What if it’s all just cyclical?


More banter from the political past today as John Prescott criticised Tony Blair’s “get a transplant” jibe.

Meanwhile, Margaret Beckett has somehow branded herself a ‘moron’ because she was one of Jeremy Corbyn’s sponsors, nominating-but-not supporting him so the Labour Party could have a debate.

Well, a debate is being had.  A wider range of policies are being debated and the other candidates have found they are unable to triangulate their way to a victory on points. The contest is going to be far more interesting than any that has gone before and—here’s a radical thought—it could be that this moment of public disunity and ill-tempered argument could end up strengthening the eventual winner. Survival Of The Fittest, Whatever Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger, &cetera.

Former PPC (and, momentarily, an ex-colleague of mine) Jessica Asato hosted a fascinating debate on her Facebook page, suggesting that voters usually pick parties based on gut instinct rather than policy detail. Others commented that it’s only through policy announcements and debate that we ever get to see the politicians speak and form a view on the je ne sais quoi that wins them our vote.

But the most compelling contribution was this one, which I’ll quote in full:

I do sometimes wonder if we’re overthinking this and the whole thing is broadly cyclical. In work I find that when I follow a poor manager, people like me. When a good one, they don’t. The UK had a popular long term Labour gvt and is still adjusting. The appetite for right wing policies wasn’t fully realised in 2010 hence the coalition. The Labour party has had an extended period of centrist leadership and now it’s going through an adjustment hence I have thought since the get go that Mr C will likely win. In May the Tories set themselves up nicely for a 2 term campaign. Labour can enjoy its protracted period in the wilderness, indulge in leftist leadership for a bit then stop wallowing and get ready to govern with purpose in 2025 when the uk seeks adjustment. In the interim focused opposition and local governance to counteract tory policies where possible is vital. (Of course this is all following a couple of beers so I may disagree with myself in the morning…)

Compelling because I think it may be spot on. 2025 is enough time for Cameron to resign and be replaced by a leader who walks straight into Number 10 without a period as HM Opposition first.  This is an unendearing quality and Prime Ministers who get the job like this usually spend less than a full term in office (Chamberlin, Eden, Hume, Callaghan, Brown—Churchill and Major the recent exceptions).  Moreover, as a political party’s time in office becomes longer, so too does its arrogance and it’s disconnect. And of course the number of people it has alienated builds like lactic acid a runner’s thighs.

2025 is also enought time for the SNP to rack up enough unpopularity at Holyrood, allowing Scottish Labour win back parliamentary seats in both parliaments, and the UKIP tendency to fragment after losing an EU Referendum.

This is disturbing because it’s another ideology free hypothesis. But as I say, I suspect it may be right.

2 thoughts on “What if it’s all just cyclical?”

  1. I have my doubts about that theory. It ignores a) events and b) individual people, which I think do matter. The poster covers a pretty narrow part of history, and the pattern they’re trying to pick out has barely begun to repeat yet (ie it is not yet a pattern). Come back to me in 50 years time after several more iterations of leftist Labour oppositions and centrist Labour governments.

    The cyclicality theory sounds a lot like a different articulation of the current political/media establishment view, that left always loses and centre wins — where “centre” means whatever does not raise an interviewer’s eyebrows.

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