Despite everything, it looks like Boris Johnson is a winner for the Tory party. At least, that’s what his supporters would you like you to think. He’s (illegally) prorogued parliament, seen off some of the party’s oldest standing members, shrugged off scandals and, at one stage, suggested he’s willing to break the law to see Brexit through. The more conflict he creates, the more his polling rises. Earlier this month 35 percent of the public said they’d vote for him if there was an election held tomorrow. Meanwhile, Labour languishes around 20 percent, having been in the forties a couple of years back. But a third of the vote is obviously not enough for Boris to get a clear majority, and he seems to be losing points as a “do or die” Brexit looks less certain. It’s understandable why be believes that the more he pushes the “will of the people” agenda, the more votes he will get. To a point.
But 35 percent of the vote isn’t that impressive. Theresa May, who didn’t outwardly attract a lot of public support, was polling in the forties earlier this year, even as plans were afoot to oust her. Labour too were doing considerably better. It all went pear shaped when Brexit wasn’t delivered, giving fuel to Nigel Farage’s newly founded Brexit party. By June it sucked the life out of Tory support, but Boris Johnson has fought back and put Farage back in his place. For now. If we’re still in the EU at the end of October, the tables could turn again. Whatever the mix of pro-Brexit parties, it seems they collectively will gather about 45 percent of the vote. Hence, Boris is fighting for the lions share of the smallest piece of the pie.
Sadly, this highlights the single story behind Brexit. In 2015 YouGov polls were showing that UKIP was consistently polling around 17 percent of the vote. By this time, for four years they had diluted the Tory vote, giving Labour the lead on the polls. With the Coalition with the Lib Dems dead, killing off UKIP was the only option but, as we know, it didn’t exactly go according to plan for PM Cameron.
The tragedy is, where did all the anti-EU sentiment come from? There’s always seen opposition in the UK. YouGov polls show that back in 2012, between 48 and 51 percent of the population would vote to leave the EU if the opportunity presented itself. But, back then, there was also a lot of uncertainty. Almost a quarter of those polled said they wouldn’t vote, or they didn’t know which what they’d vote. Now only 7 percent don’t have a clear opinion, and only 7 percent wouldn’t vote. Over the years Nigel Farage has clearly done a good job of whipping up the issue and solidifying opinions, one way or another.
The disappointing conclusion is that, whilst our Prime Minister promises to leave, come what may, people’s attitudes have changed. Polls just after the referendum had 45 percent wanting to leave, against 42 percent choosing to remain. Nine consecutive YouGov polls since September 2017 have had remain in the lead, most recently six points ahead of leave.
In short, we have a Conservative government fighting another pro-Brexit party to wrangle control and deliver something that, if the polls are to be believed, the majority are set against. That’s democracy for you.