The media seem abuzz with rumour as Tony Blair has not ruled out a return to British politics. Certainly, the publication of the Chilcot Report has laid the Iraq controversy to some kind of rest. Here I present a glimpse of what might be, courtesy of my trusty crystal ball…
Jan 1 2017 – Tony Blair announces a return to British politics, forming the ‘Progress Party’, stating that Labour can no longer represent the interests of the British people. ‘The Tories are not a Centre Party, and Labour are neither. There needs to be a new relationship between politics and the British People. Not back to the 1950s but forward to the 2050s. Only Progress can do this.’
Jan 2 2017 – Numerous MPs quit Labour to join the Progress Party, which has a fully functioning media operation in tow. Corbyn attacks Blair, again. Labour MPs have nothing to lose as they are facing deselection anyway. There is violence and intimidation reported across former Labour constituencies.
Jan 2017 – A Labour MP quits to ‘spend more time with his family’. Blair stands in the seat. There is a bitter contest with scenes of violence as activists flood the hapless constituency. Progress use scenes of violence in their election media, asking voters to choose between decent or dirty politics. Blair challenges Corbyn to a debate. Corbyn accepts and loses badly as Blair atones for his mistakes and points out Corbyn’s failings. By-election result: Progress wins narrowly, Tories second, Labour third. More Labour MPs defect to Progress.
Feb 1 2017 – Britain invokes Article 50
Feb 2 2017 – Sufficient MPs defect to Progress for Tony Blair to become Leader of the Opposition. There are fist-fights on the opposition benches. Blair sets out his task as holding the government to account over Brexit and to get the best deal for everyone. Blair and May compete to attack the ‘privileged few’.
May 2017 – Local elections are a disaster for Labour as Progress councillors take numerous previously Labour wards. Tories and Ukip take advantage in areas where Labour/Progress votes let them through. Labour holds on to directly elected mayors.
Jun 2017 – Blair rejects Lib Dem/Progress merger, stating ‘The Lib Dems have not governed in their own right for over one hundred years. It’s time to face facts.’
Jul 2017 – There are fresh moves to have Corbyn resign the Labour leadership as rumours abound of a challenge from either Clive Lewis or Kier Starmer.
Aug 2017 – Labour’s compliance unit announce a membership audit.
Sep 2017 – Labour announces membership irregularities. Conference is to be called to revise the voting system. NEC proposes a Conservative-style leadership election system. Conference deadlock. There are calls from the floor for Corbyn to resign. Corbyn refuses to resign. Number of Labour MPs falls to under 100.
Oct 2017 – More deselected MPs defect to Progress. Questions are raised about who is funding Progress. GMB starts funding Progress, stating that Labour threatens members working in defence industries. Labour lose a by-election to Progress.
Nov 2017 – A Labour mayor defects to Progress. Sadiq Khan pledges not to defect.
Dec 2017 – More unions defect to Progress, but Unison and Unite remain with Labour. The NUT splits as a faction supports Progress.
Feb 2018 – The Conservatives win a by-election in a safe Labour seat after the vote is split between Labour and Progress. The campaign is dominated by violence. Arrests are made.
Jul 2018 – An election court over-rules a Labour by-election win following evidence of intimidation and rigging. Police investigate Labour activities and interview members of Corbyn’s office.
Aug 2018 – Kier Starmer defects to Progress, citing disgust with the leadership and hinting at criminal activity.
Sep 2018 – Arrests are made in Labourgate affair.
Feb 2019 – Brexit
Mar 2019 – Labourgate trial starts
Oct 2019 – Labourgate trial ends with convictions for members of Corbyn’s office. Labour now at 50 MPs with about 30 as independent members.
May 2020 – Blair and May face off in election. Labour vote collapses with rump of party holding 25 seats in London, Manchester, Liverpool and the North-East.
Sep 2020 – Labour conference in Barnsley approves changes to party management and constitution to make it a democratically centralist socialist unity party and there are calls for other socialist parties to amalgamate into a united socialist front. The SWP and Labour merge. Pre-Blair Clause IV is reinstated. Corbyn is voted in as life president and leader. A Trotskyist faction splits from Labour, taking one MP. Jeremy Corbyn hosts a meeting at the House of Commons with representatives from ISIS as part of a ‘peace process’ for Syria.