We’ve been here before. On the eve of her departure Margaret Thatcher saw a snail trail of cabinet ministers encircle her with their tearful expressions of undying but actually mortally wounding love. She couldn’t understand why after all she had done these lily-livered colleagues (whom she raised from nothing) could politely suggest she should bow out. Johnson is now about to walk the same plank too. Not before time of course. Soon, he’ll just be a bad memory. The Tories will elect a new leader (who policy-wise will bring no real change, except possibly for one eye catching thing to suggest the government really has changed). John Major succeeded Thatcher with a big advantage—he could stop the poll tax (Get Rid Of The Poll Tax Done!) and I strongly believe that many voters thought the government then had changed, even though they had no say in it. In 1992 Major went on to win one of the biggest ever popular votes, although curiously that only delivered a 22 seat majority. Are we about to see history repeated? Now, a new Tory leader, like Major will have a couple of years to recover the party’s fortunes. By 2024 Johnson will be forgotten (perhaps he could spend his retirement playing golf with Trump at Mar-a-Lago). By then Starmer will look jaded and past it. Life will go on as if nothing really happened. Nothing will change the British constitution, the establishment will go back to sleep, happy that it itself has not been challenged and all this focus on one man’s personality diverted attention away from the need for deep, structural change in our body politic. The Labour Party will continue to acquiesce in this, ever dreaming of recovering Blair-era majorities so that it could somehow fashion a new, kinder form of capitalism. Am I right or am I right?
Starmer apparently thinks there should be a general election, given the mess the government’s in. So why hasn’t he called for a confidence motion in Parliament? Surely this would flush out the real Tory dissenters? Why must the country have to wait upon the internal wranglings of the Conservative Party?