Two Topics for 2022

Two Topics for 2022

By David Runciman and Catherine Carr

To kick off the new year David and Helen are joined by historian Robert Saunders to talk about two possible trends for the next twelve months. Could Labour and the Lib Dem’s really find electoral common ground to defeat the Tories? And is Netzero scepticism about to become a serious force on the British right? A conversation about history, coalitions, energy prices, populism and the return of Nigel Farage. Coming up on Talking Politics: Biden one year on.

Talking Points:

By-elections and opinion polls suggest that the Conservative Party might be in trouble.

Labour did badly in the by-elections but it is doing better in the polls. Is there a way of getting the Tories out without some combination of Lib Dem and Labour opposition? The Lib Dems can win in seats where Labour is not competitive.There are no prospects for the Labour Party becoming the largest party, given the situation in Scotland, without the Lib Dems taking seats from the Conservatives.The Lib Dems struggle when Labour is perceived as being too far to the left. 

What complicates things now is the Scottish question. 

The prospect of a Labour-SNP coalition presents a different type of problem.Should the parties stand down candidates? Can you compel tactical voting? Should you?  

Is there potential for serious opposition to climate-centric politics in the coming years?

There is a growing, although still constrained, opposition to net zero politics on the right. Farage wants to stoke this.  It’s not exactly climate skepticism, but rather skepticism over the policies put forward to tackle it. This is already happening in Australia and the United States, but these are countries where fossil fuel producers have a lot of power. This is emerging now because of what is happening with energy prices. 

Is there an unoccupied political space between techno-utopianism and net zero skepticism?  

Johnson is keen on the green-growth strategy, but so far, the evidence on green jobs is not that convincing.Covid showed us that the public can take more realism than politicians often assume.

Mentioned in this Episode: 

Keir Starmer’s new year speechMichael Crick’s forthcoming biography of Nigel FarageRobert’s Twitter account

Further Learning: 

More on Conservative opposition to Net ZeroHelen on the timid political debate over green energyAdam Tooze on realism, progressivism, and Net Zero

And as ever, recommended reading curated by our friends at the LRB can be found here:

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