Will Labour abandon the Barnett Formula in 2020? Why floaters trump the Lumpen every time

Will Labour abandon the Barnett Formula in 2020? Why floaters trump the Lumpen every time

by Dr Sutherland MacNeill
article from Tuesday 31, December, 2019

2020 will be a long march to recovery for the Labour Party. It has been destroyed electorally by the last general election though it remains a strong and well funded organisation. It must be aware of the Liberal collapse a century ago where catastrophic losses that so obtund a movement that it never recovers and instead stabilises at a new lower electoral normality.

Not only did Labour collapse in terms of seat numbers in England but in Scotland its vote again bled to the Nationalists. Whatever revolution Corbyn's latter day Marxist successor hopes to bring about it is very clear revival in Scotland is not on the cards anytime soon. It's over, and now the proletariat of yesteryear are firmly considered Lumpen. This German term is in fact a slur on those so left behind in society that they are quite useless in helping to bring about a socialist revolution.

Instead they are casually, deliberately, ignored. It is seen by some as snobbishness, such as when Emily Thornberry scoffed at an English flag waving at a house with a white van on the porch. It isn't as easy as that. It is picking winners, tribes, very carefully to ensure maximum turnout on the basis of group identity. Marxists always pitch their address at groups, never individuals. So the road to recovery will be difficult in the wake of Brexit but it is these recently departed Labour voters they will seek to win back first.

All of them that can make any chance of regaining seats are in England. There is no seat in Scotland Labour can win back without a huge swing and clarity over its ideas for Scotland. Finally some leadership contenders like Lisa Nandy are at least paying lip service to the idea patriotic working class Leave voters are a priority but with the Tory government making big spending promises and Brexit having lionised a large tribe of voters it is the appeal to soft English nationalism that will win big for Labour. 

Rebecca Long Bailey, another contender, makes this pitch very clearly in the Guardian. So the triangulation is to appeal to post-Brexit voters and the new ethnic and student vote that barely existed 25 years ago.  

Scotland is for Labour too low yield to stretch its supply lines. Its leadership is now in survival mode and they need some treats to win them favour quickly. The social democrat vote in Scotland is spoiled for choice, anything to the left of that has gone nationalist. Now would be an opportune time to pick favourites, as Labour always has. Left behind parts of northern England could do with some extra cash. Where might it come from? 

Scotland !!

It seems unthinkable now for Labour to be the first to abandon the Barnett Formula but for many in England it is a talisman of all that is unfair about Westminster. Spinning it as reform to a needs-based formula with the effect of cutting spending in Scotland will go down well in former mining and mill towns and for zero electoral cost. Anyone with half a loaf will have worked out 2021 will be hell for Scottish Labour who are just not connecting with the public on any policy issue. For every Anas Sarwar attacking the SNP on hospitals there is a Monica Lennon and countless CLP chairs talking about backing a second referendum on independence.

Sheer lunacy. 

Labour has made strange pivots in the past. Fence sitting on Brexit cost the party heavily and all for the gain of Putney!  Electoral strategists in London will be tempted by any and many low hanging fruits to promote this, "progressive patriotism". Scotland's spending power is far more vulnerable than it realises and Labour simply does not have the leaders capable of the nuance anything like progressive patriotism requires. 

There WILL be casualities.

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