BORIS JOHNSON has calculated that his best chance of beating Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour in a general election — one that will likely be upon us before Father Christmas does his rounds — depends on establishing his credentials as the man who did what Theresa May failed to do.
Of course, he may fail. Johnson — who transformed himself from avid Remainer to ardent Leaver in the few moments it took to skim through the two completely contradictory speeches he had prepared — will have thought through options, or possibly commissioned Dominic Cummings to create a game plan, if the deadline comes and goes without a Commons majority for whatever he devises.
Johnson will go before the electorate as the man who gave practical expression to the popular will or as the man betrayed in this bid.
He is a one-trick pony because he and the entire political and media world know that in a general election campaign Labour possesses an advantage that it lacks at all other times — reasonably balanced coverage by the broadcast media.
And another it has in moments of intense mobilisation — its vastly superior ground and social media operation.
Labour’s capacity to mobilise its activist base confers a great strength over the Tories’ atrophied machine and ageing membership.
In the last election campaign the character and personality of Corbyn combined with the broad appeal of Labour’s manifesto made up the political ground with a speed that terrified not just the Tories.
This is why they, their media allies and a subterranean matrix of morbid interests — some of whom are British and foreign state actors — have chosen to target Corbyn the man rather than rubbish the likely contents of Labour electoral programme.
Their media strategists know perfectly well that the more detailed the scrutiny of Labour’s policy platform the more decisive sections of the British population will find powerful reasons for voting Labour.
Any Tory prime minister is compelled to construct a Cabinet from the human material the Tory Party’s arcane selection processes have bequeathed her or him.
And as this present administration illustrates, the Tory benches are comprised of people whose paths through life are smoothed by all the advantages that crude cash and social cachet can confer.
Almost two-thirds of the Cabinet were privately educated, the largest proportion since the John Major government — a fact which of itself disqualifies this party from any credible bid to speak for the whole nation.
But, a note of caution. Our ruling class will find a full measure of unity if the consequence of division is a Labour government committed to a radical challenge to power and profits.
It will not present itself as the party of privilege but of modernisation in a modern global market.
Johnson’s choice of Cummings as his key adviser, who at the last reckoning was not a member of any political party, is an indication that this Tory government will be characterised by decisive action and disruptive tactics.
He has argued that Britain’s role “should focus on making ourselves the leading country for education and science.”
Cummings is a man with a track record of innovative thought and political action conceived within an intellectual framework that corresponds to the imperatives of neoliberal economics and a notion of society that is ordered the way it is by coherent if deeply reactionary principles.
His departure from Michael Gove’s office in the earlier Tory administration took place in a flurry of theoretical speculation that contained more than one insight into the inadequate functioning of the British capitalist formation and the inadequacies of its institutions that should be carefully analysed by Labour’s theorists.
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