I, as some of you who read my stuff often will know, am much more optimistic about the Conservative Party’s chances of winning the next general election, whenever that may be, than most people who write about this stuff. There are many reasons for that which I won’t rehash for you now, but a lot of it hinges on Brexit. So, I’m betting that the Tories will get some sort of transitional deal that maintains the status quo, then a new leader, then manage to put Brexit somewhat in the background (compared to its omnipresence in British life at present anyhow) as a deal is hacked out over – let’s face it – a decade or so.
Yet, again, the Tories winning the next election all hinges on Brexit – and not the way most Tories seem to think at present. If the UK crashes out of the EU with no deal whatsoever, the Tories will be taking the most massive gamble in the history of British politics, one that furthermore has very little chance of coming good for them. Ironically enough, leaving the EU with no deal will be the single least conservative action ever taken by any UK government, and I include Iraq in that equation.
If it goes terribly wrong and is an immediate disaster – so lorries piled up at Dover and Calais, massive price hikes for food, eye watering devaluation of the pound, you know the drill – the Tories will get 98% of the blame for this. Sure, a lot of people will be angry at the EU, but even the most Brexity Leaver in the country has already priced in the EU being a bit ruthless on this one. The Tories told the country they could best the EU and get what the country needed and then some; if they fail in this, it will be seen as their fault by the vast majority of the electorate. And if they think they can just peg it all on Theresa May (clearly part of the plan here) and move on with a new leader, fresh as roses, they are almost certainly mistaken. I repeat, people will blame the Tories if it goes horribly wrong.
All this seems obvious to me, yet is barely being discussed in Tory circles, even though the most ardent Brexiteer knows it will likely be very ropey for the first little bit after going over the cliff’s edge, at best. This would all be one thing if there was a somewhat run of the mill Labour Party across the aisle – but they are fully aware of the fact that the shadow chancellor is basically a full-blown Stalinist (we know this since they rarely shut up about it) and yet they seem blasé about inflicting that on the rest of us. Thanks, chaps.
Again, all of this is so blindingly clear that I think all this must be some elaborate bluff in order to try and get the Brexit bill down to size. That must be it, right? A Conservative minister has been quoted this week as saying “reverse Brexit and we destroy the party; go ahead with it and we destroy the country”. How they can’t see that destroying the country will definitely also destroy the party, for a generation at least, is really beyond me.