Monday, 15 February 2021

Neither Maggie Nor Mandy

Boris Johnson had already been born when Harold Wilson became the first ever state educated Prime Minister. We did not last two generations. And the General Election result of 1970 must have had its roots in trends in the late 1960s, so the Counterrevolution has now been going on for more than twice as long as the Revolution ever did. The Revolution? Well, in 1951, The Manchester Guardian endorsed the Conservatives because things had all gone too far, what with this National Health Service and what not.

Johnson, who went to the same school as Wilson's three immediate predecessors, is being told by the Northern Research Group that what the Red Wall needs is the Thatcherism that caused our problems in the first place, although of course it had begun with the Labour Budget of December 1976, and although of course 13 years of Labour Government have since managed the previously unimaginable feat of making matters even worse.

That Budget was when we started to be left behind, eventually leading to our decisive role in the 2016 referendum, in the 2017 General Election, and in the 2019 General Election. Most of the members of the NRG would not be in Parliament if Thatcherism had been anything other than a disaster here. The Conservatives have barely begun to appreciate that their base is no longer the winners from the present economic order, since those are at least 50 per cent likely to vote Labour, but the losers, who are overwhelmingly likely to vote Conservative, and who, being far more numerous than the winners, now guarantee a Conservative Government.

That is why the Labour candidates for these seats are going to have been chosen by Assaf Kaplan, David Evans, Keir Starmer, and, we now discover, Peter Mandelson. This is Mandelson's second time around that particular block. He was supposed to have been the magic ingredient in the Brown Government, and whatever happened to that? Yet in the Sentinelese world of Blairism, they remain convinced that he is a revered political guru and a beloved National Treasure.

In at least one Red Wall constituency, you are not going to have to choose between Thatcherism and Mandelson, as if there were a difference. I may be taking a lot on, what with our think tank, our Fellowships at a sympathetic university, our qualification for aspirant parliamentary candidates of any party or none, our weekly current affairs magazine, our fortnightly satirical magazine, our monthly cultural review, our quarterly academic journal, our arrangements to secure representation on public bodies by bypassing the right-wing Labour machine and the metropolitan liberal elite, our registered political party in reserve, and our undying dream of a daily popular newspaper. But I am most certainly also the Independent prospective parliamentary candidate for North West Durham.

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