Politics. Bloody Hell.
Perhaps believing that British politics had gone too long without an earthquake, this morning the Prime Minister announced her intention to call a general election for June 8th. When you look at the decision in the cold light of day, it seems totally logical: Mrs May has called what she believes will be a snap annihilation of the Labour Party.
I am not going to make specific predictions about seat numbers or what will happen following the result (although I have a very clear idea on those two fronts), but let’s be realistic: Labour enters this election with both hands tied behind its back, its eyes closed and its soft heart painfully exposed. We are in for one hell of a roasting and a potential generational shift in our politics even further towards the right.
Like all loyal Labour members, I will be campaigning hard for a Labour victory. And no, I won’t find it difficult. The Labour Party is not one man or his leadership. It is the lance point of an historic movement for social justice which has achieved enormous things for this country. Nothing could dissuade me from the belief that the interests of the many and not the few would be best served by a Labour government. It is precisely because of the immense power for good inherent in the Labour Party that its true believers must now fight harder than ever to ensure that it survives the horror that is to come.
But make no mistake: this will be the Labour left’s result. Their reputation on the line. Caused by their diminution of the last Labour government’s achievements. Their apologism for a man most of them knew would never get close to power and would take the Labour Party further away from it. Their self-aggrandising, self-indulgent, self-immolating omnishambles. Their chaos. Their defeat. Their end.
After the defeat, there will be a huge political vacuum within the Labour Party. Whether the Labour Party is sucked through that vacuum into nothingness, or instead clusters anew, will be determined by whether or not that vacuum is filled by the apologists for Corbynism or the true champions of the British people. We can either carry on pretending that what the British people really want is a far-left party of reality-denial, or a government-in-waiting that is obsessed not merely by opposing things, but by coming up with forward-thinking solutions to the very real problems faced by the British people.
When the British people give Theresa May the hefty mandate she seeks – and believe me, they will – they will do so not because they are passionate believers in her vision for Britain, but because they feel they have nowhere else to turn. To borrow an ugly Americanism, the British people will see the Tories as the ‘least worst option.’ They usually do. And that is why the Tories usually win.
Something will emerge from the rubble. Blessedly, our electoral system means that one-party hegemony can never last for long. But it will last for far longer than needed if certain people in the Labour Party grab the narrative after this election and repeat the lies and dogmas that have become so ubiquitous on the left these past two years.
We need a new Labour vision, and fast. By June, to be specific. There’s no time to waste.