Sunday 28 April 2024

Timing and Organisation

The Observer understands that discussions between Poulter and senior Labour figures have been going on for many months at the highest levels about the timing and organisation of his likely defection, as well as advisory roles he could play in future in developing the party’s health policies, with the benefit of his first-hand inside knowledge.” His first-hand inside knowledge of what? He is hardly the only doctor in Britain.

They mean Dan Poulter’s first-hand inside knowledge of being a Conservative Health Minister, which he stopped being nine years ago, and thereafter a backbencher who was very occasionally mildly critical in the media but who always toed the party line in Parliament. Either Poulter is being brought in to fix what he broke, or Labour has no intention of fixing it. His or anyone else’s only reason to prefer Wes Streeting’s Labour Party to the Conservatives is the desire for the full privatisation of the NHS in England.

But when I tell you that there is going to be a hung Parliament, then you can take that to the bank. I spent the 2005 Parliament saying that it was psephologically impossible for the Heir to Blair’s Conservative Party to win an overall majority. I predicted a hung Parliament on the day that the 2017 General Election was called, and I stuck to that, entirely alone, all the way up to the publication of the exit poll eight long weeks later. And on the day that Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, I predicted that a General Election between him and Keir Starmer would result in a hung Parliament.

I have no plan to join the Workers Party of Britain, although nor would I expect to stand against it. But if it did not contest North Durham, then I would. To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. But there does need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not. We have made a start.