Monday, 18 July 2016

Labour Crisis? What Crisis?

Well in case you have been living under a rock for the past few weeks you would have no doubt noticed that the Labour party are once again imploding on themselves. Brexit appeared like an opportune moment for the Parliamentary Labour Party to oust Jeremy Corbyn, their current leader. One by one his shadow cabinet resigned. It got so bad that an Englishman was appointed to a Scottish cabinet position. With well over three quarters of his MPs signalling a vote of no confidence most leaders would have walked. However this is the Labour party so Mr Corbyn obviously decided to solder on, with David Cameron's last appearance on Prime Ministers Questions comparing his staying put to the Monty Python Sketch of "its just a flesh wound", in reference to the fact he commands no confidence from his backbenchers.

Angela Eagle stepped forward as a potential leadership alternative. I personally would vote for Corbyn over Eagle and thats saying something as I pretty much disagree with most of what Corbyn has to say. I'm sorry but what does she stand for exactly as this video shows I'm not even sure she knows. Then we had Owen Smith. Straight away he has decided to alienate many core Labour supporters who voted leave in Brexit by saying we should have a second referendum, despite the fact that around 70% of Labour Constituencies voted for leave. He needs to win over marginal seats, in fact lets just give away our safe seats with statements like that. He also wants higher taxes, with the re-introduction of the 50% tax rate, despite this not raising more tax and is generally seen as an anti-wealth policy. Its like these people are actually trying to come forward as candidates that are even less electable than Corbyn. Then there was the drama of if Corbyn would appear on the ballot for a leadership election as he no longer had the support of 50 MPs, however by what appears as potential intimidation the Labour National Executive Committee had a public ballot and decided to include Corbyn on the list of candidates. Presumably they were concerned after Angela Eagle had a brick thrown through her office constituency so decided to go for the easy route and I don't blame them. Labour hasn't a chance of forming a Government in their current state, so for all I care for my own personal safety if I was on the National Executive Committee I would have put Pol Pot on the list if it meant avoiding acts of aggression.

Meanwhile we have the perfect storm for Labour in the form of the Conservatives and UKIP. First take a look at UKIP. With Nigel Farage gone, more moderate candidates are stepping up for leadership such as Steven Woolfe. Working class, mixed race, brought up in a council house, lived in moss side in Manchester a place I used to visit as my family had market stalls there. Has a calm, measured manner and takes on a party who has been consistent on immigration, a big issue for many in the Labour Northern heartlands.

If UKIP maintain themselves as an anti-establishment party representing the common person, have sensible polices then they are going to get Labour seats I can see that happening if Labour continue on their current course. Especially if Labour are toying with candidates like Owen Smith. Say what you like about northern people (I'm one) but they are decent people and if Owen Smith goes up there and says "second referendum" this will be a message of I don't care about democracy and what you people think. For years Labour have ignored their heartlands and statements like this is just showing a red rag to a bull. Its like they have learnt nothing from what happened in Scotland (which I'll come onto later). Labour is turning into a party that represents middle class Londoners and Guardian readers and that isn't going to win you elections.

Then we come to the Tories. Out go the Etonians, in come a predominate State School cabinet and Theresa May who is a women. You may think being a women doesn't matter but one of the reasons Thatcher stayed in so long was the fact she was a strong women in a predominately male dominated, privately educated profession. Women and men voted for Thatcher as they liked a grammar school educated women taking on the establishment. I think Theresa May will have the same sort of advantage despite not being my cup of tea. Then we come on to her recent pro-brexit appointments. David Davis was a great choice to head up Brexit, a long time euro-skeptic and someone who is a hardened politician. He's also someone who doesn't care about furthering his career for some short term personal gain over whats best for the country, therefore he has principle in order to carry out Brexit. Liam Fox will be enjoying his role drumming up trade deals around the world and they are all knocking on the door already. These are two people that firmly believe in the Brexit cause, even Nigel Farage said he was far more positive once these appointments were made. Then we had Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary an inspired appointment in my view, contrary to what others think. Sure Boris has insulted people all over the world but he will remedy that. People generally have short term memories and Boris has charm and a wit that will no doubt form relationships. He's also a very popular politician at home who can even swing Labour voters as evidenced when he was the mayor of London. To put him in such a prominent role will enable him to swing voters once an election comes. Along with David Davis and Liam Fox he also firmly believes in Brexit. All May's foreign appointments have been from the Brexit Camp, which in my opinion shows her commitments to Brexit. May has also gone after the middle ground of politics, demonising multi-national companies and going after the working mans vote. She looks likes she is determined to be hard on immigration, again a big concern of many in the Labour core vote, going straight for the oppositions jugular.

I believe the Tories want to get on with Brexit for a couple of reasons. One, it has been a thorn in the party for decades and now if we exit that rift will have gone, unifying the party once more when Labour are split. Two, despite many in the Tories being in favour of remain I don't think they really believed in it and I think they were just looking out for their future potential pensions or just sticking with the status quo. I think many did want to get out of it to heal the parties rift or were not that bothered or believed it to be a huge opportunity for them and for the country. They can now see the potential; making history which all politicians love to do. No one has ever left the EU before, therefore the opportunity to do something completely unique in a political sense is exciting a lot of Tory MPs.

There were suggestions that the Conservatives may call a general election to capitalise on the chaos in the Labour party but this won't happen as its in the Tories best interests not to call one. The chances are Jeremy Corbyn will win the latest leadership challenge as he has the largest support amongst the grass root supporters. This means he will carry on until the 2020 election. Now unless the world implodes then I don't think Labour has a chance of beating the Tories if that is the case. The Tories have so much election propaganda material on him from quotes saying Hamas were his friends, pictures with Sinn Fein and even his own party making damming public statements of him on facebook to name just a few of many. Just the sight of him campaigning will be enough to turn voters towards the Tories and UKIP. The Tories would rather have an easy election win in 2020 and potentially split the Labour party in the meantime or at the least cause divisions that may never heal. Then they will have until 2025, giving May and others 9 years in power. By then Labour may still not be able to recover the ground they have lost, meaning winning the 2025 election may still be a push. Also the Tories don't want an election until Article 50 has been triggered and we have fully pulled out of Europe otherwise the Tories risk losing voters to UKIP. If they make a good job of Brexit they can potentially pull back those ex-tory voters who went to UKIP. If the fears of Brexit never materialise then Tory members who did support remain will begin to see that life outside the EU is perhaps not all that bad, unifying the party even more. I believe all the reasons stated are why Teresa May is so keen to carry out Brexit and do the best that she can.

Before all of the above Labour were already facing a monumental mountain to climb. Remember that in the last election they were routed in Scotland, once their heartlands to third place behind the Tories. How it has changed when many left wing commentators said only a few years back that the Conservatives were "dead" in Scotland and they should give up. It seems they didn't bother to notice what was happening with their own parties issues. They need to win these seats back but how? None of the current candidates can do that. Then we have the boundary changes coming up in the next election whereby urban areas, Labour strongholds, are being unified more as they have lower constituent count then rural areas, thus potentially giving Labour less seats (assuming they can hold onto them). In the recent local elections Labour gained minimal seats, no where near what they need to gain in order to catch up with the Conservatives.

There is also the recent polls. We are well into the Governments term and Labour are polling in a disastrous way compared with the Tories. Even under Ed Miliband you had a bounce where Labour were in front at a similar period of the election cycle, however with Corbyn most polls show them trailing badly. Under every demographic Corbyn is loosing to May. Its amazing how delusional Labour supporters have become. I've seen in forums where they genuinely believe that because polls have been wrong recently that they may be underestimating Corbyns support. I think this is nuts for two reasons. One, the polls put Corbyn and Labour behind by several percentage points. With the recent Brexit vote it was tight by only a couple of percentage points so there was less margin for error. Two, polls in recent history have only been wrong in the favour of the Tory Party, like I mentioned the shy Tory factor back in a 2015 election post. People falsely tell pollsters they will vote Labour but then when they are in the polling booth they vote Conservative. The left don't help this by shouting "Tory scum" and "I wouldn't kiss a Tory" and all their other intolerant chants. Ironically in the same breath many then talk about a kinder politics, tolerance with all sorts of meaningless hashtags on twitter. The most intolerant voters I see are Labour ones. I never hear UKIP, the lib dems or the Conservatives shout "Labour Scum" and so on. Labour are more intolerant than all other parties. They label themselves as liberals yet are some of the most illiberal people out there. Even Angela Eagle has come out recently and said the Labour party is in danger of becoming the "nasty party", however I would argue its been like that for years. As Winston Churchill once said "The fascists of the future will be called anti-fascists". They shut down free speech and are unable to see another persons point of view. But then history has always shown the left to be the least tolerant of political movements, responsible for millions of deaths over the past 100 years. They also show complete contempt for democracy. In the 2015 election where the Conservatives won, rather than accept the vote they said the people had been misled and that it was unfair, indeed they protested in London against the democratic vote. They went to the Conservative party conference where attendees were called all forms of intolerant names, subjected to foul language and had eggs thrown at them. Their crime was a difference of opinion the very principle of freedom, free speech. It was the same again with the recent Brexit vote, disagree with the "progressives" or "liberals" at your peril. People are beginning to have enough of all this and are starting to move away from Labour and look at the alternatives. People are getting sick of being told what to think.

Labour are facing the perfect storm. Will they be able to pull things together? Hopefully. Democracy works best when you have a decent opposition. Maybe they need a heavy defeat in order to pull themselves together once more and get serious as a major political force. Its always the same story with Labour, they only get in power once they move to a Center-Right political position and abandon their Socialist principles. Tony Blair and Harold Wilson won because they out tory'd the Tories. I remember seeing 1970 Election footage, an Election Ted Heaths Conservatives won, with a Labour supporter saying that he voted for the Tories as he felt Labour had gone too far to the right. It was the same with Blair. Until Labour move to the right then they have no chance of forming a Government. History says they will, we just don't know when.

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