– Special EU Parliament Elections edition –
What a great morning! The EP election results are in, a few stragglers excepted, and it couldn’t be better. Nigel Farage and The Brexit Party won right across the board, except for London and Scotland. When you go to this report, you’ll find a very nice map visualising the result …
Congratulations all round – and let’s not overlook that Labour was as soundly trounced as the Tories. The Remainers are already crowing that “Remain” won when adding the votes for the LibLabGreenChUks together, so I’d respectfully suggest that the Tory candidates who were voted in got their votes because they are Leavers, which makes a nice majority for Leave when added to TBP.
Be that as it may, we all know that the situation in our HoC is different. I’ll come to that below.
Let’s now look at what happened across the Channel – here’s the link to the reports in a German online paper. Marine Le Pen seems to have beaten Macron which is significant because Macron had made this election ‘his’. In both Poland and Hungary the government parties won – no EUrophiles there.
Meanwhile in Germany the great ‘winners’ are the Greens, but in the ‘Land of Greta’, a.k.a. Sweden, the Greens lost half of their seats … While the Dutch gave their Social Democrats a majority, in Greece Mr Tsipras’ Socialists were beaten – he is now calling for a GE. In Denmark their patriots’ Party lost seats, and in a shock result, Geert Wilders’ Party lost all their seats – as did UKIP here in the UK. I’ll refrain from interpreting this – you can do so in the comments.
We’ll have to see if the newly elected EUrosceptic parties will form a block. After all, TBP is the single largest party in the EUParl, with LePen and Salvini close behind (here). If they do band together … Salvini and Farage in an alliance … can’t wait!
What has changed back home? Two developments show that the arch remainers are not giving up – they still think they hold the upper hand. First, look at what Phil Hammond had to say in yesterday’s TV spectacle that is the Andrew Marr show:
“Mr Hammond told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “I think it would be very difficult for a prime minister who adopted no deal as a policy – ‘we are leaving with no deal as a matter of policy’ – to retain the confidence of the House of Commons.” Asked if whether he would vote against the Government on a no-deal withdrawal if he was a backbencher in the autumn, the Chancellor said: “I would certainly not support a strategy to take us out with no deal.” Mr Hammond said talk of a renegotiation before the end of October was a “fig leaf for a policy of leaving on no-deal terms” due to the summer break and the fact a new EU commission will not be in place until the autumn. He said: “That policy has a major flaw in it… and that is that Parliament has voted very clearly to oppose a no-deal exit. A Prime Minister who ignores Parliament cannot expect to survive very long.” (paywalled link)
There are some other Remain Tories who’d certainly support him, from the Grieves and Gaukes to the Rudds, Morgans and Greenings. Moreover, Labour grandees are preparing to force a GE on the new PM, whoever he may be:
“Labour will seek to force a vote of no confidence in Theresa May’s successor as soon as he or she takes office, shadow chancellor John McDonnell has warned. Speaking as the race to be next Tory leader – and Prime Minister of the minority Conservative government – got underway, the shadow chancellor said the newcomer would face ‘moral pressure’ to call an election. Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if Labour would call a no-confidence motion in the next Tory leader, the shadow chancellor said: ‘Yes, because we believe any incoming prime minister in these circumstance should go to the country anyway and seek a mandate.’ (source)
Nice one – ‘it’s ok when we do it ..’: installing Gordon Brown (remember him?) without a GE was fine. There’s more, which must be put into context with Phil Hammond’s statement quoted above:
“Mr McDonnell [said]: ‘The second thing of course [is that] we always have the opportunity of a no-confidence motion in parliament, and we will explore that. And the way in which the Conservative party remains divided, whoever is elected as their leader, there will be a prospect that some Conservative MPs now will think ‘maybe we should go back to the country’.’ (source)
Indeed there will be some Conservative MPs happy to keep pushing Remain – as will the LibDems, riding high at the moment. They ought to remember though that many prominent political figures only ‘lent’ them their votes, announced publicly in the MSM and social media: from Labour’s Alistair Campbell to the Tories’ Michael Heseltine and Matthew Parris to the former Chief-Of-Mandarins. I’m certain that in a GE they will happily ‘un-lend’ their votes and crawl back to their usual rosette carriers.
The Labour Party however is not the monolith as which they are portraying themselves. On the back of the EP election results, the knives are out there as well. It’s about that 2nd Referendum or ‘People’s vote’, set up by Tony Blair and Alistair Campbell in the hope of shaming Labour into supporting it. It seems to be working:
“Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary and a woman tipped to be the next Labour leader, tore into Mr Corbyn’s policy as she said the party was “not clear on the one thing people wanted to hear”. She argued that the Party should have put its weight behind a “confirmatory referendum” on any deal agreed by Parliament, and should then campaign to remain in the EU when that ballot was held. Ms Thornberry said: “We went into an election where the most important issue was our view on leaving the EU, and we were not clear on the one thing people wanted to hear. We should have said quite simply that any deal would be put to a confirmatory referendum and Remain would be on the ballot paper and Labour would campaign to remain.” (paywalled link)
Ms Thornberry and other Labour grandees are also fixating on the LibDems – here’s why: “In the most shocking result of the night for Labour, the party lost London to the Lib Dems after its vote share slumped by 13 per cent.”, with Labour’s London ‘heartland’ Islington also falling to the LibDems. Mr Corbyn – whose days may well be numbered – is now supporting his 2nd Referendum hardcore Remainers:
“After three years of Tory failure to deliver a Brexit that works for the whole country, these elections became a proxy second referendum,” [Corbyn] said. “With the Conservatives disintegrating and unable to govern, and parliament deadlocked, this issue will have to go back to the people, whether through a general election or a public vote. Labour will bring our divided country together so we can end austerity and tackle inequality. […] We will not let the continuing chaos in the Conservative Party push our country into a No Deal exit from the EU. Parliament can and will prevent such a damaging outcome for jobs and industry in the UK.” (paywalled link)
At least he recognises that the EP Elections were akin to a 2nd Referendum. He knows that the next play will be in the HoC – but elegantly disregards the result of the people’s vote for TBP, thus discarding the ‘proxy referendum’ result.
Meanwhile, the Tories are playing at being rueful, penitent sinners, with Jeremy Hunt saying that “the dire results for the Conservatives meant the party faced an “existential risk” unless it delivered Brexit.” ( no sh*t, Sherlock …) and with BoJo writing in his paywalled DT column:
“In this miserable election that should never have taken place, for a Euro-parliament that should no longer represent us, the voters are delivering a crushing rebuke to the Government – in fact, to both major parties. I cannot find it in my heart to blame them. They gave us one chief task: to deliver Brexit. They have so far given us almost three years to do it. We have flagrantly failed to carry out their instructions. We have missed deadline after deadline, broken promise after promise; and today our employers – the people – have figuratively summoned us to the Human Resources department for a final warning about our performance. […] If we fail yet again to discharge that mandate, then I fear we will see a permanent haemorrhage of Conservative support, and loyal voters who have left us to join the Brexit Party (and others) may simply never come back.” (paywalled link)
Your Party was told that well before these elections – you didn’t listen. One wonders if the establishment parties will now heed Nigel Farage’s message:
“Mr Farage hailed his party’s success as he was elected in the South East, saying: “There’s a huge message here, massive message here – the Labour and Conservative parties could learn a big lesson from tonight – though I don’t suppose that they actually will.” […] He added: “If we don’t leave on October 31 then the scores you have seen for the Brexit Party today will be repeated in a general election, and we are getting ready for it.” (paywalled link)
I do have my doubts though that they will listen, especially when I see how the first political columnist – Stephen Glover in the DM – right out of the post-election starting blocks is already pondering about how LabCon can ‘burst Nigel Farage’s bubble’. He, they, still don’t get it … but Sir John Redwood does, of course, writing in his Diary today:
“The derisory vote of under 10% for the Conservatives is a fitting epitaph for the Withdrawal Agreement. Only the Conservatives offered the Withdrawal Agreement. Anyone who wanted it would have voted Conservative.”
And the Remainers still think this dog’s breakfast is the solution! It’s so easy to understand, that’s what we rejected, that’s why TBP won the EP elections. I repeat myself, but it needs to be said again and again: it’s not us voters who are stupid and don’t know what we’re voting for – it’s the MPs who still think that Remain and a 2nd Referendum is the way forward. A look across the Channel at the results in other EU countries might tell them that over there, the cards have been freshly shuffled as well.
Enjoy the bank holiday and recover from the last weeks and hours of exertions. There’s stormy weather ahead, so we’ll all have to be relentless and