Friday 28 June 2024

Why a Massive Labour Majority, plus Corbyn, Galloway & Farage Could Provide Good Entertainment


Looking ahead to the election, the only thing we can be sure about is that Labour will win. Literally, nothing else is certain. The polls are all over the place, so I would sooner rely on my own instinct: at least that way I only have myself to blame if things turn out to be different than I anticipated.

Labour's manifesto provides us with very thin gruel. That is important looking ahead as a manifesto pledge is aking to a magic bullet for the government as the House of Lords will not challenge a government bill that is from the manifesto. 

If Labour has a massive majority, that could become a problem as Sir Keir Starmer was elected as Labour leader on the basis that he was the heir to Corbyn, and then proceded to sling old Jezza out of the party. Quite what Sir Keir does believe in is anyone's guess, but he is certain to alienate a chunk of his party whatever it is, given the putative massive majority that he expects to get. We could be looking at all sorts of fun as Labour dissidents provide the main opposition to the Labour government.

Three men have the potential to make Sir Keir's life very difficult indeed. In no particular order, they are Jeremy Corbyn, Nigel Farage and George Galloway, so let's look at each one and assess how well they might do.

Jezza is standing as an independent in Islington North, the seat he has held since 1983. He is very popular in the area and should win handily. The problem is that about two weeks ago his activists began to make excuses for his defeat, saying that they did not have access to any electoral data so did not know where their supporters lived.

That statement is ludicrous, since data is obtained by sending an army of canvassers out to knock on doors and ask people if they will vote for a particular candidate. That information is collated and on election day, the cars are sent out to ferry those supporters to the polling place.

Jezza, it seems does not have that army. He has plenty of people who will turn up to his rallies, but not enough who will do the donkey work of identifying his supporters. That has created an extra problem, in that low-information voters do not know that he is no longer the Labour candidate. In this final week of the campaign, where his team has finally got some canvassing organised, the teams are still having to tell people to vote for Corbyn and not Labour. That's right, after all this upheaval an awful lot of voters still think that he is the Labour candidate and plan to vote using the Labour logo on the ballot and "Labour Party Candidate" as the description on that paper. For these reasons, Jezza is now the least likely of the three to get elected next week.

George Galloway is probably the most likely to be returned to the Commons for his Rochdale seat. The Workers' Party of Britain which he leads is an alliance of Pakistani Muslims and British claimants, mainly in the Northern English mill towns. Living in one of those towns over a decade ago, I was amazed at how well organised the Pakistani political factions were on election days. If those factions that were lined up under the colours of Labour and the Lib-Dems are now united behind the WPB, the party could do very well at the election.

However, there must be a fear that an overwhelmingly Pakistani activist base will not play on the British council estates. If Galloway has managed to recruit British activists then his party could do very well. If he hasn't, then there is a cap to its vote as it will be made up almost entirely of Pakistani voters, dragooned by their clan leaders. 

Galloway should win his seat, if he was in any doubt he would not have spent last weekend in London canvassing for the WPB there. I have no idea if his party will win one seat or a dozen, and neither does anyone else, but we need to keep an eye on the mill towns next week.

Finally, we have Nigel Farage, the gadfly that terrifies Labour so much that the party's candidate in Clacton was told to stop campaigning, which means Labour is giving the Tories a free ride to take on Farage, the Reform leader and its candidate in Clacton. Farage's vote is spread evenly thoughout the country, which tells against his party under our electoral system. It helps Galloway a lot as his vote is geographically concentrated, but Farage does not have that advantage. However, this time he seems to be running a tight campaign that concentrates on a very few target seats, especially his own. He is odds-on to win Clacton, but how many others he takes is impossible to estimate. My guess is between one and three, but that is pretty much a wild guess.

Let's put all this together. We could have a Labour government, elected on a low turnout with a lower share of the vote that Jezza got when he lost in 2017 and 2019. That government will be headed by a man who is neither popular in the country nor in his own party. If the majority is massive then the opportunities for discord will be enormous. Corbyn, Farage and Galloway are just the men who could take advantage of any such discord and help turn any bad situation for Sir Keir Starmer into a shits & giggles one for us.

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