Sunday, 18 September 2016

The Ghost of Thatcher

It looks like we are seeing a party disintegrate before our eyes, and no i dont mean labour. Jeremy Corbyn being re-elected as labour leader wont result in labour's disintegration despite the wishful thinking of the blairites and the right wing media. Under Corbyn's leadership labour has become a mass party of the kind we've not seen in the british isles in decades - a party of nearly 600,000 members is going to survive no matter what the polls are currently saying. But the huge challenge for Corbyn and his 'army' of volunteers in momentum is overcoming the inbuilt unfairness of the British first past the post electoral system - and imminent boundary changes. Boundary changes that will give the tories dozens of new seats before a vote has even been cast. That is why if the corbynistas are serious about stopping the tories winning a majority at the next british general election they should embrace the idea of a 'progressive alliance' and reach out to parties like the greens, plaid cymru and the snp.

The party in an obvious state of disintegration i refer to is UKIP. This week it's director Steven Stanbury resigned and defected to the tories live on air http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37376428. And a couple of days later Nigel Farage aide Alex Phillips announced she too would be joining the tories http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/sep/16/nigel-farage-aide-says-ukip-supporters-have-flocked-to-tories. And it was revealing to see Alex Phillips speaking of a 'mass exodus' with thousands of ukip members joining the tories.

That ukip should have begun to implode post brexit isnt a surprise. A party set up to get the UK out of the EU has no reason to exist now that is going to happen. But what is really interesting about the decision of the likes of Stanbury and Philips is what it says about the tories under Theresa May. Both Stanbury and Phillips made a point of saying they were joining the tories because it was the best way of carrying the kippers hard right political project forward.

Both phillips and stanbury are - like many in the ukip leadership - unapologetic thatcherites. And with the UK now out of the EU and a british government free to pursue a brutal hard right agenda in areas like workers rights and the environment without any risks of restraint from the eu parliament it's clear the likes of Phillips are joining the tories to 'finish what Thatcher started' to quote Nigel Lawson http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36717050. Sadly the areas of the UK likely to suffer most from what promises to be a neo-thatcherite onslaught will be places like the north east of england, the south wales valleys and cornwall. All areas of course which voted heavily for brexit - a case of 'turkeys voting for christmas' as James Callaghan famously once remarked.


In announcing plans to reintroduce grammar schools in England Theresa May has already signalled her intentions to shift the tories sharply to the right post brexit - a sharp turn to the right that will surely only be intensified with thousands of ex kippers flooding their ranks. Indeed it tells us a lot about the post brexit tories that they would so readily admit someone like Phillips.The anti fascist Hope not Hate blog revealed that she has routinely mocked the disabled and people with autism, made light of the sufferings of Anne Frank and described the French neo fascist Jean Marie Le Pen as a 'charming frenchman' http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/ukip/ukip-press-officer-s-offensive-comments-3012



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