Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The Brexit Fallout : The Prospect of Plots and Purges

What is clear from the political fallout from Brexit is that the legacy created by Blair and his regime after 1997 is unravelling. The PLP no longer represents the majority of its members and the Brexit vote in the post-industrial Labour voting northern towns and cities showed its own traditional voting heartlands reject it.

The use of Brexit as a pretext to unseat Corbyn for allegedly not campaigning hard enough for Remain has simply revealed that the PLP has lost the plot. By calling for a new party of the 48%, voices wanting a new centre-left SDP fail could fracture Labour permanently without being assured of a new PR system.

If Labour were to split in the context of an unreformed voting system, it could contend against the Conservatives in alliance with the Liberal Democrats. But so much is uncertain because it is not clear that the Conservatives have to call a General Election before 2020 and its timing is up to them.

But a new SDP would have to contend with the fact the Liberal Democrats were almost wiped out an the 2015 General Election as few could see the point of the Lib Dems in their coalition with Cameron's 'Blairised' Conservatives. Brexit both reflects and will cause the further fragmentation of 'centre ground' politics.

The danger the PLP faces is that if Corbyn stands for re-election and wins according to pre-existing Labour membership votes for the leader, not least as many in the rank and file appear still to back him-as do the trade unions-then he could use that to start a process of imposing order through reselecting MPs.

Blair is a discredited figure and the Chilcot report's publication on Wednesday 6th July 2016. It will be seized upon to further discredit former Blair and Brown acolytes and the entire culture of spin and dissimulation that ultimately backfired in so far as it was also adopted by Remain campaigners in the Brexit referendum.

The fact spin and deception was used by Leave campaign leaders too basically provided the electorate with two forms of 'project fear'. They chose the one they feared less which was a rejection of the entire political status quo in preference for the risks of a new order free from 'Blairism' and arrogant Euro Club class elites.

Corbyn has time to reposition the Labour Party as one more aligned with social democratic economic policies that reject failed neoliberal austerity policies. Should the British economy enter recession-or the political fallout from Brexit cause further economic volatility in the UK and elsewhere-Corbyn's party could benefit.

On the other hand, the mood of prevalent fear and desperate hope that Brexit represented, set against the looming threats of ISIS terrorism and the migrant crisis, could be used by right wing Conservatives and UKIP to portray Corbyn's 'socialist' challenge as a 'national security threat' and lead to plots for a coup.

Despite claims to the contrary, Michael Gove and some very right wing neoconservatives are a strong force who have mastered the darker arts of rhetoric and 'public diplomacy', the slimy new term for propaganda. Even if he does not get the Tory leadership this time, the failure of the next PM could be exploited by him.

While Gove is unlikely to be Conservative leader, the failure to manage Brexit in accordance with the key 'promise' of  'delivery' is bound to be exploited by cabals of ideological fanatics to impose a neoconservative order on Britain as a 'party of order' should political chaos and economic volatility continue in the run up to 2020.

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