Tuesday 19 March 2024

1979 And All That

The 1979 General Election changed nothing that mattered. The Budget of December 1976 had already done that. Nothing happened under Margaret Thatcher and Geoffrey Howe or Nigel Lawson that would not have happened under Jim Callaghan, Denis Healey, and whoever had succeeded either or both of those. Britain was in recession within a year, and unemployment had doubled within two years, as would also have happened if the other side had won. Peter Tapsell would have been a far better First or Second Lord of the Treasury than any of them.

What a ridiculous creature is Rachel Reeves. She denies plagiarism by instead defending her actions as a textbook definition of plagiarism. Her time at the Bank of England and at the British Embassy in Washington, she flaunts in an accent that would have precluded her employment by either of them. She revels in her inability to live within her own very generous means, yet either she peddles opportunistically Thatcher's "kitchen table" fallacy of the economically illiterate, or she truly believes it. One of Reeves's underlings was torn apart on Newsnight by Victoria Derbyshire. It was a joy to watch.

There is plenty to tear apart about the Labour Party. Led by a man who, despite never having been in government, is already a war criminal because he cheered on the starvation of a million children, Labour is requiring its potential parliamentary candidates to make a kind of Hajj to Israel even as Antony Blinken is warning of the man-made famine that is threatening the entire population of Gaza, even as Eylon Levy has been suspended for having defamed David Cameron, and even as Professor David Miller has won his employment tribunal. Today, Labour MPs queued up to pretend to call for a ceasefire in Gaza having failed to vote for one, because in the meantime George Galloway had been elected. So what that he was not there? He was still the point.

No one is asking what Barack Obama was doing in Downing Street. No one is pointing out that, as the DUP has long been more Unionist than the King, so Reform UK has just become more Unionist than the DUP. And much else besides. 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 Keir Starmer would result in a hung Parliament.

I have no plan to join the Workers Party of Britain, although nor would I expect to stand against it. If, however, it did not contest North Durham, then I would. 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. We have made a start.


  1. The Thatcher years: deep recession, silly boom, deep recession. Reeves has given us fair warning, we should believe her.

    1. Thankfully, Reeves is expected to contest the new seat of Leeds West and Pudsey, which has a projected Labour majority of only 5,222.