Unopposed

The Labour Party will drift into irrelevance

Britain

For the Labour Party, 2017 began on September 24th 2016, when members and supporters re-elected Jeremy Corbyn as leader after his first abysmal year in the post. The vote confirmed his impunity, for now.

Eruptions will still happen: more scandals over anti-Semitism and far-left entryism. At local elections in May Labour will win the new “metro mayor” posts in Liverpool and Manchester, but will fail in the West Midlands and will lose seats elsewhere, especially in Scotland. Many of Mr Corbyn’s parliamentary opponents will simply focus on their constituencies, nervous of being kicked out when new boundaries are introduced (revised proposals will materialise in November 2017).

Mr Corbyn will say and do the bare minimum to help Sir Keir Starmer, his shadow Brexit secretary—who along with Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, will consolidate his status as a vessel for moderates’ hopes. Instead Labour’s leader will focus on internal battles: between his most hardline allies and younger, more nuanced lefties like Clive Lewis, the shadow business secretary; between Unite, Labour’s largest affiliated union, and the more Corbyn-sceptic GMB; between different factions on Labour’s executive, as he tries to rewrite party rules to give members—his ultimate power base—more say.

The result will be something like a one-party state. The Conservative left, the Scottish Nationalists and the Liberal Democrats will try to hold Theresa May and her government to account. But with the main opposition party in such an introspective funk, they will struggle. Britain will be the poorer for it.

You are reading a small selection of content from The World in 2018. To read all the articles in this year’s edition download The World in 2018 app.
Download 'The World In 2018 iOS app'
Download 'The World In 2018 Android app'