We are now well and truly in election campaign mode and the Thursday deadline for candidates to be nominated to appear on constituency ballot papers is now only two days away and one of the big questions for Leavers is should Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party stand down to give Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party with its Leave of a sorts agenda a clear run when it comes to the General Election?
Yesterday, Nigel gave his answer and for me it came as a bit of a surprise as no formal alliance had been made, unlike the Remain one that brought together the Lib Dems and the Green Party. The Brexit Party will stand down in constituencies, which the Conservatives won in the 2017 General Election, but stand in all those they didn’t win. It seemed to me his rationale was twofold. Firstly, if the Brexit Party had stood in Conservative held seats then it could well split the vote and allow a Remain candidate in. Secondly, notwithstanding “the deal cum treaty” Boris was standing by is still a bad one, he had given undertaking to be freed from EU control at the earliest possible opportunity.
Regarding the Boris undertaking, and based on what I have seen these past three and a half years, I trust him no further than I can throw him, and I sort of get Nigel’s logic and inclined to the view that while there is political strategy here, he is putting country before party, even though I see him too as a sharp political operative to be wary off. I am not holding my breath though that Boris will stand down candidates in no hoper constituencies that the Brexit Party are more likely to do better in, even if a trade off could be beneficial for the hopes of the two parties. I also reject the views of my Tory friends who think the Brexit Party should stand down altogether, especially as the deal cum treaty is a bad one and we do after all live in a democracy where people should be able to register their preferences, under the backdrop of tactical arrangements for voting, given our flawed first past the post system for voting.
I have already discounted Lib Dems and Greens, at least personally, on at least three grounds: 1. their good points are outweighed by their bad; 2. they are unlikely to win a parliamentary majority and will use what seats they have to act as spoilers; 3. they are set to bring us back to square one and withdraw from withdrawing from the EU. As for Labour, listening to Emily Thornberry being pressed on the subject on yesterday’s Piers Morgan show, was frankly depressing. My take is if Labour were to form a government they would renegotiate the Brexit deal to be an even worse one to what is currently on the table and offer us a choice in a referendum between this and Remain, Hobson’s choice if ever there was one.
It is a shame that while Brexit is the one issue that will overshadow this Election, as least for those who think as I do, there are many other issues to consider that truly matter and, whoever wins, we may be landed with the victors for five years. Personally speaking, in my own constituency, the choice has now been whittled down from three to two: a Tory candidate who does want out of the EU but does not share many of my views / hopes on a plethora of social justice issues (and I don’t think is a particularly good MP either) and a Labour candidate who is committed to Labour craziness on Brexit but does share many of my views / hopes on a plethora of social justice issues (who I think has the makings of being a good MP).