by Peter Franklin
Thursday, 20
October 2022
Debate
09:30

A Labour landslide would be a disaster

They may deserve it, but a Tory wipeout is a dangerous prospect
by Peter Franklin
Can this man be trusted? Credit: Getty

I needn’t go over yesterday’s events in Westminster. All that need be said is that Liz Truss can’t go on. Britain needs a new Prime Minister and a new Cabinet; but do we also need a general election? 

Various Labour MPs have called for one — as has the SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, and the Lib Dem leader, Sir Ed Davey. But the calls aren’t just coming from the Left. On the Right, commentators like Calvin Robinson are also demanding that the Tories submit to the voters’ verdict. Andrew Lilico argues that unless Tory MPs can agree on a new leader without delay, then Sir Keir Starmer should be asked to form a new government — which would mean him going to the country within weeks. 

There’s also the implied threat of a general election when Truss supporters insist (wrongly) that changing Prime Ministers for a second time would be unprecedented or unconstitutional.

In any case, an election now would be barking mad. Firstly, there’d be at least a month of political uncertainty — and interruption to the normal business of government. It is the last thing we need this winter.

Of course, one thing would be certain: a cataclysmic defeat for the Tories. Richly deserved, you might think. But what has Starmer done to merit an overwhelming victory? This is the man who pulled out every stop to overturn the Brexit referendum result and who then campaigned to get Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street. 

Further, a parliamentary Labour Party with more that 400 MPs would be a very different beast from the poodle currently curled-up at its leader’s feet. And don’t forget, there’d only be the weakest of oppositions to exercise restraint. As things stand, the Tory seat total would be pushed to reach three figures. It’s not even guaranteed that they’d be the second largest party. Imagine the SNP as the Official Opposition.

Some might argue that the money markets would act as the real constraint on a Labour government. After all, that’s what caused Liz Truss’ embarrassing U-turn. But if the thumping Labour majority can’t follow its economic instincts, it will push its social agenda. Weak Tory resistance to the progressive takeover of our institutions will be replaced by active Labour assistance. 

As for Brexit, Starmer may have belatedly accepted the result of the referendum, but what’s to stop him from changing his mind? Or, failing that, what’s to stop his party from replacing him with a Rejoiner? When you’ve got 400+ MPs you can afford to push your luck. 

However, the best argument against an immediate election is rooted not in fear, but duty. The Tories made this mess — and so the Tories must clean it up. With a majority of more than seventy and the mandate of the 2019 manifesto, they have what they need to make a start. 

More than this, they have an alternative Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, who not only guided his country through the last crisis; but who also warned against the policies responsible for this one. He has the experience. He has the credibility. All he needs now is an ounce of common sense from his colleagues — but that, of course, is the tricky bit. 

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Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago

Most prominent conservatives simply haven’t understood the political realignment we’re living through – as evidenced by their continued enthusiasm for yet more of the un-managed immigration that has had such a devastating effect on poorer communities and public services.

Those who do understand need to ditch the party now and form a new anti-woke, anti-rejoin and anti-globalist alliance. After all, Johnson won a landslide by pretending to be these things. There’s a natural majority for them.

William Foster
William Foster
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

If we pretended lobbying doesn’t exist, maybe. Perhaps they do understand, they don’t care and they are willing to say and do whatever is required if it pays and they think they can get away with it.

Aaron James
Aaron James
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

The immigration is allowed – created and encouraged and funded – to Destroy Britishness. It is to break the cohesive society. It is to cause huge economic disruptions and make the working people poorer and to divide society into separate camps. It has worked very well, and will keep doing so. I know – I watched my old parts of London from the 1960s to now. It has worked very well indeed.

Last edited 1 month ago by Aaron James
Kathy Bushell
Kathy Bushell
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

That alliance already exists; it’s called the SDP. Membership costs £5.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago

The grooming gangs are warming up their car engines, protected by their ethnicity, and the women with willies are readying for their invasion of women’s changing rooms……

Last edited 1 month ago by Ian Stewart
Martin Smith
Martin Smith
1 month ago

Our society is becoming so degenerate that it isn’t possible for it to prosper. Unconservative Conservatives or bourgoise Labourite’s notwithstanding, we need a regeneration of hardworking loyal families working for each other with public decency and modesty, and the abandonment of narcissism, self-satisfaction and sexual obsession.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 month ago

I’m worried that if the Labour Party win, they will replicate the policies of the SNP which are seemingly designed by rich student activists with an authoritarian bent.

chris Barton
chris Barton
1 month ago

We won’t notice much difference between the Blue and Red bands of the Uniparty. Perhaps a few more rainbow flags and some more Police raids for wrong think but the country will continue to go down the pan. Peter Hitchens has been saying it snice before 2010 – the only way for an opposition to the Globalists/Woke/Anti Western blob to arise is for the Tory Party to be destroyed.
The SDP is very appealing, they are basically the ticket turncoat Johnson ran on and won an 80 seat majority with. Personally I think a spell of the modern Labour party is the only thing that could make people realise the 2 main parties need to go.

Last edited 1 month ago by chris Barton
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  chris Barton

I’ve been impressed with the policies of the SDP for a while, after I heard Paul Embery talk about them. Unfortunately I think the FPTP voting system will likely see them remain insignificant

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 month ago

I think that the Tories need to be annihilated in a GE and replaced by something better or nothing at all. I was a party member for years and have been a consistent supporter. But I’ve had it with them now.

For the last 12 years we’ve had nothing but more open borders, more Blairism, more liberal Leftism. They clearly are incapable of changing, and if we’re going to see the country being wrecked anyway, then I want the wreckage to have a Labour name on it.

Sorry, Too many betrayals for too long. I’m done with them.

Mike F
Mike F
1 month ago

Unfortunately, the only real show in town is exactly that which the author of this piece fears: a large Labour majority, and with it a weakening of the centrist policies that they will have used to sell themselves to the electorate.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if we are already seeing Starmer starting his shift to the left with his speech to the TUC. Let’s face it, with the alternative being this disfunctional and disgraced Conservative party, the electorate will swallow whatever the Labour Party (backed by the BBC and a large chunk of the media) offers.
Of course, Starmer – or whoever the Labour Party members might replace him with halfway through their term in office – will spend five years blaming the Tories, but most of the economic problems facing the UK are global – Ukraine, Covid, China etc. We have the same inflation rate as the rest of Europe, and even our bond yield is now slightly below that of the USA under the Labour-style Democratic Party. Nothing exceptional about us.
So we’re doomed whoever is in office. Under Starmer it will be a kinder, woker variety, but rainbow doomed is still doomed.

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike F

There is nothing kind about being “woke”.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 month ago

What are Labour going to do that the Conservatives have not already done? If the markets took freight at the crack handed presentation of an essentially Labour budget with a few elitist twists what will happen when Labour get in and introduce a budget that will be even more spendthrift.

Robert Routledge
Robert Routledge
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

We are in this mess because of too many lock downs too much money printed and borrowed also too much faith in zero carbon all measures Starmer,Sturgeon and Drakeford all wanted even more than Johnson so what have they got to offer other than even more of the same!

Steve Gwynne
Steve Gwynne
1 month ago

In my opinion, the biggest dilemmas for the Tories are two fold.

First, the Red Wall and their desire for an independent Britain free from the meddling of the EU still holds the national balance of power even if the Blue Wall can assert its balance of power within the Tory Party.

Secondly, Blue Wall Brexiteers and Red Wall Brexiteers and Tory Remainers all want entirely different things which all revolve around fiscal policy, the role of the State and trade policy including immigration.

However, despite the party having had numerous party conferences since 2016, not a single one was used to build a consensus vision around Brexit.

Even Boris failed in this by affectively suppressing the topic of a consensus driven Brexit entirely. We weren’t even allowed to celebrate Brexit on a national platform when what was most needed was a national conversation in order to build a Brexit vision that a majority of the public could get behind.

Instead we’ve had Conservative infighting to see who could impose a Brexit vision only a minority would ever support.

Meanwhile, Labour have seized the Brexit moment by playing the long game.

Without a Brexit vision that can build a sustainable, resilient and sufficient future for Britain in what is rapidly becoming an uncertain world, the Conservative Party and Brexit is dust.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Gwynne

Brexit vision that achieves those things? They have had 6 years for goodness sake. Constantly seeking scapegoats gets pretty boring too.
Just perhaps the problem is the concept was so holed with contradictions and fantasy it was never going to be possible?
That said had they gone for a soft Brexit I think we’d have found a workable balance although that would have sustained some contradictions unacceptable to a hardcore. I suspect we are going to find out way back to that accommodation.

Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
1 month ago

I believe that the next General Election will, inevitably, yield a Labour Government. The Tories only job is to now govern sufficiently well that they are not annihilated.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 month ago

What this country sorely needs right now is a government. Any government. And it has not got one. Watching last nights PMQ, Liz Truss delivered the biggest laugh line. She said – the Prime Minister said – to the Leader of the Opposition – that the Labour Party needed to take account of the economic realities (!). I burst out laughing and could not stop for several minutes. When that kind of comment triggers a spontaneous belly laugh, the party in power is gone.

Face it Peter – you are screwed.

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
1 month ago

So, let’s introduce Proportional Representation…if we did, then the percentage of votes cast would be reflected more closely in the number of seats won. The distortions of ‘first past the post’ would be reduced. We need change soon. https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/

Last edited 1 month ago by Graeme Kemp
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

Whilst I prefer PR, it’s not a perfect system either. You have numerous MPs who aren’t directly answerable to the public, and parties manifestos can change beyond all recognition in order to form the necessary coalitions (think the Lib Dems and tuition fees).
So while I think it’s stops the nonsense we saw where 1 in 6 people can UKIP or the Greens and those parties win 1 seat between them as happened in 2015, it isn’t some magic bullet to fix the countries woes.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago

Truth is the difference between a Lab or Tory Govt won’t be that great. There will be the usual difference in emphasis in some areas – e.g on welfare and public services do you have a v severe approach to entitlement to limit abuse but accept some of our most vulnerable will suffer or do you do have less severe in order to protect more of the most vulnerable yet recognise some abuse will manifest? – in many regards fluctuations in trying to find that balance been the issue for 100 yrs+ in public policy. That won’t change.
On hot topics such as immigration, the lesson from Brexit is that this needs much more sensitive handling and explanation than had been the case. Country is now better aware that swinging from one extreme to the other isn’t intelligent. We’re more ready for an adult conversation.
So just a couple of examples above that will be more about degrees of emphasis rather than radical differences. We’ll have learnt that undue radicalism a false prospectus.
As regards ‘woke’ which seems to generate disproportionate interest on Unherd, I doubt any great shifts. Most of it a phantom ghost anyway once you get out a diet of constant cyberspace and into the real world. Bits of silliness on both sides of the ‘woke’ debate will persist but you know what we are comfortable with now our Victorian forbears wouldn’t have been so who’s to say what our kids will find entirely acceptable.
The threat against democracy, from Russia, from China et al, will continue to be the biggest issue and on this at least there is fairly close consensus.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

I wish it was a phantom ghost. It’s only just started its march through corporations. I have engineering contract tender invitations in front me, nothing to do with government, that warn that bidders may risk disqualification if they don’t fulfil diversity requirements.
These things are like a very long train. The engine may well be approaching the corner but most of the trailing wagons are still in the long straight.
In that regard, the Unherd writers and readers may seem disproportionately interested to you, but they seem more like the canaries in the coalmine to me.