Strike It Lucky

With both the General Election and the European Football Championships taking place earlier this week, I thought it would be a good opportunity to point out the similarities between the England football squad and our newly-elected Labour government. Both are symptoms of a country that has forsaken talent and ambition for good old-fashioned mediocrity; both are incredibly lucky to make the advances they have; and both tread the tightrope of serendipity even as the threads on that rope get ever-more frayed and unstable. To put it bluntly, England have only reached the semi-finals of the Euros due to some very fortunate last minute shots, favourable opponents and penalties, and they’re likely to get kicked out on their arses – if not this coming Wednesday by the Dutch, then certainly in the Final by either the French or the Spanish. In a comparable situation, Keir Starmer is only in Number 10 Downing Street because millions of the British electorate (including me) chomped at the bit to punish a Conservative administration that had totally broken its word to us on secure borders, legal migration, Brexit and competent governance. Labour is in power, not because there is any great desire for Sir Kneel-a-lot and his assorted gaggle of third-raters, but because our determination to see the Tories enfeebled and purged of wet liberals took preference over everything else last Thursday.

To listen to some of the reactions on the mainstream broadcasters, you thought they were back in the heady days of May 1997. Kay Burley on Sky News sounded like she was having sex behind the camera when the exit poll was announced (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47jENsIaSJo). Jon Kay and Sally Nugent sat grinning like Cheshire cats the following morning as BBC Breakfast broadcast live from College Green. Perhaps the Left (who I’m certain will prove themselves to be even more obnoxious, condescending and dismissive of contrary opinions over the next five years than they have hitherto) honestly think this a repeat of a Blairite hegemony. They couldn’t be more wrong! Starmer’s majority might be Pacific-wide but it’s also puddle-deep. Tempting as it may be for those of us who genuinely want a strong Right-of-centre party in power to cup our hands over our faces and weep, beneath the Labour crowing and the MSM hubris is a series of facts that, when taken together, could easily mean this government is just as susceptible for rejection in 2029 as the Tories were just five years after they secured an 80-seat majority.

First off, the parliamentary arithmetic fails to reflect the public will to the largest degree since universal suffrage was introduced in the UK in 1928. Reform UK won five seats with a larger share of the vote than the Liberal Democrats who won 72. Had proportional representation been a factor, Farage and his party would have walked away with 93 seats! As for Labour, their huge majority was won with a vote share that rose by less than two per cent since its disaster in 2019, and was significantly lower than the share won by Jeremy Corbyn when he managed to precipitate a hung parliament in 2017 against the hapless Theresa May. This is no May 1997, when Blair won over 43% of the popular vote. We live in a social media/digital age now, with a much more fickle electorate who are far quicker to deduce when they have been conned or lied to. An elected government whose victory relied exclusively on hatred of the incumbent is not one built on solid foundations, whatever gerrymandering it might employ to boost its position or whatever broadcasting propaganda mouthpieces rally to its defence. Perhaps Kay Burley should have thought about that before entertaining us with her impersonation of Meg Ryan in the diner scene from ‘When Harry Met Sally’. In terms of the UK nations it was Scotland, not England or Wales, who gave Labour a positive endorsement this time around. And we’ve all seen how febrile voters are up there these past 14 years.

Many pundits told us Brexit in and of itself wasn’t a decisive factor in this election. Perhaps! But the consequences of that referendum vote over 8 years ago are still playing out. Brexit has exposed the abject failure of the calibre of politicians at the heart of our parliamentary system and that exposure is steadily destroying the old political parties and loyalties. The referendum in 2016 was Act 1 of that rebellion against ‘Third Way’ globalist ideology; the election of Boris Johnson in 2019 was Act 2; the collapse of the Tories and the rise of Reform three days ago is Act 3. In France, they’re today bypassing those first three stages and going straight to Act 4: Burning the entire house down in order to start again from scratch. Act 4 in this country is likely to come five years from now, unless Starmer understands the fragility of his premiership and, thus, avoids the sort of victorious arrogance his media fans have displayed in amply quantities.

Whatever their seat tally, the prospects for Starmer’s Labour don’t look good. If he starts pandering to the voices who gave us no less than 5 radical Islamic MPs for whom Gaza, and not GB, is their primary concern, he’ll just drive more and more working class Labour voters into the arms of Reform. Furthermore, lest we forget Reform UK are the main challenge to Labour in 14 times as many seats as Muslim independents – especially across the Midlands and northern England. Faced with the economic and social crises that are likely to come its way, and given its absence of strong convictions to unite the party, Labour is likely to suffer internal division that will need to be staved off and managed with hyper-authoritarianism. And from authoritarianism comes rebellion.

Labour’s victory mirrors England’s on the pitch in Germany: They’ve both struck it lucky this time around. But don’t be at all surprised when those Hot Spots start seriously impeding their good fortunes. What is a Hot Spot not? Not a good spot!

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