TOMORROW’S rally outside Downing Street on the eve of the Tory coronation of a new party leader and prime minister fires the starting gun on a resistance movement that must force that PM to hold a general election.
The Conservatives have twice now appointed a new head of government without going back to the people. Theresa May got away with it three years ago, helped by the Labour right’s decision to try to overthrow their own leader when the government was at its weakest and by the fact that she inherited a parliamentary majority from David Cameron – one she promptly lost in an epic miscalculation in 2017, when complacent Westminster bubble assumptions that Jeremy Corbyn’s socialist vision would be unpalatable to the public were rudely burst by the election result.
Whether Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt emerges triumphant among the dying embers of the once formidable Conservative Party, their situation will differ from May’s. There is absolutely no reason to assume that either will be able to square the Brexit circle that did for their predecessor. There is no majority for any way forward in Parliament – not a no-deal exit, not a second referendum, not May’s deal, not Labour’s proposed amendments to May’s deal.
The new leader, depending like May on support from a handful of Democratic Unionist Party headbangers whose intransigence has deprived Northern Ireland of an elected government for more than two years, will have a working majority of just three. Both Leave and Remain Tories have sufficient numbers to scuttle this ship with ease, and numbers of them have threatened exactly that. The prime minister could face a no-confidence vote if he tries to leave the EU without a deal by Halloween, the latest in a string of broken deadlines for Britain’s departure. He could also face a no-confidence vote if he tries not to.
There is an overwhelming democratic case for a general election as soon as possible. One should have been held when May was declared in contempt of Parliament, but her government has been allowed to limp on despite a manifest inability to control the House, upsetting centuries of constitutional convention.
That election has been denied to the British people because Tories are terrified they could lose to a Labour Party led by socialists who are sanguine about the challenge of reshaping our politics in the interests of the vast majority and turfing out the crooks who make a mint out of the rigged economy we have now. But attempting to govern with the current Parliament is going to be almost impossible, and any Tory leader will be sorely tempted to try their hand at winning a more workable majority.
In this they will be aided and abetted by the Labour right. Attacks on the left leadership are carefully choreographed – plans, now uncertain, in the Lords to hold a no-confidence vote in Corbyn on Tuesday are intimately connected to the Tory leadership announcement on the same day. Labour’s pro-Establishment wing are determined to ensure the party does not benefit from Tory vulnerability and, just as in 2016, will try to wreak maximum havoc to prevent a sustained challenge to the Conservatives from a united labour movement.
As in 2016 and 2017, the left must demonstrate its extra-parliamentary strength to keep the socialist project on track and expose how isolated the media-amplified loudmouths demanding Corbyn’s head actually are. Unlike them, millions of people in this country want real change. Only a Corbyn-led government will deliver it. It’s time to unite and fight for one.
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