Tories trounced, Farage flying

I haven’t found exactly what I’ve been looking for in the way of analysis of the European Parliament election results in the United Kingdom. The Telegraph’s weekly newsletter summary put it this way yesterday:

The Conservatives have been decimated in the European elections and recorded their worst result in history, as Nigel Farage’s six-week-old Brexit party triumphed. The European elections, which were never supposed to happen, proved disastrous for both the Tories and Labour, as the vote polarised between parties backing hard Brexit and Remain.

Mr Farage’s Brexit Party came first and the Liberal Democrats second, with Labour third, the Greens fourth and the Tories fifth. The success of the Brexit Party will ignite the Tory leadership race and is likely to bolster the case of Eurosceptic candidates pushing for Britain to leave with or without a deal on October 31.

Even NPR’s Frank Langfitt seems to get the drift. NPR quotes Langfitt: “This is the worst showing by the Conservative Party since the 1830s.”

Jack Blanchard wrote here at greater length in Politico’s London Playbook yesterday, and all of Blanchard’s comments are worth a look. Among Blanchard’s takeaways is this one: “Nigel Farage was undoubtedly the night’s big winner, taking a political party formed just four months ago to the top of the polls on its debut outing — a feat never before seen in British politics.”

Blanchard contributes a good quote from Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt as well in this observation: “Astonishingly for the party of government, the Tories failed to finish top in a single one of the 300-plus local authority areas across Britain. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt admitted the Tories face an ‘existential crisis.’”

Responding to my email inquiry, Spectator USA Life & Arts editor Dominic Green adds this preview of coming attractions with his characteristic literary flair and gives me exactly what I have found to be missing in the analyses:

The obvious conclusion is that the next Conservative leader should be committed to Brexit in order to restore trust, must be prepared to steer the party right in order to head off the Brexit Party, and must be able to appeal to the center ground at the next general election. Whether enough Conservative MPs have internalized this will be shown in the next few weeks, as the leadership contest gets under way. The only candidate who possesses all three of these criteria is Boris Johnson, who twice won mayoral races in Labour-majority London, and who, after some prevarication, led the Brexit referendum campaign in 2016. Johnson is the Conservative members’ favorite, but the members don’t get to vote until the MPs have whittled down the field to the last two candidates. There is every chance that Johnson will be ambushed on his way to the Senate.

This is, as they say, a developing story.

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