Denise MacShane Britain was the European Minister for European Affairs in Tony Blair’s Labor Government.
How do you explain the dismal results of Labor in the bypolls in Hartlepul’s stronghold, as well as Scotland?
The Labor Party made a major mistake by conducting partial legislative elections on the same day of the first regional elections. Let us not forget that this was a Conservative constituency until 1950 and the candidates of the Brexit Party, who won by 10,000 votes in 2019, were not running. As a result, there was a loss of votes and Johnson was able to parade in Hartlepul. For Scotland, all the classic parties, the Conservatives as well as Labor, have faced a problem. However, Labor recorded a notable score in Wales and continued to control nine of the 12 major English cities, including London, the capital. I fear Labor will meet the same fate as the German Social Democratic Party and many of its European counterparts and with the loss of voters of its workers, it will no longer be more than 25% of the vote. This makes it possible to participate in alliances such as the Nordic countries, Spain or Italy, but not to experience great victories like those of Mütrend forty years ago. Trade unions (miners, steel workers, etc.) who have supported the party for more than a century have largely lost their members (the unionization rate fell from 32.4% in 1995 to 23% in 2019).
Is it a question of leadership?
The period of labor under the leadership of James Corbin (2015–2020) was disastrous. His successor, Keir Starr, is a lawyer who entered politics in his 50s, has no field experience, and the party continues to split. The sling is still there. They refuse to believe that Corbyn was not the man for the job and believes that the future lies with the radical Left. The Labor Party has always been very kind to its leaders. This is not the case with the Conservatives, who do not hesitate to shoot at their leaders if they lose the election. Even Margaret Thatcher was thanked in her time!
Everything also seems to slide on Boris Johnson: the management of scandals, epidemics…
Like everywhere else, voters have become cynical. They do not have too much confusion about their leaders. And the latest scam over expensive renovation of your residence Of 10 Downing Street is not very serious with public money. As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “a man’s character defines his fate”. And he is the Achilles Heel of Boris Johnson. He was not meant to lead a nation that is now fully divided.
Will Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party be able to force a referendum?
Nicola Sturgeon is a lawyer, a very careful person. She knows that Scotland cannot hold a second independence referendum after the 2014 failure. It will end for a century. The SNP did not get an absolute majority – which is almost impossible with the electoral system – but the seats the Green Party wins are also in favor of independence. Therefore most Scots are clearly in favor of the referendum. When? With which question? Johnson closed the door for now. Which will help Nicola Sturgeon who will play the Scottish people against nationalist arrogance.