In the aftermath of the British election the British political class and the British mainstream media commentariat are in shock, and are still struggling to come to terms with an election outcome which just a few weeks ago none of them were predicting and which all of them were denying could happen right up to polling day.
Two of our writers – myself and Adam Garrie – however live in Britain, and because we are not blinded by the globalist prejudices and conventional thinking that blinds the British media and political class, we were able to see what was coming.
The conventional political and media wisdom about Prime Minister Theresa May right up to the election was that she was a strong and commanding figure. One or two commentators, notably the Guardian’s sketch-writer John Crace, began to sense that this conventional wisdom was wrong. However no-one amongst the British political class or in the British media was making comments as early as this one, which I made about Theresa May on 15th September 2016, just two months after she became Prime Minister on 11th July 2016
……After a strong start, in which her clear out of many members of David Cameron’s cabinet appeared to promise a return to firm government after the weeks of drift that followed the Brexit vote, she has appeared increasingly unsure.
Importantly she has failed to chart a clear course towards Brexit, hiding behind the vacuous slogan “Brexit means Brexit” to conceal what is starting to look like an absence of ideas.
This is not in itself surprising or dangerous. No one else planned for Brexit before the referendum took place, and it would be asking too much to expect Theresa May to be different. However given the urgency and the importance of the issue for Britain, a proper and thorough policy review within the government – with the civil service, Britain’s still very strong diplomatic corps, and outside experts and stakeholders (including from the opposition Labour party) brought in to give advice – in order to hammer out an agreed British position, ought to be an urgent priority.
The British used to excel at that sort of thing, and that of course is what the British form of cabinet government was originally designed for.
In the event Theresa May has given no indication that she has any intention of organising such a review, or that she even understands the need for it. The result is continuing drift. In the policy vacuum, and lacking any clear direction from Theresa May, different ministers such as David Davis and Liam Fox are publicly taking different positions, leading to increasing public infighting.
The lack of policy regarding Brexit echoes a general lack of policy – and a growing appearance of continuing drift and of policy being made on the hoof – in all other areas.
Though it has become increasingly clear since she became Prime Minister that Theresa May and her predecessor David Cameron did not get on with each other, and that she is intent on reversing as many of his policies as she can, so far the only distinctive policy Theresa May has been able to come up with is the frankly reactionary policy of bringing back grammar schools, reversing a process of education reform that has been underway in Britain since the 1960s.
This policy is profoundly unpopular with the education establishment and with much of her own party, and like almost everything else Theresa May has been doing since she became Prime Minister, has clearly not been properly discussed or thought through. This caused Theresa May to look isolated and exposed in parliament the face of a powerful attack during Prime Minister’s Questions by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (see political assessments of the exchange here and here)…….
……….at a crucial point in its history Britain has in Theresa May Britain an inexperienced Prime Minister, unsure of her own mind and prone to making mistakes. Her premiership is still in its first weeks and she still has plenty of time to recover. However for the moment Theresa May does not look like the ‘safe pair of hands’ that many people (myself included) took her for.
If I assessed Theresa May correctly long before anyone else did, I also rejected the conventional wisdom that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was a vote loser. Here is what I wrote about him on 9th May 2016 in one of the earliest articles The Duran published
Central to the criticism of Corbyn made by the Blairite plotters is the claim that the Labour party under his leadership is unelectable. To that end, whenever elections come up the British media now fills up with stories predicting disaster for Labour. Artificial storms are also conjured up to try to discredit Corbyn in the eyes of the British electorate before those elections in order to make those predictions come true.
Thus on the eve of a parliamentary bye-election last autumn a furious row was concocted over British bombing in Syria – something Corbyn is known to oppose – whilst in the days leading up to local government elections last week an extraordinary row erupted alleging – falsely – that Corbyn is in sympathy with anti-semites within the Labour party.
In the event actual election results in Britain since Corbyn became Labour’s leader persistently defy the predictions of that his leadership is an electoral disaster for Labour.
Labour has won the two parliamentary by elections it has fought since Corbyn became leader with increased shares of the vote. In local elections held in England on Thursday Labour defied predictions and held on to nearly all the gains it made when the same elections took place in 2012 at a time when Labour was doing well. The same day Labour won convincingly three mayoral elections and the assembly elections in Wales. The most important of the mayoral elections was the one in London, the nation’s capital and by far its biggest city with more than a tenth of its population, where the Labour candidate won a landslide.
Only in Scotland did Labour do badly. This is because since the 2014 Scottish independence referendum the Scottish left wing vote which used to support Labour has gone over wholesale to the pro-independence SNP. This is a process that began since before Corbyn became Labour’s leader. It is universally accepted that Scottish politics have become disconnected from those of the rest of Britain. The fall in the Labour vote is not therefore connected to Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party.
Over-emphasis on the elections in Scotland draws attention away from the in strictly electoral terms arguably more important mayoral and assembly elections in London – which Labour won convincingly – even though London’s population is bigger than Scotland’s (8 million to 5 million) and even though at the start of the electoral campaign in London in October it was the Conservatives who were widely expected to win.
Having however decided before Thursday’s elections to run the story of Labour’s electoral disaster in Wales and England, the British media including the BBC and the supposedly left of centre Guardian persisted with the story even when it failed to happen.
In article after article and news report after news report every part of the British mainstream media has hammered away at a story of an electoral disaster for Labour that was universally predicted but which never happened (for a proper and intelligent discussion of what actually happened in Thursday’s English and Welsh elections see here, here and here).
In the case of Corbyn’s electoral successes and general popularity I was not the only person making this point, though one needed to go to what is still wrongly called alternative media to find the truth. It was also the case – as I said in my 9th May 2016 article – that the mainstream media in Britain was deliberately misreporting Jeremy Corbyn’s electoral successes in order to assist the Blairite plotters who were trying to oust him from his leadership of the Labour Party.
However on the subject of Corbyn’s supposed electability, at some point the mainstream media, the Blairite plotters in the Labour Party, and the British political class generally, started to believe their own lies, which more than anything else was what set them up for their horrified astonishment as the results poured in on election day.
To get a sense of this consider the following articles written by certain so-called ‘friends’ of the Labour Party which appeared in the mainstream media and on Blairite websites during the election campaign itself: this article in the Guardian by Jonathan Freedland written at the beginning of the election campaign personally blaming Jeremy Corbyn for Labour’s coming electoral disaster, this article written just days before election day itself by the Guardian’s leader writer Anne Perkins assuring readers that claims of a narrowing of the Conservative lead were wrong, this extraordinary article predicting a Labour wipe-out on the very eve of the election by the New Statesman’s arch Blairite editor Jason Cowley, and this pseudo-scientific prediction of the same thing supposedly derived from canvass returns also written on the eve of election by Atul Hatwal for the arch Blairite website Labour Uncut.
Contrast these delusional claims of Labour disaster – which could not have been further from the truth – with this calm and accurate assessment of Labour prospects written for The Duran on 30th May 2017 – a week before the election – by my colleague Adam Garrie, which exactly reproduces what actually happened
The polls which got Brexit and Trump totally wrong are still saying that the Conservatives will win, but only by a small margin. The reality could be very different. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour might capture most of middle and northern England, all of Wales and find allies in Scotland. Theresa May’s Conservatives may end up losing some seats in their own affluent backyard, among those who still cherish the EU as much as they did when they voted against Brexit alongside former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron.
We could be looking at the most unlikely political revolution in British history….since last year, anyway.
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of a would be Corbyn victory is that he managed to quietly build an unlikely coalition without sacrificing his principles. Perhaps this is the real lesson of the campaign.
Speaking for myself, I did not predict a Labour victory because the swing needed to achieve one was simply too great to appear to me believable. In the event the 10% swing Corbyn and Labour did achieve is immense, only just short of that achieved by Clement Attlee in 1945 (after 5 years of successful work as Britain’s deputy Prime Minister in Churchill’s wartime coalition), and greater than the one achieved by Tony Blair in 1997.
Swings of 10% are almost unheard of in British politics, and as the examples of Attlee and Blair show, only happen in extraordinary circumstances. The only reason this swing did not bring Corbyn to Downing Street is because the Conservative vote also increased, though to a smaller degree but from a significantly higher base. The Conservative share of the vote however looks as if it may have hit its ceiling, whilst Corbyn and Labour still seem to be well short of theirs, with more votes and seats to win in Scotland and elsewhere.
It is likely that despite Theresa May’s desperate attempts to shore up her position by entering into a crypto-coalition arrangement with the Ulster Unionists that another election will follow shortly. If so then a landslide win by Corbyn and Labour looks on the cards, perhaps on a greater scale than the one achieved by Blair in 1997.
This is a tidal wave, repudiating the British establishment and their globalist agenda, like nothing Britain has ever experienced before, and very different from the 1997 Blair landslide, which was ultimately a vote for continuity. It is not a repudiation of the result of the Brexit referendum, but its sequel. Corbyn embodies it, and is riding the wave.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.