This election could finish off the hardcore Europhiles
All over Britain, one of the few things that we can be pretty confident of in Thursday's elections is that Remain-friendly candidates are in for a pasting. Eurofanatical Lib Dems and Greens in particular face humiliation. And wouldn't it be marvellous if Nick Clegg lost his seat? Watch this space...
On Thursday, the United Kingdom will go to the polls. Many hardcore Europhiles thought this General Election would be an opportunity to pack Parliament with MPs set on a 2nd referendum to prevent the UK leaving the EU.
Fortunately, it looks as though their hopes are misplaced. It is, in fact, looking like the Remain remnant in Parliament may be decimated, as the SNP look set to lose seats in Scotland, and as Tim Farron’s fiercely anti-Brexit campaign falls flat.
This group includes the 114 MPs who voted against Article 50, as they tried to prevent the Brexit process starting at all. It also includes the SNP, who wish to keep Scotland inside the EU, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, who are also committed to force a 2nd referendum to try and derail Brexit.
The arch-Europhile politician and Father of the House of Commons, Ken Clarke, was the only Conservative to vote against Article 50, and his constituency of Rushcliffe is far too blue for him to fall. While Labour as a whole now ambiguously supports Brexit, albeit a Brexit where any deal will be accepted by Jeremy Corbyn, 52 Labour MPs -- almost a quarter of their Parliamentary party -- voted against Article 50. 10 of these MPs are in highly marginal constituencies, of which 4 voted to Leave the EU.
Those 4, Bridgend, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Southampton Test and Wakefield, could all see Leave voters push the Conservatives over the line. The other 6, encompassing Bristol East, Hove, and 4 London marginals, could flip as well, although this seems less likely just now.
Up in Scotland, 7 Scottish National Party MPs -- all of whom voted against article 50 -- are under threat from the pro-Brexit Conservative Party.
At the Scottish Border, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, as well as Dumfries and Galloway, have heavily Unionist electorates, with most polls putting both in Conservative hands.
In the highlands, Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine, Aberdeen South, Perth and North Perthshire, and the SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson’s seat of Moray are all looking distinctly marginal, with electoral polling comparisons putting the Conservatives ahead in each.
The 49.9 percent who voted for Leave in Moray, in particular, may be pivotal in unseating Angus Robertson. Finally, a long shot in East Renfrewshire could, with unionist tactical voting, go to the Conservatives.
East Renfrewshire, along with the constituency of Edinburgh North and Leith, may see Labour defeat the SNP. While Labour is hardly enthusiastically pro-Brexit, they are not dogmatically against it like the SNP, so this would still be a blow to the Europhiles.
If they win those, Labour’s theoretical total of 3 MPs, including their stronghold in Edinburgh South, would be nowhere near the 41 Scottish MPs they had in 2010, but times have changed. The current weakness of Scottish Labour seems to preclude it gaining any more than those two.
None of this is devastating for hardcore Europhiles, but none of these parties has made its campaign first and foremost about Brexit -- one seeks socialism and one independence.
What of those who have dedicated themselves to overturning the result -- the Liberal Democrats and the Greens?
Tim Farron and the Lib Dems face a deservedly disastrous election result after their hard Remain campaign, polling at or below their 2015 vote share. Electoral polling comparisons and veteran pollster Lord Ashcroft not only predict the Lib Dems won’t make any gains, but they are likely to lose most of their seats.
With a resigning incumbent and strong Conservative campaign, Southport seems sure to go blue. Brexiteer Zac Goldsmith is widely tipped to reclaim Richmond Park, which he barely lost running as an independent in a by-election prompted by Heathrow expansion, from Sarah Olney, currently under investigation for election expenses fraud
Heavily Leave Carshalton and Wallington, as well as Norfolk North, have no UKIP candidates, which in both, seems likely to hand it to the Tories. A Conservative gain in Norfolk North would finish off one of the few talented politicians left in the Lib Dems, Norman Lamb.
Even more devastating for them than a Lamb Roast, however, is what seems likely to happen in Sheffield Hallam. This is the constituency represented by the former Deputy Prime Minister of the coalition, Nick Clegg. Labour, growing stronger with young and Remain voters, and Tory tactical voters returning to Brexiteer Conservative Ian Walker, could well shred the 2,353 Liberal Democrat majority.
The loss of those 5 seats -- more than half their parliamentary delegation and two leading lights of their clique -- would be a devastating blow to the Europhile fringe. It is also, now, a plausible scenario.
As for the Greens -- the most fanatical of the Europhiles -- they have collapsed from 3.8 percent in 2015 to 2.1 percent in the polling average. They have refused to run candidates in dozens of constituencies, for whatever reason, but their target list includes seats like Sheffield Central and the Isle of Wight, where they haven’t the faintest chance of winning.
Their Joint Leader, Caroline Lucas herself is under threat in Brighton Pavilion. It is a seat full of young, left-wing voters -- exactly the kind of people Jeremy Corbyn attracts. Though their Labour candidate is no Brexiteer, should he defeat Caroline Lucas, the Europhiles will have lost one of their most influential demagogues.
Not only does it look like the Europhile fringe will not sweep into Parliament, it looks like their undemocratic rejection of the EU Referendum result will leave them decimated, with many of their leading lights crashing out of Parliament.
This fate is amply deserved, but to ensure we Get Britain Out of the EU, Brexiteers will all need to get out and vote on Thursday.
Alexander Fiuza is a Research Executive at grassroots, Eurosceptic campaign Get Britain Out
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