Politics.co.uk Blog

Friday, 19 March 2010

Not all those on the left fear a Labour implosion

With a general election looming - how many more times can I use the word 'looming' with regard to general elections without losing the last vestiges of journalistic self-respect? - the unions are making life for the Labour government pretty hellish.

Perhaps they forget how much worse things would be under a Conservative government. I recently attended a rally of the striking Public and Commercial Services union which suggested feelings towards Labour ministers was something akin to a hatred born of a fundamental betrayal. Apart from a few warning notes here and there, the alternative was barely considered.

Now the unionist 'militant tendency', as the absurd Tory-driven attempt to drag up the past would have it, is placing Gordon Brown under huge pressure. This could all work out alright, if the prime minister manages to come up with a deal before time runs out. But confrontation seems much more likely to remain unresolved. David Cameron has been handed an unlikely boost in his quest to oust the PM from No 10.

The left's tendencies to ruin their own chances throughout recent decades are well-documented enough. And, it is now becoming clear, many of those in the socialist 'campaign group' on the far-left are beginning to think their prospects might be boosted by a resurgence of militancy.

For those who hanker over the good old days, a strong Tory majority and hardline approach to the strikers could lead to many of the older Labour MPs, who have stayed quiet under New Labour, to be polarised themselves.

In this scenario the Labour party could find the gulf between its left and central wings growing wider and wider. Bridging it will be a tough task for any leader, that's for sure.

What is so striking - forgive the pun - is how enthusiastic those who are committed to fostering a stronger loony left actually are. A slim Tory majority could cement its position in a quick follow-up election as Labour's cohesiveness slips further and further.

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