Under Sir Keir Starmer, who is a decidedly smarter choice of leader, the Labor Party has still failed to come up with a credible opposition to the government.
An important part of the answer is that the dramatic rise in support for the Tories in 2019 has come mainly from the traditional pro-Brexit Labor hotbeds in the north of England is an important part of the answer.
Gaining the support of these regions to secure Brexit in January 2020 was one thing; keeping such support in the next election is a whole other challenge. But the weakness of the Labor Party offers the government a window of opportunity.
If he can offer borrowed Labor voters what Labor should offer, he could stand a chance of retaining his vast majority in the next election.
And with traditional Tory voters having nowhere to go, the government probably thinks it can overlook their priorities and believe they will vote blue in 2023 anyway.
Polls over the next few weeks, once the public has a chance to digest the policies emerging from the ongoing Labor Party conference, could test this logic.
Right now, however, it all comes down to the fact that the UK only has a Conservative government in name. Of course, in order to retain power, this strategy can work well for the government. However, it is less clear that this is a reasonable saving.
The government, along with those of other major advanced economies, has aggressively spent and expanded the state’s emergency powers since the pandemic struck. It was a sensible and necessary response to a serious global health crisis.
As the pandemic subsides, the government should determine which overgrown parts of the state can be pruned. But just as Labor soon pulls itself together, such an outcome seems highly unlikely.