is about. Brexit? Have BRINO, and God forbid that TBP and Nigel Farage disturb their cosy set-up!
Photo by ilandil