It’s Friday, June 9th. A warm, early-summer sun has risen. The bees have begun to buzz. The 07:50 from Andover to waterloo is late, as it always is and always should be. The Brexit anniversary – or Independence Day, to those plucky Brexiteers – looms just around the corner. And all across Britain people are waking up to the news that Theresa May is will be staying on as our Prime Minister. Not as an inheritor of the throne, a jumped-up cabinet minister with a mandate, but as a leader in her own right. And what’s more, a leader with a healthy majority in the House of Commons.
The mood at the Telegraph head offices is upbeat, and tired cleaning staff are shovelling Champaign corks and party-popper carcasses into wastepaper baskets at Tory Campaign Headquarters. Young men and women with trust funds the size of small African nations sit back and massage their aching temples. Hired PR firms and big party donors pat each other on the back. Affluent, working, middle-England heaves –perhaps – a sigh of relief. Tory MPs think about new extending their mortgages for five more years, or perhaps eye-up a new car.
But what of the other lot? What of, the left? What will Britain’s other major political party do if – and let’s not be coy – it is butchered, jointed and hung on a meat hook at the ballot box?
Finding a scapegoat to blame will be easy for those Labour ministers who have always regarded Mr Corbyn as an embarrassing Cold War relic. ‘Old Beardo was mainstream voter poison all along’, they will say, (perhaps, in some cases, with a certain amount of shameful joy). ‘And that McDonnell! You can’t quote Chairman Mao in the Commons and not spook-middle England. What the hell did you think would happen?’
And off they’ll go again. A coup will be executed, a ballot called for, and the party will make one last effort to unseat it’s unflappable leader. Whether they will manage it is another matter. As Mt
Mr Corbyn ahs proved time and time again, if he doesn’t want to go, then he won’t, and what then? Will the Blairte Old Guard, desperate and tired, split the party in two and hope for a Monsieur Macron-style miracle in 2022? I wouldn’t be at all surprised.
But who will get to hold on to the family name? Who gets to be called the ‘Labour Party’? I doubt jettisoning the name would bother the Corbynites very much. Then again, they are quite wedded to red imagery and flag waving, so perhaps they’d slug it out and proclaim themselves the true inheritors of Labour’s Fabian roots.
All this will happen in London, of course. It will take place inside the endlessly talked about ‘the Westminster bubble’. Most Corbynites live beyond the flat chimes of Big Ben. They’ll probably be pleased to have a party of their own. After all, they might not want to stay in bed with the filthy ‘Red Tory scum’ – as they disparagingly refer to any Labour voter who isn’t 100% behind Jeremy – who apparently make up the bulk of the Labour benches these days. Unlike the Blairte Old Guard, who will lay the blame squarely at Mr Corbyn’s feet, they will have other scapegoats lined up. And a quick look at the social media sites and blogs frequented by Corbyn’s many supporters tells you who their targets will be. A quick scan of sites such as The Canary, AAV (Another Angry Voice), and Evolve Politics might lead you to think that it will be the Conservatives themselves. But I think not.
Far left activists are already brimming with hatred of ‘Tory scum’. To them, Britain’s Conservative party are corruption incarnate, an evil, airbrushed, lawyered-up pack of jackals sewn into three-thousand pound Bond Street suits. They are the Umbrella Corporation, Wolfram and Hart or the League of Shadows. They are the Empire seeking to crush the plucky Rebel Alliance. They are supposed to be bad. Of course they will have used dirty money. Of course they lied and cheated. Duh! That’s what they do!
No. Their real venom will be aimed at one enemy without, and one enemy within.
The parallels between Britain’s Corbyn supporters (I refuse to use the term Alt Left because it seems, to me, like a lazy smear tactic) and the recent Trump campaign are striking. Both have split from the main body of a major political party. Both risk alienating core voters. And both see the MSM an enemy disseminating ‘fake news’ – and the they include in that list tradition left wing papers, such as The Guardian, and the supposedly left-wing biased (yet officially non-partisan) BBC. See, for example, Steve Topple’s ‘The BBC is in hot water again over its bias. And this time the complaint is a biggie’. Or, Chris Turnbull’s ‘You probably won’t believe just how biased the BBC’s latest anti-Corbyn attack actually is’.
In their narrative of events, Mr Corbyn will have lost, not because he failed to reach floating voters, spooked the English middle classes, alienated the remnants of New Labour, offered nothing to the Scots, and failed to reach out to the disenfranchised, still-largely patriotic English voters of the north, he will have failed because the BBC schemed against him and the simple, dumb voters of our isles were hoodwinked into voting for the bad guy (or, in this case, the bad woman).
So that’s my first prediction. If Mr Corbyn and the Labour party lose (and that is, of course, by no means a certainty), the MSM will shoulder a large proportion of the blame. In which case, expect a lot of angry articles to appear in which the fasithful few are advised to cancel their License Fees (again, a mirror image of comments and articles found on so-called Alt-Right sites, such as Brietbart. Oh, what crazy times we live in!). Oh, and I wouldn’t want to be the person in charge of Guardian subscriptions, either, because you’ll have a good sack full of four-letter-riddled cancellation letters to sift through, too.
And that brings me to my second, more obvious prediction: Corbyn’s supporters will turn with fury upon the ‘Red Tory Scum’Already, they have ‘hit-lists’ online naming those ‘traitors’ who need to be deselected and driven out of office, like this one, for example. (Though, in the case of the blog SupportOurLefty, I’m going to have to invoke Poe’s Law, because articles are just so over-the-top and silly that I’m almost sure it’s a parody account created by a Conservative PR firm). The list of traitors grows longer by the day (what is it about the Far Left and lists of non-ideologically-pure ‘traitors? Historical speaking, it’s now almost a cliché, isn’t it?).
Anyway, there will be those who revel in this witch-hunt. There will even be those who take a certain amount of shameful delight in their party’s collapse – and not just those suits at Tory Campaign Headquarters. If both of my predictions are correct, then a party spilt might be closer and more unavoidable than many average Labour Party voters know or care to admit.