Who cares about the election to lead the Fifth Party? Even the winner cannot expect to be Prime Minister long enough to do anything with or about anything. By the way, although of course it still beat Change UK, the Conservative Party came sixth here in County Durham. Sixth. Did it do even worse than that anywhere else? Do please let me know.
There are three tendencies that matter in British politics today. One is the desire for a more egalitarian economic policy and for a more peaceable foreign policy. Another, partially overlapping with the first, is the desire for Brexit, both in itself and for what it is seen to represent. And the third, also partially overlapping with the first, is the desire for Remain, both in itself and for what it is seen to represent.
Those three became prominent in rapid succession, although nevertheless in that order. But of course each of them really goes back many years. And none of the three tendencies is confined to any one party. There is a reason why, even in calling for a second referendum, Labour still will not declare for one side or the other.
But the de facto Leader of the first tendency is of course Jeremy Corbyn, the man who called it into being as a coherent political force. And the de facto Leader of the second tendency is of course Nigel Farage, the man who called it into being as a coherent political force. Who, though, is the de facto Leader of the third tendency?
Over to the Leadership Election that will really matter this year, which is the Liberal Democrat one. It is quite possible that there will be more voters in that than in the Conservative Leadership Election. Every candidate needs to make it crystal clear that he or she will have nothing to do with either Alastair Campbell or Change UK. Think of Charles Kennedy, and think on.
The Brexit Party, meanwhile, has already sold out. It will still win the Peterborough by-election. But it was never going to come up with a manifesto on which Ann Widdecombe and Claire Fox could both have contested a General Election, led by Nigel Farage while supported by George Galloway. And in any case, it has now given up on its one existing policy, that of a Clean Brexit, in favour of an incompatible demand for a role in negotiating the terms of a Dirty Brexit.
Another hung Parliament is coming, however, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it. It has become a local commonplace that I am on 30-30-30 with Labour and the Conservatives here at North West Durham, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post. I will stand for this seat, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Very many thanks.