I read an article, at least one a week, about how Brexit is going to be the death of the Conservative Party. Beyond being very cavalier about the impending doom of the most successful political party in the history of mankind, I don’t agree with most of the analysis on a fundamental level. I think there is a far greater chance that Labour will be badly hurt by the fallout from Brexit and the Tories will muddle through. I’m not saying that definitely will happen, I’m simply suggesting that given what’s in front of us now, that seems much more likely to me. I have thought this for some time, and recent events confirm this for me more and more.
For a start, this fantasy that Brexit is going to disappear as an issue by this time next year seems very, very unlikely to me. What I didn’t get from the People March over the weekend is that Brexit is “over” – what I got instead is that for a group of people on the centre, centre-right and centre-left, a European identity is now a core political belief. The idea that this group of people are simply going to forget about it all once we leave in March 2019 – and I still think we will – is laughable. No, once we have departed from the EU is where the real fun begins.
No matter how we leave, further debate will be inevitable. If there’s a hard Brexit, the fallout will be front and centre, as the economy changes rapidly in front of our eyes. If we have a soft Brexit, Remainers will try and pull us back into the EU while Leavers try and pull us out of more and more European stuff. This is the next ten years of British politics, whether you like it or not. Throughout this, the Tories have a base to call upon – those who are dyed in the wool Leavers, or those who are sick to the teeth of the debate and want to simply move on. It is Labour that is in trouble here.
For a start, any Brexit will impact Labour heartlands much more negatively than the Tory shires. I’m not suggesting that this will lead to them voting Tory – although, perversely, it might – but Labour will be asked some tricky questions about how this was allowed to occur and what their specific solutions are. I can easily imagine a split on the Left along Brexit lines at some point in the next three years; that split is already there, in fact, it would just need to be formalised. You can see it in the Corbynistas vicious attacks on the FPBE crowd – and the Europhiles increasingly annoyed takes with Corbyn, as it finally sinks in that he is not on their side.
Who will profit from a fracture of the Left on Europe is, of course, the Tories. I picture them bumping along as the largest party in hung parliaments, or nursing small majorities for the next decade at least, regardless of how mediocre any given party leader might be.
While you’re here: I’ve written a new book called “One Last Number”, about what happens when the biggest pop star in the world kills himself live on stage, taking some of his fans along with him. It explores what can and cannot be considered real news in this day and age, and how the splintering we see within social media means we no longer have shared, collective narratives when large scale tragedies occur. Anyway, it’s being published through Unbound, where you have to sell enough advance copies before going to print. If you’re at all interested in “One Last Number”, check it out here: