The Westminster village is in a state of shock. In 2014 there was horror that UKIP led in the opinion polls in the run up to the European Elections. This led to a spiteful, vindictive anti-Farage campaign to tell the world how appalling I was and that why voting UKIP was a huge mistake.
Without doubt this assault took the top off the most optimistic poll ratings but solidified the strong base. We came first. And in 2015 a similar but even more remarkable phenomenon came into view. The threat of the Scottish National Party causing a landslide in Scottish seats in the general election.
Despite an outbreak of hysteria, they managed to win 56 out of the 59 seats. In 2015, the Jeremy Corbyn apocalypse is upon us. A shock poll conducted by YouGov for The Times shows that on first preference votes he is 17 per cent in the lead. And whatever one thinks of polls, he is certainly ahead in the backing of constituency associations.
Bearded, humourless, a mate of Gerry Adams and clearly a man who would reverse the clause four moment, I wouldn’t call Jeremy Corbyn “my kinda guy” but at least as I said when I gatecrashed the LBC Labour Leaders’ debate, he is a socialist and that is what the Labour Party is supposed to be about.
New Labour have become reinvigorated in their condemnation of this man as a potential leader. And then there was the Tony Blair moment.
Blair, who in one sentence in his mid-Atlantic drawl and in the next, sounding like a chirpy cockney selling cod fillets at Billingsgate Fish Market, described those who had nominated Corbyn as morons.
He even said that those who in their heart supported Jeremy needed a transplant. Talk about a rift. This tribal rift makes the Tory divisions over Maastricht look like a minor fallout in rural England over who should cut the grass on the village green.
Two tribes have gone to war. Blair’s New Labour vs Corbyn’s Old Labour. And here’s the funny thing: amongst the electorate at large whether it’s in Greece, or Spain or the UK there are very large numbers of people who believe the Iraq War was wrong. Who believe the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Who believe that the big corporate businesses now hold too much sway over our public life. Whether you come from the hard left or the moderate centre right it’s difficult to disagree with these analyses.
My own view is that the Blair intervention is counterproductive, just as the attacks on UKIP in 2014 and the snap in 2015 were. This will have the same result.
I’m not yet saying that Corbyn will win. But you know what? He just might.
None of this however makes that much difference. Left wing, right wing, are now terms that have become an irrelevance. When I rang into the LBC debate as the innocent “Nigel from Kent”, the question I posed was given on mass immigration from central and southern Europe, and the depressing of wages.
Were there any circumstance in which the candidates would advocate a ‘No’ vote in order to regain control of our borders and control the unlimited supply of unskilled labour?
The answers were all the same.
Kendall, Burnham and Cooper all said they would support free movement whatever the circumstances. Corbyn, whilst sceptical about the democratic elements of the EU, is committed to open borders. Thank you Labour. Whoever wins the election, UKIP’s assault on your vote in the Midlands and the North will continue.
Our desire for sporting success knows no bounds. Indeed nobody under the age of 55 remembers us winning the World Cup for football. Yet our optimism is boundless on a slow flat pitch at Cardiff, and against all expectations England took the one nil lead in the Ashes.
As far as every commentator was concerned, the series was over. England were now dominating giants over the pathetic little Australians.
To Lords, as I donned my finest blazer and primary club tie (a charity dedicated to the partially sighted learning cricket). Despite my own natural born scepticism even I was caught up in the euphoria of the moment.
A crashing defeat, one of the most humiliating losses in the entire history of Englishness test cricket followed. And the tattooed former van driver from Perth, Mitchell Johnson, now looked like a demon.
We’re dead and buried. My optimism has now turned to total pessimism. Let’s hope I’m wrong again.