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The rubber band party

A few posts ago I said that Labour is naturally a leftist party, as can be seen from their history in the last few decades. Andrew Douglas, one of my brilliant commentators, said in the comments that it:

Looks like a pendulum swing to me:


Wilson to Foot moving Left
Kinnock to Blair moving Right
Brown to Corbyn moving Left

This is the more natural way to take it, and indeed many people I speak to assume that Labour will now move rightwards as part of this natural process. But I don’t really agree, although obviously there has been this sort of movement at times in their history. But I see Labour as more like a rubber band party. Its natural position is on the left. Occasionally some Labourites, frustrated by the lack of election results, will try to push the party towards the centre, but all they’re doing is stretching the rubber band, which will eventually snap back to its natural position. Labour just aren’t ever happy with being in the centre, and they will eventually kneecap anyone who has taken them there, no matter how electorally successful that move has been.

Update: To make myself clearer, I don’t mean that Labour is naturally as hard-left as it is under Corbyn, it’s natural position is more centre left than hard left. Nor am I just talking about wealth redistribution when I talk about ‘leftism’. I’m referring more to whatever the Guardian thinks is currently important, which includes a whole host of things, particularly identity politics, remaining in the EU, immigration, racism, etc.


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7 thoughts on “The rubber band party

  1. ‘Andrew Douglas, one of my brilliant commentators’.

    Steady on old chap!

    All the best for the New Year.
    Fancy a pint sometime?

  2. More seriously though, I like your rubber band analogy.

    If you apply it to the the Tories, their natural state is quite centrist, with the centre constantly being pulled ‘left’ by external forces (usually Labour nowadays), and occasionally pulled ‘right’ internally by either social conservatives (Monday Club types) or economic conservatives (the remnant of various generations of Classical Liberals).

    The hatred shown by the ‘normal’ Tories for the rightward pull (Prior, Heseltine v Thatcher, Gaukeward Squad v ERG) far exceeds their dislike of Labour, because they fear losing the centre ground and long term electoral hegemony. They prefer to creep left than jump right.

    That’s why Boris’s sacking of the 21 was so significant, and will continue to resonate. It looks like Boris’s play is to create a new centre for the Tories to occupy.

  3. Most of my commentators are brilliant. I have that in common with the best British blogs (Worstall, Newman, Thommo and Samizdata — and of course there is quite a bit of overlap between them all).

    Pint, yes, if you’re Midlands-based, email me (hector@hectordrummond.com). I’ve also been thinking that I should arrange a British blog pub meetup at some stage.

  4. The biggest problem for the Conservatives is that the more centrist / managerialist they are, the less economic growth will be seen. Evidence from Cowperthwaite et al is that the less an economy is managed the more successful it is. I fear that Cummings still feels he is good enough to manage the economy, therefore the Cons are likely to preside over anaemic growth.

  5. Amen to that. Cowperthwaite is the best practical example we have, against multiple examples of systemic failure from the opposite side. When I get the usual leftist claptrap that Socialism has never been done properly, I usually respond that neither has Capitalism. (It’s not true though – Gladstonian Britain and Cowperthwaite era Hong Kong came pretty close).

    Looking at the Telegraph and Guido today, it looks like the mighty Dom has the Civil Service in his sights first, which certainly won’t allow him much time to try to ‘manage’ the economy.

  6. Another interpretation is that the Conservative Party has moved so far to the Left (in the direction of Big Intrusive Government) that poor old Labour was pushed out into the territory the ComIntern used to inhabit.

    The UK has a Party which has already banned hydraulic fracturing; which is committed to throwing even more money at socialized medicine; which is planning to impose all kinds of regulations, taxes, and subsidies to make the UK “Carbon-Neutral”; which wants to borrow immense sums of money to build a lot of questionable-value infrastructure. What does a Left-Wing Party have to do to compete with that?

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