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

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