The Conservative leadership election is so attention-seizing, at least for this site, that there is a danger of forgetting about its wider context.
Which as matters stand is that the polls show that politics in Britain is now a four-way contest, rather than the two-way one of the 2017 election. (In Scotland, it looks more like like a five-way contest.)
The Party’s last five poll ratings are 24 per cent, 20 per cent, 20 per cent, 21 per cent and 17 per cent. It last led in a national poll on April 5.
Can Boris Johnson turn it round? Not if there’s an election next spring and Brexit hasn’t been delivered, according to a YouGov poll reported on this site last Friday.
Under his leadership, the Tories would take 20 per cent of the vote, rather than 18 per cent under Jeremy Hunt, but it would make little difference to the wider scheme of things.
Punch those YouGov figures into Electoral Calculus calculator – admittedly a crude way of proceeding – and one finds the Brexit Party 38 seats short of a majority. The Conservatives would be reduced to 39 seats.
Now polls of course are, as our proprietor always puts it, a snapshot and not a prediction. None the less, the context in which the present contest is set is one of the possible collapse of one the oldest political parties in the world.
But always look on the bright side of life. Were Brexit delivered, the same poll finds that Jeremy Hunt could deliver, according to Electoral Calculus again, a Tory majority of 14 and Boris Johnson one of 122.
The reason? Brexit would collapse the Brexit Party vote – to 12 per cent under a Hunt premiership and to nine per cent under a Johnson one.
The YouGov poll didn’t distinguish between a No Deal Brexit and a Theresa May Deal Brexit – or some other form of deal.
And one can make a persuasive case that a general election in the wake of a No Deal Brexit would see the Party pulverised, too.
But be that as it may, there can be little doubt, given Lord Ashcroft’s polling too, about the result if there is No Brexit at all. The Conservatives wil be out of office – perhaps for a long time and possibly for ever, in their current form.