Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Why can’t Labor land a blow in the face of the stalled government?

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IIf a ghostly Dickens apparition from the fall of 2021 had visited Boris Johnson for Christmas 2019, shortly after he won an overwhelming majority of 80 seats in the general election, and told him what the next few years had in store for him, then it would have been right Worried about his political and personal future. A pandemic that would kill more than 135,000 people in the UK (almost including the Prime Minister); a simultaneous energy, cost of living, and fuel crisis; the shame, eventual resignation and subsequent betrayal of his closest adviser; a major economic slump followed by an uncertain economy; a series of high profile scandals and ministerial resignations; Brexit is going a little wrong; disappointing post-election results; incipient inflation; and the highest tax and debt burden in post-war history – his party would certainly be deeply unpopular and he himself would be facing a leadership role?

Doesn’t look like it. According to the latest YouGov poll, in line with recent trends, Conservatives are still enjoying a 10-point lead over Labor – a honeymoon level of support in nightmarish conditions, and after more than a decade of various conservative or conservative-dominated governments, austerity and All. At 41 percent, they are only a few percentage points from their December 2019 value when they “beat up” Corbyn, as the Prime Minister said. In contrast, Labor remains just below the 32 percent registered at the time. The Liberal Democrats and the Greens cleanly split the third party votes, 9 and 8 percent respectively, and pose little threat to the Tory majority if an election takes place now. Only the SNP, which is firmly in power north of the border, poses some kind of challenge to the Tory hegemony. If the leadership holds until the next election in 2023 or 2024 and another four or five year term follows, then are Conservatives in uninterrupted power for about two decades, and Johnson will approach longevity at the top of Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher. There is no shortage of rivals and critics in his own party, but they cannot argue with such survey data.

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