Two polls this week put Labour well ahead of the Tories and even Poltico’s poll tracker has Labour ahead albeit by smaller numbers and on Thursday, the Tories lost 5 council bye-elections. A couple of things to say, firstly, this may not last, and secondly it’s often said that government’s lose elections rather than oppositions winning them. This turn in the polls may come to be seen as important. I find it hard to believe that ‘ partygate’ is the cause of the sudden turn in fortunes, but stranger things have happened. While Thatcher fell because of the Poll Tax, and Major because of Black Wednesday, Brown was overtaken after a spat with Osborne on Inheritance Tax, with Ed Miliband, it was the bacon sandwich and the SNP, and Corbyn lost his lead over May at the same time he was arguing that we needed more evidence to blame the Russians for Skripal poisonings. Sometimes tragedy, sometimes farce but we need to ask will it last.
When writing the post above, I wondered whether the Profumo affair, an early example of bunga bunga parties and the then serious offence of lying to parliament is part of a longer term trend, extending the trail of events noted above back into the ’60s. It can be argued that Callaghan’s fall is dated from his “Crisis, what crisis?” comment, if I remember correctly, he made the comment on return from a foreign holiday, and whether he was referring to the winter of discontent, or the application for the IMF loans I forget and is not well documented by internet searchable resources. It’s not as compelling, but given what had happened it’s certainly trivial.
With respect to the seeming triviality of some of these supposed turning points it’s easy to forget that there are, today, more compelling events, a clear undermining of the interests of the Tory vote and maybe awakening the anger of strong Labour ones. There seems to be a long term historic trend that decisions taken against the interest of homeowners have a significant cost to the politicians that make them, poll tax, 17% interest rates, inheritance tax and social care funding are all moves against homeowner’s wealth but then people like me should not underestimate the anger of many who kept to the rules at great financial and emotional sacrifice; they may not forgive a six figure salariat for behaving as if there are different rules for masses, than for the elites.
The electoral commission has fined the Tory Party £17k for not accounting for the donations decorating the flat in No 10 and the further corrupt breaches of the ministerial code and we are no closer to recovering the £37bn spent on not getting a track and trace system which ended up in the pockets of people with close relationships with the Tory Party.
Originally published at https://davelevy.info on December 11, 2021.