Friday, July 01, 2016

Well? Is there a future for Labour?

Playing with some ideas. Probably what blogs are for.

Contrary to what many think I am a floating voter. I am a member of no political party and my vote needs to be canvassed. Granted that vote is unlikely to go to a party with an extreme right wing, but centre-left and centre-right can both reach out to me. That is mainly because socialism disappeared off the political map in the mid 1990s. But its followers didn't.

And now we have Corbyn. A socialist. A proper one. Elected leader of the Labour Party by its members.

And those who took the Labour Party from socialism are losing it back. The very thing that they valued above all others (that the leader is democratically elected by the members) leaves a leader in place who none of the non-socialists like or want.

So they tried all resigning. Thinking that perhaps, with no-one to appoint to a shadow office, Corbyn would go. He didn't. Because he knows that resigning, in this case, is not the honourable way out. He may yet do it because the poor guy has lost the will to live. He may not.

If he plays the long game how does it play out?

The Blairites have the Labour whip taken from them? They are deselected by their constituency parties? They clear off and form a new party?

Then Corbyn and a new, angry intake step up. Owen Jones? Paul Mason? Ha-Joon Chang? Or their followers. They are furious about what has been done in the name of political expediency. They get out preaching that the solution to our small-town woes is not racism but investment in manufacturing jobs. Rather than money going to shareholders there is a massive programme of renationalisation so no-one, ever again, can make money if someone is sick or goes to prison. The target of working-class anger becomes not a polish fruit-picker but a retired stockbroker in Surrey who gets a monthly cheque from a cherry-picker. All dividend and no responsibility.

The true way to get out of Europe, they might say, is to buy back our former utilities from foreign ownership. How well defended can we ever be if we can't make steel?

The race-riots (they start as soon as the racists realised we weren't cutting back on immigration) calm down. Someone with a good job making things has no time for rioting. It saves the government money. Stop austerity and build stuff. Especially houses for those who we need to come into this country to pay taxes so we can pay pensions to our increasingly geriatric population. Hi there.

I am a big fan of the Danish political drama Borgen. In Denmark it appears impossible to do government without coalition and compromise. No-one has a majority. We got a taste of that with the ConLib government from 2010 to 2015 - the LibDems taking the edge off the nastier side of Conservatism. You think not? Look what we got now. And of course they suffered big time for that, mainly because their promise not to raise tuition fees had to be compromised away.

But they'll be back. Nick Clegg anticipated quite brilliantly what would happen if we voted for Brexit. Tim Farron is sounding more statesmanlike by the minute.

So, although a series of binary switches need to fall in the same direction, maybe, just maybe, we'll end this with one extreme right party of UKIP/Conservatives, one centre right (Conservative) and two centre left (one new party that may use the New Labour banner and the other the LibDems) and a socialist party (Labour). If the three lefts can do a deal with the Scottish Nationalists they might make a minority government and bring in Proportional Representation.

Otherwise, I have no idea what happens. Don't want to think about it. But whatever the result we probably ain't leaving the EU.

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