The message that Boris needs the Country to hear | Thomas McLaren
“I haven’t got time to talk mate, but on Brexit we all back you 100%, just get it done”. Council estates haven’t always been happy hunting grounds, but recently canvassing has been going pretty well, and if there’s one topic that is cutting through with the electorate, it’s Brexit.
It’s become a cliché that the Conservative party must deliver on Brexit, or face a torrid time with the electorate. But beyond party politics, there is a real need for us to restore the electorate’s confidence in British democracy and the Parliamentary system, confidence which has been seriously undermined by an opposition who has hijacked Brexit for their partisan purposes, facilitated by a partisan Speaker. Indeed, Boris’ commitment to leave “come what may” on October 31st is a commitment not just to delivering on a democratic mandate, but to a restoration of democracy. Recent experience on the doorstep tells me he has read the electorate well.
In seeking to deliver Brexit, the Government’s first priority must of course be a deal. Recent EU movement on their red lines gives hope that we can get an agreement, but anything agreed will still need to get through Parliament. With the October 31st deadline approaching, this agreement would likely be presented to the Conservative party as a confidence issue, a binary choice of “Deal, or No-Deal”. Passing it will require not just bringing the parliamentary party back together, perhaps by offering a way back to the rebel MPs, but also pulling in support from a coalition of opposition Leavers and Dealers.
Boris understands both sides of the arguments on the Withdrawal Agreement, and knows what the House needs in order to pass a deal. He has demonstrated he can build this kind of coalition, and I certainly back him to get a deal through should one be agreed. However it’s clear that, no matter the outcome, a general election will need to be held in the near future to resolve the ongoing parliamentary impasse.
Given current polling numbers Labour is unlikely to support a snap election, no matter their disingenuous rhetoric, and thanks to the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, the government is unlikely to be able to call one on a unilateral basis. No matter, history has shown that minority governments do not last, and an election will come, one which move the issue of confidence out of the House and into the ballot boxes of Great Britain.
To move beyond the current impasse, deliver Brexit, and take hold of the opportunities it brings, when the election comes we will need to ask for more than just a strong Conservative administration. We will need to truly seek the electorates’ confidence. We have to show the country that they can trust us, and give them the vision for a post-Brexit Britain that the Prime Minister will no doubt set out at conference.
“Trust us” may be an overly simplistic campaign slogan, but it is the message we need to communicate. It’s the message that can take us past the current chaos and disruption, to the outward-looking, self-confident nation that lies beyond. It’s a message for voters who backed the Brexit Party in May, and for those tempted by the student politics on offer from the Lib Dems. Perhaps most importantly, it’s a message for disenfranchised voters, those who backed Brexit but are at the point of giving up on our democratic system. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s a message that is already cutting through on the doorstep.