The future of English politics – and the Lib Dems
It’s now abundantly clear that English politics is a mess (to some extent this applies also to Wales, but not to Scotland and Northern Ireland because they have quite separate political systems):
- Labour is split between the Corbynites and the Blairites, and although the latter are losing, they don’t dare start a new party because of the historical lessons from the 1980s.
- The Tories are split between the Brexiteers and the “modernising” wing, but the latter have been used to being in power (like the Blairites), and they now have no idea how to regain command of the party.
- The Lib Dems are down because they lost all their left-wingers due to the Coalition Government, so they’re now lingering on less than 10 percent in the opinion polls, which is a disaster under FPTP.
- UKIP have achieved everything they wanted, so they’re collapsing.
- The Greens are being held back by FPTP, and many of their natural supporters are quite happy with Corbyn’s Labour.
It’s quite clear to anybody who listened to the recent Brexit debate in the Westminster parliament that the Blairites, the Lib Dems and the Tory modernisers are quite similar, and they seem to agree much more with each other than the Blairites do with the Corbynites or the Tory modernisers do with the Brexiteers.
If Westminster used proportional representation, these people might feasibly form a new party together, but FPTP are keeping them in their old parties. However, even if the politicians are too feart to do anything, it seems the voters might be starting to change, by doing the only option open to them: They might start voting Lib Dem.
At least that’s what I think the Witney byelection shows. There was a 23% swing from the Tories to the Lib Dems, and Labour lost votes, too.
I don’t think the Lib Dems will ever regain their youthful left-wing voters, but perhaps they’ll souk up those Tory and Labour voters that are horrified by the way their parties have been taken over by the old radical fringes.
However, in the absence of large number of Labour and Tory MPs crossing the floor and joining the Lib Dems, this will be a slow process. The Tories will probably still be the largest party after the 2020 General Election, and I find it unlikely they will lose power until 2025 at the earliest, by which time Brexit will be done and dusted and practically irreversible.
I therefore don’t think this is anything that can possibly save Scotland from Brexit, and it’s all very speculative anyway. The only safe way for us to avoid the xenophobic-economic collapse that Brexit entails is to hold a new independence referendum soon and leave the UK madhouse.
I simply hope that England and Wales will slowly regain their senses once they’ve experienced the hard Brexit devastation and then start voting for a pro-EU party that will make them rejoin the EU, but this time as a constructive full member that leads from the front instead of being a girning passenger that never wants to do the same as everybody else. Maybe seeing Scotland being a positive and proactive EU member state from 2019 onwards will help them to see the folly of their ways. I really hope so.