Here we go again…Nigel Farage is exactly where he wants to be at the centre of the news whirlwind. He has never had to actually get his hands dirty with the business of governing this country but that doesn’t matter to him. In a way he must be admired amongst the politicos as they would love to be able to draw the crowds that Nigel can. Of course this is also his great weakness. He equates vox pop popularity to serious power and they really are not the same as he has discovered every time he has tried to gain a seat in the House of Commons. But credit where credit is due he is playing a blinder and with 10 days to go the European election there is more than an even chance that his Brexit party will gain the largest share of the vote. If this happens then he will claim that he has won the vote which will be not true but that doesn’t really bother Nigel.
What of the other parties going into the election – how are they doing? Well the Change UK/Independent group are collapsing before our eyes – perhaps we could call it ‘doing a Chuka.’ I had hoped that they would have been able to get their act in some semblance of order by now but they really don’t seem to have the first clue as to how run anything. They had assumed that they would replace the Liberal Democrats but after the local elections it is clear that isn’t going to happen and now have no real answer to the simple question ‘Why should I vote for you rather than the Lib Dems?’ Why indeed.
As for Labour they are in very great danger of being run over by events. They have a leader who has always hated the European Union and rightly sees that should Britain stay within the European Union(EU) his hopes of reengineering the British economy back to the 1970’s will not be able to be undertaken due to EU competition rules. However, the membership of the Labour party would appear to be very keen on the EU and reject his attempt to prevent Labour being a pro remain party. At the moment it is unclear as to what effect this will have on the share of the vote that Labour will get. I suspect that they will hemorrhage a considerable number to the Lib Dems on the remain side and the Brexit Party on the leave side. How large the number is it is far too early to say.
Now we come to the empty shell that is the Conservative Party. It would seem that their approach to the upcoming election is to curl up into a ball in the corner and hope the beating won’t be too bad. They have nothing to say on Brexit – nothing. There is every chance that most of their vote will shift to the Brexit Party and they could do a Canada ( In the 1990’s the Canadian Conservative party collapsed and at the federal election they only got two MP – they had been the governing party before the election.)
So we now come to the other major Great Britain wide political party the Liberal Democrats. Before the recent local elections they were looking a bit sorry for themselves. They were rudderless and desperately trying to find a new leader. However the election changed everything. They were the only party that made substantial gains (Labour by contrast lost a large number of councilors when in truth they really should have been gaining them – especially with Theresa May as PM.) Ever since this the Lib Dems have been looking forward to the Euro elections. They have taken a leaf out of the Nigel Farage playbook and coined the campaign slogan ‘Bollocks to Brexit’ (They actually purloined this from a Pro Remain pressure group but no one seems to be too worried about that .)
A number of well established politicians and political hacks have been very sniffy about this but it is perfect. It is clear, concise and chimes with most of the remain voters views. 10 days out they look like the one remain party that will take the lion’s share of the remain vote.
The one final thing to consider is turn out. Again, I believe Nigel Farage has done everyone a service. His personality and ability to generate publicity will probably ensure that there will be a large turnout – in equal measure due to those who love him and those who loathe him. In 2014 at the last Euro elections the turnout was around 36% which was a slight increase on the last election 5 years earlier. This time I expect it will be much higher – possibly way beyond 50%. If this happens I suspect the overall share of the vote will something like this on a UK wide vote:
- Brexit Party 30%
- Lib Dems 25%
- Labour 15%
- Conservative 10%
(The rest of the vote will go to parties only standing in their respective nations such as the SNP. This is not to suggest that their vote doesn’t count, far from it, but rather compared to the total UK wide number their actual number of voters is rather small. The population of England is over 10 times larger than Scotland’s for example.)
You will also note that I make no mention of Change UK as I suspect their vote will crumble just as the party probably will.
If this is the shape of things to come then goodness knows what will happen to the Conservative Party – especially if they are beaten in the Peterborough by election by the Brexit Party. (This will split the Brexit vote enough to ensure that Labour takes the seat.)
How much of this will come to pass? No idea but one thing is true. This European elections are not going to be ‘a joke‘. Ironically something that the European Union has been trying to do for decades. Life is rather strange don’t you think?