Yesterday was a good day for UKIP politically, perhaps the best one we’ve had for a while. Not mainly because of anything we’ve done, but because of what we haven’t done.
Theresa May has signalled a desire for a snap General Election – and called it on our home turf, Brexit (though not being a single-issue Party, we don’t have to stick to that one issue of course). Having repeatedly ruled out an election, now she’s calling one. I’m not opposed to the idea of a General Election in principle, of course I’m not. But I don’t like politicians saying one thing and then going out and doing the opposite just because they like the look of the opinion polls that day. It makes people trust them less.
Then she ruled out taking part in any General Election debates. Because, naturally, the last thing that the leader of the country should want to do in an election campaign is provide the public with an informed choice. Ducking debates makes her look, well, weak.
Later in the day, what the more politically astute of us had immediately suspected turned out to be the Case: Channel 4 News reported that the Crown Prosecution Service is considering whether there is a case for prosecutions of 30 individuals over the 2015 General Election expenses. It’s likely they’re almost all Conservatives, and that will bring charges that the Conservatives are going to the country now to avoid a string of by-elections. If there are prosecutions, they’ll be announced right in the middle of a General Election campaign. Not a good look.
Meanwhile, the Labour Party have shot themselves in the foot. Firstly, they missed an opportunity: a savvy Labour Party interested in its own election would have voted down an early election on the grounds that Theresa May herself said it would be disruptive. The Conservatives effectively need Labour support to force the election with the necessary two-thirds majority, and the only other way of calling one is the embarrassing and rather unedifying spectacle of the government calling a motion of no confidence in itself – which would have been shambolic.
Instead of spotting the political opportunity Corbyn just said he was going along with the Conservatives’ plan. He’s not so bright and never one to spot a gift horse when it’s staring him right in the mouth.
Labour currently, according to Guido, lack ‘a slogan’, a ‘key seats list’ and ‘a budget’ for a General Election. UKIP are actually much more advanced on all of these, for once! In some of our key seats we actually begin with more data than Labour, which makes a massive change.
If that wasn’t bad enough for Labour, John Woodcock MP has said that there’s ‘still time’ for his Leader to step down and that he ‘can’t countenance’ ever voting for Corbyn to be Prime Minister. If his own MPs won’t vote for him ahead of a Conservative, then Corbyn has a serious problem on his hands.
Lurching from crisis to crisis, the next real low point for Labour today was Corbyn’s plan to deselect a substantial number of his own backbenchers. Because naturally, he doesn’t think he needs their support. I’m not normally one to use words like ‘facepalm’ but I’m getting close. Labour’s NEC seem to oppose that idea, so they’re ready to descend into a new and brutal civil war just before a General Election.
The SNP thought it would be wise to go from demanding an election to criticising an election within 24 hours, demonstrating a U-turn faster and more ferocious than the famous bend at the San Marino Grand Prix.
Then the Liberal Democrats got in on the act. Tim Farron thought that now was the time to espouse his religious views on homosexuality, once again implying that he considers it to be a sin. I mean, he’s perfectly entitled to his opinion, but if he believes that what on earth is he doing leading the Liberal Democrats?
Finally, Tony Blair crops back up and raises the spectre that he’ll campaign for some anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats. Wonderful news for everyone except the Liberal Democrats, I’m sure. Though he’ll campaign for anti-Brexit Labour candidates too. And it reminds the public of Tony Blair, which is bad news for the Labour Party too.
UKIP, meanwhile, know what we stand for. Some old big names seem to be headed back into the limelight and the Party is quietly gearing up for battle behind the scenes more impressively than I’d expected.
More importantly though, everyone else made serious blunders yesterday. Paul Nuttall didn’t. UKIP didn’t. Long may this continue.