- There will be an election quite soon
- The Labour Party is going to win that election
- In power the Labour Party will do most of the things it promised
- The result will be huge gains for the poor, the environment and the economy
You will forgive me if I don’t believe that it is all going to be that simple. There are a large number of things that could go wrong.
- It is looking more and more likely that there won’t be an early election. The Conservatives are certainly weak and vulnerable and at any moment the fiasco they have created over Brexit could destroy them. Since Conservatives are well aware of the danger it is also entirely possible that enough of them will stick to the party line for them to lurch on through the two years of Brexit. They could then appoint themselves a new leader and go to the country claiming that they are the party to carry on steering us through difficult economic times.
- The next Conservative leader will be hard pressed to run a worse campaign than the last one. It is entirely possible that they will win the election or at the very least fail to lose it.
- If Corbyn fails to win the next election then it is unlikely that his supporters will retain control over the party’s future. The Blairites could well return.
- If Labour does win the election then what it does in office could well prove to be a huge disappointment. Imagine the situation. A chaotic failure of leadership by the Conservative Party and a serious cock up of Brexit brings in a radical Labour government on a landslide. The new government faces a low and falling pound, a balance of payments deficit, a large and still rising government debt and hostile markets. It tries to deal with this by nationalising the commanding heights of the economy and introducing an industrial strategy whilst borrowing to build council homes.
I believe that we are going to need a strong and separate Green Party to argue for the radical re-orientation our economy needs even if the Labour wins and pursues a left agenda.
- Finally there is the very real possibility that what will happen when Labour gets in will be the same as what has happened on every occasion that has happened in my lifetime. They will become corrupted by government, forget their roots and let us all down. Labour has a nasty tendency to raise hopes in opposition only to drift to the right and provide us with a few weakened and watered down versions of the radical policies it has been elected to deliver mixed in with some very nasty ones it didn’t promise. The Iraq war or the private finance initiative for example.
So I make no excuses for failing to sign up for the simplistic version of history in which all goes well and we don’t need a radical progressive party called the Greens because we’ve got one that is going to be in government and going to be great. I am happy to work to try and make that possible future happen. I would love it if proper cross party collaboration was on offer to make it happen. But I no longer believe the national Labour leadership will ever permit collaboration across party lines and I remain deeply worried that other futures are more likely.
In every one of those that I can imagine there is a real need for the Green Party to survive and prosper. The environmental agenda is far too important to be sacrificed to wishful thinking.