Yesterday evening Nigel Farage accused the Tories of having put huge pressure on candidates of TBP, with ‘inducements’ such as job offers and/or titles. This ought to have become the top election story in this morning’s papers, asking inconvenient questions of Johnson and the Tories. Instead it’s used as yet another opportunity to attack Nigel Farage. Here’s the relevant quote from the report in yesterday’s DT:
“Nigel Farage has threatened to report the Conservative Party to the Police for allegedly promising peerages and Government jobs to Brexit Party candidates who agreed to quit the election. The Brexit Party leader claimed that “many thousands” of phone calls and messages had been made to the party’s remaining 300 candidates urging them quit before today’s 4pm nominations deadline.” (paywalled link)
“Ann Widdecombe, the party’s candidate in Plymouth Sutton, confirmed that she had received two phone calls from 10 Downing Street urging her to quit, although they were not from Sir Eddie. Miss Widdecombe [said] that she had had phone calls from former Tory ministers who worked for her in Government. Miss Widdecombe told The Telegraph: “I don’t know about offers but they have been on at me to stand down and talking a lot of rot. They have not offered me a peerage. They have been ringing up putting huge pressure on me.” (paywalled link)
Gawd, I do so want to see Ms Widdecombe in the HoC, laying into Johnson and the rest!
It is of course pure coincidence that a top TBP candidate stood down minutes before nominations closed so that no replacement could be fielded (here). His reason was that he didn’t want to split the Leave vote and let Labour in … which is of course the Tory mantra we’ve heard during this week:
“Rupert Lowe, an MEP for the West Midlands, said that he was “putting country before party” as he withdrew at the last minute with an attack on Mr Farage’s electoral strategy. Mr Lowe had been due to contest Dudley North, one of the most marginal seats in England. As he announced that he had quit, a minute before nominations closed, he said that standing could have let in Labour by the back door. His late decision meant that the Brexit Party did not have time to scramble another candidate for the seat. No Brexit Party candidate was registered in Canterbury either, a key target for the Tories where Labour has a majority of only 187.” (link, paywalled)
Of course, I am no politician nor am I a pollster with access to secret polls. So I ask naively: isn’t Labour the ‘enemy’ the Tories need to beat? Why are they then spending so much effort, time and resources on getting rid of TBP and Nigel Farage? Doesn’t Johnson want a Leave Parliament? Can’t we trust him even in that?
This war is waged not just by pressuring phone calls to candidates or by briefing journalists, it’s also waged in social media and in comments in online papers. But attacks on Labour? No – and there are so many opportunities!
For example, see these non-paywalled reports: here about immigration, here about the NHS – none of the establishment parties even try to connect the dots because that surely would be racist! – here about Labour’s EU ‘plan’ and here about yet another wild spending proposal by Labour, also reported in the Times:
“A Labour government would nationalise Britain’s broadband network and offer free internet access to every household and business in the country, the party will say today. Outlining its most radical policy of the campaign to date, John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, will say that Labour would commit £20.3 billion to speed up the introduction of broadband.It would also nationalise BT’s Openreach, which owns the bulk of the full-fibre network. The cost of this commitment is unclear as its shareholders would be compensated at a price fixed by parliament, but Bloomberg has recently estimated Openreach’s value at between £12 billion and £25 billion.” (link, paywalled)
Costs don’t matter to Labour, they’ll just ‘tax the rich’ … Johnson is of course also offering election bribes to us plebs, for example by offering to open railway lines (here) or offering an Australian points system for immigration (where have I heard that one before?).
Moreover, it’s not as if working-class voters were running away from Johnson instead of flocking to him (here), and it’s not as if the LibDems are on a course to self-destruct with their leader stating she’d demand another election if there’s a hung parliament (here). Here’s a comment by Sir John Curtice in the DT:
“Reviewing the latest polls – which give the Tories a lead of 13 points – Sir John said it is “highly likely” Boris Johnson will win an overall majority if he can take a 10-point or greater lead into December 12. If the lead sinks below six or seven points, however, a hung parliament becomes more likely, according to Sir John. He described the election as a “binary contest” that would most likely deliver either a Tory majority or a Corbyn-led minority administration.” (paywalled link)
If it comes indeed down to a binary choice, why are the Tories not attacking Labour instead of Farage and TBP? Is it because Labour and Corbyn are part of the establishment? Is it because Cummings hates Farage?
So where does all this leave us peasants? Whom can we vote for – who is standing in our constituency? Here is a handy site called Who Can I Vote For where all you need is your postcode to find out who your candidates are.
And that, dear friends brings us to the important question: what do we do if there’s no Leave candidate, no candidate of TBP standing in our constituency? Let me reiterate, with added emphasis, what I said yesterday (here): staying at home, not voting, is not an option! If you don’t go to the polls your absence means you tacitly support the winner.
The best way of taking votes away from incumbents and challengers in all constituencies where there’s no candidate of TBP is simply to spoil your ballot. It seems that this idea is catching on. It’s already being talked about informally in groups and across the internet.
Remember: spoilt ballots are seen and are counted. More importantly, they count towards turnout. A low turnout means the winners can still parade around in their newly elected positions, claiming they were given a mandate. We cannot give them that satisfaction.
Moreover, each spoilt ballot means that a vote is taken away from the tally of the PPCs. If that leads to a hung parliament – the bugbear of Johnson and Swinson – then so be it. If that means Corbyn can sidle into No 10: tough. He’ll have to deal with being a minority government, only supported by Sturgeon and the SNP who demand their pound of flesh in the form of another Scottish IndyRef.
That, btw, is another lovely argument we can slap around the heads of Labour canvassers because the Tories won’t do it: it’s not the Brexiteers who are willing to break up the Union, it’s Labour who are willing to do so, just to get into No 10.
Meanwhile, we must keep up-to-date with the latest bribes and shenanigans offered by the establishment parties because we need to keep slapping them down – on the doorsteps, in social media, in comments in the MSM where permitted.
We’ll vote for TBP candidates where they stand. We’ll deny our votes to the Establishment parties. We’ll challenge them on the beaches, we’ll challenge them in the streets and in the hills. We’re not going home, we’ll