OPINION: Stemming The Red Tide
Earlier, I alluded to something that should trouble all those who wish Brexit well. This something is the fact that the flip-flopping of Labour when it comes to its Brexit policy has done the Party the sum total of zero damage in terms of either its standing in the polls or, more importantly, it’s electoral performance. The latter is more important and more telling. What people do as opposed to what they say matters.
So, let’s explore some theories as to why this might be the case. A disturbing hypothesis is that zeal for Brexit is starting to be eclipsed by hatred of the Conservatives and general militant disillusionment with the government. I am not saying it doesn’t matter, I am saying it may be that it is starting to matter less. This is a real possibility. It may well be that many people accept that Brexit is going to happen, after all, no one really questions the fact that it will happen. Peoples minds may well be moving onto the next thing, focusing on their more immediate problems.
We can’t allow this to happen. This will not be a done deal until the day it is truly done. Yes, Article 50 has been invoked but that process can be reversed. The EU is notorious for playing fast and loose with its own rules, making them up as they go along, and it is not adverse to waging a war of attrition to reverse the will of the people – just ask the French and the Irish. This is too easily forgotten. Maybe it would not be reversed explicitly immediately but gradually by stealth during a transitional period or through a second referendum on a deal. Either way, to assume we are definitely out before the day we leave definitively would, I will contend, be exceptionally premature given past form.
Returning to the topic, this is especially true as the Labour Party rises and rises, committed as it now is to a ‘Soft Brexit’ and a transitional period that lasts ad infinitum. They are carrying the people with them and focusing their minds elsewhere. In doing so, they are chipping away at the solid foundations of the Brexit majority. So, what is to be done?
UKIP has to recapture its radical spirit. I have noticed in this leadership contest the fact that there is a pull towards the political centre and I can think of a few candidates who personify this drive. Two to my mind are radicals and represent the prospect of a return to radicalism, John Rees Evans and Anne Marie Waters. It is well known which I prefer. Although Anne’s contribution is important and shes is substantively correct regarding the dangers of Islam, John offers the bold, radical and empowering vision that I believe we need. If we choose a centrist, a safe course, we will most likely be drowned in the red tide. It will not bring salvation but damnation and, when the red tide sweeps into Number 10, we will once again choose radicalism in any case. We cannot expect the Conservatives to hold Corbyn back, although Corbyn may not personally be Prime Minister, his Labour Party will find itself in government sooner rather than later. They are weak. Mrs May is about as popular as sand in your shoes. A quick note as well. We will need economic policies that capture this radical spirit and speak to the economic radicalism of the frustrated Labour vote though we should eschew the magical money tree of forlorn hope.
I am not entirely convinced stemming this tide is possible. However, if anyone is to do it then it will have to be us. This reason alone should give us all the motivation we need to shape up and sharpish.
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