Monday, July 10, 2017

Left-Behind Folk in the UK much like those in the US

It is fascinating how much similarity there is at the moment between the US and the UK politically. Especially as regards the behavior of those who believe themselves ‘left behind.’
I really have little more to add to this excellent analysis in the (London) Guardian. Except possibly for this. Labour did, indeed, do brilliantly in the UK General Election in June. And many Labourites are acting as if the next election (probably not before 2022) will be a case of building on that success. I’m not so sure.
For certain, Labour’s good result had much to do with the unexpectedly assured performance of Jeremy Corbyn. And the seeming attraction of Labour’s manifesto. But I still hold that history will show that 2017 was about rebellion much more than Labour.
Rebellion by Tory Remainers in London. Rebellion by Liberal Democrats against the LibCon Coalition record and against Farron. Rebellion against the European Union in the North and East of England. Rebellion by the young against austerity. The question is, how much of this rebellion will remain embedded in 2022?
I suspect the Liberal Democrats may be slightly regrouped under Vince Cable. Not much. Not enough. But some. Brexit will no longer be an issue. So just watch those Tory Remainers remain with Labour no longer. And I'm pretty certain the Tory government will merrily spend the next two years picking the more palatable and attractive cherries from Labour's offering of goodies, in order to calm further fears of pocket-picking going forward. At least among those whose votes the Tories want.
Meanwhile, as this article makes clear, the move by many voters in 2017 from Labour to Tory, in the North and East, was not just about Brexit. It was, as one correspondent describes, a 25-year movement. I’m not sure all those Labour voters will be returning. Besides, I don’t see how Labour will have anything more to offer in 2022 than they did in 2017. So, where does a better result come from?
Add to all this the near-certainty that the British Conservative Party will have a new and likely younger leader (my money is on Priti Patel). The Tories will need a polling lead of only 3% for an overall majority, compared to 8% for Labour. And the fact that Labour will be led either by Jeremy Corbyn (who goes down much better at Glastonbury than in the North and East), or by someone he pretty much handpicks. And I’m not convinced that the Tories will not be eking out a fourth, consecutive, narrow election victory.

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