Saturday 22 April 2023

The Chain Gang No More

And so Dominic Raab joins the fringe backbench ranks of Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Liz Truss, and someone called Chris Skidmore, who at 41 has already announced his retirement at the next General Election. So much for Britannia Unchained. "An inevitable slide into mediocrity," indeed. None of them will ever again be a Minister.

There is an unanswerable case for refusing to endorse Raab, Kwarteng and Truss, at least, as Conservative parliamentary candidates next year. Kwarteng and Truss crashed the economy such as will not be fully corrected in any of our lifetimes. And if Raab is morally unfit to be Deputy Prime Minister, then how can he be morally fit to be an MP?

Only the Raab one would happen, though, if any of them did. Such a pity, as it would have been great fun to have seen Truss tour South West Norfolk and explain why she agreed with Professor Patrick Minford that Britain should have no agriculture. That ought still to happen, but alas, it will not. As for Raab, his majority of 23,298 in 2017 fell to 2,743 last time, at what was overall a hugely successful General Election for his party. Word gets around, and very nearly enough of his constituents had already heard what he was like. They all have now.

Candidates who stand against the Conservative Party overtly from its right have a hopeless record. Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless held their own seats for UKIP at by-election but lost them back to the Conservatives at the subsequent General Election, and that's it. Diane Abbott's majority at Hackney North and Stoke Newington is more than the total number of votes that Nigel Farage has won across the seven parliamentary elections that he has contested. By contrast, George Galloway's victory at Bradford West, publicly predicted only by me, remains the stuff of legend, while no one doubts for a second that Jeremy Corbyn would take 20,000 votes and be the First Past the Post at Islington North.

And when I tell you that there is going to be a hung Parliament, then you can take that to the bank. I spent the 2005 Parliament saying that it was psephologically impossible for the Heir to Blair's Conservative Party to win an overall majority. I predicted a hung Parliament on the day that the 2017 General Election was called, and I stuck to that, entirely alone, all the way up to the publication of the exit poll eight long weeks later. And on the day that Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, I predicted that a General Election between him and Keir Starmer would result in a hung Parliament.

To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not.


  1. Four of the Britannia Unchained nutters have left the Cabinet in the last seven months.

  2. I could see you as Deputy Prime Minister.