Here’s Anna Soubry tweeting “Trots running Labour”.
Anna Soubry, like a number of other Tory MPs, is wholly opposed to Brexit yet rules out any method of stopping it which could ‘allow the Trots into no. 10.’
You would be forgiven for thinking that so-called centrist MPs are so terrified of what a Corbyn government could do when in power that they’ll go to any lengths to stop it happening. If this really is the case then they ignore an inescapable fact:
Parliament is centrist.
That may not convey the weight it requires. So consider Theresa May’s attempts to get her deal through parliament. It’s looking ‘deader than A-line flares with pockets in the knees’. Why? Because parliament doesn’t like it. Parliament will simply throw out anything they don’t like. MPs who fear anything they think a Corbyn government can do may not have considered the whole picture.
More In Common With Each Other
As back bench Labour MPs have repeatedly shown, their politics are not the same as the leadership. Some Labour MPs have no interest in campaigning to elect a left wing Labour government. It’s not controversial to state that most MPs from the two major English parties have more in common with each other than the Labour front bench.
So how could a left wing Labour government enact anything which is out of kilter with the perceived moderation resident in the commons?
The short answer is, it couldn’t.
Winning Manifesto Policies Are Always Centrist
The only way for a government to guarantee that policies make it through parliament and into law is to put them in a manifesto to fight a general election. In the UK’s unwritten constitution, when a government is elected, their manifesto is considered to have been accepted by the public. Therefore any policies contained within get waved through.
‘So, Labour could put some really radical policies in the manifesto and the electorate vote them through by voting Labour into government?’
Yes, but then those policies are the choice of the electorate, which is sacrosanct. Parliament serves the people.
Labour’s 2017 General Election manifesto policies are very popular with the British public. Around 2/3 of those surveyed support Labour’s plans to re-nationalise industries such as the railways and Royal Mail.
When the majority of voters agree with a policy, it is by definition centrist. If the British public had elected Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister in 2017, then those policies — now mainstream — are the extent of the ‘Marxism’ he would have been able to get through parliament.
The 2019 PLP Is Still Mostly Blairite
‘But the Labour party will have a majority in parliament so can force crazy policies through’
Suppose Jeremy Corbyn was somehow able to convince MPs such as Stephen Kinnock, Chris Leslie, and Ian Austin that they should back a 70% top rate tax which some might think had the danger of creating capital flight. And suppose it then got through parliament using the parliamentary majority. It would then go to the Lords to be debated, amended and voted on, where it would be torn to pieces and never see the light of day again.
If Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell’s Labour Party did get a parliamentary majority, the UK would look very much like it is now, but it would tax the richest a bit more, nationalise a few key industries and reverse some of the austerity related cuts. As May has found out with trying to get her brexit deal through parliament, British democracy won’t allow anything the centre doesn’t like.
As well as being able to assuage the fears of so-called moderates in parliament, this will be depressing to some who are hoping for radical change from the potential first left wing government for 40 years.