I have felt for a while that leave voters need to organise electorally, but not being a natural leader, I haven’t really felt qualified to do anything to get us towards this.
However, vacuums always end up being filled, so in the absence of any other discussion on the way forward, I’m going to offer my thoughts.
At this stage I’m just thinking out loud. We don’t yet know when the next general election will be, but it’s hard to see the current government lasting until 2022, or even making it to 2020, so I’m working on the assumption that we don’t have long to organise ourselves.
After leave won the EU referendum UKIP collapsed, they are unlikely to rise up again, their time as a potent political force is over. The Conservative party then appeared to take on the mantle of a brexit supporting political party, and were the largest party in the 2017GE because of that, with 70% of their voters being leavers.
No self respecting leaver can possibly vote Conservative now, except to support the Conservative MPs who have genuinely supported brexit. But to vote for one of the Conservative MPs who has worked to undermine brexit, would be totally unacceptable for most of us, I’m sure.
How these two sides of the party can stay together, I don’t know, but if the Conservative party won’t split, we’re going to have to do it for them. We must not vote for Conservative MPs who have undermined brexit.
The obvious point to make here, is that if we don’t vote Conservative we’ll get Labour, who are even more hostile to brexit. There have been a few Labour MPs who have supported brexit, but their numbers are small. However, the benefit of that is that there are a lot of Labour seats with high numbers of leave voters, where we could have a good leave candidate, and do some serious damage, if we vote tactically. So it sort of balances out.
So what do we do? The first step, it seems to me, is to have viable candidates in the seats where we can do well/cause most damage to brexit wrecking MPs.
What does it take to be a parliamentary candidate? I’ve never been one myself, but I’ve always liked fighting elections, and was once an agent during a general election, so from my limited experience, I’ll tell you what I think it involves.
Lots, and lots, and lots of hard work. Did I say lots? no really, it’s lots, and lots, and lots, and lots. Anyway, you get the idea. There are no safe seats for leavers, no party structures, no party fundraising. It is a massive amount of work, and requires enormous levels of energy, and enthusiasm.
Do you have that energy, that enthusiasm? Do you feel strongly enough about leave to stand as a candidate? Do you feel able to do all the networking, all the delivering leaflets, all the team building, all the knocking on doors, all the going to events and meeting people who may or not vote for you? If you do, then great, we need you.
Since the referendum a few smaller leave supporting parties have appeared, and I welcome them all, but none of them, at this stage, have the political “presence” to win a parliamentary seat on their own, especially with FPTP. So we need to work together as leavers, if we want to have any impact on the next general election, whenever it may be.
I want to flag something here, that is important, but needs to be dealt with later on, in more detail. Because none of the brexit supporting parties can win on their own, we need a coalition of leavers, of some sort, but my discussion here is neither intended to preclude candidates from existing parties being the person we rally behind, nor exclude independents.
People who want to stand as independents, or party candidates, have to make their own decisions about whether or not they have what it takes to do this. But I do think a candidate who reflects the prevailing political allegiances of the seat they are standing in, and has local connections, would be good. But this is all very complicated, and needs serious discussion, so more later.
But if you don’t feel you can do be a candidate, then are you willing to help someone who does feel as if they can? Because we need you too. We need everyone!
Here is a provisional list below, of what I think needs to be done.
Identify seats with most leave voters, and where we can do most damage to brexit wreckers (this does matter, it feels a bit revengey, but MPs do need to be made aware that there are consequences as a result of ther actions).
Identify people who are willing to stand, and it is, it really is, a lot of work.
Build up a network of people who will support candidates, campaign teams are needed. It would be good if this were happen in cooperation with the leave parties, but also involving people who are committed leavers but not members of any party. We must work together.
Fundraising. It costs money to fight elections.
Strategy. We need a strategy. This is pretty much why I’m starting to blog here, I want to begin a debate from which a strategy can be build.
There is much more more than this to think about, obviously, but this will do for now. I’m hoping to make this a regular blog, daily at first, because there is so much to think about. I’ve barely touch the surface of the things that need to be considered, and decided upon here, so if I’ve left out something out, that seems important to you, then tell me, but also bear with me, I can’t talk about everything straight away. My main goal is to start people thinking, and talking, and hoping that leads to action. So tell me what you think we need to do.
© Frances Smith 2019
This article was first published on Medium.com
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