Now that Mrs May has at last ‘graciously’ acknowledged the need to stand down - first as leader of the Conservatives and second as PM (albeit not until the end of July) - there is the first glimmer of some hope in political change occurring in Britain.
Change is, of course, a very fickle process. Right now we have the stated departure of a very unpopular and incompetent PM; what might replace her is the next question. In terms of the Conservative leadership there will, undoubtedly, be another Conservative taking on that role - so not so much of a tectonic political shift there we might argue. Whether such a Conservative leader might actually have some degree of competence is still an open issue, but whichever way you look at the current situation we are merely replacing one Tory with another. Much is being declared by prospective candidates about how they would change things if they were in the driving seat but again, whatever they do will have the interests of the Conservative Party central to those actions. A General Election within the foreseeable future will also run big risks for any new Tory incumbent if the contest is solely between the old school Conservative and Labour parties so there will be a reluctance from a governmental point of view to be drawn into election mode until the Brexit chaos is eventually resolved. The net result will be not much change at all.
The catalyst which could spur a more significant and necessary change will be a European Parliament election result that trounces the established Labour and Conservative perceived mandates to rule. If, therefore, the Brexit Party was to gain anything between 10-33% of the seats in the British quota of the parliament then there would be enormous leverage to introduce this party into the decision making process upon Brexit. Some of us might argue that had Mr Farage been leading the negotiations three years ago then Brexit would have been done and dusted long ago on infinitely more favourable terms than we are now faced with. But Brexit is but one goal. The equally important goal is to bring about British parliamentary and democratic change - and to do that this fledgling party will have to join in the fight for influence in the British arena and be prepared for that before a general election is called.
To truly have any hope of introducing significant political change in Westminster, a party like the Brexit Party has to be a player. It will fail in its objective of delivering Brexit as it was intended if the Tory and Labour establishments are perpetuated unchallenged. They can not deliver Brexit as it was intended without damage to their own established party infrastructures so it would be imperative that at least one other serious contender for the electorates vote, possibly a fourth one as well, enters the political debate in Britain. If Tory and Labour institutions are allowed - by us - to regain control of Westminster then the whole push for both Brexit and democratic reform will have been wasted and we will default to a more of the same mode of governance. That in no way reflects the public mood. However, the public mood and public actions are different things and as this blog repeatedly emphasises the British electorate must drop their traditional and passive apathy to political outcomes and get motivated to bring this most urgent change in the conduct of our national affairs about.
The Brexit Party has little ambition to run the country but it has big ambitions to bring political reform about. Other, newly formed political parties possibly have similar goals and together they all need to be encouraged to engage with any general election to ensure that it is not solely Brexit that is satisfactorily brought about but also the significant reform of how our governance is delivered. This is the crossroads; we will all be condemned by history if we fail to steel ourselves to helping bring vital and fresh reform to our our political system. The job is not done until it is properly done.