ALL the pundits agree that the Tories will get a well-deserved hammering in the forthcoming European elections. But I am not convinced that will be enough of a wake-up call for them, even if their vote share crashes. There are too few seats and too many variables in the mix which allow interpretations of any poor results to be spun away.

On Brexit, I cannot foresee an outcome in which anyone on the right wing of the Tory party is willing to accept a deal involving a customs union version, nor can Corbyn deliver one without being forever blamed for complicity in the resulting economic downturn (not as bad as a no-deal, but still bad). The Brexiteers still fantasise about the Malthouse compromise or abandoning the Irish backstop. The former has already been voted down by the Commons and the latter will not be allowed by the EU. No-deal of course is what the ERG want, but the Commons will not permit it. None of these outcomes is possible as things stand.

So what happens now?

Brexit is insoluble because apart from everything else, it is incoherent. The Brexit project must fail. The UK Government cannot get the Withdrawal bill through by making its Brexit offer harder, or softer, or keeping it the same. The minds of a sufficient number of MPs cannot be changed from their present positions by threats or inducements.

Within a few months, the grassroots are likely to replace May with Raab or Bojo, on a platform of pursuing a no-deal Brexit. The present House of Commons will not pass this, so a General Election is inevitable. That could happen within a year, and could result in huge numbers of seats going to the Brexit Party, enough perhaps for them to decide the fate of the negotiations with the EU.

In an effort to stay in power, the Tory Party will submit to the trend for populism and attempt to transform itself into Ukip to capture the angry English nationalist vote. Needless to say, there would be no second indyref for Scotland under that sort of UK Government.

But the Tory party has deeper problems than this. They know that they have no long-term future if they do not find ways of getting voters from among the younger demographics – at the moment anyone under 30 (especially female, or ethnic minority) is unlikely to vote Tory. That is a problem for the mid-2020s and beyond, but they cannot escape the gravitational field of Brexit for several years yet. In any case, it seems they cannot come up with any policies to address the young vote issue that do not simultaneously alienate the old guard.

Whatever happens with Brexit, it will take a General Election AND a break-up of the Tory party into two different parties to bring about the beginning of the realignment of UK politics that modernity demands. I wouldn’t vote for either of them, but evidently there is now a demand on the political spectrum for a centre-right one-nation party, and a separate hard-right party in favour of deregulated markets and ultra-conservative values.

A change to the first-past-the-post voting system is also necessary but will be fiercely resisted until the main parties are convinced they cannot form simple majorities any more. This would probably take at least ten or 20 years. Meanwhile the UK is likely to split up, with Scottish independence and maybe a unified Ireland supervening.

A sign that the need for modernity is failing to dawn in Toryland is that their design for a temporary new home for Parliament – while massive and hugely costly repairs are done to Westminster – replicates the same adversarial chamber we have now. As metaphors go, that is a worrying one.

Theo Seller
via email

WITH dreary predictability, the Brexit Party’s election leaflet for all us benighted Scots has a relationship with the facts that is, let us say, somewhat elastic – starting with none of the “candidates” for the EU election appearing in the online list of their candidates for Scotland.

This is in one way a pity, because voting for a Mummery would just about sum up what Nigel’s latest little pantomime amounts to.

Then there’s the candidate who avers that “left-wing democrats should vote to deliver the referendum result”: presumably, right-wingers are to be free to continue peddling free-market fantasies, fomenting rage against any politicians trying to promote good sense and conscience, and throwing their toys out of the pram when they don’t get their own way – which, lately, is a constant state of affairs.

On the leaflet, Nigel urges us to “put the principles of trust, honesty and integrity at the heart of our democracy”. Does this mean he’s about to retract all the lies he told in 2016? No, didn’t think so. That arrow on their logo, pointing emphatically to the right, isn’t I think there on a whim.

Colin Stuart
Saline, Fife

I WILL be happy to vote for the SNP at the European Parliament election on May 23. However, I want to make a case for the many thousands of Scots who voted to leave the EU, but whose views have been distorted by most, and ignored by the media.

I support the sensible compromise proposal which the Scottish Government put to the Westminster Government, which of course they completely disregarded. That is, the Norway-style deal.

I want Scotland out of the EU neo-liberal political club, but taking part in the single market and having a customs union.

The idea that all of us who voted to leave the EU can be associated with Farage and his shifty background financial backers is not valid. Many of us in Scotland who voted to leave the EU have nothing in common with this group. People in the Yes movement need to understand this.

Andy Anderson