I divide my time between two constituencies, the first a rock-solid Conservative seat in the south-east of England, the other a Labour-held marginal (which the Tories expected to take) in the north-east of England. And the thing I have not seen in either place is a nice blue placard or poster saying ‘Conservative’. Not one anywhere — completely absent. There are loads of them about for the other parties — mainly Labour, but a fairly broad scattering of that vacuous washed-out orange favoured by the Lib Dems and, in the southern constituency, a fair few for the Greens.
I suppose you might argue that Conservative voters think it vulgar to advertise their political allegiances. Whereas for Labour and Lib Dem voters, putting up a poster is a kind of virtue--signalling, a bit like lighting one of those candles we have at our regular vigils to commemorate the victims of Islamic murder. A Labour poster in your window says that you are a deeply caring person, whereas a Tory poster says simply: ‘I am a complete and utter bastard.’ That has always been the case to a degree, but I cannot remember a time when Tory posters were in such short supply. It reminds me a little of being in San Francisco in the run-up to the 2004 presidential election, when the sententious lantern-jawed bore John Kerry was challenging George W. Bush. In that most liberal of all cities, there were anti-Bush posters and placards on just about every housefront, most of them making some kind of humorous vaginal reference. But not a single poster actually for Kerry. Kerry lost, of course.
You have the advantage over me in knowing the outcome of the general election: you are in a more certain place than I am right now. Perhaps already (in my nightmares) packing your stuff up preparatory to relocating to Györ or Debrecen, where they have a vigorously right-wing government with admirably clear views about immigration and a top rate of tax of 15 per cent. And an excellent cuisine, if you like strawberry soup and goulash.
Whatever — even from my fragile standpoint, this has been a counter-intuitive election. Two long-standing shibboleths have been demolished — first, that the six weeks of an election campaign do not much affect the reputation of the political parties from the time at which the election was called. The Tories were ahead by at least 18 to 20 points at the end of April. And second, that the sitting government tends to strengthen its vote towards the end of a campaign. Both of those have bitten the dust, whatever the outcome.
Never have I ever seen a politician so comprehensively undone, unstitched, come apart, in such a short space of time as Theresa May. I’ve said many times that I thought Labour was much stronger than the polls suggested, and also laid into May’s lamentable campaign. But worse followed — by the last week of the campaign she had got herself into a position where absolutely nothing played well for her. Even the stuff that should play well somehow rebounded.
Such as the attacks upon our country and our people by violent Muslims. Two years ago, the Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell signed a letter demanding that MI5 be abolished, the special police squads which track terrorists be disbanded, and the police disarmed. Imagine the much, much greater carnage that would have occurred at London Bridge and well beyond if this repulsive Trotskyite idiot had had his way. McDonnell latterly denied having signed or even seen the letter. But he is an inveterate serial liar and — soon enough — a photograph emerged of him grinning like a jackanapes while holding the demands aloft, saying they were ‘essential’ for a socialist Labour government.
Meanwhile, as late as March this year, Corbyn attacked the ‘Prevent’ strategy on the grounds that it unfairly focused upon the Muslim community, thus ignoring the appalling threat posed to us by incendiary Methodists, Christadelphians, Rastafarians, Buddhists etc.
These two examples of juvenile and imbecilic leftist attitudinising should have been sufficient to ensure that the party never got within a million miles of power. And yet for some reason this stuff simply ceased to play with the voters. What did play was that the outrages occurred on Theresa May’s watch, both as Prime Minister and Home Secretary, and the fact that she had cut the police force.
In the buffeting and turmoil of campaign maelstroms, politicians often become detached from what the public is thinking. In response to the London Bridge murders, May made a superficially strong speech which was lamentably thin on detail. It is all very well saying ‘Enough is enough’ in a very determined manner, but nothing she said could dissuade the public from suspecting that another attack was just around the bend and that, actually, enough wasn’t quite enough, so far as the jihadis were concerned.
She could have done this. There are hundreds of people identified by the security services as being ‘of special interest’ because of their patent and frequently expressed wish to kill us all. Deport all of them who were not born in Britain — kick them out. The lot. Those who are British citizens should be kept under the equivalent of house arrest and jailed if they transgress the terms of that house arrest.
Of the other 20,000 who are ‘of interest’ to the security services, deport all those who are not British-born. Do not let people who have been fighting for Isis in Syria and Iraq back into the UK. Close down Islamic schools. If Muslims want to send their kids to Islamic schools, let them do so in Bangladesh or Qatar, not here. We are not yet an Islamic country.
And start investigating the mosques with a bit more rigour. How about that?