Should I vote for Reform?

A few weeks ago I asked readers if I should vote Tory. Now the question is, should I vote for Reform? The debate in my head is no longer about who will be the next government – ​​that’s over, it’s Labor – but who the small conservatives would prefer to see as opposition.

It is not improbable that the Tories will have fewer seats than the Lib Dems and fewer votes than Reform on July 4. In that case, their historic claim as the monopoly party of the Midwest is dead.

Last week started life in a boring election. Rishi had a good debate but Nigel Farage stole the show by taking control of Reform and announcing a bid for Clacton-on-Sea. Then Sunak rushed D-Day. He has my sympathies: I hate long ceremonies and he once had a car accident to get out of a wedding. But his early departure seemed designed to inflame the Tory base, to remind them how artless and unsympathetic Rishi is. Blair’s heirs have professionalized British politics to the point of amateurism.

To add insult to injury, the PM used his last days in office to parachute chums and allies into safe seats. Happily, many of them will lose. Sadly, there could be enough to win to ensure that the parliamentary rumble that survives the July market will be dominated by Liberals who think the Tories have gone down in flames because they haven’t spent enough, taxed enough or let their enough immigrants in.

It is this stupidity, so predictable, that makes one want to wipe out a lot of them in one fell swoop.

I feel like a tooth sans-culottes survey a series of juicy heads: to the guillotine, thwack, thwack, thwack!

But here’s the thing: conservatives aren’t revolutionaries, we’re monarchists. We like peace and order, to take a good, hard look before we jump. What, then, is this thing called Amendment?

Most polls show a surge in support, but to varying degrees. Savanta puts them at just 11 percent; Reform is two points behind YouGov at 17; Redfield & Wilton say they are leading among men and the elderly. If a crossover is possible in the polling position, it must happen soon – as the week of the announcement will dominate the headlines.

Farage relies on the free media for publicity. He thrives on controversy. Laura Kuenssberg reminded that one of his advisers has a conviction for fraud, he said that he believes in forgiveness and sticks to his friends (bravo).

During last Friday’s seven-way debate – at which Penny Mordaunt’s hair looked like a bird of prey, mid-flight – he responded to the question of immigration with a recitation of precise and shocking numbers.

The decision by Labor and the Tories to run highly controlled presidential campaigns now looks like a mistake when faced with a Teflon entertainer who could sell Arthur Daley a second-hand car – and the triumph of personality hides Reform problems.

For one, the party is nothing without Nigel. Critics call it a shell company, owned by Farage but which until recently relied on Richard Tice’s money: in mid-May it was reported that Tice was responsible for around 80 per cent of its funding pledged in loans and donations from 2021 towards.

This helps explain his poor performance in by-elections; Reform lacked the volunteers and infrastructure needed to compete, and the galvanizing issue of Brexit was absent.

He is riven by squabbles. When Farage announced he was running for Clacton, the current Reform candidate, Tony Mack, faithfully stepped aside – the last time I saw Mack, he was on top of the Reform bus, shouting at punters. Days later, he announced that he would run as an independent candidate instead. He shared a post on Facebook that denounced “sneaky f*****s who disguise themselves as good people”.

I met a lot of nice and fun Reformers in Clacton. I also met some racists, as well as Tommy Robinson fans. Over the past decade, the Ukip/Brexit/Reform Party has played an important, uncredited role in defusing the distance question by channeling anger into legitimate politics – but a party defined by a desire for sovereignty will always be a magnet for pity, and this . it may be the theme that ends the Restoration honeymoon.

Journalists have already tracked candidates who have said asylum seekers are natural liars or compared black people to monkeys. As a defense of Reform, it has quickly faded away – and the right-wing Green Party has hardly been forced to take action against candidates accused of anti-Semitism.

Meanwhile, if Blue Wall voters find Reform illiberal, Red Wall voters might be surprised to hear Nigel at the debate calling for a new funding structure for the NHS. The party’s website suggests this means expanding private sector capacity rather than selling wards to Tesco, but the populist Right often struggles to reconcile poor man’s cultural values ​​with rich man’s economics – and is a disaffected Thatcherite. Farage in heart. Labour’s lines of attack write themselves.

In short, those who are replacing the Tories with Reform are exchanging a party with history, experience and breadth for a one-man band that is unacceptable to core parts of the electorate (and to Scottish nationalists).

However, the way one thinks about the future of the British Right changes little from the prospect of the Reform winning seats. I suspect that it will not be a major defect to the Reformation, but a reconciliation of the Reformation and the Conservatives, creating a hybrid movement that shifts politics decisively towards the antagonism we see on the Continent.

The legacy of Brexit is to make us more politically European. Someday, Prime Minister Miriam Cates will elevate Nigel Farage to the Lords.

The implementation of this long-term realignment is much more interesting than the current election. I have no idea if Starmer won. Despite some mild hysteria, nobody believes he’s a socialist, and there’s nothing the Tories say Labor could do that the Tories haven’t already done in historic numbers.

That’s why the party label is discredited. Millions of us will vote candidate-by-candidate, combing through individual voting records or statements – Tory, Reform or SDP – to find the MP we most want in place when Britain’s conservative movement is rebuilt. après le déluge.

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