Thursday 18 May 2023

The Poster Boy No More

I am as pleased as anyone to see the misfortune of Carole Cadwalladr, ending the Russia Hoax in Britain as the Durham Report has ended it in the United States.

But, alas, the real news about Brexit is elsewhere. Nigel Farage, who is a highly experienced politician, has recently allowed himself to be trapped into telling the BBC that Brexit had failed. 

It does not matter what he really meant, or even what he really said in full. He is never going to live that down. There are already posters up in some places. He has been in politics a very long time, so he has no excuse for having walked into this.

And since it could not now be him, then who would lead the campaign to keep out? Although it is not as if there is going to be another referendum. Well-connected commentators in their forties who were last year saying that Britain would not re-join the EU in their lifetimes are now saying "not in 20 years", which is a 50 per cent reduction. This time next year, it will be "not in 10 years".

So in 12 years' time, we are already going to be back in the EU, on absolutely any terms that it had cared to set, without a referendum, and with that reaccession's having been opposed by no party that had stood the slightest chance of providing either the Prime Minister or the Deputy Prime Minister.

The "Brexit bonfire" has been cancelled by Kemi Badenoch, so there was obviously never really going to be one. (Hers would have been the wrong one, but that is another story.) We are to remain as closely aligned as possible with EU law, but while having no say over its content, until someone, bang on cue, pointed out that that was outrageous, and therefore called for us to re-join.

Until then, as now, all parties would officially be committed to "making Brexit work". From that moment, though, they would all be committed to getting back into the EU as quickly as possible and at any cost. While I am delighted at Cadwalladr's comeuppance, these are not good days for Brexit itself. There may never again be good days for Brexit itself.

But 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. Jonathan Freedland has a whole article on Farage saying Brexit has failed.