Monday 5 December 2022

Power Lines

The man who inherited a healthily solvent Labour Party and has taken it to the brink of bankruptcy says that he is the man to fix the economy, and the man who has made Constituency Labour Parties effectively redundant by centralising the selection of parliamentary candidates says that he is the man to devolve power.

Keir Starmer could have had Eddie Izzard at Sheffield Central if he had wanted him. He obviously decided that he could do without the circus. But if he thinks that he would be devolving power to his own base of right-wing Labour apparatchiki, then he cannot have been paying attention to the local election results since he became Leader.

Notice that apart from ritually ordering its servant to reverse Brexit, even the BBC can find nothing to ask Starmer apart from something to do with Jeremy Corbyn. Seven and a half years after the Golden Summer of 2015, and even people who hate Corbyn viscerally still recognise that he is the only interesting thing about the Labour Party.

I have been arguing with Fabians and Tankies long enough to know when they might have a point, and considering who would be running things even here, then what good would devolution be to those in the hitherto permanent arc of very considerable deprivation that stretches from the Fens, down through Essex and Kent, along the South Coast, and up across the West Country? What good has devolution been to comparable parts of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

Who cares about the abolition of the House of Lords? The proposal to replace it is the same as it always is, and we are back to provincial grandees again. Again, Starmer thinks that those are largely still Labour, as is mercifully no longer the case, although even that is not an argument for this. In general, constitutional change is for the years of plenty and peace, neither of which would be with us in decades if either main party won an overall majority at the next General Election.

We are heading for a hung Parliament. 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. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not.