After Keir Starmer’s announcement that he doesn’t mind if people accuse him of being a Conservative, will voters abandon his version of the Labour Party in search of a new hope?
Starmer’s gamble – and perhaps his fatal flaw – is his belief that socialist, or at least left-wing, voters simply don’t have anywhere to go other than his neoliberal, right-wing party if they want to get the Tories out of office.
Novara Media‘s Aaron Bastani, writing in The Post, reckons he is mistaken:
from the embers of Corbynism, and a seeming ambivalence towards Starmer, an outline for the second half of the 2020s starts to emerge. In it, the Tories collapse — in the Red Wall to Labour and across their own heartlands to the resurgent Liberal Democrats — while the Greens emerge as a serious party across much of England.
I think Bastani himself is mistaken to put any faith in the Lib Dems. Too many of us remember their Coalition with a Conservative Party that could not win a Parliamentary majority on its own in 2010, ushering in the current age of austerity, privatisation, wage suppression and price inflation.
But his vision of a Labour government with little or no Parliamentary majority may still come true, albeit possibly with Independent MPs who Starmer ejected from Labour taking the place of the LDs.
Either way, with Starmer unlikely to win an election outright because his policies are too unpopular, he will be vulnerable to influence from the parties whose support he’ll need if he’s to pass any legislative programme at all.
He’ll have to do some horse-trading, and this means allowing some legislation that the other parties want. This creates an opening to bring in proportional representation again – not via a referendum in which the gullible may be tricked with lies, but by direct legislation. And why not? I don’t recall being given a choice about the voting system in the Welsh Assembly.
As for other policies, it depends how the new Parliament is composed. If the Liberal Democrats gain a significant number of seats, then it may be business as usual for the right-wing Establishment as, apart from a few cosmetic differences, a Lab-Lib coalition or confidence and supply arrangement will be little different from the current Conservative government.
But if left-wing, former Labour representatives gain a serious foothold, then the door may be opened for policies such as re-nationalisation of public utilities. Bastani indicates that Conservative voters want to see the Royal Mail re-nationalised anyway – but if it’s not a Labour manifesto commitment, it won’t earn Starmer any support.
So I reckon it will be for left-wing MPs to sort out with StarmerLabour after the election – if they get the chance.
Then again, Bastani reckons there will be huge pressure on Labour MPs and candidates – before the election – to address issues like the housing crisis.
But how are we supposed to do that?
MPs are easy to contact – they have to carry out regular “surgeries” that are open to the public and that’s how they learn what their voters want. Have you ever been to one? The alternatives are opinion polls, which are generally carried out on a national scale and may not represent what your constituency needs, or the ideas of those who spread their opinions across the letter columns of newspapers.
Representatives of other parties in your constituency are harder to find – or influence. Some may have local offices through which they may be contacted; others may have to be sought via their national headquarters.
But how can you guarantee to influence your party of choice? Labour’s attitude lately is to ignore anybody who isn’t Keir Starmer – and to accuse those who put forward radical alternatives to current party police.
It seems you are unsafe, wherever you go.
This Writer’s advice would be for anyone who is interested in their future – or indeed, in having any future at all – to contact as many of the established parties as possible, to discover their current policy platform.
If none of them conform with what you want – and you should make yourself expressly plain on that – then it will be time to ask someone to stand as an independent, if nobody has already come forward.
Whatever you choose to do, there is a long way to go – especially if you choose to do nothing at all.
There is no guarantee that Starmer won’t simply ally Labour with the Conservatives; his lust for power really does seem to be that strong. What will you do then?
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