Sunak won't cut it. Why is no one talking about Starmer's revolutionary constitutional makeover?
BY ETHAN HARVEY
As the Conservative Party conference drew a close, it was not long before the mainstream media began its intrinsic analysis of the policies proposed by both the government of the day and the government-in-waiting. And I’m not talking about the Labour Party.
The concrete consensus in the political sphere is that Labour will win the next General Election and dismantle the Tory’s 13-year grip on power. As the Tory-tired electorate is pushed further towards the thinking of the philosophically-Blair-minded leader, Sir Kier Starmer, memories of past economic incompetence from the financial turmoil of 2008 have faded.
This time around, the Conservative Party’s economic ineptitude during the COVID pandemic, which invigorated the incessant inflation that tightened the cost of living in British households, will be front and centre of the minds of voters at the ballot box. The Labour Party’s conference in Liverpool provides an opportunity to unveil the antidote it would use to heal broken Britain in an irrevocable programme that could change the constitutional character of the nation – not too dissimilar to Mr Blair’s so-called 1990s reforms.
Sunak, sceptical of whether Labour has radical intentions, made the bizarre and incendiary remark that Labour would preserve the status quo of the last 30 years despite the fact that it is his party that has been in government for nearly half of that time and failed to do anything remotely conservative. There are not many who are hoodwinked by the notion that the Conservatives are the party of change.
Harold Macmillan’s famous quote, ‘Events, my dear boy, events’, perfectly illustrates why the Tory Party’s ship has sailed. The government’s response to the COVID pandemic damaged its credibility, particularly after its rampant spending and borrowing. How can any serious person in a senior position of power justify squandering £410 billion on expensive, experimental and state-intrusive measures, such as on the failed test and trace system, and at the same time expect not to be punished at the next election by the people who pay their wages?
Instead of the government deregulating post-Brexit to promote free enterprise and prosperity, cutting taxes from the bottom up to incentivise hard work, and investing in our manufacturing sector to become more self-reliant, it has used its 80-seat majority to poison our economy by borrowing as much as £35.9bn in one month alone and setting the highest tax burden post-war. We now face indefinite economic decline because antithetical to Sunak’s purported desire for change is his cabinet – which is ingrained with drivers of the social democratic convention. For all her flaws, Liz Truss was right to say that ‘the blob’s herd mentality’ permeates at the heart of the powers that be that ensue the sluggish economics of 21st century Britain.
James Carville was also right in 1992 when he said that all voters care about at the ballot box is ‘the economy, stupid’. We are governed by people who have no conviction to govern in the future interests of our country because the politicians have no personal stake, imperative or emotional attachment to the nation. For instance, why was it that Mr Johnson increased the rate of the money supply to a 30-year high in one month alone - which later plunged us into a cost-of-living catastrophe and rapid-fire inflation - without weighing up the long-term drawbacks? A common-sense, fiscally responsible approach to managing domestic economics would have involved forensic analysis of past financial crises, such as in the late 70s with the Winter of Discontent and the way in which Britain’s persona as the ‘sick man of Europe’ was inherently associated with the outdated Keynesian approach to economics. From this, we can decipher a nuanced and level-headed strategy to tackle the crisis rather than one unsubstantiated, reactionary decision to proceed with the low-growth policy that will come back to bite the Tories at the polls.
The likelihood of the Tories successfully pulling off this makeover post-conference is small because it fails to negate his and his party’s miserable track record in almost all areas of policy. The move away from the five key pledges that were corporately and robotically repeated by Sunak (apropos halving inflation, cutting the NHS waiting lists, stopping the boats, reducing the national debt and growing the economy) have been thrown to the dustbin of political history in light of this new rhetoric concerning change.
The internal division within all factions of the party and on every critical issue, such as the issues of tax cuts and the culture war, has further tarnished its perception of stability and unity that usually exists post-conference. The Labour Party had a similar problem when it struggled to juggle Blairite MPs with old-school Corbynistas. Typically, the behaviour of this kind provokes voter apathy, causing one to be disillusioned and distrustful of the brand.
Weak leadership springs to mind when you have a Prime Minister incapable of supporting his own home secretary’s comments about mass immigration and the need to tackle it. Voters are not dim and can see through the psychological operation that is going on. Mr Sunak is using Braverman to do his dirty work by appealing to the no-nonsense red wall demographic, whilst continuing to function in a cabinet that is predominantly filled with career-minded, safe-hands and stooges of the establishment.
What is next for Britain? It appears the Tories have accepted their loss in all but name and are ready for opposition to pave the way for Starmer’s programme. Whilst Labour’s public relations machine has tried to portray Starmer as less radical than Corbyn and able to compromise on big issues such as HS2, I predict that Britain’s cultural, constitutional, social, political and economic character will fall victim to a revolutionary overhaul.
First and foremost, the unique and organic relationship between the Commons and the Lords, which was carefully crafted over many years, is to be displaced by a new system that favours a politically-motivated elected house whereby parliamentary sovereignty is diminished and our national pride dissipated.
Next, the electoral system, on the condition that Starmer is unable to command a satisfactory majority, will be replaced by a form of proportional representation which will guarantee a permanent coalition of left-minded social and economic liberals.
Furthermore, the voting age will be lowered to 16 - notwithstanding the fact that politics is received with anguish by the youth as demonstrated by the low voter turnout. Not to mention the elephant in the room which is that younger people tend to be of a left-wing persuasion.
The Labour Party will need to be careful if and when it decides to reform parts of our constitution, particularly when it comes to our relationship with the European Union. Recent discussion around the return deal on migration with the European Union by Labour, as a way to stop the criminal enterprise of human trafficking by small boat crossings from France, is a red flag for Brexit sympathisers – many of whom come from Brexit-backing, deprived areas of the North which bear the brunt of mass immigration, which strains and pressures local communities and infrastructure.
In conclusion, Mr Sunak and his party’s demise looks inevitable after what has been a conference of chaos and a stark indication of change is on the horizon. The Tories will be punished at the polls for mismanaging the biggest majority since Thatcher’s 1987 victory and any alterations to the character of our nation by Labour, for better or worse, will materialise subsequent to 13 years of managed decline.
Image: CNN/ Rishi Sunak