And so to 2017, where we have a lot of indicators that have turned to Red:
- deeply unpopular government of the Right (notionally)
- a fractured Establishment with no effective leadership
- Unions fancying their moment has come
- public sector pretty hacked off
- widespread economic discontent, all the way to outright misery
- popular upswell of resentment across all sectors of society, even beyond the economically miserable
- recent history of fuck'em-all-who-gives-a-toss political gestures (Brexit vote, late surge for Corbyn)
- many student bodies in the grip of particularly unpleasant leftists, and the summer hols about to start
- readiness to turn nasty at the drop of a hat: plenty of criminal-underclass street-warriors and rentamob leftie bedsit-youth available
- plenty of other cannon-fodder too: jobless locals and migrants swirling around
- hot weather
Yep, that ticks very many boxes on the classical Marxist-Leninist check-list. Certainly febrile, and apparently fertile. Stew into that mix the altogether new phenomenon of Social Meejah and mobile 'phones ... and we're hot to Trot.
So what's lined up on the other side? One of the most interesting factors is that the Police is being near-idolised, even by many on the left, as an heroic component of the revered Public Services for their selfless responses to recent terrorist outrages. (Obviously the other uniformed civilian services - fire-fighters, ambulance crews & hospital staff - get all this adulation and more.) There may be strange things yet to come; but even with a degree of politicisation in ACPO etc, there's not an obviously mutinous situation brewing (we're not a country where the police are all owed 3 months wages etc). And they are armed to the teeth these days: firepower that can't be matched in a hurry by, well, anyone (though watch out for Irish developments).
Likewise, the military is in relatively good odour, and has no history of being a political factor in the UK since the General Strike (and even then, not in any autonomous Praetorian, or mutinous, sense).
Finally, there's the Great British Public, which is extremely conservative and phlegmatic au fond, and saw off the first Labour government, the General Strike, the Nazis, the IRA ...
Who else is having such thoughts? John McDonnell, that's who. But you know what - even though this will all be coursing through his mind (and his veins, and his guts) - I'm willing to bet he hasn't done any serious planning for turning this into the Revolution.
Which is not to say he couldn't, and in quite short order (Drew's 4th Law of Politics), because the templates are all there to be dusted off - though he needs more than just political logisitics for a serious effort. The Leninist / Bolshevik approach is of course to let chaos reign, then purposefully muscle to the front of the queue as the most prepared and disciplined force on the field. Unceremoniously bump off any rivals on the left, and after a period of turmoil emerge as the only coherent political entity in the land. Let the Right retreat to the countryside and pick it off at leisure.
(By the way, the Iranian Revolution of 1979-80 took a very similar course: it's not remotely the case that Khomeini swept to power on Day 1. Several other anti-Shah factions had a crack at it first: he came up on the inside many months into the piece.)
And still we wait for leadership to emerge on the Right. As I said BTL yesterday, in an important sense the Conservative Party doesn't even exist right now - just a couple of baronial factions circling the wounded and dying in No10.
Several scenarios come to mind, and many historical illustrations that may or may not be germane; but I can't even guess what will happen next.