I may have been wrong.
We’ll take a short pause here while those so inclined get the sarcastic comments off their chests.
Better now? Shall we proceed?
I have always maintained that, at UK level, the British Conservatives tend to beat their British Labour rivals for a very simple reason. It has nothing whatever to do with the Tories’ entirely mythical economic competence. It’s because the Tories get stronger under stress. Where British Labour is fragile even at the best of times – like now! – nothing unites and inspires the Tories like adversity. The greater the adversity, the more their support pulls together. British Labour is in a constant state of impending disintegration under the pressure of self-destructive factionalism.
There are always internal power struggles within political parties. It’s only a question of how damaging these power struggles are allowed to be. The people with the real power in the Conservative Party – people you will never see nor ever hear mentioned by name – don’t allow the internal politics to get out of hand. If it ever gets to the point where it looks like jeopardising the party’s grip on real political power, somebody gets quietly and coldly stabbed in the back.
Similar tensions exist within British Labour. But they don’t deal with them nearly so effectively. They can easily get out of control. This is largely due to the customary internal power struggles being exacerbated by the existence factions so utterly persuaded of their righteousness that they will gladly sacrifice electoral success, and more besides, in the name of ideological purity.
The Tories have only one overriding ideological imperative and that is power. When push comes to shove, the entire party coalesces around that core aim. The Tories will not allow a party leader to jeopardise their grip on power. To the extent that British Labour coalesces at all it tends to be around a leader, with the consequence that unity crucially depends on that leader rather than on some ‘higher purpose’.
Until recently, I’ve been convinced that the Tories would win the election because, whatever circumstances arose, ultimately they would be able to call on resources massive enough to overcome. Whether by manipulating public perceptions of their own record and proposals or by setting the hounds of spin on their opponents, they would win.
While there is still time for this to happen, and we should not be at all surprised to see some very dramatic developments over the next few days, it now seems possible that Theresa May is just so appallingly dire that even the colossal propaganda machinery available to the Tories might not be enough. The Tories could actually lose this election.
Not that I think they will lose power. Even if Jeremy Corbyn were to become the new British Prime Minister he will not be permitted to govern. The machine that was ineffective in compensating for the crushing awfulness of Theresa May will immediately be turned against Corbyn. That machine knows exactly where to place the wedges that will open the splits in British Labour. It has the capacity to drive those wedges home. British Labour has no defence against this onslaught. Corbyn will be forced into one compromise after another. Each compromise will be sold to the public as an embarrassing climb-down, and to those factions within the party as a betrayal. Corbyn’s enemies will not subordinate their hatred of the man to the demands of effective political power. They will be just another component in the machine set upon bringing him down.
Should he actually win, I give Corbyn two years at most. Probably less. All the apparatus that was geared to portraying the inevitable disaster of Brexit as a triumph for the Tories will be diverted to presenting the whole process as the shambles it was always going to be – and putting the blame firmly on Corbyn’s shoulders. He will be destroyed.
For the rest of us, nothing much will change. Little, if any, of British Labour’s ‘radical’ manifesto will be implemented. It will all be dropped or watered down. We will continue to live with the unrelieved grimness of an austerity agenda which, we will belatedly discover, is not a Conservative Party agenda, but a British state agenda.
And that is the nub of it. The Tories are the ‘natural’ party of government in the UK because the British state is a Tory state. A temporary switch between the two main British parties won’t change anything. It won’t alter the fundamental nature of the British state. The Tories didn’t turn the UK into the intolerant, repressive, elitist entity that we have seen emerge over the last couple of years. The Tories are merely reflecting the British state as it really is.
Meaningful progressive change, however that may be defined, cannot happen until the British state is broken. And the British state will not be broken by voting for a British Labour Party which, regardless of occasionally throwing up a fairly convincing leader, is nonetheless firmly embedded in the British establishment. However superficially appealing Jeremy Corbyn may be, and however alluring his siren promises of reform, he really is no more than a marketing device for a party which is embedded in and dependent upon and beholden to the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state.
I’ve never subscribed to the ‘Red Tory’ epithet commonly applied to British Labour. They are not the same as the Tories. But they are part of a the same system. a system that will ultimately assert itself regardless of which party currently enjoys the trappings of power.
Scotland has a way out of this system. We don’t have to be part of this British state. We have the means to follow our own path. It’s possible that I could be wrong about the Tories winning this election. But I’m certainly not wrong about the fact that a British Labour win will change nothing. So long as Scotland is part of the British state the change we hope for cannot happen.
So long as we are part of the British state, Scotland can only be adequately represented by people who acknowledge the true nature of that state. Whatever the outcome of the unedifying contest between British Labour and British Tories, the closest Scotland can get to a win is by putting the full weight of our democratic power behind the SNP.Views: 4173
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