“The country is united but Westminster is divided” exclaims Prime Minister Theresa May as she stands on the steps of No.10, announcing her intentions to hold a snap general election on the 8th June 2017.
A laughable and perhaps offensive statement as the PM goes to the Polls seeking a mandate for her divisive campaign for a hard Brexit, a mandate she is likely to win with a huge majority.
Despite Jeremy Corbyn welcoming the decision, this will be disastrous for his tenure as leader. Current polls suggest the Tories have an 18 point lead over the Labour party and, if these polls are to be believed, Labour is heading for its’ worst election defeat since the 1970s. Heavy defeat will surely mean resignation for Corbyn and that can only be fantastic news for the Labour party.
Through voting in Corbyn, Labour members have committed a tremendous act of self-harm. As member numbers have swelled, national support for the party has dwindled. Labour have lost what little it had left of the all-important middle class swing voters, and in the process have lost most the working class.
The reign of a weak Labour leader has coincided with that of the strongest Tory PM since Thatcher. Corbyn’s feeble excuse for opposition has allowed the Conservatives to wreak havoc in Westminster and cause misery for millions, without damaging their performance in the polls. His slavish following of 1970s socialist ideology along with a refusal to offer any kind of modernisation has condemned Labour to at least 12 years in ‘opposition’ – it would have been 15 if it were not for this snap election.
That is why this election is such tremendous news for the Party. Instead of waiting until 2020 to witness the destruction of Corbyn, the political death of the Labour leader can be witnessed 3 years early.
On the 8th June when the British people decisively reject Corbyn’s ’70s socialism, the Labour party will have no choice but to hold a monumental revaluation of the kind of leader it needs. Labour members will see that being a party of protest and offering no workable economic solutions does not inspire the aspirational working and middle classes.
Labour needs to once again be seen as a party of economic responsibility, a party that isn’t committed to ever increasing taxes and a party that is nurturing of businesses both big and small.
Labour needs to accept that the British public does not have a natural inclination towards traditional socialism. The party needs a leader and a direction that can appeal to the economically ambitious nature of British people while still hailing the strong social reform message that the party has always offered.
As I wrote in a previous article on this blog, the only move that can save the Labour party is a return to the centre left politics of the nineties and noughties. Corbyn’s electoral destruction in the from of a snap general election is the perfect opportunity for centrist Labour politicians to make their move.
Yes, this will leave the country in the grips of a huge Tory majority for the next 5 years. However it is better to face a disastrous election now and rebuild to mount a serious election bid on a centre left ticket in 2022, than wait until the 2020 election and risk Tory rule with an ineffective opposition until 2025. As is so often the case, sometimes you have to take one step back to take two steps forward.