Tonight’s YouGov poll makes for sobering viewing for those who are hoping for a Labour victory at the general election on 8 June. If you are easily upset, I urge you to sit down now:
Con 48% (+4)
Lab 24% (+1)
LD 12% (n/c)
Ukip 7% (-3)
This would hand Theresa May a parliamentary majority of 186. I think it could be even worse than that. Or better, if you are a hard Brextremist Tory.
We are barely a day into the campaign and the nasty party’s second nastiest person, Lynton Crosby, has only just climbed on board the Tory battle bus. His one contribution so far is the “Coalition of Chaos”, to describe Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP, pretending that they are all lined up together to block May’s Brexit. This has been repeated by every Tory in every interview. Along with “a country that works for everyone” and “ordinary working people”, we will hear this cliche for the next seven weeks until it becomes part of the national debate. This is just like “taking back control” from last year’s referendum. Say it often enough and a simple, vacuous slogan turns into a fact. But we ain’t seen nothing yet.
May, a terrible parliamentary speaker at the best of times, spent most of PM’s questions in the Commons today taking the piss out of the Labour Party. Every time a Labour MP asked a question, she first avoided answering it and then quoted back something that MP had previously said about Jeremy Corbyn. This might not have mattered, except that there is at least one MP worse at speaking than May and that’s Old Corbo himself. It was ugly, unedifying viewing and we’d better get used to it.
Tory head office will be working at top speed now, dragging up any and every embarrassing comment Corbyn and his comrades have ever made and boy will they have plenty to choose from. Corbyn working for Iranian and Russian state TV, Corbyn photographed with IRA murderers, Corbyn talking about his “friends” from Hamas and Hezbollah and that’s just for starters. His record of parliamentary disloyalty (he has voted against Labour more often than David Cameron), his own and his son’s grammar school education (why do you think May is making an issue about bringing back grammar schools? Most of Labour’s comrades went to them, except Diane Abbott’s son who went to private school) and even the rubbish stuff, like not singing the national anthem. And that’s just the stuff that will destroy Corbyn. Wait until they get on to Abbott saying Mao did more good than harm. If Labour is down among the dead men now, just wait until seven weeks hence.
The vainglorious Corbyn surely knows this, unless he is a complete idiot (always a possibility). Those around him, like the nasty, scheming John McDonnell and multimillionaire spin doctor Seamus Milne really do know Corbyn’s many shortcomings and for them to pretend otherwise is totally disingenuous. But Corbyn, a real life Chauncey Gardner (Being There) character, might even believe the bullshit surrounding him. He has, after all, seven weeks of addressing rallies which will be attended en masse by his cult following. It is possible that he will be convinced that the idolatry from his following is representative of the rest of the country. He is in for a bit of a shock.
If a week in politics is a long time, then seven weeks is an even longer time, but how on earth can Corbyn claw back the 24% deficit Labour is suffering in the polls? “Events, dear boy. Events”, were the words of Harold MacMillan but what sort of events could prevent this catastrophe? The 40-odd Tory MPs whose alleged fiddled expenses are currently with the CPS, perhaps, but that’s not going to be decided until after the election. May could be the new Erdogan by then and anyway her majority would be so large, even 40 lost by elections wouldn’t cause a dent. If Corbyn stayed on, they’d probably win them.
The coming Tory and red top attacks will, I am sure, have a huge influence, not on the actual result of the election, but on the side of the majority the Tories will get. The hipsters and chattering classes of the big inner cities will elect the comrades and then return to their high paid jobs, unaffected by anything that happens elsewhere and the rest of Labour will implode.
If the projected Tory majority is already 186, I dread to think what it will actually be come 9 June. I fear the Labour meltdown will hand May a majority of 200+. A hard Brexit, the final destruction of the NHS, a bonfire of workers’ rights, the end of manufacturing in Britain – these will be the prices paid for a landslide Tory win and a hard Brexit.
The vicar’s daughter may be hopelessly out of her depth, a kind of Thatcher tribute act, but she’s undoubtedly a member of what she herself described as the nasty party. Every day in every way, she just makes it nastier.