By betraying their leader, these Tory rebels risk leaving the door open to a future hard-left government and no Brexit at all, says Patrick Maxwell.

Discussing the pros and cons of holding an EU referendum with his Director of Communications, Craig Oliver, David Cameron issued a warning he would go on to ignore. "You may unleash demons of which ye know not." Oliver, a disciple of Cameron's, later used the phrase in his account of the 2016 referendum campaign. Two years later, those demons continue to consume the nations' politics and threaten to do so for years to come. As Theresa May faces her own MPs, British politics stands at a precipice. Voting down the Prime Minister at this stage would trigger political turmoil not seen in our country's post-war history and it would also potentially lead to a catastrophic Corbyn Premiership.

Without a coherent opposition to present a positive alternative, and with a governing party riven with infighting, inward investment in the UK will dry up. That cash would be driven away by a socialist agenda involving rising taxes and a programme of state nationalisation that would break the country's coffers. Jacob Rees-Mogg might then be rather kinder to Mark Carney when the dire economic forecasts come out.

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If you believe this vision of chaos is the nadir of the current political climate, you are unfortunately mistaken. Our politics is changing and at a rapid pace. Anger and resentment at the system and the people in charge has been fueled by the 24-hour news cycle and the rise of social media. These have helped spread disdain and derision for our political class, refuting the old idea that people are disconnected from current affairs and lacking recourse to those who govern them. Corbyn and his fellow red comrade Seamus Milne feed on this anguish, playing it to their familiar tune of kinder, gentler politics. Their irresponsible manifesto promises to bring the country back to a nostalgic vision of the past, which our country's own domestic history – as well as that of countless others – has proven to end in failure. The hard-left of the Labour Party is a confused paradox of principled Leninism and remorseless populism.

Given this potentially dire and real state of affairs being displayed before our very eyes, you may well expect the very people Corbyn despises to be working to root him out, but the happenings in Westminster over the last couple of weeks have been anything but that. The boiling over of these long-held convictions has dragged the Conservative Party away from a broad-church of opinion into an unsustainable rift of Leavers and Remainers, unknowingly giving way to the forces they ultimately oppose.
The ERG has unsurprisingly declared that the deal proposed by Theresa May is the worst since appeasement in the Thirties. By doing so, they risk ending the premiership of their leader and leaving the door open to a future hard-left government.

By its very nature, the Withdrawal Agreement will please nobody in the identity politics and winner-takes-it-all state of the Brexit issue, but that does not mean Parliament should discard it when it is eventually put before the Commons in the vain hope of securing a general election or second referendum, both of which are legislative fantasies. A second referendum is not a viable option because Labour's position is continually stagnating, therefore reducing Parliamentary support. Corbyn craves another General Election, which the Tories will of course never vote for and the DUP are dithering over. An election would also halt the efficient process of Government, at such a crucial stage for the country. The realistic decision to make is between this agreement and a no-deal Brexit and Corbyn. That should be a choice to shake a shiver down the spine of those preparing to break the party whip.

Brexit is the plaything of Westminster. It has managed to drive the 'natural party of government' into infighting, presenting a one-issue obsessive party with no future plan for life after March next year. In Britain, we are in danger of letting the dangerous populism of the left enrapture the mood of the people. Brexit might only be the starting point of our adversity. The demons may just be beginning to get to work.

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