Glen Ruffle: This was NOT about Brexit

After losing a third major election, many commentators – including some at CCHQ – are in danger of drawing the wrong conclusions. The London-centric clique – which never wanted Brexit in the first place – has put the election result partly down to Brexit. It most certainly was not.

As observed here, the real Brexit result, had it not been for the forces arrayed against the Leave campaign, would have been more like 66-33 for Leave. Those voting Remain fell into two camps: genuinely deluded Europhiles, and those voting out of fear for the UK, not out of love for the EU.

This Leave sentiment has been confirmed by polls since the referendum, and by the fact that Corbyn’s Labour party also promised Brexit. Even Scotland, generally pro-Remain, rejected the SNP’s Europhilia.

Reasons for the election loss are deep. Thankfully, two of May’s advisors are now gone. But we should not lose sight of the fact that this was the third major loss by the Conservatives.

The first of CCHQ’s disasters was in 2010. Against Gordon Brown – head of the party which had sent Britain’s debt to record levels, sold off our gold at rock-bottom prices, and helped caused a global financial meltdown – all Cameron and CCHQ could do was achieve a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. Outright victory was squandered.

Finally, in 2015, victory was achieved: yet Cameron and the Conservatives then utterly miscalculated in their own EU referendum. Britain voted to leave the EU, and Cameron was gone. The second loss.

Let’s also not forget the Scottish independence referendum. Somehow, the SNP were allowed free reign to promise magical unicorns, resulting in a vote that was – while a decisive loss to the SNP – still far too close for comfort.

In 2017, all the Tories had to do was say nothing: and yet they blew it. The attack the Tories made on their own foundations – inheritance and the ties that bind generations together – fundamentally undermined trust in the party. Complacency cost the Conservative’s a strong majority. Loss number three.

The Party had nothing to say to a country that is crying out for reform. The NHS is suffering: the range of additional peripheral classes and sessions it offers has gone well beyond the core care it should provide, stretching governance and budgets beyond their limits.

Meanwhile, despite the increase in higher education, millions of students voted for the fairy-tale economics of Labour. There is a clearly a crisis in university education, and a growing dependence in society on biased sections of the media. Until universities can produce people capable of thinking for themselves and analysing the facts, instead of believing what The Guardian tells them to believe, a university education has no value.

The Conservatives need to start recruiting talent that is in touch with real people, and move away from the old-boys network of Oxbridge. A clear out of CCHQ might be required, along with an ambitious plan to fix Britain. For if young people carry their current voting intentions throughout their lives, the future is a scary shade of red…

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