Monday 19 February 2024

The Steel Lady?

Either Kemi Badenoch will sue Henry Staunton, Oliver Shah and the Sunday Times, or she should resign. But she ought already to have resigned for her use of public money to pay the Indian and Chinese owners of what was once British Steel to turn Scunthorpe and Port Talbot into, as the great Mark Seddon often puts it, "glorified recycling centres". She may as well be a member of the Shadow Cabinet.

The Blairites learned it all from the Thatcherites. But today, we see the fetid decay both of Blairism and of Thatcherism. Look what they have become. Listen to it, if you can bear to. Smell it, as none of us can avoid doing. Centrism and right-wing populism were both con tricks, designed to sell the same extreme and unpopular economic and foreign policies to different audiences by pretending to wage a culture war.

30 years ago, the coronation of Tony Blair instead of Gordon Brown as John Smith's successor killed off the intellectual tradition on the Labour Right while dispelling any remaining doubts about Labour among the people whom we were all supposed to find amusing. Once it had become clear that John Major was going to go for five years, then he and his colleagues were subjected to a nightly torrent of the most hysterical, highly personalised vitriol. After the General Election of 1997, it all stopped. Until now. Now as then, the centrists, so mainstream that Change UK sank without trace, agree with the right-wing populists, so popular that Reform UK never comes close to winning anything, that the Government is illegitimate.

The Thatcherites held that view from the resignation of Margaret Thatcher until Boris Johnson's entry into 10 Downing Street. They had little in common with him, but they have held it again since the fall of Liz Truss, a specimen of that into which they had degenerated. Their desperate search for a Fatherland since the loss of not only one Mummy, but now a second, means that Javier Milei must be allowed to take the Falkland Islands if he wanted them. Such is now Thatcherism.

Although the Blairites could live with David Cameron, they have never fully accepted the legitimacy of any Prime Minister since Tony Blair, and they have never remotely accepted that of any Leader of the Labour Party. They are still not sure about Keir Starmer, but if he meant a word of what he had lately taken to saying about Gaza, then their anti-Semitism scam would be back in full cry, and since Starmer is a vastly less experienced politician than Jeremy Corbyn was, then he might very well have been gone by now. They are saving him for a reason.

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 Starmer would result in 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.


  1. Twitter isn't covered by parliamentary privilege, Staunton could sue Badenoch.

    This is one of your posts that are like turning on a light.