Saturday, 7 July 2018

No Change = No Chance

So said John Redwood's leaflet when he stood for Leader against John Major in 1995, during another long, hot summer, and the one, albeit for other reasons, that will always be dearest to my heart. Even with the endorsement of The Sun, which really mattered in those days, Redwood took only a quarter of the vote, 89 in total. Major got two thirds. 

Today, we are told that there are 90 Conservative MPs opposed to anything less than Hard Brexit. Pull the other one. There are certainly 30. There are probably 40. There are possibly 50. But there is no way that there are 60. Never mind 90! In total, there are 316 Conservative MPs.

In any negotiation, always ask for more than the other side could conceivably concede, thereby securing anything at all. Always ask for more than you really want, in order to get what you do really want. We all understand those principles. And those principles underlie the forthcoming White Paper on Brexit, the content of which we now broadly know.

This is more than David Davis, Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, Michael Gove or any of the rest of them believes that the EU could conceivably concede, but they are asking for it in order to be given anything at all. This is more than David Davis, Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, Michael Gove or any of the rest of them really wants, but they are asking for it in order to get whatever it is that they do really want.

Some of us tried to tell you. Again I say that there will be a second referendum, between staying in the Single Market and the Customs Union, and staying in the EU altogether, but now on its terms. There will be no Third Way on the ballot paper, and no Cabinet Minister will resign. (Which way would I vote? Well, being a rule-maker is better than being a rule-taker when one of them is bound to happen, I suppose. But we shall see.)

People who are saying that they will never vote Conservative again, that party can afford to lose you. You have nowhere else to go. Your erstwhile party was and is more worried about several losses back to the SNP, and about 10 or 20 losses, if not more, to the Liberal Democrats in the Remainer heartlands of the South outside London.

The South outside London, where 1.8 million people voted first Remain and then Conservative, out of 3.5 million who did so nationwide. Without them, there would have been a Corbyn Government. Without them, there would be a Corbyn Government. Even with them, there still might be. But without them, there is bound to be.

By contrast, having allowed itself to be flattered into believing that it was going to sweep the areas that had swung the referendum, the Conservative Party is bitter beyond words that it did so badly in those areas that it lost its overall majority. Great blobs of blue on a map cannot disguise the figures: eight seats out of 40 in Wales, 20 out of 75 in the North West, three out of 29 in the North East, and 17 out of 54 in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Conservative Leave voters are concentrated in constituencies that the party did not win, mostly never has won, and is not even trying to win next time. It can afford to lose those voters. It never liked them, anyway.

As for people who are saying that they are going to stop voting altogether, that does not mean that no one is going to be elected, and Norman Tebbit, whose opinion presumably carries some weight with them, was downright gleeful when the Conservatives unexpectedly won the the 1992 Election after large numbers of their opponents had removed themselves from the electoral register in the mistaken belief that that would exempt them from paying the Poll Tax. Think on.

We need a change of Government, and even then we need our people to hold the balance of power in the next hung Parliament that is inevitable in itself. I need £10,000 in order to stand for Parliament with any chance of winning. My crowdfunding page has been taken down without my knowledge or consent. But you can still email instead, and that address accepts PayPal.

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