The Chancellor simply confirmed what had become clear over recent months that the Tories will go long in this Parliament, with the next election not being held until 2024. That gives them time to try and get the cost of living crisis behind them, as its going to get worse, much worse, before any let up might allow even the slightest perception of the tide turning.
If that happens then the mantra it was all the war in Ukraine that caused it’ll play and Johnson, assuming he survives Partygate, may well lead them into the contest. If not it’ll be begone PM and it was all his fault but you can trust the new incumbent, even if that now looks unlikely to be Sunak.
But what of the opposition? For the first time Labour have been having small but relatively consistent leads in the polls. Not much of a lead though given the scale of the crisis and the level of incompetence displayed by this Government in handling it. That the Tories are still in touching distance and even sometimes in the lead’s really quite incredible.
But that’s the situation and its affecting Labour strategy. There’s a push to the right and a purge of the left. The reason for that is there’s an acceptance amongst the Labour leadership that they cant win outright and the best they can do is seek to form a minority Government with the LibDems. The SNP, whatever they may wish or seek, aren’t even in consideration, other than to be excluded with a referendum not on offer.
An arrangement with the Lib Dems though is what Starmer wants. A majority Labour Government’s conceded as being very unlikely. Scotland has been largely written off and therefore cooperation with the LibDems is required. Lib Dem victories in the south and west of England being needed to allow Labour simply to become the largest party.
Where does that leave the Left and Scotland? The Labour left has largely ducked down saying they’ll live to fight another day, but will they? Hopes that a rump Left Group can influence that Labour/Lib Dem Government are fanciful. They’ll simply be told to suck it up or vote the government down this letting in the Tories. That’s been the plight of most Labour Governments and the only change under Starmer’s that this would be the most right wing one since Ramsey Macdonald.
But what of Scotland. With an election in 2024 there’s no chance of a referendum the year before. In any event its not Boris who has blinked but Sturgeon, as yet another excuse to delay action’s discovered.
The most likely outcome of the election’s still a Tory victory albeit with a reduced majority. But even a hung parliament offers no influence or real change for for Scotland. That means there’s neither SNP action nor Labour cavalry coming over the hill to save Scotland.
It’s why a push for independence is required and if SNP wont do it, others must.