Forty-eight hours ago the idea that Jeremy Corbyn could be our next Prime Minister seemed vaguely preposterous. The main question wasn’t whether he would lose the General Election, but by how much. Would Labour be completely hammered, or merely soundly defeated? Labour’s shock gains, which saw the party take 40% of the vote and gain 32 MPs, have demolished this analysis. It’s now very plausible that Jeremy Corbyn could become the next UK Prime Minister. Considering the catastrophe this would be for Britain’s economy, security and international standing, it’s time for Conservatives to make averting this disaster the party’s top priority.
During the late 2000’s the strategy of the neo-fascist British National Party was to achieve a position where they were realistically one crisis away from power. That is to establish themselves as enough of an electoral force that in the event of a national crisis, most plausibly an economic collapse, they would have serious chance of forming the next Government. For extremist factions, whose radicalism makes them unlikely to be accepted during normal times, this is a sensible strategy. The British far-right never managed this. Indeed they never came remotely close to it. But the radical left, in the person of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, now have. Britain is just one crisis away, for the first time in our history, from a Government led by the radical left. Indeed Corbyn has a serious shot at becoming Prime Minister in the event of another General Election, which is hardly unlikely, even without such a disaster.
Corbyn alongside Andrew Murray, a defender of the North Korean regime, who helped run Labour’s General Election campaign.
Our economy is certainly showing signs of trouble. For the first quarter of 2017 Britain’s GDP growth was just 0.2%, the lowest figure in both the G7 and the EU. Moreover inflation recently hit a four year high, reaching 2.7% in April 2017 according to the ONS. This could just be a blip but equally, especially considering the likely turbulence in our relationship with the European single market, it can be the start of something a good deal more serious. If Britain enters an economic crisis, say another significant period of recession, the chances of Jeremy Corbyn becoming our next Prime Minister become high. I don’t believe the British people would accept another prolonged era of austerity without some kind of dramatic reaction.
And even if financial crisis can be averted political crisis remains a serious possibility. The informal Conservative-DUP coalition has a wafer thin majority, meaning only a handful of Tory rebels will be needed to defeat the Government on just about any issue. The Government is extremely vulnerable to both hard-Brexit and Europhile factions in the Conservative Party, and could easily be brought down by either. If the Tory party self-destructs over Europe, which remains very possible, it could pave Jeremy Corbyn’s way to Number 10.
We shouldn’t underestimate just how destructive a Corbyn premiership would be. Yes, he would be somewhat constrained by more moderate factions of the Labour Party, but his potential influence would remain very significant. Corbyn’s hostility to NATO, sympathy with Russia and unwillingness to deploy nuclear weapons in defence means a UK Government he leads would at best be a semi-reliable member of the Western alliance. Considering that this alliance has already been weakened by Trump and the threat from a resurgent European radical right, this could scarcely come at a worse time. Corbyn’s previous sympathy with some of the world’s most dodgy characters, including a range of terrorist groups, would turn the UK into the sort of international embarrassment which would make America under Trump look respected. Moreover whatever their short-term popularity Corbyn’s un-costed economic programme, requiring a dramatic increase in Government spending, will inevitably lead to poverty and decline. Combine this with the economic dislocation caused by Brexit and it’s easy to picture the UK undergoing a sharp economic decline.
Considering the plausibility of a Corbyn victory its worth touching on how Conservatives should respond. Firstly we much, of course, respect his democratic mandate. A ‘senior serving General’ has already suggested that a Corbyn government could cause the army to ‘mutiny’. This sort of silliness should be utterly rejected. Destructive though a Corbyn Government will be, we must respect its legitimacy. Yet at the same time we should recognise that we would be in uncharted waters. Several of Corbyn key associates, particularly Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Communications Director Seamus Milne, don’t give the impression of being full adherents to democracy in any remotely conventional sense of the term. McDonnell has praised the IRA and violent rioting, whilst there’s virtually no authoritarian socialist regime so barbaric that Milne hasn’t been prepared to offer it praise. So whilst Conservatives should adhere to democratic norms we should watch out for attempts to undermine Britain’s democratic institutions, including the free press. Should such attempts be made a Venezuela style program of public demonstrations and direct action, in addition to standard democratic campaigning, would be more than justified.
Venezuelans take to the streets to protest against their socialist Government undermining democracy.
It’s very possible that Jeremy Corbyn will become our next Prime Minister. This would be a catastrophe, and one which I feel many in the conservative movement have yet to fully identify. As such it’s time to start taking both Corbyn and his team very seriously, and affording them the respect they have undoubtable earned. The top priority for the Conservative Party now should be to prevent a Corbyn Government. Any other policy priorities, including the details of Britain’s Brexit deal, should be sacrificed if necessary on this altar. If Corbyn becomes Prime Minister it will at least partly be the fault of the Conservative Party, and history will not be kind.