Sunday, July 03, 2016

The coming civil war in the Conservative Party

No one but a fool would try to forecast political events in Britain at the moment, so I am willing to give it a go.

There will be no coronation for the new Conservative leader. Two names will be put to the party's leadership. Those names will be Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom.

May will win the ballot, but it will be no walkover - say 56 to 44 per cent.

That will not be the end to the Tories' troubles but the start of them.

Because they have no clear vision of what Brexit will be like, the Leavers are bound to be disappointed.

Britain's bosses will not suddenly grasp opportunities to trade with the world and bring in a new era of prosperity. If they were minded to do that, there was nothing about British membership of the European Union that stopped them.

Errand boys are unlikely to start whistling in the street again either.

And if the Leavers are disappointed they will conclude their referendum has been betrayed and look for scapegoats.

Chief among them will be the leader of their party. Theresa May, they will rage, was a Remainer. How can they ever trust her?

Arron Banks, the sugar daddy of Ukip, claimed on Twitter this morning that the campaign he funded is followed by more than 20 per cent of the Tory membership.

Certainly, from the limited sample of Conservative activists I follow on Twitter, I get the impression that the party's grassroots are closer to Nigel Farage than they are to Cameron or May.

It was notable this morning that Leadsom refused to rule out having Farage on her Brexit negotiating team. She know what her potential supporters want.

So what I see is Theresa May as leader of a party where a large proportion of the membership increasingly regard her as a traitor and owe semi-allegiance to a grouping that overlaps with the party.

For a model of how this works, have a look at the Labour Party and Momentum.
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In the words of Leonard Cohen: "I have seen the future, brother, and it is murder."

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