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By Jim Hancock

By Jim Hancock

Wide and thin, but could get deeper

Jim thinks Labour’s hold on power could deepen next time if they can deliver on public services and immigration.

LABOUR BE BOLD

Labour made a stunning recovery from one election to another, but with a vote share under 34%, it was the smallest of any government forming a majority ever. There are many reasons for this. Labour and Liberal Democrats targetted their winnable seats and ignored others. The Lib Dems, Reform and the Greens did well. Sir Keir Starmer did not inspire.

The result is that the Labour Party have gained seats they have never held before. Ribble Valley, Macclesfield, Congleton, Altrincham; but their majorities are small in many constituencies. They would be vulnerable to a Tory counterattack. But if I was Sir Keir I wouldn’t worry that much. The Conservatives are going to have a huge debate about whether they want to continue as a One Nation party or link up with Farage on the hard right. Also Labour’s hold on power could deepen next time if they can deliver on public services and immigration. If they have to put up taxes to do it, who cares. The faint cries of Tories saying “I told you so” will be irrelevant. It is time for honesty with the public and it is best delivered when the government is most powerful.

Labour should also ignore the hysteria about Europe with the Daily Mail foaming at the mouth at the prospect of youngsters being able to travel in Europe more easily. Let’s begin rebuilding our ties with our European friends and put the past dismal decade behind us.

In all parts of the UK and Northern Ireland (except Wales) incumbent parties took a hammering. The SNP suffered because they had been in power for a long time and had become emersed in scandal. Scottish independence is now on the backburner although it remains popular as a concept.

In Northern Ireland Sinn Fein now have most MPs. The DUP have dominated there for a long time and are now losing ground. While a Scottish breakaway recedes, the debate over Irish unity may grow.

In England the Tories, in power for fourteen years, lost out in a massively effective pincer movement to Labour in the North and Midlands and to the Lib Dems in the South and South West.

HANG AROUND RISHI

There will be pressure to have a new Tory leader in place for the autumn conference. I think this would be a mistake. The party needs to have a long debate about what it wants to do about Farage and Reform UK. Then if it rejects embracing the hard right, it needs to decide what modern moderate Conservativeism means.

It is difficult to ask Rishi Sunak to stay to preside over this, but it is his duty.

REFORM UK

They were badly served by the voting system but we will see if they can maintain momentum. Has Farage the appetite to do the unglamourous constituency work in Clacton or would he rather be in Chicago with Trump?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS

Sir Ed Davey was a revelation and has the best showing since 1923 after which the Liberal Party nearly plunged to extinction. But with Labour’s huge majority, they have a challenge to be influential.

GREEN PARTY

They have a bridgehead in parliament instead of a one person band and could attract support from the Labour left

GAZA INDEPENDENTS

They inflicted some shock results. They nearly unseated Health Secretary Streeting, did remove John Ashworth and have an MP in Blackburn where Barbara Castle and Jack Straw used to preside. Labour and international allies must give full attention to solving this awful war. So the Tories are gone. It is true they had a pandemic and Ukraine war to contend with but they also were responsible for partygate, Truss, excessive austerity and Brexit.

Downtown in Business

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