Theresa May’s decision to resign on Friday week is a boost for the Conservative Party. But as new resarch shows all too clearly, Nigel Farage had a better future with her in place.
It’s official: Theresa May’s epitaph will be a disastrous euro election result.
Because the euroelections do not finish over here until Sunday at 8pm, the UK isn’t allowed to publish either exit polls or real results until 9 pm BST. But there is one interesting poll (fieldwork 16th May) done by Survation, which I find very revealing. I would say that, because it supports my own view.
This is the visual that goes with it:
The questions asked both on the same day were how would respondents vote in the euros and at the next General Election. The differences are startling: while LibDem and UKIP ‘general election’ supporters remain loyal, Tory voters double…but the Brexit Party slides from 31% to 12%.
Now observe the additional responses beneath the share pies. The question about Tory voting intention in the case of Theresa May’s departure shows that 42% of Tories would be more likely to vote for her Party….further evidence (to me) that the Conservative Party crisis is not yet existential.
If it is (say) two years before that General Election to come, this syndrome can only increase. But what else might change matters dramatically.
Here we need to observe Q4, ‘Should Farage and Johnson form a Brexit alliance?’ It’s obvious that if 46% of all respondents think that a good idea, then this is grist to BoJo’s mill….viz, MPs should make him Tory leader.
If Johnson makes it to the Second Round grassroots ‘swivel-eyed’ stage of a leadership election, then he will undoubtedly become Leader. Which is the biggest single reason why bribery, blackmail, donor monies and Whips will ensure that he doesn’t. The Tory big beasts want to stay in the EU, and so that’s that.
Thus, in 2022 (or whenever) Nigel Farage and TBP are going to have the same old First Past the Post (FPTP) problem: how to turn votes into seats.
So you see, as I posted six weeks ago, Farage needs to become a man for all seasons. In that piece, I quote Farage as saying, ““even if the euro elections are abandoned, the Brexit Party will stand in the General Election, and gain power”.
I contended then and I contend now that Nigel Farage isn’t stupid. I suspected then and I suspect now that nothing would please the Brexit Party leader more than the idea of forming a Coalition with a Boris-led Conservative Party.
However, ‘going forward’ (as they say in the management consultancy space) Mr Barrage needs to face a number of unpleasant facts:
- 12% of the electorate will yield not a single seat unless TBP works hard on the ground to direct tactical voting
- The data show that 4% of Ukippers are not going away…and 16% is a more viable number than 12%
- Being a 1-trick pony isn’t enough in Britain to gain power: there are still enough sane people around who want to know what TF else you’re going to do with that power
- On the basis of the Survation Poll, Labour may well be the biggest Party after a General Election, and the Conservatives will not be led by Doris* Jobsdone.
I really can’t immediately see anywhere for Farage to go here. Only one factor could play in his favour: the Brussels Commission screwing up publicly.
Based on history, there are three ways that could happen: first, losing control of the Italian mess; second, EC sources being caught red-handed funnelling money into the Blair Campbell Witch Project, the Labour Party or the LibDems; and third, a eurozone-wide banking problem in which Mario Draghi at the ECB lacks the firepower to stop contagion, with resultant debt bond yield spikes and the imminent collapse of Deutsche Bank.
The Italy-to-Deutsche dimension should not be discounted: European Central Bank Vice President Luis de Guindos said last Tuesday, “The slower eurozone growth momentum we are seeing increases the risk of tail events, in other words, shocks that would have a significant impact on the financial system and the economy if they occured”.
That is central bankerspeak for “Women and children first”.
To lighten some of this a little, former Tory Cabinet member David Mellor emerged today to say that he favours the idea of a second referendum on Brexit. At one time, Mr Mellor was a Tory Big Beast. Today, the kindest thing that can be said about him is that he is very big and thoroughly beastly:
Our David (left) has joined the ranks of the barrage-balloon metropolitan air defences currently dominated by Graham Brady and Adam Boulton. Having last month referred to the EU as “fat, bloated and unloveable” – something of a self-portrait, methinks – today this eternal soundbite pundit says he thinks the time has come to ask the Brexit question again in order to get exactly the same result and solve nothing of any nature whatsoever.
Although not many people know this, Mellor and his twin Guy Verhofstadt (right) were separated at birth, their appalled parents having decided they could not face a life with evidence of their ability to spawn two such oddities on display. I do feel, however, as a responsible journalist that it is in the public interest to reveal that their birth parents were Jean-Jacques Frites and Unity Eva Mitford.
And so, life after May begins.
* I feel obliged to point out that, while much hilarity has been caused today on the Internet about calling Boris Johnson ‘Doris’, The Slog authored this gag four years ago.