I’m house-sitting for my brother for the next few days, and I expect my blog posts will be fairly brief.
Today I’ve been reading that the left-wing Jeremy Corbyn is almost certain to win the Labour party leadership contest. If so it’ll be the triumph of ideological purity over practical politics. It means that they’re not even going to try to win the next election.
It’s what they did after they lost to Margaret Thatcher in 1979. They kicked out middle-of-the-road James Callaghan, and elected left-wing crackpot Michael Foot instead. That in turn led to a split in the Labour party, and the formation of the SDP. And it also resulted in some 15+ years of Conservative government.
I wouldn’t be too surprised if the result is exactly the same this time round. And Tony Blair sees it that way too:
What we’re witnessing now is a throwback to that time, but without the stabilisers in place. The big unions, with the exception of the most successful in recent times, USDAW, are in the grip of the hard left. And the people do not have that same old-time loyalty.
If Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader it won’t be a defeat like 1983 or 2015 at the next election. It will mean rout, possibly annihilation.
And with a radical left-wing Labour party, the Conservatives will probably become more right-wing, like the Thatcher government of the 1980s, as it dismantled and sold off Britain’s state-owned industries. And that will squeeze votes from UKIP.
With luck future Conservative governments will take it upon themselves to dismantle the nanny state constructed under Tony Blair’s Labour government. It’s another example of asphyxiating top down control, much like state ownership. And in shifting rightward, they could do no better than to adopt a few of UKIP’s policies.
For the past 10 or 15 years, UK politics has seen all the parties fighting over the centre ground, and in the process becoming indistinguishable from each other. That looks set to end now. We’ll have a left wing statist Labour party, and a right wing free market Conservative party, and clear blue water between the two.
The task of the Conservative party over the next few years is going to be to attract back the 4 million right wing voters they lost to UKIP in May. If they can get those votes back, they’ll be guaranteed a solid majority at the next election (and the election after that).
How might they do that? By choosing a eurosceptic leader to replace Cameron when he steps down, and by adopting UKIP’s policies wholesale, and offering Nigel Farage a safe Conservative seat and a place in the cabinet, and thereby completely dismantling UKIP.
One of those UKIP policies that would need to be adopted would of course be the relaxation of the smoking ban.