Viewers of BBC 1 Breakfast News were given a treat this week. They witnessed the haphazard and hilarious attempts by Boris Johnson to help mop up a flooded floor. He clearly had no idea what he was doing. But that’s probably not news to you; he appears to have little idea about much.
The mopping mayhem happened in his feeble attempts to win over the voters affected by flooding in the north of England – that well-known Tory stronghold…! What he was hoping, I imagine, was that he could mop up the Brexiteer votes. Nigel Farage decided this week to abandon his two-day-old promise of standing in every seat. Instead, he said he would not allow the Brexit Party to stand against the Tories.
This is as bonkers as Boris. What it means is that the Brexit Party will stand against Labour, which is a remain party. In the seats where the Brexit Party is now standing, it has no hope of winning anything, yet if it had stood against the Tories, there was a chance it could get a couple of MPs at least. The polls tell the story quite well. At the EU elections earlier in the year the Brexit Party won several seats with a whopping 32% share of the votes. Now, the support for the Brexit Party has plummeted from 10% to around 4% in the space of a couple of days.
There have been rumours that Nigel Farage abandoned his competition against the Tories because he has been promised a Peerage if he were to do so. That wouldn’t be a surprise. Several Brexit Party candidates were allegedly called by the Tory party with “bribes” to make them stand down. Even the confirmed Catholic Brexit Part MEP Anne Widdecombe says she will “swear on the Bible” that she was approached to stop campaigning in return for a role in future trade talks. That just shows how dumb the Tory tactics are because anyone who knows anything about Anne Widdecombe is that shutting her up is an impossibility.
Indeed, rather like the last Tory campaign in 2017, this one already appears to be taking a route that is not the wisest. So far they have stuck Boris in front of people who tell him precisely what they think of him live on TV. The campaigners have told us that the Labour spending plans will cost £1.2 trillion, yet Labour has not published any plans and what the Tories said about Labour’s potential spending has been independently torn to shreds already as their sums have double-counted several things and made others up.
Then, the Tories go on the attack against Labour saying that all they want to do is to promise vast amounts of public spending. But that was on the same day as announcing their own massive uncosted spending spree. There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of intelligence behind the Tory campaign so far.
Mind you, the Labour campaign is not good either. They have promised to deal with immigration (a hot Brexit topic) without any real mention of exactly what they will do. At the same time, in just one day, Jeremy Corbyn said three different things about the future fate of Scotland under a Labour government.
What this all means is that – just like Theresa May in 2017 – the parties in this election are effectively making it up as they go along. And just look how successful that was for her.
This is all reflected in the polls. The headline figure of the polls shows that the Conservatives are 10 points ahead of Labour (but still five points behind where Theresa May was at this point in 2017). However, there is a margin of error in the polling. That means that the Tories and Labour could be neck and neck with around 32% of the voting intentions each. In other words, we are, as predicted by the betting, in hung parliament territory. Which means, inevitably, that Brexit will not get sorted by 31st January 2020.
Remember, when Parliament returns on 15th December they have a week before they break up for Christmas, then just three more weeks in the New Year to sort out Brexit. With a hung parliament that’s not going to be easy, to say the least.
We will be facing exactly the same situation as we have been for the past couple of years or more. Either we leave with “no-deal”, or we abandon Brexit. Parliament is likely to be split along those lines once again.
Boris reckons he can “Get Brexit Done” but rather like his mopping up technique that too is doomed to failure it seems. Besides, we have to remember that all this Brexit and election mayhem is simply to get the initial stage of Brexit underway. The really complicated stuff hasn’t even been approached yet. I am tempted to say “Lord help us”, but that might just summon up Lord Farage, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.