With the country having roundly rejected Red Ed’s ‘Old Labour’ and Lib Dem membership surging since the general election, why do socialists still form the country’s second-largest party?
Right about now, you could normally expect to hear clichés emerging from the political commentariat about the dust having settled following the general election, allowing a more sober reflection on the ramifications of the electorates’ whim over the next five years.
But, as in 2010 when it took just under a week for a new government to form, this just hasn’t happened. The Conservative thermo-nuclear majority blew the Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP party leaders into carbon shadows. While the dust still hangs thick in the air over Westminster, Nationalist mutants descend from the hills and a legless purple zombie slowly drags itself from beneath the wreckage.
The Conservatives’ apocalyptic majority, echoing John Major’s unexpected victory in 1992, confounded pollsters, bookies and politcos alike, who were all banking on Ed Miliband somehow making it into Number 10, either as the head of a majority Labour government or the linchpin of some ghastly kaleidoscopic, murky green, coalition.
The question has been asked repeatedly since May 8, ‘how could they get it so wrong?’ But perhaps the more pertinent question is, ‘how could anyone with a brain honestly believe the electorate would vote for a left-wing muppet like Ed Miliband?’
We all knew, didn’t we, that Red Ed had been installed over his much more popular, capable and dangerous (to the Tories) brother by the trade union bloc vote and that, as evidenced by the fact pretty much the only constituencies which voted for his party a week ago were sitting on top of old coalfields, that Miliband had exercised a purely core-vote ’35 per cent’ strategy.
There was no way in hell the electorate was going vote to bring the 1970s back after all that had been achieved since Margaret Thatcher. There was a reason the Tories held onto power for 18 years after 1979 and why this inevitably transformed the Labour Party; the country never, ever, wanted to go back. Which raised the further, damning, point that Labour has still not won a single general election without Tony Blair since October 1974. Nineteen. Seventy. Four. To put that into perspective, David Bowie had just dropped glam rock and had started singing soul music.
There is now absolutely no doubt that the United Kingdom is not a socialist country. We like capitalism here. Sometimes we vote for conservative capitalism and, when in a slightly more radical mood, we vote for liberal capitalism. Think about it. Almost 10,000 people have joined the Liberal Democrats since May 7. Tony Blair was a liberal. David Miliband was a liberal. And, unfortunately for Labour, Chuka Umunna was a liberal.
Only five days ago I took to Facebook with this article to warn Conservatives not to underestimate Labour’s rising star. Sentences like ‘we talked too little about those creating wealth,’ ‘you cannot be pro good jobs without being pro the businesses that create them,’ and ‘We need a different, big-tent approach – one in which no one is too rich or poor to be part of our party’ ought to strike terror into the hearts of Tories still intoxicated from the milk of unexpected success.
But then, in the words of one of my anti-Tory friends, ‘Nooooo.’ Suddenly Labour’s golden boy, its last great hope, ducked out of the race. Dan Jarvis? I spent enough time with the ex-para in my days as a Barnsley Chronicle reporter to know the man doesn’t have any ideas – I’m not surprised he declined to stand. But Chuka? Wow. Dat’s gotta hoit.
I can’t blame him, though. For reasons detailed above, the man clearly has a glittering political career ahead of him, and he probably had enough sense to see how badly William Hague’s premature election as Tory leader damaged his career.
So, with the electorate finally clarifying to socialists that ‘No means NO’ and liberals declining to take on the reins of a rattled party, what actually is the point of Labour? And why are they still the UK’s second party?
The answer, of course, is to be a fully-funded mouthpiece for the hard-left trades unions in Parliament and to have their socialist ideology broadcast far beyond its actual level of support in the country.
The solution? For the Government (and the Labour Party…ooh, look, there’s Chuka) to finish the job it started in eroding the hand which directs the Labour sock puppet and allow a party more representative of the British centre-left to take its place.
However, I will be the first to admit that the main flaw in this scheme is it relies on the Liberal Democrats to actually know what’s good for them…and they look poised to anoint a dyed-in-the-wool socialist as their next party leader.
Expect an increased Conservative majority in 2020.
Paul Nizinskyj is Conservatives for Liberty’s online editor and a regional journalist based in Essex.