This isn’t a Tory party leadership election. It’s a kamikaze Brexit mission

New polling has lifted the curtain on the Conservative party's membership. What does it mean for Britain?

A new YouGov poll has shone a light on the people who are set to determine the whose fate our country.

To describe it as dramatic would be a gross understatement. As the Independent reported:

“46 per cent of [Tory members] would be happy to see Nigel Farage at the helm of the Conservatives. Sixty-three per cent of members said they would be prepared to accept Scottish independence to get Brexit, while 59 per cent said the same about a united Ireland.

“’Significant damage’ to the UK economy was also no deterrent, with 61 per cent in favour and 29 per cent opposed. Some 54 per cent said the Tory party’s complete destruction would still be a price worth paying for Brexit.”

Think about this. Next month, these 160,000 members will decide who will lead our country. Since all candidates have ruled out a General Election, they will determine the fate of our country for some time to come – including the nature of if/how we leave the EU.

These members (in name only) of the Conservative and Unionist party would see the union destroyed to force through Brexit (Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson’s request for members to ‘take a long hard look at themselves will do little to shift opinion). They would see their party and our economy destroyed to force through Brexit. This isn’t a Tory party leadership election. It’s a kamikaze mission.

It is not a Conservative Party election, because the ‘members’ do not support their own party. Surveys on the European elections offer crucial insights. ConservativeHome‘s pre-election survey found that 61.7 per cent would vote for Farage’s Brexit Party, with another finding 60.5 per cent would do so.

YouGov’s post-election polling of Conservative Party members backed this up, finding that 59 per cent of Conservative members had voted for the Brexit Party.

Let’s be consistent here. Imagine an alternate universe where Tony Blair is once again PM. While leader, his party is usurped by Socialist Workers’ Party supporters. Now, 60% of ostensible Labour members voted for the SWP, and 54% of them would see Labour destroyed in order to secure nationalisation of the FTSE 100.

Blair then steps down and these members-in-name-only elect John McDonnell – without a General Election. He begins to implement his plans, against public opinion.

It would, quite simply, not be allowed to happen. Because it would be undemocratic and constitutionally dangerous.  

But here we are. In the current leadership race, the asylum has been taken over, as the staff stand by and watch the ensuing destruction. Indeed, they are cheering them on, as MPs select a man who has refused to rule out shutting down Parliament to push through No Deal.

Then there is the separate but equally worrying point that the people picking our Prime Minister are – like the candidates – grossly unrepresentative of the UK.

According to analysis by the academic Tim Bale, 70% are male, while the majority actively want No Deal with the EU – compared to just 40% of the public. And it’s no surprise their policies fail to reflect public opinion: more than twice as many Tory members earn six figures salaries than those in the other parties.

When a majority of totally unaccountable, unrepresentative party members do not vote for a party, and a majority would rather destroy the party than lose Brexit…should they really pick the leader of that party and our Prime Minister?

Somehow all of this is dismissed as normal or a ‘quirk’ of Tory party dynamics – rather than the constitutional catastrophe it represents. Welcome to the wild world of British politics in 2019.

Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter.

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12 Responses to “This isn’t a Tory party leadership election. It’s a kamikaze Brexit mission”

  1. michael bates

    What a long winded Diatribe, Again we are expected to listen to ReMoaners slagging off the very MP’s who are trying to put into action the result of the Referendum. Is it not time for the UK to unite to ensure that Brexit is successful and implemented in full. All this garbage about 2nd Referendums that would actually resolve absolutely nothing is harming our Country and Democracy. Throwing Milkshakes and or “Battery Acid” is not only an attack on Politicians it is also an attack on Democracy itself.
    Wake up you ReMoaners and get behind the UK and help put the Great back into Britain, You never know you might even like Democracy..mike

  2. Tom Sacold

    Let’s not forget that there is a solid leftwing argument to leave the EU capitalist club and that we have an ongoing Labour Leave organistion working for a socialist Brexit.

    Remaining in the neoliberal EU is a rightwing Blairite policy.

  3. nshgp

    Dumping Scotland means we don’t have to fund them
    We don’t have the SNP dictating on policy to the English.
    Given Labour needs to win big in Scotland to get into power, its clear that’s your real agenda.

    Labour and your problem is you simple cannot accept a democratic decision. So its back to throwing battery acid, rigging debates, etc.

    Now I’m in favour of consent. Leavers get to leave, no EU rights, and they get a tax cut.
    Remoaners get EU rights but their taxes go up to pay the 80 bn a year cost of May’s deal/remain.

    So on a second referendum, Mays deal or clean brexit. What’s your plan for losing that?

  4. nshgp

    Significant damage.

    Yeah, right. The same as 500,000 immediate job losses.

    That goes in the fantasy waste bin with all the other remoaner predictions

  5. Michael Bates

    I totally agree, I am a Left wing socialist and I believe that remaining within the EU is against Socialist principles. The labour party seem disinterested in its core values and its core supporters. It seems to me that the Labour party membership has been infiltrated by Neo-Liberals or at least with Liberal values, The Labour party really needs to Realign itself with its Historic support which Tom Watson and his like seem to have forgotten about. The Labour party is a party I myself can no longer support, If Corbyn grows a pair and goes with his natural instinct he can save the Labour party and re-engage with his natural and core supporters, I hope that Corbyn prevails..Under Watson and Starmer the Labour party will never be electable…mike

  6. BillyBlakesGhost

    Lets talk about Labour’s version of democracy when it comes to selecting Prime Ministers.

    I give you one mobile throwing, allegedly misogynistic little old lady hating GORDON BROWN.

    Foisted on the electorate by his own Parliamentary thugs (eg Labours current deputy leader) and Union backers who bullied the Parliamentary Labour Party to appoint him Leader and Prime Minister without any real democracy at all, he then bottled a general election for fear of being defeated and slunk off to Lisbon in the middle of the night (to avoid the cameras) to sign the shameful treaty whose lack of diligence has left us with the Brexit mess we now face and in doing so reneged upon a key 2005 Labour manifesto promise to hold a referendum on said treaty.

    The left gave up any right to lecture anyone on Prime Ministerial succession and democracy when they betrayed the British electorate 3 times over Gordon Brown. This article is nothing but purile disagraceful hypocrisy!

  7. BillyBlakesGhost

    And for the record. Nobody is suggesting that Tory Party members actually want to expel regions from the Union but if those regions do not accept the collective democratic decision of the Union regarding Brexit then all that the Tories are doing is saying they will respect the choice of those regions (just as they expected the EU to do the same). I do suspect however they will do nothing to help those regions leave the union and indeed will do everything to dissuade them short of desecrating the collective will of the Union as set out in the Brexit Referendum result.

    You’d have thought socialists would understand the concept of collectivism but it seems many of them are ignorant of their own raison d’etre these days…,.

  8. Cole

    It’s worth pointing out that ‘socialists’ that back Brexit are a tiny minority. Most people on the left know that Brexit is a right wing ploy to further enrich the already wealthy. They’re really looking forward to scrubbing those pesky consumer, worker and environmental regulations.

  9. Cole

    Oh, and let’s not forget that Labour Leave (so called) was largely funded by wealthy Tory donors. Quite why the people in it have not been expelled from the party is something of a mystery.

  10. Patrick Newman

    I am not fooled by Sacold and Bates. Their home is Guido Fawkes and a no deal Brexit. They belong to the new UKIP – Brexit Party. They are quite happy to see the UK detach from the EU and become a client state of the USA – home of the alt-Right! It is forgotten by leavers that only 35% max voted to leave so to talk of the people have decided is a crime against semantics!

  11. Michael Bates

    To “Cole/Newman”. I am having to look elsewhere other than Labour as I can no longer recognise the Labour Party as being the voice of those it was set up to support. The Labour Party has a great opportunity to bring itself back to and support the true Labour electorate, In my view the Labour membership has been Highjacked by Neo-Liberals, The Labour party cannot and should not go back to its Blairite days. By backing Brexit the Labour party could reassert itself as the true voice of the People. If you want to know about the views of Senior Socialist thinkers then do the research and you will learn as I did that there are very few Socialist thinkers who think that EU membership is a good thing, It seems to me that you 2 are fake news swallowers and are unable to think for yourselves, You have swallowed and been indoctrinated by Watson…Starmer…Thgornberry and their like who would rather overthrow Democracy than to fulfil their duty to their own Country, I do feel sad for both of you and feel that you should join the Liberal Democrats as they are also full of Sheep…ike.

  12. col jack

    Sorry to have to tell Michael Bates but the Great in Great Britain refers to it being the biggest island in the British Isles – that’s what makes it great, nothing else. Britain needs to stop living in the past and adjust to the fact that it’s a second tier power which has influence only because its part of a larger grouping (though probably not for much longer when it will sadly fade from the world stage).

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