Tuesday, 17 December 2019

If Labour don't get their act together, even the Tories are F****d!

Democracy, who believes in democracy? Every other system that has been tried has resulted in a system which fails the people and ruins people's lives. My personal view is that we have just lived through the most dire campaign in the history of British politics. No one really expects anything of Boris, but enough people expected even less of Jeremy Corbyn to give Boris a massive majority. The Tories whole campaign was to say and promise as little as possible. They knew that all they had to do was not make the mistakes Theresa May made and they would romp home. The best way to do this was to avoid scrutiny at all costs. Boris is not stupid. He also learned from Gordon Brown's catastrophic decision to postpone the election when he took over from Blair. Once the initial bounce subsided, his poll ratings never recovered. Boris knew he had a time limited window to get the election done and the sooner the better. All the better to have it in mid winter, so the Toruy faithful can post their postal votes and the weather deals with fairweather soft Labour supporters.

But the Tories have now won four elections in a row and it strikes me that they are starting to believe, just as Labour did in the mid 2000's that the opposition is in terminal decline This is dangerous, this is where we get really bad policies, such as the Poll Tax and Railway privatisation. A Tory party that believes it is unassailable is a Tory party that will be bad for the country. Politicians have to have a fear of losing to function properly.

I was impressed by a paragraph in the latest blog from Kate Belgrave. She elucidated what many of us have been thinking about the Labour response.
"The harsh truth: outside of lefty and Labour circles, nobody gives a damn what goes on in those circles. I’ve been talking to people at jobcentres and foodbanks for over 10 years and literally nobody has ever said anything along the lines of, “how about that Owen Jones then,” or, “isn’t Margaret Hodge a witch,” or “yay, Novara media,” or “oh, Jeremy Corbyn,” or, “can I get involved in my local Labour branch,” or “how do I join Unite,” or anything remotely near those. People say things like, “I’m in arrears and they’re going to evict me,” and “I’m at court next week for council tax,” and, “I only got 2 days’ work this week and they didn’t text me this morning, so I’m f*****d.”
This sums up many peoples view of the Labour party's response to getting hammered. But the picture is bigger. For many people there is no faith at all in politicians at the moment and perhaps even worse, there is even less faith that this is just a passing fancy. Just suppose that Boris and Trump are the new face of politics in the media age? Just suppose that in twenty years we'll be looking back on these guys as serious statesmen as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher are now viewed?

Before the election of Trump, I joked with a friend, expecting that Trumpo would be soundly thrashed that he'd learned from Boris on HIGNFY that the way to win elections was to become a TV celebrity (by fronting The Apprentice USA). After the conversation, I thought about it and realised that maybe there was more to this than meets the eye. During the 2017 election Theresa May paid the price for being wooden and unconvincing. Despite losing, Labour felt that they could run the same campaign, with the same leader again and achieve a better result.

Will Labour learn? Will they do what they need to do to reconnect? Will they take on board that they need to have policies that address the real issues that screw up people's lives, but in a way that can't be demonised by the right wing press. Five years is an eternity in politics. Brexit will be done by then. Boris will have probably had at least five major cabinet reshuffles and in the process pissed off at least 50 MP's. The likes of Dominic Cummings will have long outlived their usefulness. Boris will have a record to run on. The "not my fault Guv'nor" will not wash. But unless Labour has a credible platform and can demonstrate not only the competence but discipline to win an election, they will fail again and if they hand another election to the Conservatives on a plate, I really do fear that the arrogance of power could result in terrible things. There are many things that the hard right of the Tory party would love to do, but they are scared of the electorate. Top of these is selling off the NHS. Another landslide would convince them that they can do anything they like. That is when the trouble will not only start for the country and the Labour party, but for the Tories as well. The truth is that if the Labour party don't get their act together, they will be just as f*****d as the rest of us. Because as soon as the electorate start to think that they are getting taken for granted, things change very rapidly. Just like when Blair took office, in the aftermath of the disasterous rail privatisation. I suspect that the next centre-left government of the UK will learn one major lesson. That is that PR will stop the worst excesses of the Tory right, and that will ultimately undo the Tory party. Of course, if Labour gets it act together next time and boots out the Tories, they may just decide that they can live with the 'buggins turn' of First past the post.


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