HOWEVER much our attention is riveted on Brexit and the possibility of our hopeless Prime Minister leaving us permanently shackled to the EU, we mustn’t lose focus on the other danger we face: that the political turbulence could mean we end up with a full-on Marxist Labour government that manipulates the electoral system enough to cling on for decades, changing this country beyond recognition.
No one can safely predict what our politics will look like in six months or a year. The Conservatives might be reinvigorated under a new leader. Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party might storm Labour’s heartlands in the North and the Midlands or a major split in the Parliamentary Labour Party might finally kill off Corbynism. Who knows? But there are plenty of perfectly realistic scenarios where we could end up with Jeremy Corbyn very firmly in power.
We have had bad governments before in Britain. Ultimately, though, we have always had the power to vote them out however much they might have tried to manipulate the system to cling on. We are used to governments scheming to get every last bit of electoral advantage, fair or unfair. That’s what politicians do; but most would look utterly feeble compared with a Marxist government. I don’t trust anyone to respect democratic conventions if, like Corbyn and his old comrades on Islington Council’s Labour group, they are happy to venerate a bust of a blood-soaked dictator such as Vladimir Lenin.
If we imagine a government led by Corbyn or even John McDonnell, think how it might prepare for its first electoral test. Dropping the voting age to 16 would be a good place to start. And with its hand on the government cash spigot, it could start dishing out serious electoral bribes to turn voters into clients. Easy for a free-spending and imaginative chancellor to do if he’s not too worried by the national debt. He could target key groups of voters, or set up a guaranteed minimum income to turn the whole country into a giant Ponzi scheme.
Next, there’s the tackling of opposition voices. Corbyn has already talked about ‘democratising’ the media. A horribly chilling phrase. Imagine a ramped-up Leveson press regime, where all its bureaucrats have been appointed through the patronage of a Corbyn government.
Surviving dissenters can be battered into quiescence by social media shock troops. We’ve already seen what a Leftie Twitter mob can do, but imagine one with its self-confidence boosted by its side actually holding government power?
Outside formal politics, there is much else that can be done. Extra-Parliamentary action, mobilising masses of people for strikes, protests, demos and boycotts is something many Corbynistas see as a major plank in the programme. Have a look on Corbynite social media if you doubt this. Would you have the confidence to argue with a chanting mob? Or fancy walking into a polling booth if teams of Momentum comrades were on hand to ‘facilitate’ the electoral process?
As you go to the Left of the political spectrum, the contempt for ‘bourgeois’ parliamentary democracy is barely concealed. Of course, there are still decent and honourable people left in Labour, even within Momentum, who would be horrified at abandoning ordinary democratic processes. However, since Corbyn became leader, the party has sucked in many who learnt their politics in the demented sects of the far Left. The differences between sections of Labour and full communism are blurring fast. So much so that the Communist Party of Britain, who would once have dismissed Labour as reformist sell-outs, now endorse them.
And people who can swallow communism’s doctrine of the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ might be reluctant meekly to surrender power because of some outworn convention about fairly fought elections.
We just don’t know how our current political mess will play out. Although this country has never succumbed to totalitarian politics and has strong institutions and traditions, we are not immune to political folly. The Corbynite threat might recede, but it might not. We could yet end up trapped under a Marxist government, with statues of the Dear Leader in the corner and elections with only one candidate. After all, if Corbyn can recruit someone to his top team who is on record for expressing solidarity with North Korea’s vile tyranny, then anything is possible. We mustn’t forget that risk.
Theresa May’s recent advances to Labour over Brexit have given them some of the credibility and authority of a serious and decent party of opposition. A deeply foolish thing for her to do. A Marxist party should be shunned. Mrs May might not be frightened of living in a copy of a 1960s East Germany, but it terrifies me.