THE aim of British elections is not only to produce a government. It is also to produce a plausible opposition. Its task is to provide a check on Britain’s overmighty executive, a voice for the losers in the ruthless first-past-the-post electoral system and, by holding ministers to account for shoddy legislation and bad behaviour, to act as a spur to good government. A vigorous opposition is all the more important at a time when Britain is embarking on a revolution in its relations with the European Union on the basis of a narrow result in a single referendum.
Alas, the chance of a robust opposition emerging from this miserable election campaign is vanishingly slim. The Labour Party is not so much an organised political group as a battlefield between two rival ones: Jeremy Corbyn’s gang of far-left zealots and the parliamentary party of moderates. Until recently the moderates hoped that Mr Corbyn would do the honourable thing if he leads Labour to defeat and resign, leaving them to…Continue reading