That Theresa May survived the vote on Dominic Grieve’s amendment seeking to give the House of Commons power in effect to halt Brexit in the event of no deal being agreed with the EU was no victory but yet another fudge, kicking the can down the road.
Wednesday’s debate was preceded by a Prime Minister’s Questions of staggering awfulness, not only from her, but from almost the entire House, with both sides first fawning over an Imam whose public utterances imply he wants any criticism of Islam banned, then competing furiously to virtue-signal their Left-‘liberal’ PC credentials at every possible opportunity.
That, plus the long-evident reluctance of most of its overwhelmingly pro-Remain membership to accept and implement the EU Referendum result, finally convinced me. The present Chamber is moribund, rotten, led by a Prime Minister who is Dead May Walking, and another election is needed.
Why am I so keen on a General Election now? Or, if not exactly keen, nevertheless reluctantly convinced of the necessity for one, despite the potential adverse consequences? For three reasons.
Firstly, with both political attention-span and memory being relatively brief among the vast majority of the public who wisely don’t pay much day-to-day attention to politics, by the time 2022 comes round, many will have largely forgotten the 2017-18 attempted, if not actual, betrayal of the 2016 EU Referendum result.
Not to mention, being bleakly realistic, that some of those most angry about that betrayal and thirsting for the chance to wreak electoral revenge might, by then, no longer be around to vent that anger at the ballot box. An early election would mean that voter frustration with both parties has an outlet before it subsides.
Next, the current Vichy-‘Conservative’ Party needs to suffer a heavy defeat, along the lines of the 1906, 1945 and 1997 landslides, to bring about either a split from, or a purge of, its Cameroon-Blairite Left-‘liberal’ wing, whose current ascendancy is driving the party Leftwards, both economically and culturally, with results plain to see.
Remember, in the last year alone, Theresa May has proposed having the State fix the price at which energy suppliers can sell their product; signalled an intent to intervene in the price/demand side of the housing market instead of liberalising planning controls to incentivise supply; threatened to crack down more on ‘hate crime’ and ‘Islamophobia’, aka free speech; promised to control and police the internet; approved lifestyle and behaviour-nudging taxes; resiled from tackling mass uncontrolled immigration; and proposed throwing another £20billion at an unreformed NHS while praising it fulsomely in ever more reverential terms.
And that’s before we consider the Miliband-lite Tories’ eager appeasement of the climate change lobby, the racial and religious grievance industries, an increasingly corrupt and partisan United Nations, and, above all, a vengeful and intransigent European Union over Brexit.
The party needs an unequivocal electoral defeat and spell in opposition to force it to rethink from first principles what it stands for, then devise a portfolio of policies that aren’t merely politically promising, but intellectually consistent, in order to be able to capitalise on it when the Corbynite-Labour bubble bursts.
Finally, the boil of Socialism seemingly infecting so much of the electorate needs to be lanced. But with the increasingly soft Left-‘liberal’ ‘Conservative’ Party having totally abandoned making a robust case for low-tax, small-State, civil-libertarian, free-market conservatism as the engine of prosperity, freedom and growth, in favour of timidly aping Socialist-Labour in the vague hope of a few Corbyn-lite policies enticing voters back, I cannot see that happening without a new generation of voters experiencing for themselves the malign reality of a hard-Left government.
Psephologically, the Labour-to-Conservative crossover point – the age at which people switch to voting Conservative rather than Labour – was assumed before the 2017 General Election to be roughly 34: but the post-election analyses moved that point back by a whole 11 years, up to about 45. Labour now enjoys majority support in all voter age-groups between 18 and 45.
It isn’t altogether surprising. It’s now nearly 40 years since Britain last had an economically-Left Labour government (in contrast to the culturally-Left governments of all parties we’ve had for about 35 years), so that almost no one under the age of, possibly, 55 at least, has any memory or experience of actually living under one.
Add to that the predominant Left-wing bias of the education establishment, and the profession at secondary and tertiary level where two generations have been indoctrinated, and it’s arguably astonishing that Corbyn’s socialist prescriptions, so superficially attractive to those who’ve never suffered them in practice, aren’t even more popular.
That’s why warnings of strikes, power shortages, punitive taxes and fiscal mismanagement from Labour runaway spending and borrowing have so little political cut-through with voters from Generation X-ers through Millennials to Generation Z-ers. They’ve never seen it in Britain, so they just don’t believe it, and nothing short of experiencing for themselves the horrors of living under a Left-wing Labour government will dispel their illlusions.
In short, we’ve arrived at one of those points which seem to occur every 40 years or so, where a major political upheaval is needed to generate political resuscitation and renewal.
Yes, of course there are risks, and very serious ones, from a hard-Left Labour government, and as someone who abhors every manifestation of Leftism, I’m the first to acknowledge them. The Corbyn-McDonnell Terror won’t be pleasant. But capital markets, via demanding higher borrowing rates, and threatened or actual capital flight via reduced tax receipts, have a habit of curbing the worst excesses of economically-Left Labour governments.
In any case, is that really so much worse than the alternative? Of years of a Continuity-May ‘Conservative’ Party, ever more in thrall to mushy Left-‘liberalism’, governing hesitantly and ineffectively while the hard Left poses self-righteously as Salvation Denied?
Just as, to cure a malignant cancer, painful chemotherapy has to be endured, so rejuvenating conservatism and defeating Socialism may require some temporary hurt. But the sooner the treatment starts, the less painful it is, and the sooner comes the cure.
Fortune favours the brave. Bring on that election.