It’s 1983 all over again

It’s 1983 all over again

It seems likely that we will have an election in the next few months. I expect the Conservatives to win, unless a no deal Brexit really has called chaos.

It feels to me like 1983 all over again.

Back then Labour had gone too far to the left. Michael Foot was leader. he too had no dress sense. The party then was committed unilateral nuclear disarmament, leaving NATO and leaving the EU. This was in the days when the Labour Party conference made party policy. Four high profile Labour MPs had broken away to form the SDP.

Mrs Thatcher had been PM for 4 years. She had been quite timid in her first term. The sale of council houses had been the most eye catching policy. Then we had the Falklands War in 1982 – we had easily seen off the Argies.

As I recall, Thatcher won a landslide. 1983, was a very bad result for Labour. With the benefit of hindsight, we can now see that the 1983 landslide emboldened Thatcher.

She probably sacked some of what she called the wets. She now moved ahead with privitisation of gas, electricity and various other public assets. And most significantly, the government got ready to take on the miners. The Conservatives had wanted to do that for some time, but they had waited until they were sure they could win.

And so as we now know in 1984, the Government laid a trap for the miners that Scargill fell into.

Then as now, had Labour had a more moderate leader, the public might have given him or her more support. It is clear now, in this present crisis, that Corbyn is a leader who repels moderates. None of the other party leaders want him to be PM. The only way that Corbyn will become leader is if he basically commits not to implementing Labour’s manifesto. His sole purpose will be to block a no deal Brexit and call an election.

It is still unclear how the Brexit crisis will play out.

What is clear is that if Labour had a more moderate leader, he or she would be getting more support both from the public and the other party leaders. Boris feels emboldened knowing that he is only facing Corbyn. He knows that Labour is not drawing the wide support that it needs to win.

I know Labour did a lot better than expected in 2017. That said, Conservative hopes of a landslide then were misplaced. I don’t think we are likely to see either party win a landslide any time soon.

But I do expect the Conservatives to beat Labour in the forthcoming election. I think it will be a fairly narrow win. Ruth Davidson resigning as Scottish Conservative leader may mean they don’t get 13 seats in Scotland this time round. It could even be another hung parliament.

Bottom line, once again, Labour going off to the nether regions of the left, means that the country is exposed to the worst machinations of a Conservative government. Mrs Thatcher made no secret of her right wing radicalism. Johnson dresses himself us a social liberal but is clearly pursuing quite a right wing agenda – low taxes, small state.

 

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