Labour Landslide Will Threaten Our Democracy; ANALYSIS

Article excerpt


FOUR weeks ago, I predicted the election campaign would end with another Labour landslide.

And I admitted that - despite my partisan pleasure at another Tory whitewash - this would pose serious problems for democracy and for the three main parties in the House of Commons.

Now even William Hague agrees. He is the first party leader who is prepared to contemplate publicly an historical triumph for his opponents. Whatever his motives, a Conservative humiliation will have more serious consequences than the end of his political career.

The threat to democracy is obvious. With a majority of 150 or so, Tony Blair will be free to do what he chooses. The Tories will remain a dispirited rump.

No back-bench revolt will ever be big enough to block his course.

But Parliament will have become a rubber stamp.

Once upon a time, commentators warned that if Labour won a big majority the Government benches would be packed with bearded polytechnic lecturers who wanted to disband the army, nationalise Marks & Spencer and turn Buckingham Palace into a theme park. If they ever existed, they have vanished.

One of the reasons for Mr Blair's remarkable popularity is the way he established Labour in the

middle ground. He has done more than eliminate Labour's lunatic fringe.

People like me - moderates who nevertheless think Labour should have a distinctive social democratic identity - have been marginalised. …