Trying to conjure up support from just one section of the electorate in an attempt to save your political party from annihilation at the next general election is quite frankly disgraceful, Andy Martin writes.

First published in September 2019.

It’s been quite an interesting week in parliament. That is if you call using language that is specifically designed to create further division amongst the people of this country “interesting”.

I am more of the opinion that we are starting to enter a really dangerous territory. With Parliament having failed to deliver Brexit over three years after the referendum, with no clear majority for any version of Brexit being acceptable to the House of Commons, the current minority Conservative government has decided to crank up the heat a bit.

You see, the Conservative Party is very much aware that they are losing support to the Brexit Party. A party that has a clear “no-deal” policy when it comes to our future relationship with the EU. A policy which is in itself extremely bizarre given that the first thing we would have to do, should we leave with no-deal, is to try and agree on a trade deal. This is, of course, far harder to achieve when you have reneged on your current obligations with your closest friends and neighbours and turned your backs on them.

However, as crazy as no-deal may seem to you and me, there is a percentage of the electorate that, whether they have given it much consideration or not, want to rip up every deal we have with every country in the world and start again. The Brexit Party appeals to these people and plays on that desire very effectively. So that, of course, acts as some form of political magnet in attracting Conservative voters to their cause.

As I say, the Conservatives know this and are well aware that, should they fail to deliver Brexit as they have promised to do by 31 October, they will lose votes in droves to Nigel Farage and his cohorts. The Tories need to bring these voters back home. And, to bring them back, they cannot be seen as being soft in the eyes of hard-right voters across the country.

So, what can they do? Well, that is obvious. They need to present themselves as being the only party that can deliver what these voters want. The easiest way for them to do so is to project the European Union as the enemy.

So, it is time for Boris Johnson to change the tone. Something which he will have undoubtedly been advised to do by his ‘unelected’ advisor Dominic Cummings. Cummings knows how to appeal to the hard-right, he knows exactly the type of language to use in order to stir up feelings of division (refer to the “take back control” tagline used during the referendum), and he knows exactly how best to deploy it.

Take, for instance, the term “Surrender Bill”.

Who can a person, or a country, possibly surrender to? Well, you don’t surrender to friends, do you? You don’t surrender to partners, and neighbours, do you? No, you only surrender to the enemy. Using the term “Surrender Bill” to describe the Benn Act is designed to make a perfectly sensible piece of legislation enacted by the sovereign parliament elected by the people of this country sound like some sort of white flag is being waved by us in the face of a military defeat to a foreign power.

It conjures up emotions in people that already, wrongly, see the European Union as some sort of mighty overlords who have us in chains and who we are bravely trying to break free from. Using this term alongside other words such as “betrayal” and “traitors” stirs up an “us and them” mentality in people that quite frankly has no place in modern and sensible civilisation.

A government that is prepared to use terminology such as this is, in my opinion, reckless, irresponsible and downright dangerous. The government should always have the best interests of ALL of its citizens at heart and should always act in the best interests of everyone. It has a duty not just to the people who voted for them but also to the people who didn’t, and more importantly the people who didn’t have the voice – the people who were too young to vote for them or any other party.

Trying to conjure up support from just one section of the electorate in an attempt to save your political party from annihilation at the next general election whilst altogether abandoning the point of view and concerns of everyone else, and using language that seeks to further the already awful divisions in our fragile society is quite frankly disgraceful.

This government needs to do its best for everyone. I fear, however, that it won't and that very soon the other parties in the Commons will have to unite and call a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson and his government, form a temporary government of national unity, ask the European Union for an extension and then hold an election.

When this time comes though, the other parties will need to be prepared to work together to ensure that a no-deal exit is ruled out once and for all, and that this issue is eventually put back to the very people with whom this whole situation started -- the electorate.

Hopefully, this will be sooner rather than later. Hopefully then, we can finally end this madness.🔷

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[This is an original piece, first published by the author in on 29 September 2019. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

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(Cover: Flickr/Number 10. - Military chiefs attending a roundtable with the PM at Downing Street. | 19 Sept 2019. / Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)