The UK’s election is over; the Conservatives have their largest majority for over thirty years. In the end, it was simple for Johnson, as straightforward as the opinion polls had suggested it would be throughout the campaign. Partly because of the clarity and relentlessness of his messaging (the slogan ‘Get Brexit Done’ has rasped in the ears of the nation like a form of political tinnitus) and also because of the fatal weaknesses of the Labour opposition, writes Accordance Chairman Nicholas Hallam.
Labour could have chosen to please its remain voting base or its leave voting base; in the end, it committed to neither and was rejected by both. Likewise, any economic policy credibility advantage it might have held over a Conservative Party perceived to be careering towards a catastrophic hard Brexit was squandered by its offering of an inchoate blizzard of random goodies and free stuff (including: a four-day working week; a renegotiated Brexit deal and second referendum; free broadband; no tuition fees; a Green New Deal; nationalisation of major utilities; and national sectoral bargaining; with all consequent tax increases to be borne by the three percent of the UK’s adult population that currently generate fifty percent of revenues, and who are notorious for their global mobility).
Only Tony Blair – despised by Labour’s current leadership – has secured a significant Labour majority since 1966. The consensus is that he did so by severe prioritization; with each commitment he made accompanied by a plausible description of how it might be delivered. This was not the Corbyn method. For Corbynites, the horror of inequality, of perceived oppression, is so overwhelming that the obligation to address it overrides all other considerations, practical and otherwise. There is no discussion to be had about priorities and trade-offs, because the language of compromise is itself an evil. Even now, despite Labour’s worst performance since 1935, Corbyn claims to have ‘won the argument.’