In case you are unaware, the Labour Party is holding a pop concert in north London (the party itself describes it as a “one-day festival of music, art and politics that brings together our incredible movement”) on June 16th. Hear The Magic Numbers, Rae Morris, and Owen Jones (not singing, but ranting, one assumes) and flock together with likeminded socialists. Given the Glasto moment last year, Labour figured they could get 15,000 people to pay £35 a pop for this; turns out the actual tickets sold to date could be as low as 2,000. Ouch.
It goes to show that hubris in politics is never a good idea. We saw it last year with May’s snap election call. She figured she was riding high in the polls and Labour were stuck with an unelectable leader. She and her inner circle felt so confident of massive victory they made their flagship manifesto policy one that directly attacked her most core electorate, i.e. the land owning elderly. We all know how that one turned out.
We have Ed Miliband in 2015, with poor Harriet Harman sent out with a different set of messages for all of the assumed scenarios – except a Tory majority was so far from being imaginable as one of them, that was left unscripted. You have the Lib Dems in 2010, buoyed by Cleggmania, suddenly targeting very safe Labour seats they had no hope in hell of winning, even if the polls had stayed in the 30s for them.
The latest act of political hubris that is of consequence is not of course whether or not JC’s little rock show is a flop or not; rather, it is the one taken up by Eurosceptics. They keep using the phrase “will of the people” as if the majority will forever be on their side, regardless. They seem to have no idea that if Brexit goes wrong, they will be the ones who feel the heat. They will try everything to avoid taking responsibility, and the ground work is already being laid for this. The EU, of course, will come in for a lot, but they at least know they need a lot more than this. Theresa May is being primed to take as much blame as they can all foist upon her, the idea being that whatever happens post-Brexit it will be because May didn’t negotiate correctly. Tory Brexiteers don’t yet realise this isn’t going to work, at least not to the degree they imagine, because it raises the question: if they were the Brexit experts, and May was screwing it up the whole time, why didn’t they get rid of her and put someone else in who could negotiate properly? They underestimate the brand damage a bad Brexit will dump onto the Conservative Party.
In the meantime, I guess, we can laugh at Corbyn’s folly as he takes to the stage to address a mostly empty stadium. At least until the Tories botch Brexit and Corbyn becomes prime minister, God help us all.