THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Inflammatory speech? You ain’t seen nothing yet, mofos!
Is Boris playing 4D chess?

An awkward silence

So much is going on in our land and yet I have little to say. I used to be known in my circles for having an opinion on everything. I rather despised the kind of indecisive person I now find myself to be. So this post is unique among all the hundreds I have written here. I am not telling you what I think. I am asking you what I should do. I am lost. Please guide me.

I have never before been in the position of not knowing how to vote in a General Election. It has been a long time since I was young and daft enough to identify with the programme of any prospective government, but I have always been pragmatic enough to know which would do the least damage. This time I just wish all the rascals could lose. The conduct of our politicians, civil servants and the rest of the Establishment has destroyed my last vestiges of faith in our democracy. I feel that voting at all will only give credence to a monstrous lie.

I have donated to, and am a registered supporter of, the Brexit Party. It has done a remarkable job of holding the government's feet to the fire over Brexit but the public now seems (perhaps from sheer exhaustion) to want to believe the Prime Minister's propaganda. Running a full campaign won't "split the Brexit vote" because the Conservatives are proposing Brexit in name only. It won't "cost us Brexit" because the Conservatives have already done that. It just risks validating the Goebbels-grade lies of the Remain ultras by making it seem that the vote to Leave was an aberration.

If the Conservatives accepted Nigel Farage's offer of a "Leave Alliance", voters in the naturally Labour seats in the North that are BXP's best hope would just view their candidates as Tories in sheep's clothing and vote accordingly.

If Labour win, it will be bad for our economy. We will also lose our place in the councils of the West. It will not be possible, for example, safely to share intelligence with a country led by someone sympathetic to our enemies. Other Western intelligence services will use us only as a channel for what the Russians call мистификация (mistifikatsiya – i.e disinformation). Anything they are prepared to tell us will be, by definition, untrue because they will expect it to be promptly passed to Corbyn's "friends".

The only reasons (for me) to vote Labour would be (a) to punish the Conservative Party for the appalling mess it has made of the last few years and (b) to give a younger generation stupidly scornful of the lessons of history modern proof of the economic and moral dangers of socialism. That the single most stupid idea in the history of political and economic thought is popular among the young is so horrifying that enduring a few years of it in practice might be worth it to try to save them.

There is no reason to vote Liberal Democrat. None. My only purpose in mentioning that abomination of a Party is to experience, briefly and nostalgically, the sense of political certainty I used to enjoy.

In my London constituency, with a high percentage of Remainers (and a minority of voters actually born on these windswept islands) a vote for the Brexit Party would be a protest. Most of my fellow-voters here have neither an understanding of, nor an affection for, the traditions, ideas and legal principles upon which our country was built. The contest will therefore be between the third-rate Leftist sociology lecturer (apologies for the multiple tautologies) who is the current Labour MP and whatever candidate the Liberal Democrats put up. It was a Conservative seat when I moved here eight years ago, but the Tories have no chance in this Brexit election.

Brexit apart, there is simply no point in a Conservative Party that has abandoned all the distinguishing features of conservative thought. I hate it more than the others because it's the party that ought to reflect my economic views most closely, but now doesn't. I expect to be despised, betrayed and robbed by the others. It hurts more from them.

It has abandoned its principles in the fruitless pursuit of votes from Guardianisti. As any fool might have predicted, however, they simply continue to characterise as "cuts" and "austerity" increases in government spending less than they claim would have been made by their tribe. The Conservative Party has increased public spending, increased public debt, sucked up to the merchants of division purveying identity politics and – in relation to Brexit – has betrayed democracy. It's not even a patriotic party any more. What the hell is it for?

Even if I overcome my hatred and revulsion, a vote for the Conservative Party will be wasted – and not just in my constituency. If the Party wins a majority the Brexit mess will continue for years. The Withdrawal Agreement is not merely unsatisfactory, but only (and few voters seem to grasp this) the first stage in a process of negotiating unequal treaties with the EU that will continue for years. Brussels has no incentive to move quickly as it earns massively from our continued membership without (once the WA has been signed) having to take any political account of our views. I simply don't trust the Conservative Party to conduct those continuing negotiations in our best interests. There is certainly nothing in its behaviour for the past four years that suggests it knows, or cares, what those interests are. The most perfect personification of a modern British Conservative is John Bercow. Need I say more?

The only reason to vote Conservative is to wipe the smug smiles off the sneering, contemptuous faces of the anti-democrats who have sabotaged the biggest, clearest political decision of my lifetime. However that pleasure would only last for the few weeks before it becomes apparent that we are not breaking free from the EU and that we will be held in the closest possible regulatory alignment with it so as to ease re-entry to full membership in future – without any of the opt-outs we currently enjoy.

Once more, in this election, whomever I vote for "Party X" will win. The only thing I can be sure of is that no candidate with any chance of winning will have the slightest respect for justice, fairness and morality – as I understand them. So what, gentle readers, should I do?


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Gina Miller has done us a favour by launching her tactical voting site. Type in your postcode and it will tell you the likely outcome in your constituency and advise you how to vote if you want to stay in the EU. All Leavers have to do is the opposite of what she advises.


Peter Hitchens is right on many issues and when he's wrong (as he is on the legalisation of cannabis, for example) he's wrong with his heart in the right place. I hear what you say about minor parties and their "purity". The same was true of the LibDems, although their policies were mostly pure tosh, until they had a taste of power in coalition. With the help of the legal opinion of Martin Howes QC, I am coming around to the view that I have to hold my nose and vote for Boris but in the long term something has to be done about the Conservative Party. Surely the only group in society NOT represented in political life shouldn't be the productive minority!


Dear Mr Paine

Comments on spoiled ballots are read by quite a few people, including the count staff, count supervisor, counting agents of all the parties who happen to be standing near the spoilt ballot tray and possibly the candidates and their agents (might have to read it upside down and large bold capitals will help. Interesting art work might be placed ballot side down by prudish counters). All the relevant candidates and their agents will get a closer look when the returning officer or deputy show each spoilt ballot to confirm that all are in agreement that it does not indicate a preference for a particular candidate. It might get shared with other count staff if it is particularly witty, artistic or risqué.

The innocent tellers never get to see a ballot paper except their own, since they are sitting outside the polling station collecting electoral roll numbers from the voters - this is for the purpose of 'knocking up', i.e. calling on voters who expressed an intent to vote for a particular candidate during canvassing, but who had not voted by the time knocking up starts, somewhere around 8pm.

Hope this helps.



Thanks for that. I started to type a reply and it got so long I realised I had written another post. Thanks for that too!


I too am no supporter of the Surrender Deal. However, I came across this analysis on Kipper Central and it has almost convinced me that it might be no bad thing on this occasion to vote for the Conmen.

I think you will all find it interesting.


Mrs May was always a remainer who had no intention of getting us out.
Was it Tusk who said she had always been loyal and respectful to the EU?
Her "deal" written for her by Merkel in German has been described as the sort of surrender agreement signed by a country defeated in war.
Now Johnson has polished her turd and wrapped it his annex mainly dealing with the Irish problem (invented by the EU to cause trouble and delay) and has tried to sneak it past a tired and desperate parliament. I thought I could trust him. His betrayal is greater than May's.
The feelings of despair betrayal disappointment disgust powerlessness etc have adversely affected my health. I am in a private battle now to regain any enthusiasm for anything. A pox on all of them.
I long for the Tories to be humiliated and for Labour to be destroyed. And as for that awful Lib-Undem party I cannot find adequate words.
The only tiny glimmer of hope, for the future of the country and politics, in my mind is an astonishing vote for Brexit. They will have my vote.


I did. After the referendum. It is an outrageous mess, at least in my London constituency. I went to a “Conservative” meeting where people were proposing price controls, for example. The whole focus was on out-lefting the left. I resigned over Theresa May’s fake WA.


Join the Tory party, change it from within; a sort of reverse Gramsci-ism.
I think it is already happening; look at the Tory MPs not standing. They know that their inherent LibDem views have been rejected. Johnson is nothing if not an able politician...he realises the way the wind is blowing. After all, he had the nous to sack the twenty one who felt they were so far above the fray that they were immune. Even Hammond has realised the game is up..


This kind of betrayal of democracy however *must* have consequences. I will not be happy until the Conservative Party as we now know it has been utterly destroyed.

Entirely agree. My vote for the Conservative Party at this election is not intended to imply support on a general level; they've become an abomination and must pay the price, but it's the only way as I see it we inch closer to Brexit.

A (childish?) part of me greatly enjoyed another commentator's tactical voting suggestion: Whoever the incumbent MP is; whatever their party, whatever their Brexit position - vote for someone else. Clear out the whole mess of over-entitled and over-rewarded Members of Parliament. Pigeons, meet cat...…..


Peter Hitchens has been of the opinion for a number of years that as long as the tory party exists a truly pro British party cannot arise. I'm coming round to this view.

I last voted tory in 1992, not with any particular enthusiasm but to prevent labour getting in. I have voted UKIP and in 97 voted for the referendum party.

I think the fact that UKIP got votes but no seats kept it - for want of a better expression- "pure" in that it wasn't tainted by the inevitable squalor of actual "office". For that reason I wouldn't see a brexit party vote as wasted, particularly - especially - if they get no actual seats.

Why do people see the EU as some sort of remorseless monolith, bulldozing all before it?

It's basically done, an economic catastrophe, wrapped in a political lunatic asylum. About as cohesive and unified as Bonaparte's grand armee in 1812.

Who has actually wasted the last four years? What will the quislings achieve? Any EU "victory" will be phyrric and certainly won't last.

For four years, the basic core of the "project" - the claim of inevitability - has been exposed as a sham. The lunatic political wrapping is coming off the economic catastrophe.

I know what I want to see. I just don't see how to vote to get it.

The festering pustule that is Amber Rudd is the MP where I am and I'm not sure if there will a brexit party candidate. I don't yet know who the tories will put up but it is a leave constituency.

Looks like tory (and I will be holding my nose) if whoever has some leave credentials. Otherwise?

Maybe a hung parliament, but how does one vote "tactically" for that. I suspect that is what scares the EU most, which makes it sound good to me.


No apology necessary and you are far too kind. My confidence in my own intelligence is shattered. I believed in Theresa May’s bona fides but having watched her laughing and joking with the Gaukward Squad at the Oval a few weeks ago, I am sure she misled us. She’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer but she’s not stupid enough to have believed her WA was anything other than a punishment beating. I think she conspired with Barnier to set us up to come crawling back later as supplicants. I don’t go as far as you do in characterising the EU as evil. I think it’s misguided and that the UK will never prosper maximally as part of it. This kind of betrayal of democracy however *must* have consequences. I will not be happy until the Conservative Party as we now know it has been utterly destroyed.


In a strange sense it's slightly comforting to see that people with finer brains than mine are as frustrated, dismayed and uncertain as I.

I promised myself in 2017 that if the Conservatives delivered a Brexit in name only I would certainly never vote for them again. I exchanged correspondence with my MP - a capable lady, Conservative, and a committed Brexiteer but that was unsatisfactory. No commitments were detailed by her; just an undertaking to "consider the alternatives at each stage" - so matters of principle such as the preservation of democracy, the will of the people and extracting ourselves from the Fascists of the EU were early casualties.

Then along came the Brexit Party. Salvation! (?) I admire greatly what Farage has achieved even while not liking some of his excesses, but here was a radical alternative to betrayal by the mainstream parties.

And so we come to the last gasp of 2019, betrayed, trussed, and eviscerated by our own political representatives. Delivered, helpless, to what's effectively the Fourth Reich - and the first which has won. In the last few days I've despaired of what might come about, and become angry reading the terms of the Ghost of May's Johnsonised WA. It's a scandal that in delivering our sovereignty to the EU, these people have simultaneously managed to reduce to nil any influence or power we might have had. It's as good an example of treason as I've ever seen.

Eventually I've concluded, as Peter J North has, that with the Brexit Party suffering voter fatigue and its share of the polls declining, that under FPTP it's capable of getting a good many votes but not very many seats at all. As Dan Hannan put it eloquently in the Telegraph on Saturday, the only thing driving TBP now is that they want no deal (yes! Me too!) but will be too small a presence in Parliament to deliver it and just large enough to - forgive me - irritate the tits off the wider public who just want an end to this whole matter.

So, for me, the answer has become to vote Conservative. Voting any other in my constituency would be a waste anyway although it's one of the most pro-Brexit. If the Conservatives get an absolute majority we'll get the only sort of Brexit that's going to happen - as pathetic an excuse for one as it may be. I will not then vote Conservative again and may indeed simply not vote at all in future, since the process is irrevocably tainted. I will be holding my nose firmly while I mark my ballot and it will mark only my view that all alternatives to the Conservatives are unspeakably bad and determined to ruin my country, while the Conservatives are merely appalling. I will never forgive them.

Sorry to rattle on at such length, but I wish you well in finding your own resolution to the issue.

Lord T

The innocent teller will just laugh. I have a similar dilemma. I'm voting Brexit because I will make my point and also you never know, they did say that remain would win the referendum and they are known liars. Why believe them now?


...and Martin Howe QC helps it along in today’s Telegraph


Pete North moves the debate along with this excellent, if alarming, blog post.


The BXP vote has halved already if polls are to be believed. I fear no undecided voter will put in the effort to grasp the technical criticism it’s making of the WA. If inclined to Leave they’ll look to someone they trust in the ERG and follow them. I hope you’re right and I’m wrong though.


There will only be one candidate in my constituency with any democratic credibility. That candidate will probably lose his deposit.


You’re right as to why I can’t — morally — vote Labour. My vote will be wasted in my constituency anyway so perhaps the precise type of futile gesture is not very important? If I spoil the ballot paper with a complaint about the death of British democracy, will anyone read it or will I just annoy an innocent teller?


I have felt this way for years about our political parties. My way around this is to vote for the candidate who most represents my views. That candidate then has a voice from within trying to influence with their views.

In addition to this the candidate must advocate democracy and strive to uphold democratic decisions/votes regardless of their own viewpoint.

Good luck with that there are not many candidates that have the integrity to behave like that.


You can’t vote Labour. That would be a betrayal to your Jewish friends and colleagues. Also, the economic misery it would bring would haunt you.
The Lib Dems, (neither Liberal nor Democratic) would be against Brexit and democracy. Their leader called for a referendum in 2008 but now says she wouldn’t respect a vote to Leave in a second referendum..
The Conservatives can’t help appeasing people who will never vote for them. No fracking, citizens’ assemblies, no deal off the table etc. They have some good people like JRM and Baker, but as you say, they’ll sell us out.
Just leaves the Brexit party really. You said you’d supported them anyway. Take a look at the candidate they’re putting up in your constituency. It may be a wasted vote, but you’ve kept to your principles.
Ultimately, it’s the demographics that have done for us.

Sam Vara

It's a crock of ordure, isn't it?

But vote for The Brexit Party. Whatever the outcome, we need at least to let them know that we are still alive. Someone, someday, might look at the aggregated national vote and ponder, just for a moment. If the result is a foregone conclusion, you can vote with your heart with a clear conscience.

And watch the polls. I will be heartened if TBP's popularity increases. It should do, as Nigel's message hits home and people begin to realise what Boris is offering us. I think the main parties have little more to offer now. Boris can't move more to the left, and the Labour Party are ideologically trapped by their own idiocy.


It looks like you are split between tories and brexit party, so let's put it this way - you vote tory (or any of the main parties for that matter) and we'll be staying in anyway, so to hell with it all, its the brexit party for me, win or lose because they are the only ones who will get us out. I also believe that the brexit party has a lot more support than the media wants to admit.

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