The political parties are gearing up for the EU elections on May 23rd, candidates are being announced, campaigns and manifestos being readied and polling cards are arriving in the post.
Change UK even have a tannoy van driving around Glasgow telling people that both Labour and the Conservatives want Brexit so if you want to stay European the only choice is to vote for Change UK (they are an English political party).
I am guessing the Change UK announcer hasn’t seen the EU polling for Scotland that has Change UK with zero chance of gaining an MEP. A YouGov poll published in The Times last week found that the SNP have an absolutely staggering 25% lead on second-placed Labour up 11 points from the 29% they secured at the last election.
Here is the Scottish voting intention for the Euro elections:
Brexit Party 14%
By comparison, in the most recent major poll for the rest of the UK by YouGov on behalf Hope not Hate, Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is predicted to win the EU elections with 28% (up 5% in a week):
Can you spot the difference? In Scotland, the most EU friendly political party has a 25% lead and in the rest of the UK, the party that is dedicated to making Brexit happening is pulling clear. Not only that but pro-Brexit parties hold 68% of the votes in rUK. UKIP are fast becoming irrelevant and the Conservatives are leaking votes to Farage and co so the Brexit party will probably comfortably pass 30% by polling day and win handsomely. In which case the idea of peoples vote (second EU referendum) is dead.
Now put yourself in Theresa May’s shoes. The EU elections will only take place if the UK Parliament can’t agree on a Brexit deal beforehand. With these polls piling on the pressure there may well now be the votes to get an agreement on a customs union/softer Brexit through the house with Labour support. A compromise by May to make Brexit happen is now a lot more likely than a few weeks ago.
Why on earth would the PM want these elections to take place? Her party will be destroyed in Scotland, severely denting Ruth Davidson’s waining credibility and knocking the Conservative party to single figures in Scotland. The vote would also solidify the SNP’s mandate for a second independence referendum, given that it is likely that once again Scotland will vote pro-EU and England will vote for Brexit suporting parties. A Farage win overall would also boost support for Scottish independence over the 50% mark, the YouGov poll also found independence support already at 49%.
In the UK-wide vote May would not only be handing a massive victory to Nigel Farage (an own goal that the EU referendum was suposed to avoid) but also running the risk that both the Greens and Change UK might even relegate the Conservatives to an unthinkable 5th place. A result her leadership woound not survive. The new Conservative leader will be picked specifically to beat Farage and so it will be Johnson and the union will be dead.
Labour also have an interest in not holding EU elections. Earlier this week the party fudged their commitment to a second EU referendum as that would be almost impossible to justify to their own Brexit leaning supporters (there are many) and they need to stop those voters moving to the Brexit party. If Johnson is the conservatives next leader then the Brexit party votes will go back to the Conservatives and Labour will lose the next General Election.
If I were one of the main Westminster political party leaders, I would be looking to stop the EU elections urgently and be looking to do a deal – there is no millage for either leader in losing to the Brexit Party.
So if the EU elections do go ahead it will be for one simple reason – the Westminster political system is so messed up, dysfunctional and incompetent that they can’t even see the writing on the wall.