Is it collective hysteria, or what?
Have we all taken leave of our senses?
What was the celebration that was last week’s Labour Conference actually a celebration of?
They did not even come close to winning the election: nearly sixty seats behind the Tories, and notwithstanding the progress that they did make, they still managed to lose heartland seats like Mansfield -and all that, despite the most uninspiring and cack-handed campaign mounted by the Tories in recent memory
As for the vision: a return to the socialism of the past that did so much lasting damage to the UK economy. They even let slip that they were ‘war-gaming’ scenarios such as the run on Sterling and investor flight that would accompany a Labour election victory -how reassuring.
Now it is the turn of the Tories (the problem for the Forest Journal reader, is that I write this as the Tory conference begins, but you read it after it has concluded), so what will they make of it?
They failed to deploy their strongest suit during the election campaign: Economic competence; they inherited an economic crisis arguably worse than that of Greece, and turned it around, cutting the deficit by two thirds, whilst at the same time generating 3 million new jobs, and –for most of their period in government- maintained the fastest rate of economic growth of any developed economy.
Despite not campaigning on it during the election nevertheless it remains their strongest card.
The difficulty however, is that a whole a whole series of other issues that cannot be ignored, did seize proper priority during the election campaign: long term care for the elderly; sluggish wage growth –particularly in the public sector; NHS expenditure; police numbers; student debt, and since the election others have emerged such as the growing squeeze on Defence expenditure. The critical problem for the Tories is to address these –which means spending more, whilst not trashing their own brand –economic competence- by letting the deficit rip.
I hope the best brains are working on it.
But what about Brexit?
Shouldn’t the best brains be working exclusively on that?
Well, that’s my priority, and it’s the priority of a number of constituents who email me daily, but then 99.99% of constituents don’t email or write to me at all. My suspicion is that, whatever the headlines may scream, their busy lives demand a focus on things much closer to home. Which is why I have some confidence that, in the medium term, the messianic rock star cult of Jeremy Corbyn will pass them by, just like the cult of Hugo Chavez or Nicolas Maduro.
That’s my hope, at any rate.