THATCHERISM CONSIGNED TO HISTORY

The prospect of endless Tory governments stretching until the 2040s disturbed my sleep this week.

The government have decided to compare their attempts to drag the economy out of its Covid-19 slump with the measures taken by US President Franklin Roosevelt to end the American depression of the 1930s. This has caused alarm amongst Tory purists because it involves high levels of public spending, a big role for the state and increased taxation.

One can argue that the Johnson administration has been forced to demolish the three pillars of Thatcherism because of the lockdown, but there were signs that the Conservatives would do whatever it took to get a big majority last December, before the virus struck.

The northern red wall was broken down by promises to spend big in the north to level up the economy. It led to the election of a new breed of pragmatic Tory MPs who put fixing things ahead of ideology.

The promises that Johnson made in his “build, build, build” speech this week might fail. In four years’, time we could be looking at mass unemployment with higher taxation trying to fund collapsing public services. In those circumstances the people will probably turn to the Labour Party in desperation.

However if the Tories are successful where does that leave the basic Labour position whereby they, occasionally, win the hearts of voters by being the party that asks you to pay a bit more tax for a fairer Britain?

STARMER ACTS

Sir Keir Starmer is doing what he can. Despite the problems discussed above, he can at least deal with internal party matters that made Labour unelectable last Christmas.

Full marks to him for sacking Rebecca Long-Bailey. I don’t think the link to anti-Semitism was that strong, but the Salford MP should have been more careful. Let’s be frank, Starmer needs a Shadow Cabinet that unambiguously repudiates Corbynism. Long-Bailey, and a few others, that remain, yearn for the Corbyn period when the ultra-left were tolerated, anti-Semitism was not dealt with and policies adopted that guaranteed defeat.

The hard left prefers Labour wallowing in impotent opposition with “pure” policies on everything compared to the messy compromises needed to build a party capable of convincing middle Britain to vote for them. In their tweets, some supporters of Long-Bailey call for the setting up of a socialist party. Quite right. Go and do that and get out of the Labour Party which only wins from the left of centre.

FOOTBALL SUCCESS, ECONOMIC SLUMP

Congratulations to Liverpool on winning the Premiership, let’s hope that Everton, in their new stadium, will be challenging them soon for the title.

It is interesting to reflect how historically the clubs are generally successful when the city is on its knees! In the seventies and eighties when Liverpool and Everton were winning the old Division 1, the city experienced decline, riots and Militant. Liverpool won their last title in 1990 just as recovery was underway.

Let’s hope that a string of Liverpool Premiership titles will not be paralleled by economic decline again.