We need to talk about how to fight a Brexit election

Nick Barlow
4 min readAug 6, 2019

Although we don’t know the exact date or circumstances in which it will occur, it’s almost certain that we’re going to be having a General Election at some point within the next few months. With the Johnson Government watching its majority crumble away and no other alternative likely to command a stable majority in the Commons, an election with Brexit as the key issue is going to look like the only way out of this situation.

Now, there have been plenty of words written by me and many, many others about how the parties might organise themselves for such an election and various other matters. Would one side or the other of the Brexit split end up divided? Could electoral alliances work? What steps do we have to take to remove the government to have an election? How do we have a Government of National Unity?

These are all important questions, but the frantic activity to find an answer to them is obscuring an even more important one — what message will we fight an election on? What’s your response going to be to voters when they ask about something other than Brexit, or just want to know what happens when we’ve finally Stopped Brexit? Because without that in place, we’re heading perilously close to running the 2016 referendum campaign all over again.

Whatever happens, and whatever the circumstances of the election, the side fighting for Brexit will be doing it with all the bullshit, bluster, and blather they can manage. They’ll push a grand vision of everything being wonderful if we all just believe in Britain, speaking a message of patriotic flag-waving, schools and hospitals and everything else fully funded thanks to the amazing deals we’re going to make with rapacious trans-Atlantic disaster capitalists, and any arguments against will be dismissed as Project Fear or the wailings of an unpatriotic bunch of evil metropolitan Remoaners who want Britain to fail.

Nick Barlow

Former academic and politician, now walking, cycling and working out what comes next. https://linktr.ee/nickbarlow