“Bins or Brexit?” – that was the slogan the establishment parties and the political pundits in the MSM suggested for the Local Elections. Their assumption was of course that locals would go for ‘Bins’ and not treat their local councillors ‘unfairly’. Did it work?
For the Tories, the predicted bloodbath has happened. They have felt the full fury of the voters. The slaughter was worse than Tory grandees predicted: not 400 seats lost, not 800, but 1,300 … “Worst result since 1995” is the verdict of the MSM ‘explainers’. It was clearly ‘Brexit’, not ‘Bins’
Usually in mid-term Local Elections the opposition party is expected to gain votes. This time, Labour also lost. Again, it was ‘Brexit’, not ‘Bins’, and the ‘explainers’ point the finger at Mr Corbyn, blaming his fence-sitting, not committing to a 2nd Referendum.
The jubilation of the LibDems, the apparent ‘big winners’ is misguided. They gained not because the whole country suddenly decided they actually wanted to Remain but because local voters wanted to send a message to LabCon. So yet again, it was ‘Brexit’, not ‘Bins’.
Their win is overshadowed by the extraordinary success of Independents. These candidates were indeed elected because of ‘Bins’, and the best of luck to them. Another ‘winner’ were the Greens, but they lost control of the Brighton council where they’ve reigned for 5 years. Experience is a great teacher …
Sir John Redwood sums it up nicely and dispassionately in his Diary:
“The Council elections were not a second referendum on Brexit, as the Brexit party did not stand, and as the switchers away from Labour and Conservative were both Leave and Remain supporters. There was a mood to vote for anyone who was not a candidate for Labour or the Conservatives in quite a few cases. Independents did well, without expressing a particular viewpoint on the EU referendum.”
Neither TBP nor the ChUK-TIGs stood on Thursday, so a non-partisan observer would have thought that UKIP could hoover up all those disaffected Tory and Labour votes. Not only did that not happen, UKIP lost more seats than Labour. That needs some explaining from the UKIP leadership.
For a good general survey which is not paywalled, go here. It provides the background to the inevitable claims of Party ‘Grandees’, MSM pundits and loudmouths to ‘get on’ with the PM’s BRINO, a.k.a. WA.
Some are now predicting a stitch-up deal between May and Corbyn because both are frightened by the spectre of losing the EP elections on Thursday 23rd May. One solution which has suddenly sunk below the horizon of all those pundits is the cry for a GE. Odd, that, isn’t it …!
The PM is happily polishing her image as the ‘Great Brexit Deliverer” by telling the Tory Spring Conference in Wales yesterday that the election results gave both the Conservatives and Labour a simple message: “to get on” with Brexit.
You couldn’t make it up: she drives the once proud ship “Tory Party” onto the rocks, her sailors are jumping ship, and her message still is ‘full steam ahead’ … what is the matter with that woman?
She and her advisers see Corbyn as the only solution:
“Mr Corbyn hinted that a cross-party Brexit deal is in the offing as he said there was now a “huge impetus” on every MP to “get a deal done…Parliament has to resolve this issue”. Downing Street has said it wants its Brexit talks with Labour to be wrapped up by the middle of next week, leading to speculation that Mrs May is about to cave in to Mr Corbyn’s insistence on a customs union.” (paywalled link)
For “Downing Street” read: Sir Mark Sedwill and Whitehell. See also:
“Mrs May and Mr Corbyn each acknowledged a disappointing night and suggested that the answer was to deal with Brexit. Talks between the two parties could come to a head next week, with the prime minister giving the Commons an update if they have not concluded.” (link, paywalled).
I contend that none of the establishment party bigwigs in the HoC actually understand what Thursday’s vote means. They still cling to the pitiful excuse that voters don’t like it when their party is ‘divided’:
“A leading Tory leadership candidate warned last night that the party was seen as a “divided team” that “cannot unite a divided nation” after its worst local election results in a generation.” (link, paywalled)
They believe that the LibDems were right – they weren’t divided, after all, but remain the staunch Remainers they’ve been all along – and that the only solution now is to let Parliament decide:
“Jeremy Corbyn has been urged against using the local elections as an excuse for a Brexit deal with the government. After the party lost dozens of seats, far short of the party’s hopes to make gains in the triple figures, the Labour leader and John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, both said that the Brexit debate needed to be settled. Mr Corbyn said the results meant there was a “huge impetus on every MP”, whether they backed Leave or Remain, “that an arrangement has to be made, a deal has to be done and parliament has to resolve this issue. I think that is very, very clear.” (link, paywalled)
The Tories again threaten us with the spectre of a Lab/SNP coalition. Their solution, like Corbyn’s, is to get the PM’s WA ‘deal’ over the line, with the Labour ‘extra’ of staying in the Customs Union. For a great example of a delusional interpretation, here’s Mr Matt Hancock, the NHS Minister:
“The only way to interpret the results for the Conservative Party, he says, is that the voters want it to avoid veering to the right. “The clear evidence is that both main parties are getting the message that they need to deliver Brexit but also that voters don’t want extremes, they want the centre. […] Voters want people who are going to deliver the things they care about.” (link, paywalled)
Were the messages on the spoiled ballots not sufficiently clear, like ‘Brexit Now’? In contrast, Jacob Rees-Mogg has penned a long and quite philosophical article for the (paywalled) DT:
“Most obviously, Brexit needs to happen in a true form. The vassal state that apparently the Government and the Opposition have agreed, including a Customs Union and high alignment, is not the answer. This will simply ossify the failure that has just been punished in the local elections. The Tory party needs to be the Brexit party and to win back all those who are planning to support Nigel Farage and my sister, Annunziata Rees-Mogg, at the European elections. To do so will show the path to a clean Brexit.” (paywalled link)
He must know, mustn’t he, that this is at best a pious, fond wish. If achieving ‘a clean Brexit’ is the aim, then surely supporting the PM cannot be the solution, can it, Mr Rees-Mogg? His analysis of Parliament is however spot on, and lovingly expressed:
“This is not to deny that the current House of Commons has set its face against leaving the European Union properly and wants to remain at least semi-attached, but Parliament against the people cannot work for long. Voters will not tolerate such a state of affairs. Anything that is agreed by a Parliament more addled that the one James I dissolved in 1614 will not be the final word on the relationship between the UK and the EU. There is a fundamental constitutional principle, that one Parliament cannot bind its successors. The British people cannot be bound in permanent servitude to the EU. This is the basis of the sovereignty of Parliament which may legislate on any matter under its control, regardless of previous legislation or purported international treaties. A stitch-up by Remainers will not and must not be the last word. (paywalled link)
Elegantly said – but what are you, what is your ERG going to do about it, Mr Rees-Mogg?
Obviously, they all still do not take our verdict seriously. We knew this election would be regarded as a verdict on the PM. The low turnout in constituencies where there was no Brexit alternative shows this, as does the unprecedented number of spoiled ballots: 39,000.
The message on those ballots was clear. A pundit wrote that, had there been a ‘none of the above’ on those papers, NOTA would have won handsomely. And still the MPs march blithely on towards BRINO …
A big thank-you to all of you who stood and campaigned. Now onwards to the EP elections – if they take place. They may well be the last chance for us to tell our deluded ‘leaders’ in government and Parliament that it’s Brexit or else.
Meanwhile let’s keep an eye on the puppetmasters in Whitehell, and let’s keep telling the deluded MPs of all colours that they are on borrowed time. Our verdict on Thursday was their last warning.