Friday 24 July 2020

To Take One For The Team

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have an economic programme to the left of any since before the Budget of December 1976, whether that of the Government or that of the Official Opposition, and including both of the most recent Labour manifestos. 

They would have had that programme even if there had never been any Covid-19. They are electorally dependent on the Red Wall. They are electorally dependent on seats that voted for Jeremy Corbyn in 2017, and which would have done so again if he had stuck to his Bennite guns on Brexit. By 2024, we are going to want to see what freedom from Margaret Thatcher's Single Market and from Ted Heath's Customs Union had done for us.

Meanwhile, Priti Patel has gone full Black Lives Matter, and perhaps she always was. Keir Starmer has created a Black Wall as vulnerable as the Red Wall. The Conservative Party's adoption of Corbynism in its original pro-Brexit form has enabled it to capture half of the Red Wall, and has set it up to capture the other half. If it could adopt that, then it can adopt anything. And to repeat the trick with the Black Wall, then it will. It has already started to do so.

As for other Cabinet Rightists, they are either like Dominic Raab, not long for office, or they are like Jacob Rees-Mogg, in that people have forgotten that they had ever been Ministers, and would be astonished to learn that they still were. Rees-Mogg has never had a policy-making role. His job is to do the timetable. But most people do not know that he has even that level of responsibility.

If the fear of Corbyn, of all people, keeps you voting for this rather than for Starmer's neoliberal, neoconservative, racist, Blair-endorsed nightmare, then fine. Less so for Corbyn himself, perhaps. But he has never been afraid to take one for the team. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. It already has plenty going on.

And what of a new Right party? All that that would do would be to enable Starmer's Labour in some places, the Liberal Democrats in others, and the Greens in a small number, to take seats from the Conservatives. In the Labour and Lib Dem cases, then that would have the new party's desired effect. But in that case, why not just vote Labour or Lib Dem? And who would lead this new party? Nigel Farage pioneered the idea that the Old Labour vote in the North was the Pure Soul of the Nation. Leaving whom, exactly? Katie Hopkins? "Tommy Robinson"? "Count Dankula"? "Sargon of Akkad"? Come on.

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