Theresa May seems to have lost her voice, at least the voice that the people used to listen to, whilst at the same time, Jeremy Corbyn seems to have found his, and impressive it has become too. The spectacle of the recent debate was unedifying a slanging match in which the so-called ‘progressives’ ganged up on the hated Tories. It was binary politics at its best. The sad truth is however that the only ‘progressive’ party who will do well on current numbers is Labour and this is because of the electoral system. Once elected though the whole sorry lot will be corralled into the binary politics of the Westminster chamber. This eighteenth-century model forces all shades of opinion into two halves of an argument managed by the party system. The result is that ordinary people feel like observers of an argument the outcome of which will directly affect them but with no ability to contribute to or nuance the outcome.
Political arguments are still being forged by this elderly political system, as they have done since the early 19th century. The difference now is that with diversity increasing, the need for the cooperation of the ordinary person is increasing also. Whilst Labour has made a monumental comeback, the long-term realities are that the binary division in Parliament will continue. Nothing is likely to change the nature of the binary bureaucratic British state and the same old approach will be maintained. With Labour in charge borrowing and spending to ‘invest’ in things for which there will be little obvious return is likely to go up and the challenge will merely be carping from the opposition benches. Corbyn sounds good, he sounds passionate and coherent, the problem is that debt, the weak economic fundamentals, and the cost of the state itself are unlikely to change very much on his watch, but then again he is turning into a man of surprises.