I usually give a massive health warning not to read too much into local, European and By-election results and what they might mean for the General Election. I will remind myself of this at the end of these few short thoughts about the Euros on the 23rd May.
These were of course the elections that were never supposed to have happened so they gave a perfect back drop for both apathy and anger.
But the entry of Nigel Farage – creating a new brand to oust UKIP – onto the scene made sure there was an ‘issue’ to at least get excited about – Brexit!
It would be dangerous to extrapolate too much from the results but plenty of people did use them to send a message and they still remain the best indicator outside opinion polling of what people *might* do in the ballot box. Otherwise we are watching polling and talking to our friends on social media.
So what can we take away. We can see there are 30% of votersso fed up and/or angry with the lack of progress on #Brexit they are willing to back a party of Farage with ‘No Deal’ firmly on the table. We need to note this. These people aren’t going way any time soon.
The Tories are paying a terrible price. I have no idea where they go from here. I can’t say am too bothered either. The Leadership contenders are clearly taking this as the clue to back No Deal in order to appeal to their base. This puts the country in danger of crashing out of 40 years of EU membership without a sensible plan all in the name of Party unity. I despair about our future being in the hands of these people.
And what about the #Remain parties. Well unsurprisingly they did well. In fact combined they did better than #Brexit parties so we need to ensure the spin that Brexit was the winner in these elections doesn’t take hold.
The truth is the country is split 3 ways – #Brexit – #Reamin and #doadeal – just as it was 3 years ago. None of us can claim to know the ‘Will of the people’ I support a second referenda but know the country will probably still split 55/45 remain at best.
Quite rightly Labour took a kicking (following a hefty beating in the local elections (again) in May). Most of my former Labour voting #remain friends chose to support parties being clear they were #remain – ChangeUK, Lib Dem or Green. If Labour continues to sit on the fence it will lose votes from all directions. I see their dilemma when you look at the result in Bolsover for example. Here Brexit smashed Labour – but so did the #remain parties.
Labour front benchers have come out in force today to let the leadership know there has to be a fundamental shift in tone and policy on #Brexit if the party is to survive. I have heard of the tensions inside the leadership. It sounds a dysfunctional place – and as I have always said – the lack of any leadership skills from Corbyn mean Milne & McCluskey are effectively running the Party.
The Labour share at 14% is the worst in a national election for 100 years. The responsibility for this lies with the leadership of the Party and somebody has to go. For me this signifies the low point in what has been a pretty dismal time for Labour since Corbyn was elected. I said at the time he is not a Leader. We are now paying the price of continuing with Corbyn and his ‘team’. Even those ‘near’ to Corbyn know the people who really run Labour at the moment are Milne, McClusky & Murphy. They should be the ones to pay a price for our disastrous performance. But they won’t. They will shout ‘coup’ again and circle the wagons.
Those with clear messages won in these Euro elections. I know politics and policy making is complicated, sophisticated and complex. But sometimes being clear about what you are about is even more important. I couldn’t vote for a Party that isn’t clear on #Brexit. Labour was a mess. Unless Labour changes course it is rightly going to continue to suffer further losses. I am not sure how much longer I can stay in a Party I have served for 35 years. I only stay to fight to rebuild after Corbyn has gone. But at this rate there won’t be much left to fight for.