Sunday night’s results provided a bounty of different viewpoints. While the Brexit Party gained the most seats by far, the crystal clear Remain options hosted the biggest vote share.
However you interpret it, the moonlight shone far from the Conservative and Labour parties – and both are now fully battling to save their members, voters, and souls.
It all happened rather quickly, right? One-minute Huw Edwards was soliloquising over the political state of our sorry islands, the next, returning officers were proudly declaring the results of an election that none expected to participate in – and in retrospect, would wish they hadn’t. The monumental onslaught of post-election analysis flew left, right, and centre, with commentators both amateur and professional sharing more percentages than dodgy payday loan shark. I’ll gladly add my name to that list – I’m not a hypocrite, unlike an Brexit Party MEP for North-East England, whose abode is far from the Tyne, living in a village in Southern France.
A quick and easy description of the results: ‘No-deal or Remain, pick a side or perish.’ The success of the Brexit Party and the combined strength of Lib Dems, Greens, and SNP/Plaid was undoubtedly down to their simple and unfaltering messages. Farage’s Falangists decimated both the Conservatives and UKIP, gobbling up seats and vote share without remorse. They won in every region excluding Northern Ireland and Scotland. Regardless of their political message (or lack of one), such a feat in modern politics is unparalleled. Famous voices of the campaign such as Ann Widdecombe in the South West, Richard Tice in the East, and everyone’s favourite old revolutionary Claire Fox in the North West.
But the results are extraordinary, not because of the no-deal versus Remain message, but because of how uprooted the support was for the Tories and Labour. The duopoly of blues and reds has been shattered due to the stranglehold of Brexit. While the EU threatens to turn the Tories into the political equivalent of weak cordial, it is Labour who may follow that path. Just today, the Equality and Human Rights Commission officially announced it will begin a full investigation into the Labour Party, over its handling of antisemitism. A party which claims to be progressive and diverse being investigated for racism. A shocking and disappointing truth for members and activists, not least Jewish Labour. But the head office response? Laughable, disdainful, and downright facetious. They even include a subtle sneer at the EHRC’s budget being cut – ideological to the last…
Though all is windy at the top of Labour’s tower. Corbyn’s position as a leader is its most precarious since his election. The Shadow Cabinet is split between those opting for a second referendum, after much prodding from bad results, and the traditionalist ‘workers’ such as Ian Lavery, Richard Burgon, and Rebecca Long-Bailey, who have very clear opposition to a referendum. Lavery, the chairman of the party and famous mine-grifter, has acted like a bitter grandfather sat in his chair, pointing his walking stick at the television and shouting down anything that might appear different to what he wants. He’s old guard. Battling the likes of Tom Watson and now-expelled Alastair Campbell, who voted Lib Dems last Thursday. The Twitter Red Army have been out in force, with vile tribalism and hate in their hearts.
Labour’s failing people, and it’s not even in government. The Tories descended into tribalism years ago, but have now realised that they’re not a working government – and a leadership contest threatens to break their party from Gravesend to Bury.
Currently, 10 candidates have announced they’re running. Which is a slow start as we’ve got another 300 or so to get through before we can have debates. The BBC will need a big stage for those big televised hustings where we all get to decide who we like, without having any input on the decision whatsoever. Historian Rebecca Rideal speaks for us all I think…
But with the sheer number of candidates now trying to make their hat stand out in the ring, it only goes to prove that this Brexit malarkey is just a sideshow for the Tories. You could replace the imminent crash of the British economy with an argument about bus passes, as long as a leadership race was involved, everyone puts their best suits on and flocks to their candidates. Without sounding too ‘House of Cards’, it’s proved that Tories are fickle and spiteful – a contest of power, not responsibility.
So, where are we now? Looking at the monstrous two-headed hydra that is the Tories and Labour, you’d be concerned that the cliff is getting closer and our brakes are jankier than ever. However, the wind is changing. The Lib Dems are harvesting a golden response along with the Greens and regional parties. Change UK continues to exist, somehow. But through all of this, the route to a Remain outcome is getting ever clearer. Imagine clambering out from under the rubble of the collapsing Westminster tower – there’s light peeking through. And the work to walk further into it starts now.🔷
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