The People vs. Parliament

In a world in which men crown themselves champions in women’s sports, an exciting cultural mutation churns.

Turkeys, long considered to harbor a grave and considerate suspicion of the festive season, last week voted for Christmas. A modish progression. 

After twice blocking an election, and refusing to help pass Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, Labour last week backed a Christmas election. 

It is on

The first winter poll in over a century places not just the Marxist turkey, but every political trimming on the December 12 general election table. Brexit, Boris Johnson, Labour’s Jonestown flirtation, all displayed. One party devours all. 

This is not hyperbole. Not yet. The loser will become a footnote, a dalliance—the groaning answer to a docile question at a sleepy pub quiz. 

The confected excitement on the faces of hardcore Remain lawmakers said it all. 

At the time of writing, polls suggest Boris Johnson’s Conservatives rest on 40 percent of the vote. Labour settles at 24 percent. The Liberal Democrats, who plan to cancel Brexit, are on 15 percent. The latter did not want an election. The British people have a nasty and infectious habit of providing their betters with the wrong answer.

British voters grow tired of the games. The blocks, the did-they-know-what-they-were-voting-fors, the putdowns, British people are just enthralled at the thought of a Brexit-stuffed Christmas. One suffused with yet more games by people they don’t particularly like, but tolerate.

The sky is helplessly black by 5 p.m. Pubs are beginning to teem with those strange “seasonal drinkers,” whose ghastly habit of ordering Guinness last inflames the capable, year-round pubman. 

What this country needs is more irksome politics. More unwelcome impositions. 

Another election is exactly what nobody wanted, but the chance to marmalize lawmakers is whetting the collective tongue. 

They’ve drained three and a half years, skipped two deadlines, all while insulting the intelligence of their employers.

Scores of lawmakers can see the glint of the pitchforks: so far, 56 have announced this week they are stepping down

Now, the Remainers have their “second referendum” (which is the third)—that mithridate they assume will snooze politics back to a gauziness where the proles piped down. 

It is the people versus Parliament. 

And nobody dare make solid predictions. After all, Theresa May, two years ago, skunked a 20-point lead. Jeremy Corbyn almost called himself “prime minister.” 

The absolute key rests with the Conservatives and Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. 

As proven in my own constituency, a Brexit Party candidate does little but spoil the ballot, ensuring the Remainer wins unmolested. 

There is serious chatter that Farage, urged by his members of the European Parliament, could drop fire from 450 seats to just 20 or 30 punched in Leave-voting Labour heartlands

Already, it swirls that an informal non-aggression pact between the two Brexiteers is inked. Farage would flood the resources of 400-plus seats into the 30 they could win. 

Boris, meanwhile, gets to fight without hen-peckers. 

It could all go horribly wrong. 

Labour’s offer of a second referendum between their nonexistent Brexit deal and Remain could mollify both sides. 

The Liberal Democrats could prove a forever home for aghast Conservative Remainers, while the Scottish Nationalists dust endangered Scottish Tories. 

Combine that with an AWOL Brexit Party: We have Prime Minister Corbyn, a rigged second referendum, the death of Brexit, and an Independent Scotland. 

Yet, the signs are favorable to the true center of the country. This election will be decided by what Remainers hate most: older, white males without a college degree. You might call them Trump Democrats. 

We call him Workington Man. Remainers call him Gammon. And he calls whether Boris picks up seats in places where Conservatives have not won for decades—if ever. 

Like President Trump’s election, and re-election, all paths run through appealing to those ex-Labour, and Democratic, voters deemed unfashionable by the radicals relieving both of their birthright.

Workington Man voted Leave. He is an “older, white, non-graduate male,” who works with his hands, or in lower-level management. He favors stability and security over freedom. He tilts left on the economy. Socially and culturally, he is open and moderately conservative. 

He lives in areas which, since 1918, have on average elected a Tory MP just once every ten general elections. Workington Man is Trump Democrat—the radical majority. 

I know a few. Drinking in bars where work-boots cake the doormat teaches one more about politics and pulse than the subtitled spivs on the screens above. 

Bars where “Tory” and “Conservative” were once treacherous insults. Now, Jeremy Corbyn is “an idiot,” and Boris “knows what he is doing.” 

The working men (and women) want the Tory poshboy in power. Blue-collar workers prefer Boris to Corbyn 48 percent to 18 percent.

Indeed, 35 percent of voters think Boris is on the “side of the people.” Just 23 percent say the same of Corbyn. For a Conservative, this is—to put it mildly—unheard of. 

Remarkably, Boris leads Corbyn on the National Health Service. The same NHS which every election Labour claims will be “sold off,” by the Tories. The same phantasm which visibly spikes Labour’s polling numbers. 

Boris leads Corbyn, in fact, on every issue except one—welfare. 

After all: his one-nation Tory instincts bestride the true middle. He wants to get Brexit done. Spend more on the NHS (a religion here) and put more police on the streets. 

Like Workington Man, Boris wants to control immigration, bump up the minimum wage, and spread opportunity handing the “left-behind,” a ladder. 

Both reject political correctness and the politics of victimhood. 

Corbyn, meanwhile, offers his “democratic socialism,” to nationalize major industries, supertax the richest 5 percent, and welcome whoever would like to come here (as long as they vote Labour.)

Workington Man, though assumed “racist” by the more reflexive of Remainers, sympathizes with those immigrants. He appreciates how hard they work. Like he does. 

He also considers that affordable housing, higher wages, and national identity mean just as much to his children, as they do of those making their way to these shores. 

Remainers might call him a “gammon,” and he shrugs. At least he is not a turkey. 

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About Christopher Gage

Christopher Gage is a British political journalist and a founding member of the Gentlemen of the Swig. Subscribe to his Substack, "Oxford Sour."

Photo: (Photo credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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