UPDATE: Just a few days later, I hate to say I told you so…
Original post follows:
Before I begin, let me be clear about something. I predicted Jeremy Corbyn would lead the Labour Party years ago. I was wearing a MAGA hat at UKIP conference back when even party chiefs didn’t want to be seen around it. I told Emmanuel Macron to his face he’d be the next French president, about 14 months ago (before most had heard of him), and of course, I was one of long-standing believers in Brexit (though I admit on the last one, on the morning of June 23rd, I panicked!).
Why am I tooting my own horn? Because I’m frustrated that so many people who have been staunch Brexiteers for so long are about to throw it all away because of a poor understanding of the UK electoral system, and some doe-eyed belief that Theresa May has undergone a total philosophical U-turn and is now somehow on our side on the Brexit question.
I don’t know how much this will mean to you, but I know enough people close to Prime Minister May and her team. The consensus, they tell me, is clear: she intends to cave on free movement of people after the General Election, offering a “soft” Brexit, safe in the knowledge there’s nothing the public or Parliament can do, especially if she had a massive mandate.
Let me walk you through this, and you can tell me in the comments below if I’m crazy, or if you are.
We don’t have a presidential election system in the United Kingdom. We have a parliamentary system. In other words, you’re NOT VOTING FOR THERESA MAY when you tick that “Conservative” box on June 8th. Instead, you’re actually voting for a parliamentarian who Theresa May will need the support of for primary legislation and probably the final Brexit negotiations.
This is why, in case you hadn’t seen, Conservative Party HQ is attempting to parachute centre-left (I suppose what we used to call ‘Cameroon’) candidates into seats they believe they’ll pick up. Because these people were either Remainers or soft Brexiteers, and the prime minister and Tory HQ will need their loyalties when the final vote comes up.
It’s the entire reason, to my mind, she called this election. I differ from the usually astute Jacob Rees-Mogg MP on this matter. But don’t forget, he’s a candidate now on an election footing. He simply cannot afford to attack his own leader right now, whether it is true or not.
Mrs. May knows that with her current, slim majority in Parliament, she is at the behest of the hard Brexiteers who could easily mount a coup against her, defying the party whip, and may be even worse, if she demurs from her short-lived mantra of “Brexit means Brexit”.
And you don’t need to fall for it or worry about it either. Look at the mathematics of a parliamentary election, before you head down into the comments and start screaming, “But Corbyn doesn’t want ANY Brexit! She’s our only hope!”
The fact is you’re going to end up with her anyway. There’s no chance Corbyn and this fantasy “coalition of chaos” comes to pass, given the situation up and down the country. It’s a magnificent, though somewhat predictable, piece of Tory electioneering. But that’s all it is.
Rather, what you’re voting for at this election is either:
a) A massive Remainiac/soft Brexit majority for a Remain-inclined prime minister;
b) A small, working, yet not-insurmountable majority for a Remain-inclined prime minister.
Frankly, I’d rather have the latter. We must have the latter.
Theresa May is preparing for an almost unthinkable betrayal of Brexit voters, and you, the real Brexiteers up and down the country, are about to be complicit. My advice to you… and please don’t be lazy about this… is the following:
- Look closely at who you’re voting for, not just the colour of their rosette. Just because Ben Howlett MP is written in Tory blue, that doesn’t mean you’re helping the Brexit cause by voting for him. You may actually be helping thwart it. This applies to hundreds of candidates all around the country;
- If you’re in one of those few areas where UKIP still has a functioning campaign, DEFINITELY vote for them. In Hartlepool, South Thanet, Thurrock, and beyond. Even a strong turn out for the party (which, believe me, I’m not exactly ecstatic about currently either) will show Mrs. May that she hasn’t won our unfailing trust. If UKIP gets below 1.5m votes on June 8th, it sends a message that we’ve rolled over;
- While we might not even get a single UKIP MP this time round (not that we did in 2015 either), I would rather not vote at all than vote for a Remain-leaning Tory MP who will neutralise the Tory Brexiteers in Parliament.
I’ll be writing a few more of these before polling day, because frankly, even if you don’t believe me, I’m right.