David WilkinsonView More
The Choice of Two Evils
"When choosing between two evils I always like to take the one I have not tried before."
And yet I have to reject Mae's advice and yield to May's project fear.
Tomorrow we will be faced with a choice between two bad options. Slim's advice, which I more usually take, is, offered the choice between two courses, to take the bolder.
It is a beautiful thing when the people in a democracy are inspired by noble ideas. That happens when there is leadership. May has not spoken about Brexit with inspiring words. She has simply failed to capture the imagination of Brexit Britain. Instead she has conducted a "flat footed" campaign. Leadership is when a politician says "see my vision of the future". She spoke about her idea with passion, if you remember her. May has not done that. May makes an assertion about herself, that she is a great leader, but does not even urge us to look at her but, in answer to almost every question, urges us to look at Corbyn and to be disgusted and afraid. It is project fear. And that is proven to fail in Britain.
Being a strong leader is like being a lady: if you have to claim it for yourself then you are not one.
It is not just the Socialists in Bruges Group, the so-called Bruges Rouge, who appreciate that, while Corbyn's policies in some areas can be a little disappointing, he is taking an understanding of Brexit to parts of the electorate that nothing else seems to. Corbyn is converting more of those young remainers than anything else.
Still, voting for Mr Corbyn and, more frighteningly, his supporters, is not the bolder option but the reckless option. Corbyn has had a good campaign, he has disarmed project fear to a great extent. One has to admire the ruthless genius of ordering the political suicide his best friend on the day before the poll - and commanding the loyalty that the order be obeyed sliently. That is the kind of man to send up against Merkel, they say.
The only way we can vote for May is with an understanding of the situation and consequences. Otherwise we would just stay at home tomorrow. We cannot allow ourselves to be duped.
Some people might be brave enough to hope for the loss of half a dozen Tory seats, and to see a Labour coalition of chaos. Revolutions need a bit of chaos. There would probably be another election at the end of a summer of madness with a new Conservative leader, Gove or someone, the Conservatives would have the solid majority May anticipated - and we all live happily ever after.
A Labour majority could be semi-stable, lasting for five years and .... OK, the fear comes back.
People have liked Corbyn because he believes in something. People are so refreshed by this that they do not much mind what he believes. It is just so much better than the calculated cynicism of modern campaigns such as that in the referendum and May's election campaign. People know about these strategies of Lynton Crosby and the like. We see them as undemocratic and insulting. Corbyn is authentic-ish.
We feel manipulated and coerced by this campaign. And surely we need to be aware of this when we vote May so that we can be prepared and organised for the period after the election.
May has asserted that she is a leader. She has published leaflets that have irritated and embarrassed activists, called upon electors not to vote for their local candidate at all but to make up numbers to make her "leader of this country". As people observed, this country has a leader and she is called Elizabeth II. May has asserted that she is a strong and stable leader, a skilled and tough negotiator in Brussels. Such a strong leader she might have claimed she would make the trains run on time. All these claims of leadership but showing little leadership.
Although this was supposed to be the Brexit election, May has said almost nothing meaningful at all about the A50 negotiations. She has certainly failed to inspire the Brexit vote. Scare us maybe but not inspire us. She has said nothing about the structure of the treaty arrangement so she cannot even assure us that she will not lock us into a single treaty that will trap us in dominion status for a generation - like the Irish Free State between the wars. She not only has failed to promise we will be free of the European Arrest Warrant but seems to have banned candidates from even discussing it. The excuse she gives is that she must keep her negotiating position secret from us. So the one thing we know is that she will negotiate away something of Brexit.
What is this Tory leadership? Is it that of John May-jor? That we should vote Tory because betrayal will be slower than with Labour but just as certain?
Like Major, May will have a rebellious party. It is not just the electorate who resent campaigns like this one and punish the guilty party at the next local and even general election, but MPs who expected more comfortable majorities and senior wannabes (council leaders, etc) who were not elected will need a show of leadership the great leader could manifest during her campaign.
We will be watching her negotiating of Brexit with the eye of a predator. She will need to inspire our confidence or we will have her. She is not loved now and not even a much larger majority than expected will recover this. Her majority would need to be enormous. But we fear that too because many of her new MPs are not dedicated to Brexit at all and she will desire to supress our MPs and our movement.
Yes, I yield to the fear and I say we have to vote May. I am humiliated but let us not be deluded. The Brexit movement now know that we must organise during the A50 period and beyond.
I will vote for your great, strong and stable leader - with a pencil in one hand and piano wire in the other.
NB Exceptions should be the obvious winnable or holdable seats with pro-Brexit candidates of other parties.