Forget Brexit

  1. Cross-party talks resume tomorrow but they are almost entirely irrelevant
    • Even if the leadership teams can agree on something, the lack of discipline within both parties leaves them unable to be sure if their own MPs will back it
      • Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson has his own anti-Corbyn centrist “Future Group” numbering almost a third of Labour MPs ready for action. He has called for a second referendum as the “only way” to unite the country
      • Conservative leadership candidates are falling over themselves, with the race now being described by one MP as having “more runners and riders than the Grand National” – 18 at the last count
  2. The Brexit damage has been done.
    • The country did not leave on 29th March 2019, and, while a short delay could have been stomached, ballot papers for European Elections are now hitting door-steps across the country
    • Everyone is therefore unsurprised that Farage’s Brexit Party are storming ahead in the polls – now hitting 34% in the latest from Opinium:
    • Everyone is similarly unperturbed by this, given that UKIP were polling at the same level at the same point in the previous EU election campaign
    • But let’s compare the polling in a General Election.
      • Back in May 2014, it didn’t look great for the Conservative Party, with Labour in the lead, albeit by a small margin:
      • Here is the latest ComRes poll:
      • Yes, when the big bad UKIP threat forced David Cameron to pivot towards a referendum in order to win a majority in the 2015 General Election, the Conservative Party were panicking about polling around 32%. They are now polling under 20%. Farage’s Brexit Party is already decimating them. 
  3. This might just be a flash in the pan irritation. Conservative MP Damian Hinds certainly spun that line when he told the Andrew Marr programme today that ‘For some people, this is going to be the ultimate protest opportunity. Many people use the euro elections as a free vote, and this will be even more so this time’
  4. We think not. We think this is the beginning of the end of the Conservative Party and certainly the end of two party politics in the UK. This ushers in a secular shift towards more volatile and unstable governments in the decades ahead. 
  5. Note that the rise of Farage perversely makes Corbyn a more likely Prime Minister due to the vagaries of the First-Past-The-Post system. The brilliant Electoral Calculus website allows us to look at what the ComRes poll would look like in terms of seats:
  6. The Conservative Party are now more consumed with the best time to get rid of a leader that under their own rules they can’t remove, than seeing off the existential threat of the second coming of Nigel Farage (‘this time it’s terminal’).
  7. Time makes their disintegration inevitable.
    • Everyone wants to be leader but not right now, meaning in the vacuum the party can continue to fight with itself
    • It’s becoming impossible to coalesce around a replacement leader now that everyone thinks they can have a go. Even grassroots website ConservativeHome warns “There are too many leadership candidates”.
    • With Labour facing its own internal party management issues, the opposition is not there to provide a disciplining force on the Conservatives. Indeed, right now both parties are being pressed into working with one another rather than against
  8. Even deadlines are not strong enough deadlines to force action.
    • On June 15th, the PM faces an unprecedented motion of no confidence in her leadership at an Emergency General Meeting called by local constituency chairmen. But it is non-binding.
    • The Confidence-and-Supply arrangement signed with the DUP comes to an end next month. But who will Arlene Foster believe will be her partner in the months to come?

We warned in February over complacency that ‘the centrifugal forces spinning out towards No Brexit or No Deal are thought to provide a centripetal force to bring everyone back towards Theresa May’s Deal‘. The centrifugal forces will ultimately spiral out of control, whatever happens on Brexit. The pendulum has been set in motion.

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