Douglas Carswell wrote in the Guardian yesterday about a party of opposition emerging to take the place of Labour – one that would ideologically be positioned to the right of the Conservatives. Of course, this being Douglas, the whole thing sounds like another libertarian fantasy; that the Left will suddenly collectively think somehow that socialism is bad and that liberalism can only exist in a state with 8% GDP to state spend ratio. That social democracy only really helps the bankers and not the “little people” who for reasons unknown never took the opportunities offered to them to become tech entrepreneurs back in the 1980s after the mines closed.
But it is worth considering if Carswell’s larger point is valid. Could an opposition party emerge to actually challenge the Tories for political supremacy that was right wing instead of left? Well, for a start, that was what UKIP were trying to pull off, and the reason it never ascended to the next political level is worth looking at in context. They never figured out if they were the Carswell libertarian type party, one that wanted out of the EU because it wanted more free trade, just on British terms and not “shackled to a corpse”; the other party being a sort of throwback to what the Labour Party were in the 1950s – nationalistic, protectionist, large state, faith, family, flag. Those two things are almost precise opposites, united only by Euroscepticism and almost nothing else. A UKIP Mark 2 would face the precise same problem UKIP did in trying resolve this intractable dilemma. That’s before we get to the fact that May has already taken over a lot of this ground already; mostly just rhetorically, but it’s politically working, which is the key factor here.
No, the next party to challenge the Tories for government will be whomever recreates liberalism for the modern age and gets the masses behind it. The Lib Dems are trying to be this entity; Labour might miraculously shake off Corbyn and his cronies and transform into this vehicle; maybe a new party will emerge. Any way it happens, UKIP 2, the Arron Banks chapter, will not be in government, so relax.