There are many urban legends that go flying around. You get ones like lemmings commit suicide by throwing themselves off cliffs, or cows only sit down when they know it’s going to rain. It’s all complete guff, of course. Lemmings don’t throw themselves off high ledges kamikaze-style, and I’ve seen plenty of cows sitting down around the Dales these past few weeks, even though the nearest rainfall is currently somewhere just outside Jupiter.
Another misconception that does the rounds is that Tony Blair won an unprecedented mandate and millions and millions of former Tory voters in 1997. Like the story of the lemmings and the cows, it’s utter baloney. Let’s look at the voter totals (rounded to the nearest 100,000) from both the 1992 and 1997 elections:
Yes, even with D:Ream songs, ‘New Labour’ and a set of teeth so white they’d make Donny Osmond jealous, Tony Blair still got 600,000 votes LESS than Major had secured five years earlier! The massive difference in seat tallies was partly down to the appalling imbalance of constituency boundaries, which did (and do) give an advantage to the predominantly urban areas where Labour traditionally does well.
Taking into account the drop in the Lib Dem total because of transfers to Labour, it’s not unreasonable to assume that only around 1.5 million voters who had opted for the Conservatives in 1992 switched directly to Blair. Contrast that alongside the massive 4.5 million fall in the Conservative vote tally and you’re left with around 3 million people who had vanished from the polling booths by May 1997.
Even if you factor in natural population changes (which have a far slower effect on voting patterns than the more fanciful media commentators would have you believe), we’re still looking at something around 2.8 – 3 million Tory voters who simply stayed at home in 1997. My father was one of them! Had each and every one of them voted Conservative, Blair’s 1997 overall majority would have been reduced from 179 seats to around 60 (the approximate majority Blair did get eight years later in 2005).
Why am I talking about all this? Because of the toxicity of Theresa May’s Chequers sell-out – a surrender that has now seen David Davis and Steve Baker resign from government. This woman thinks she can foist a phoney Brexit on her party and millions of Brexiteers and get away with it! She can’t. I think we’re at the biggest crisis in Conservative politics since Black Wednesday in September 1992. If she doesn’t relent, my view is that the party will split and then go down to an election defeat as big as it did 21 years ago. However, this time we don’t have ‘cuddly’ Tony, his perma-grin and New Labour waiting in the wings with D:Ream; we have Corbyn Monoxide, the poison of the far-Left and DJ Lenin waiting in da house. And he WILL be the next PM unless May radically changes course. Because I, and I suspect millions of other Tory Leave voters, will stay at home for so long as either she or this crazy stitch-up remain in situ.