Saturday, 18 November 2017

How Jeremy Corbyn burned the UKIP Trojan Horse to the ground


UKIP was always a Trojan Horse of a political party. It was absolutely obvious that they were a fake protest party designed to hoover up the votes of the dissatisfied in order to push the UK political spectrum ever further to the hard-right.

Anyone who cared to actually listen to their contempt for the NHS and the hard-right policies they promoted could tell what they were up to, but somehow  UKIP kept building momentum and attracting more and more voters who seemed entirely unconcerned that the party they were endorsing were pushing ever more fanatically right-wing policies into the political mainstream.

For a while the UK political scene was looking absolutely grim for anyone who believes in centre-left and liberal ideas, because the Tory+UKIP share of the vote was absolutely massive. At the 2015 General Election the combined Tory-UKIP vote share dwarfed the Labour vote share in every age demographic, even the under-30s!

We knew that all it would take would be for the UKIP and Tory votes to combine, and Britain would suffer a landslide election victory for a hard-right ultra-nationalist party that would make the Thatcher regime look like a bunch of mild-mannered moderates in comparison.

Had the 2015 Tory and UKIP votes combined together under the Tory flag, and the other parties kept more or less the same vote share, the Electoral Calculus website suggests that the Tories would have landed a super-majority with 406 seats, Labour would have slumped to 183 seats (their worst performance since the 1930s) and the Lib-Dems would have been reduced to just 2 seats!

After the Brexit vote in June 2016 and the subsequent implosion of UKIP under the hapless and directionless leadership of Paul Nuttall, it seemed that our worst fears were coming true. Theresa May and the Tories were soaring high in the polls and ex-Ukippers were flocking to the Tory party to follow the Brexit flag Theresa may had opportunistically nicked off actual Brexiteers when it suited her carer interests to do so.

In the week that Theresa May announced her self-serving snap election, the Tories had a massive lead in the opinion polls

YouGov put the Tories 48-24 ahead of Labour, and ComRes polled a 50-25 lead for the Tories. 

The only debate amongst mainstream media hacks at the time was whether Theresa May was going to ride the Blue-kip surge to a super-majority of 50+, or a mega-majority of 100+.

We all know what happened next. 


We all witnessed the most extraordinary turnaround in political fortunes as Jeremy Corbyn built a massive wave of support, especially amongst young voters and the millions who had been disenfranchised and reduced to apathy through two decades of having no influence over politics other than the colour of the rosette being worn by one out-of-touch neoliberalism-fixated shill or the other.

Theresa May still benefited from a massive influx of hard-right ultra-nationalist Blue-kippers, which is the main explanation for how probably the worst general election campaign in living memory resulted in a 2.3 million increase in the Tory vote, but the Blue-kip surge was more than countered by the astounding 3.5 million increase in the Labour vote.

Jeremy Corbyn achieved this extraordinary turnaround in two main ways. Firstly he offered an actual manifesto of hope instead of the disastrously uninspiring kind of austerity-lite slop that Labour offered up at the 2015 General Election. And secondly by playing an absolute master-stroke. Despite howls of outrage from the usual suspects, Corbyn decided to go into the 2017 General Election offering a centre-left version of Brexit, rather than opting for a "let's cancel Brexit" campaign that would have been furiously derided as an anti-democratic sore loser campaign.

Corbyn's strategic decision payed off brilliantly as a sizeable chunk of the less rabidly right-wing UKIP vote deserted to Labour instead of the Tories, and the Lib-Dems who did run a sore loser campaign actually dropped another 0.5% from what most observers assumed to be their absolute nadir in 2015.

The Tories should be absolutely furious with Theresa May because the UKIP Trojan Horse surge was a one-off golden opportunity to secure a massive unassailable Tory majority, and she absolutely wasted it.

UKIP is now wreck of a party that has slumped from almost 4 million votes in 2015 to below half a million just two years later. In the 2017 local elections they lost a staggering 145 of the 146 council seats they were defending, since the General Election they've lost all 5 of the by-election seats they held, and they're also suffering even more losses as UKIP councillors flee the sinking ship by defecting to the Tory party.

There's never going to be another Blue-kip surge for the Tory party because the UKIP Trojan Horse is burned to cinders. And the Tories have got an even bigger problem than that too. The grotesque brand of hard-right ultra-nationalism that the Tories embraced in order to appeal to the Ukipper demographic is electoral cyanide to the younger generations, who are very much more keen on stuff like environmentalism, feminism, multiculturalism and social liberalism.

The Tories must keep pushing the regressive hard-right ultra-nationalist policies or their brand new, but now fundamentally important Blue-kip demographic will desert them. But they're sitting on a demographic trapdoor, because the electorate is more divided by age than it's ever been, and the demographics that most adore regressive hard-right fanaticism are the not-long-to-live over-65s, while younger voters who have a dozen or more elections in front of them absolutely detest it.

The Tories can't get off the demographic trapdoor they've positioned themselves over because their fanatically right-wing Blue-kip demographic would abandon them if they did, but this demographic is going to gradually die off, leaving Labour to power to victory at some point.

The trope amongst bitter centrist dad Blairite types these days is to ignore the fact that Jeremy Corbyn achieved the biggest increase in the Labour vote share since 1945, and to actually whine that Corbyn should have won the election outright. 


But what they're missing (either wilfully, or through sheer political ignorance) is that Jeremy Corbyn has burned the UKIP Trojan Horse to the ground, and left the Tories utterly dependent on appealing to the basest instincts of the regressive Blue-kip demographic.

Just imagine how much scorn and derision would have been poured on anyone who had predicted back in April that Jeremy Corbyn could more than counteract the Blue-kip surge by doing two things that conventional political wisdom claimed as impossible; bringing out the youth vote, and re-engaging non-voters. 


But somehow he actually managed to do it, and it's surely only a matter of time before the Tory party collapses into the "no deal" Brexit hole they keep digging beneath their own foundations, giving Jeremy Corbyn and the reenergised Labour Party a chance to finish off the job.

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