The one lesson that I have learned in decades of politics is that people do not vote for parties who are divided. It is a mantra adopted by Sunak & by Starmer. And it is good sense.
The other blindingly obvious lesson from history is that government’s lose elections rather than opposition parties winning them. But politics is rather jumbled up at the moment. The Tories have been seriously divided for years; the fault line being Brexit. If anyone seriously believes that an election winning slogan of ‘we got Brexit done’ is a sure fire winner when 57% of voters think that leaving the EU was a mistake needs a little time of reflexion in a padded room in a jacket with buckles on its sleeves. However, they would be sharing the same room with anyone who seriously believes that ‘let’s rejoin the single market and customs union’ is going to go down anything less than an undercooked rat sandwich. So both main parties have diluted their message to ‘let’s make Brexit work’. Good luck on that one maties.
So the big dividing line in the Conservative Party is the lemming like obsession with tax cuts. This has led to Tory delusionist, Lord Frost of Bonkers declaring that the Conservatives ‘must change direction’. Yawn. Watching Frostie pronounce on policy is like witnessing a dishwasher recite Hamlet. You look on first with fascination, then with horror and finally with profound irritation. Anyhow, the good news is that he intends to stand for Parliament…..
There are a number of interesting fall-outs from the Tory Uxbridge win. Firstly, the real loser was Boris Johnson. He wasn’t mentioned by the Tories at all during the by election. If had stood, rather than ran away, he had a chance of winning. This would have been a catastrophic for Sunak. It would have burnished the ‘he’s a winner’ image with the carnage which would follow. And not a word has been heard from Cruddas or Mad Nad. If she had any sense (discuss) she would cut a deal with Sunak that she will not cause a by election and regally glide into the Lords.
To those of us who mercifully live in the countryside Lez and Ulez sound a bit like one of those embarrassing acts wheeled in when everyone is really pissed at a stag night. But it appears this is going to be another u turning point for Starmer. After binning the £28 billion green issue ‘investment’, which will cause him no end of trouble with the Labour faithful, he now is set to jettison ULEZ. And there lies the real problem that Sunak and Starmer share, their grass roots are asking what they stand for. An interesting point. Starmer, without the charisma nor ruthlessness of Blair, is making a botched attempt at political cross dressing. Keeping the Tory plans for benefits and taxes is about as welcome as a cup of cold sick for party members. It hasn’t been widely reported that the chair of the Uxbridge Labour Party has resigned because he has no confidence in Starmer. Momentum and the Corbynistas will cause him no end of trouble. It is fascinating how much they have in common with the Tory right. They hate the BBC, they hate the EU and they despise what they consider to be the elites. They ought to form their own party.
Despite what is being trumpeted in the Lederhosen press I really don’t believe that Sunak is so bloody stupid as to go hell for leather on clamping down on crime and immigration as his latest attack programme. People just want to think (not believe) that politicians are on their side. That they get it. The trick for getting out the vote at the next election is not to concentrate on the Labour or the Tory diehards. They will moan, groan scream and shout but they will by and large stick to their tribe. It’s the potential voters in the centre who are the key. That’s why it is rather sensible that the Tories will be allowing EU hospitality workers back to work. There really is no other choice. We have tried the alternatives. But beware the yellow peril in the West Country. When I was a kid this was their kingdom. And they may well reclaim the crown.