I can hear someone’s children from my room, screaming at the top of their lungs in some far-off, but not far-off enough, back garden as I sit here writing this. The unnatural ability of someone with a 1 digit age to have infinite air in the lungs and throats of steel is the guarantee of headaches in a mile radius, and there’s already several that have been cultivating around my dome for the past three years.
The European Elections were the second democratic check over the state of the country and Brexit after the council elections, and while the council elections proclaimed the simple message that the Labour and (especially) Conservative parties were becoming as popular as rotten meat in a picnic in regards to their handling of Brexit, the results of the European Elections have declared everyone a winner, apparently.
Farage’s Brexit Party is the obvious winner, taking the most votes and securing the most seats, but parties backing a people’s vote (Liberal Democrats, Greens, Change UK) are also winners, for they together received more votes than the Brexit Party and UKIP combined (though beating the latter was not an impressive feat this year). So the two warring beasts of Leave and Remain both declare their crowns and nothing has been solved. Fantastic.
We do have some genuine losers that not even the most artful spin doctors could create gold from. UKIP’s lost its Farage luster, and floundered in such a pitiful sight that Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson) left his election count early, securing only 2.2% of the vote. He blamed a conspiracy against him, since his hateful views had him banned by social media (though he blamed “the government” for this, unclear why) and has lost his £5’000 deposit because he lost so spectacularly.
Labour is down over ten points and ten seats (as of writing, with one count to be completed). Corbyn faces more anger, and we wait for the moment where the second referendum becomes unavoidable for him. Inch by inch he has been moving toward the idea, and now he says that he will indeed call for one, though obviously the general election takes priority.
And why shouldn’t it, when the Tory’s results and prospects are so dire that one must be just itching for the chance to slay the ruling dragon when it’s at its weakest and most confused. 4 meagre seats, down 15% of the vote, behind even the Green Party, is a result that has red faces on all the blue ties at the minute. MEP Sajjad Karim lost his seat after 15 years, and publicly accused the party of “abandoning the election battlefield”, which puts the sorry state of the party in a morose perspective, making it seem they didn’t even bother to fight back and just accepted its defeat. Perhaps everyone was busy anticipating and arranging the Prime Minister’s (tactically) tearful departure announcement.
But this leads to the more interesting framework built by the European Elections, rather than what it says about Brexit; the direction for our new leader. The views on Brexit were shown to be ‘divided and complicated’ once again by this vote, which we knew beforehand, but now there is even more for the hopeful candidates to point to when standing up to win the favour of their parties. The success of the Brexit Party can be pointed to for support of a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit (though, even with 31.6% of the vote, this still leaves 68.4% of the country against such an utterly awful and poorly thought through idea). The comeback of the Lib Dems from their miserable efforts in the 2010 coalition can be pointed to in support of Remaining and a public vote. Most importantly however, their own failure can be highlighted to show that whatever has been happening in the party has not been working.
A change of tactics is needed, and lord knows that all the hopefuls are going to bring in their own ideas and battle plans. It’ll be time to point out the ridiculousness of those ideas, and indeed the characters spouting them themselves, once we have a full cast. Sajid Javid, Home Secretary, announced his own entry this morning, becoming the ninth member to do so. Weeds will be trimmed, most certainly, but it’s anyone’s game right now. Boris Johnson is the favourite, but faces loud opposition, thank god. Trying to predict who will take Downing Street at this stage only adds another layer to the migraine.
EU Parliament Image – By CherryX per Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21931158