Most Remainers on my social media timelines are stunned that people are reacting so positively to Boris Johnson and the Conservative party since the general election came and went. “He went on a posh holiday for a fortnight!” you all bellow. “Surely people can see what a charlatan he is!”. Evidently not. There hasn’t been much polling since December 12th, but what there is out there is almost manically pro-Boris and his party. I’m going to explain why for those of you not fond of BJ/the Tories in general because objectively speaking, it’s fairly straightforward.
First of all, no one cares if Boris goes on holiday or where. It’s like Cameron and the pig – everyone has this sort of thing priced in for BJ. “Going on holiday! What a cheeky cad!” is as harsh as it is going to get for the vast majority of those who voted for the Tories in December. What they do care about is delivery. What has the new government delivered then? For a start, the return of Stormont. Two things on this: first, the reconvening of the Northern Irish Assembly may be built on shaky ground and possibly not last. Secondly, most people in England don’t really care about Northern Ireland, proven in part by the fact that the DUP’s dislike of the Boris Withdrawal Agreement had no effect on the English Brexity population after Rees-Mogg and other ERG types jumped on board with it. Yet the fact is, it looks like the prime minister is, to use an Americanism here if I may, kicking ass and taking names. He’s getting stuff done.
Also, Brexit is getting “done” on the 31st of this month. You can argue that the Withdrawal Agreement passing doesn’t get Brexit “done” in any meaningful sense given the whole trading relationship with the EU and indeed the rest of the world is still to be sorted. But most voters think that Brexit will be “done” on January 31st because we had a general election in which Boris said that his deal would “get Brexit done” and no one, not any of the opposition parties, ran a campaign that seriously challenged this. So, it’s now become a truism. Reality may eventually pick this apart – for now, Boris is “getting Brexit done”, just like he said he would.
Another dimension to the Tories and BJ’s high poll ratings is undoubtedly the clusterfuck which is the Labour leadership contest. It’s going to be weeks and weeks yet of the Labour Party appearing on the nightly news in front of millions of voters with a simple, three-line message: we are a complete shower. Do not vote for us if you want someone to run the country sensibly. We suck. I watched some of the Liverpool Hustings and then had to shut it off for my own sanity. It’s clear that either Keir Starmer wins and spends the next four to five years walking a dangerous tightrope between trying to make Labour electable while simultaneously appealing to the loony left, until losing the next general election. The only question will be whether or not he manages to pick up seats or lose even more to the Tories. Either that or Long-Bailey gets it and Labour dig themselves even further into the hole they have already dug themselves into, entrenching the one party state Britain is fast becoming.
Maybe Starmer wins and gets a honeymoon period which he uses to flush out as many of the tankies as he can. Perhaps Brexit experiences real hiccups, ones that Starmer as a Remainer can jump on. This is the best case scenario for the centre-left and if I were being honest here, I’m not banking on it coming to fruition.