Ignominious Defeat and Inglorious Victory
It would be very easy to make light of the 2017 General Election result, from the childish relish of the ABBC when the exit polls came out, to the faux victory parades of the deluded Labourites the whole thing took on an element of farce, but the 5 weeks leading up to it offered quite a stark warning for those willing to read the runes. On the 16th of May, a week after it was “leaked” to the Daily Mirror, Labour published its manifesto. These are just a couple of examples of what was a veritable cornucopia of wild and unrealistic promises;
- Increasing the minimum wage to £10 per hour
- Extending free school meals to all primary school children
- Measures to cap class sizes in schools
- Increasing the Carers Allowance by £10 a week , to put it in line with Jobseekers’ Allowance
- Ending the 1% pay cap for nurses, midwives and other NHS staff
- Repealing the Trade Union Act
- Scrapping the Tories’ Brexit White Paper and the Great Repeal Bill
Three days before this and a full five days before the Tory manifesto was published the lead article in the Spectator (with the heading “No Left Turn”) offered the Tories in general and Ms May in particular this sage advice;
“The Conservative Manifesto is due to be published next week. Never have the Tories had so much political opportunity or a greater hope of shaping the debate. It makes sense for Mrs May to pose as a social warrior, with so much to accomplish. But she should arm herself with conservative ideas that work, rather than Labour ones that don’t” (My bold and underline).
Two days later Mrs May published her manifesto, drawn up by a couple of Spads, which seemed to prove conclusively that Tories no longer read The Spectator.
- Real terms increases in NHS spending reaching £8bn extra per year by 2022/23
- Scrapping the triple-lock on the state pension after 2020, replacing it with a “double lock”, rising with earnings or inflation
- Means test winter fuel payments, taking away £300 from wealthier pensioners
- Raising cost of care threshold from £23,000 to £100,000 – but include value of home in calculation of assets for home care as well as residential care
- Scrap free school lunches for infants in England, but offer free breakfasts across the primary years
- Pump an extra £4bn into schools by 2022
- Net migration cut to below 100,000
- Increase the amount levied on firms employing non-EU migrant workers
At this point the polls had already narrowed considerably, although an increased Tory majority was, with only 3 weeks to go until polling day, still far and away the favourite with the bookies. In part two of this series I postulated that, far from the UKIP vote in 2015 being bolstered by recalcitrant and disgruntled Tories it was in fact bolstered in the main by disaffected Labour supporters.
The return of some of these people to their usual tribal voting ways wouldn’t, of itself, be sufficient to cause an upset; there weren’t really enough of them for that. What we do have to recognise though is that many of these people were either stuck in Labour heartlands which were becoming increasingly deprived or they had achieved their aspiration of owning their own homes and having fairly comfortable lives. For both of these groups, threatened by uncontrolled immigration and downward pressure on wages for the low skilled, UKIP had seemed like a natural choice in 2015.
On the 21st of May, Labour announced that they would be abolishing University tuition fees as early as autumn this year for new students and would “deal” with historical student debt, the inference being that ALL student debt would be cancelled and much if not all of it would be refunded. The student vote which had probably always been in the bag for Labour now took on extra significance. It’s one thing for a student to say they are going to vote, it’s quite another to get them off their backsides to do so. It needed free stuff and Corbyn, McDonnell et al had just promised the ultimate freebie to the me generation. No matter it would be impossible to deliver and completely unaffordable, students don’t worry about little matters like that.
On the 22nd of May an Islamic Jihadi blew himself and 22 others to death in Manchester, many more were seriously injured in the attack and, while the rest of Britain raged at the scale of this cowardly attack and at the targeting of children a cynical Labour party took full advantage. Politicians love a tragedy on this scale, but particularly so if they are of the leftard persuasion; the opportunities to spout inane drivel about not being divided by ideologically driven murder and to virtue signal about togetherness are almost limitless. This “incident” as it was referred to by Diane Abbott couldn’t have come at a better time for Labour. It diverted attention away from the woeful lack of talent in the Labour campaign team and allowed a compliant nation to be emoted to. Paul Nuttall tried, on the 25th of May to put forward the case for UKIP;
- To introduce a “one in, one out” immigration system and set a target to reduce net migration to zero over a five-year period.
- Place a moratorium on unskilled and low-skilled immigration for five years after the UK leaves the EU.
- No amnesty for illegal immigrants.
- To introduce a “social attitudes” test as part of a points-based immigration system which would stop people who believe women or gay people are “second-class citizens” from entering the country.
For whatever reason UKIP, at least on the national stage, weren’t getting the exposure they needed to get and, when they were, a combination of lack lustre performance and bias towards the other smaller parties was working against them. The polls slowly continued to narrow between Labour and the Tories. Momentum and other groups, all social media savvy, were targeting the “youth” vote with some pretty slick fake advertising but, in an age of low attention span and sleb obsession it appeared to be working. On the ground UKIP were working hard but I did hear reports from South Yorkshire of “Aye lad, thars reet, too many of t’buggers about these days and Labour does nowt for us anymore. Ah voted for UKIP last time and for Leave in t’referendum but me dad and me granddad………………”
On Tuesday the 30th of May I was in my local pub, discussing the upcoming election. There were seven of us and a couple of visitors staying in the pub. Talk got round to what the majority might be. We also discussed whether or not the UKIP vote would hold up. I was convinced it would more or less, others not so much. When it came to the majority the margins were quite different. I had never believed the 70-80 numbers, but one of the guys bravely went for 60. I plumped for 39, which turned out to be second lowest. Lowest call was for 15, cue lots of scoffing as nearest to actual took the pot.
Despite all the poor media performances of the Labour front bench, the polls continued to narrow but, with only just over a week to go, it hardly seemed to matter. Always though, working tirelessly in the background, were the radical grass roots Labour team and, in the foreground the MSM with, as usual, the ABBC front and centre. I didn’t particularly want a Tory government, but the country couldn’t stand a Labour one. I naively thought that, even with everything that had happened including the very poor Tory campaign a Labour victory was impossible. I even began to be a bit envious of the 15 majority call.
On June the 3rd Islam struck again, 3 jihadis with ceramic kitchen knives taped to their wrists ran amuck in the London Bridge area killing 8 people and injuring over 40 more. The Jihadis were shot dead by the police, who had reacted very quickly to the incident. Politically though, here was another godsend for Labour. Corbyn Khan and Abbott all blamed the government, citing cuts in the Met budget as the reason these murderous scum were living under the radar. Labour had traction now and it knew it. My last conversation with a UKIP candidate friend also painted a gloomy picture. People would vote for him, but in what was really a safe Labour seat, not in the numbers required.
The 8th of June arrived, I voted UKIP and so, for the first time ever, did my wife. I was optimistic of a decent turnout, a Labour defeat and UKIP numbers holding up. The exit polls, when they came in delivered a shock, with predictions of a loss of overall majority for the Tories, a bit of a slap for the SNP and a more than credible performance from Labour. The Left, the ABBC and the MSM were cock-a-hoop. It was like Christmas and birthday all rolled into one. For a short time Corbyn even harboured the ambition of forming a “Broad Coalition of the Left” and forming a government FFS.
That isn’t the real story though. I’d lost a pound in the sweep but UKIP had lost its way and its vote. In 2015 over 3.8 million people from all walks of life had voted for them, two years later that number had dropped to below 600,000. Oh how the ABBC, Sky News and the Grauniad chortled. The parochial Islamaphobic thick racists were finished and, if you discount the SNP the 2 party status quo had been reinstated.
What caused this to happen? A combination of things I think. Tribal voting played a part, Nuttall wasn’t the right man for the job and Labour played a blinder with its free stuff for everybody manifesto. Don’t be fooled, unless you know different. It was the “working class” who deserted UKIP. They returned to the fold, voting for the party that sees them as nothing more than something to be tolerated in its relentless push for power at all costs.
All this doom and gloom deserves a happy ending. UKIP is about to appoint a new leader, there are rumours of Nigel coming back, but that would be wrong IMHO. The country needs a radical socially aware small “c” conservative party that will take on not only the vested interests in the major parties who are attempting to scuttle Leave but also the businesses, the NGO’s and the “liberal” left for whom uncontrolled immigration is the Holy Grail.
Nigel Farage, as much as I respect and admire him, isn’t the man IMHO for a role like this and anyway I think his time has come and gone. Both Anne Marie Waters and John Rees Evans will have their supporters, as will one or two of the other candidates. Foolishly I didn’t join the party because they don’t offer reduced membership fees for seniors, accordingly I don’t really have a say. All I do know is that if they get it wrong and the support base can’t be brought back up to 2015 levels within a timely period I and many like me will remain members of a disenfranchised demographic. Betrayed by the Conservatives, despised by Labour, hated by the Lib Dems and lampooned by the Greens we are the silent majority, we were four million strong, we can be again and we deserve a voice.
© Coloniescross 2017