Over the past few weeks I have seen a torrent of half-witted abuse being thrown at the Lib Dems and MPs who have defected to us. “Good riddance”, “You’re Tory-lite”, “You’ll take anyone”. These are the ones that are fit to print – there were many that weren’t!” It’s because of attitudes like these that I know Labour will never form a Government under its current leader.
It seems to me that looking at both polls and local and national by-election results the Country is diving into three camps:
30 -35% of people who are moderately hard to hard right.
25 – 30% of people who are moderately hard to hard left
45 – 35% of people are moderately left, right or centre.
In some ways I suspect that has always been the case but we couldn’t see it because the leadership, policies and principles of the Labour and Tory Parties were in the centre of their own spectrum and people of the right or left could feel comfortable within broad church parties.
Brexit and the election of Johnson and Corbyn as Leaders have changed all that. They are both extremists within their own Parties. They have moved their Parties out to the extreme flanks within their spectrum and have brought into their Party more people from even further out on the spectrum.
In the case of the Tories it is Brexiters/UKIP people. In the case of Labour, it is the updated version of Militant the Momentum grouping. Both sets of people being given room in a Parties where previous leaders would have had no truck with them.
That leaves democratic socialists and one nation Tories an unhappy minority in policy terms within their own Parties. The divide, however is then deepened by behavioural difficulties. Listen to our new MPs talking of the nasty shouty meetings they have had to ensure from their own sides. As one told me yesterday you wouldn’t even expect such language from your opponents but to get it from your own lot was unbelievable.
Contrast that with how they feel about their new Party and you could feel the relief. As Chukka put it, “for years we dreaded coming to Party Conference but we really looked forward to coming to this one!” To see our own MP, Luciana Berger, being able to walk around without a Police escort and be able to talk freely with anyone and everyone brought her joy and me joy too as I remember the pain and problems that she had to endure.
In the last 30 years only one person has been able to produce a strong majority government and that was Tony Blair who did it three times. He did that by building a broad consensus firstly within his own Party but then moved outside the ‘tribe’ to engage with the centre ground which, if you accept my figures above, is the only way to get a majority within Parliament.
The only thing that can vary that at present is our first Past the Post system which is more likely to provide a strong majority in a two split with a smaller third Party than with a situation like now which has four Parties with poll ratings in a fairly tight band.
Perhaps one of the things that surprises me most is the way that Tony Blair is reviled now by many in his former Party with many of his personal adherents having left. I didn’t like everything that Blair did or did not do. I especially appalled that he went to war based on a dodgy dossier. What cannot be denied though is the fact that he did a lot of good and led this Country well in some directions by introducing some good policies and moving investment into key areas like the NHS and education.
But if you are in or lead a cult it is absolutely purity in your beliefs that matters. People either agree with you on everything or you are the devil incarnate. Tony Blair has grown horns and aa tail!!
Corbyn cannot win because there are nowhere near enough purists around to vote for him. Unpalatable though Johnson and the Tories are centrist voters look at Corbyn and see Johnson’s alter ego. They will not vote for him. How can he be the most unpopular opposition Leader in the 40+ years that polls have been undertaken on the subject? To make it worse for him a recent poll asking who of Johnson, Corbyn or Swinson would make the best PM he was beaten into third place by Jo Swinson! This does matter. Although we work a constituency system, we run Presidential races! If people have no confidence in the Leader every candidate in their Party suffers and vice versa.
The young people who flocked to Corbyn last time are now in the Lib Dem camp. Moderates and Remainers from all traditions are now in the Lib Dem camp. We want a General Election as soon as possible and practicable and we are certainly looking forward to advance when only the most naïve in the Labour Parties see any likelihood of anything other than a decline.
Cue Labour trolls dashing in to defend the Cult!!