Saturday, 17 October 2020

Almost As A Formality

Another weekend, and this time Labour can console itself that it is behind by only enough to constitute a statistical tie. That would still translate into a comfortable Conservative overall majority.

As an opponent of Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley, Jacinda Ardern would be expelled from the British Labour Party. She is also opposed to nuclear weapons. Her victory is what Labour in Britain might have achieved with nothing like the betrayal of Brexit to deprive it of scores of seats that had voted for its radical economic programme and for its peaceable foreign policy only two years earlier.

Bringing us, alas, to Keir Starmer, the Leader that even Boris Johnson would still beat out of the park. Starmer was never a "human rights lawyer". The reason why he cannot see the problem with the State's murder, rape and torture of political dissidents, or even just of run-of-the-mill trade unionists, is because as Director of Public Prosecutions he will have overseen such activities as a matter of course. Legalising them by Statute is a mere formality as far as he is concerned.

For all the faults of Andy Burnham in his time, if he got back into the House of Commons, then he would become the Leader of the Labour Party almost as a formality, too. No doubt that is why the party nationally would never allow him back into the House of Commons.

But if that were to happen, then the Conservatives would also need a Leader who sat for the North, where General Elections were now won and lost. Step forward, Rishi Sunak. Thereafter, both Party Leaders might in practice have to be from the North for several decades.

Burnham and Sunak would be much harder to present as equally unfit than Starmer and Johnson, about whom that sorry status is not in dispute. But I would give it a good go. I like Richard Holden, but by 2024 he would have to defend everything that the Government had done in the previous five years. 

The Labour candidate is going to be whoever the local machine, right-wing if it can even be called that, would have produced in 2020 if the 2015 Parliament had run its course; my doubts about something like a regional assembly have always been based on the hitherto high likelihood that it would have been controlled by people like that.

Although she still lives here, the Labour candidate is certainly not going to be the previous MP, with whose national appearances the Constituency Labour Party already arranges its own events to clash. We are still trying to persuade George Galloway to contest the ward of the Leader of Durham County Council, and I have said that I wished that I had thought of that four years ago, at the height of the Teaching Assistants' campaign. I do. But the man who would then have put the kibosh on it went on to be Laura Pidcock's Svengali. Perhaps he still is.

I remain open to offers, but no one from anywhere else has suggested that I stand for Parliament there. Whereas here in North West Durham, people do not even phrase it as a question. Every time that I leave the house, then at least one person, sometimes a perfect stranger, will make a point of wishing me well on what is simply assumed to be my ongoing parliamentary candidacy. Please give generously.

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