FAREWELL then to the Zombie Parliament and I suspect I am not alone when I say I certainly won’t miss it.
Although the prospect of an election in the run-up to Christmas chills the bones more than the current cold snap, I am afraid it simply had to be done – the current Remainer parliament had damaged our democracy to such an extent it couldn’t stagger on any more.
It is worth remembering that back in 2015 MPs voted by a massive majority – including Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem members – to hand over the decision on whether we should Leave or Remain in the EU to the people in a referendum.
They solemnly pledged to honour the result and the government of the day made a cast-iron guarantee to implement whatever the people decided.
But, of course, the vote didn’t go the way they wanted or expected. And, since then, we have had more than three years of broken pledges, dishonourable tricks and pointless game playing all designed to thwart the will of the people, simply because they disagreed with the result.
Now they have reached the end of the road and voters can finally give their verdict on MPs who think they can play childish games with our country’s future. It is going to be interesting to watch, and it will be marvellous if some of these irresponsible chancers get their just deserts.
As for the campaign itself, the policy wonks at the think-tank Onward reckon we should pay attention to something called “Workington Man” after the Cumbrian coastal town.
You may remember in the past we’ve had the Thatcherite Essex Man, the Blairite Mondeo Man and Worcester Woman and now attention has turned to the north of England.
Workington Man is typified by normally Labour supporting, but Leave voting, older, white men, without university degrees and a passion for rugby league.
Sounds a bit patronising to me, but expect a fair amount of attention to the “rugby league corridor” along the M62, as Conservatives attempt to wrestle Leave-voting working class constituencies out of Labour control.
I know from my own experience that many in these communities are furious with their sitting Labour MPs who have broken their promises to honour Brexit, but whether this turns into support for Conservatives in these tribal areas is far less certain.
Boris Johnson needs to make gains here if he has any chance of making up for probable losses to the Lib Dems in the Remain voting areas in the Home Counties and South West, and to the SNP in Scotland.
If he succeeds, we could be witnessing a significant realignment of political loyalties, with the Conservatives hoovering up working class voters who feel abandoned by Labour who have instead courted younger, more woke, middle class, city dwellers.
One big complicating factor is the influence of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which could easily split the Leave vote and let in Labour and the Lib Dems. In short, the Brexit Party could destroy Brexit and allow Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10. Let that sink in.
What we are seeing currently is a further fracturing of the two-party system, the erosion of traditional tribal loyalties and a massive increase in tactical voting – all ingredients of a very volatile brew that makes this election incredibly difficult to predict. I am hoping for a decisive result – only then can we hope to be finally rid of this never-ending Brexit nightmare and turn attention to other policy areas such as transport, crime, housing, health and education.
It is going to be a long, long six weeks but the prize at the end of it – an independent, self-governing democracy once again – is well worth it.
THE Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has accused the Prime Minister of pouring petrol on the flames of our country’s divisions by using inflammatory language, citing words such as “fascist” and “traitor”, although I can’t recall Boris Johnson using either.
Could this possibly be the same Archbishop of Canterbury who a couple of years ago claimed that Brexit voters were in the “fascist tradition”? I am reminded of St Matthew’s Gospel: “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”