The Commons voted for Trident renewal by a majority of 355. It was always going to be this way given it is the official policy of both of the two largest parties. But the debate held during the lead up to the vote was instructive in demonstrating Britain has no actual opposition at present.
The SNP like to present themselves as the real opposition and during the Labour infighting still ongoing petitioned the Speaker to recognise them as such. But yesterday, they were deeply opposed to something the Tories wanted to do and were completely crushed. At 56 seats, they don’t have the numbers. And they know it as well which is why their positioning is disingenuous- the SNP want in fact to demonstrate that they can in no way be an effective opposition to the Tories and thus the only way to not be affected by their decisions is for Scotland to leave the Union.
Labour are brutally divided – and worse, have a leader who is trying to lean as heavily on those fault lines as possible as opposed to trying to bring the party back together. Corbyn is trying to appeal to Labour members while most of the PLP is trying to appeal to Labour voters. That the two groups of people are that far apart demonstrates how tragic the whole thing is. Essentially, the nine million odd people who voted Labour in the last general election are being held hostage by Labour Party entryists.
Everyone else is tiny. So that’s that then. Crispin Blunt is the new leader of the opposition – or might as well be.
How will this affect British politics over the next ten years? Difficult to say but the portents aren’t good. Having an effective opposition is a vital component in the Westminster parliamentary system – we now face a real life test as to just how vital a part it actually plays.