Tuesday 19 March 2024

Beyond The Golden Ferns

The BBC carefully, and altogether misleadingly, announces that "Russian allies including China, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea and Belarus" have congratulated Vladimir Putin, "as has India." You get it. I get it. But no one would suggest that Penny Mordaunt got it.

Mordaunt carried a sword at the Coronation, so she should be Prime Minister? In Britain, that makes perfect sense, at least to the people who decide these things. William Shawcross was the Queen Mother's official biographer, so he should be in charge of counterextremism and counterterrorism. Naturally. And Mordaunt should be Prime Minister because she carried a sword at the Coronation. Naturally. The Royal Family's big announcement will be about Counsellors of State, or something like that. To them, that is a big announcement.

Mordaunt is part of that single largest bloc of Conservative MPs whose only fixed philosophical or political principle is gender self-identification. With its concept of the self-made man or the self-made woman, Thatcherism has inevitably ended up as this, which was unknown in Britain in 2010, meaning that it has arisen here entirely under a Conservative-led Government. Indeed, it was unknown outside anything like the British mainstream even in 2015, meaning that it has arisen entirely under a Government with only Conservatives in it.

In December 2022, Margaret Thatcher was depicted on British television for the first time in quite a while, in Prince Andrew: The Musical, the title of which spoke for itself, and in which she was played by one Baga Chipz, a drag queen. Well, of course. A figure comparable to Thatcher, emerging in the Britain of the 2020s, would be assumed to be a transwoman, just as Thatcher herself emerged in the Britain of everything from Danny La Rue and Dick Emery to David Bowie and The Rocky Horror Show.

Hence Thatcher's destruction of the stockades of male employment, which were the economic basis of paternal authority in the family and in the wider community, an authority that cannot be restored before the restoration of that basis. Thatcher created the modern Labour Party, the party of middle-class women who used the power of the State to control everyone else, but especially working-class men. Truly, as she herself said, her greatest achievement was New Labour. Leo Abse, who had had the measure of the milk-snatcher, also had the measure of Tony Blair's androgyny.

Speaking of Blair, expectation management is in full swing, with even my old university housemate Tom Hamilton doing his bit. Tom is not one of them, but there are members of our generation to whom it is forever 1997. Hey, I was young then, too. But I grew up. Clearly, they have never needed to. Blair was the same. Compare him to Boomers from Gordon Brown to George Galloway, whom I once heard congratulate Tom on having made "the speech of the night".

"This is not 1997" articles manifest a healthy disbelief in the ludicrous Labour poll leads. Theresa May called the 2017 General Election when the Conservatives were 20 points ahead. They lost their overall majority, and if a mere 2,227 people in the right constituencies had voted Labour, then Jeremy Corbyn would have become Prime Minister. His party's own staff made sure that that did not happen, in between abusing Diane Abbott, including racially in the case of a man whom I have known eight years longer even than I have known Tom.

Every Branch of Hackney North and Stoke Newington Constituency Labour Party has nominated Abbott to be its parliamentary candidate this time, as has every affiliated organisation. Even in 2019, her majority was 33,188. Not her total vote. Her majority. Her total vote was 39,972, which was 70.3 per cent. Seventy. Who would even sign the nomination papers of a Labour candidate against her, much less do any campaigning? The man whom the Forde Report found had called her an Angry Black Woman should be that candidate, or he is a coward.

The Conservative Party and the Labour Party are about to receive their lowest numbers of votes in 100 years, since the electorate was less than two thirds of its size today. And 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.