The Guardian reports that party chiefs warn against plot to install David Davis as leader before the summer holidays.
Whilst, it’s clear that May’s going, the golden questions are ‘when’ and ‘who’.
It’s worth exploring how the politics of the major parties have changed in recent years.
Firstly, let’s remember that the Labour Party was hijacked by shadowy Far-Left radicals, for whom Jeremy Corbyn is their puppet. For me, Jeremy Corbyn is the ‘Pied Piper of Islington‘ and we know how that story ended. Tories are worried about precipitating a Marxist government in the UK, either with or without a revolution. The first paradox for Labour is that the Far-Left radicals hold increasing power, not the legally elected MPs. There is a second paradox for Labour. The Marxist experiment has failed in practice and socialism, with ‘big government’ has been widely discredited. The fault line for socialism has shifted from radicalism to being the new conservatives, desperately trying to preserve the welfare state but that has been widely discredited by both exploitation and ineffectiveness. Yet Corbyn and his shadowy Far Left supporters ignore the evidence, passionately believing that the end justifies the means. This is the risk of the ‘Pied Piper of Islington’.
Secondly, we need to look at the Conservative Party and their supporters. Traditionally, conservatism has been about preserving ‘ old values’. When existing institutions have become bloated by socialism, we find that conservatism has embraced a form of radicalism. The champions of radical ideas have become the ‘New Right‘. But there have been two prevailing targets, firstly, bureaucracy at home, viz. the public sector, and secondly, bureaucracy in Europe, viz. the EU. The ‘New Right’ are sometimes called neoliberals, passionately believing in the indefinite expansion of market forces. We have seen the left and the right of the Conservative Party championing polarized positions. The left of the conservative party championed social and economic liberalism, moving with the times and supporting a measure of progressivism. It’s not clear whether the right of the Conservative Party are simply champions of ‘Old Conservatism’ supporting hierarchy, aristocracy and the individual over the state. At the same time, it’s necessary to understand the voters who favour conservatism. When I talk to many traditional Conservative voters they cannot articulate their politics – most are simply in fear of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Government and a potential Marxist state.
We also need to pick up a third thread. The Conservatives have been too weak to embrace radicalism. Since the 2008 financial crash, the Conservatives have favoured prolonged and progressive austerity, rather than radical change to the public sector. By comparison, the late Margaret Thatcher was a champion of radical change and the ‘New Right’.
But there is perhaps a fourth thread, namely the ‘push-back of the people’. The people are tired of austerity which has resulted in a collapse of public services and secondly the people are increasingly angry at the emerging economic hardship of Brexit.
The Conservatives know that to win the next election and keep Britain from possibly becoming a Marxist state, they must choose a ‘champion of the people’. It’s unlikely that the big beasts of the party, including Davies, Johnson and Hammond, can become a popular champion.
Personally, I believe that there’s a popular appeal with:
- World class public services, recognizing the need for radical reform to offer the world’s best public services with oustanding value for money
- Maximizing value for money in public services as an ethos across central and local government
- Strong and effective law and order, with an appropriate defense force
- Taxes low enough to attract investment and highly skilled professionals
- Preserving the integrity of open markets
- Championing the peoples’ interests against extremism
- Equality of opportunity
- Mobilizing those out of work with public service
- A balanced approach to immigration, recognizing the need for expertise but also recognizing the size of the country and the changing demographic profile
- Soft Brexit, preserving Britain’s place in Europe and in the wider world.
Here’s an open question:
So who’s going to beat the ‘Pied Piper of Islington?’
[For further reading I would recommend: ‘Beyond Left and Right: The Future of Radical Politics – Anthony Giddens]