Friday, 13 December 2019

Effective Landslide for a Tory Blair

Johnson didn't exactly win: Labour imploded. The old Liberal Democrat narrative of disappointment has come again. In First Past the Post terms, this means that Johnson has walked it.

People (like me) who wanted to stay in the European Union are defeated. Johnson will have the freedom to have trade talks closer to the EU, or have an extension, or anything he likes. A liar lies on, but a Prime Minister (especially a near sole campaigner) has enormous power. He has the monarch's powers - we learnt that once he took power months back, needing the Supreme Court - and he has party dominance.

I'm sorry Jo Swinson lost her seat, but she turned out to be a poor strategist and poor campaigner: she had profile but probably needed to nurture her seat more. Chuka Umunna failed too. All the ex-Tory independents failed. Liberal Democrat losses have undermined gains.

However, the Scottish Nationalist Party has done very well, and Irish Nationalists/ Republicans for the first time have a majority of seats in a Westminster General Election. The Union is likely finished, now, because Scotland is another country and Ireland wants its place in the European Union throughout the island. Johnson cannot ignore this, or these nations will rip away.

I'm going to go against the grain of many of my political friends. I think Johnson will be a kind of Conservative Blair. He talks about "One Nation Conservatives", and now he has MPs in deprived constituencies looking for public spending - spending that he has sort of promised. Of course he could spend three years being a political and economic bastard and two years appealing to voters, but my guess is that he'll want to connect and be loved. Blair wanted to be loved and then let his bigger simplistic politician George Bush take him into Iraq. The Tories will provide their own opposition over the next five years.

Corbyn should have gone long ago: ineffective from the off with his office, and saved by one campaign in 2017 and membership, making some sort of progress against the weak and indecisive May Prime Minister. It was a case of a party of devotees out of touch with a wider electorate. It's no good having a supposed fantastic manifesto if it fails to attract wider support, and it should have appealed over a neutralised Brexit policy and toxic leader (justified or otherwise). He should go soon, but he wants to hang about presumably to maintain the left wing policies - because Labour will fight over its left-right split. The membership should retain the party's left wing stance, but many will also give up party membership. Blair at least knew how to win elections, even if people saw less from his majorities than they desired.

The Liberal Democrats will rise again as the Conservative bloat fails - and it will because of the Brexit nature of the vote. But it will need another good strategist for the Liberal Democrats: another Paddy Ashdown ,really. If they don't find such a new leader, their future will stay low level.

In five years I'll be a year off pension age, so we just have to live with this. Is the body politic renewed by this General Election? Probably not. Even so, we'll still have to wait five years.

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