Jeremy Corbyn destroys Owen Smith’s pathetic candidacy, is re-elected leader of the Labour Party – Live Blog
At this point I’m not sure what more there is to say. All of the arguments about how the Labour Party ended up in this position have been stated and restated over and over.
Inglorious defeat was long predicted by this blog – not least here, here and here.
One can only think that the restless, self-entitled centrists have shot themselves (and their party) in the foot with this reckless and doomed leadership challenge – and for what? Corbynism, however misguided, has earned the right to be tested at a general election. And all of these furious attempts by the PLP to circumvent that process and disenfranchise Jeremy Corbyn’s base have only hardened his support – and strengthened the impression that the centrist Westminster establishment do not trust the British electorate to choose from a full palette of political shades, insisting on artificially limiting our choice beforehand lest we make the “wrong” choices.
As this blog recently noted:
One way or another, the establishment seems determined not to give the quaintly antiquated socialism of Jeremy Corbyn the opportunity to fail on its own. Labour’s centrist MPs do so because they are hungry to pursue what they see as the quickest route back to power (and some fear losing their seats in a 2020 anti-Corbyn landslide), and the rest of the political and media establishment do so because they are alarmed by Corbyn’s views on NATO, Trident and other issues, and do not trust the British people to likewise see the flaws in these ideas and reject them.
Of course, the sad irony is that by going to such extreme lengths to prevent Jeremy Corbyn’s socialist ideas being tested in a general election, the establishment is doing more than anyone else – more even than Corbyn himself – to harden support for those failed ideas, ensuring that they live on even longer past their “sell by” date.
Furthermore, the idea of centrist MPs enforcing what is essentially a de facto ideological test for any politician seeking high national office is grossly offensive to our democracy, revealing the establishment’s contempt for the people in all its hateful glory. We the people are more than capable of determining which political ideas are good, bad, offensive, dangerous or otherwise, and we have no need for a sanctimonious elite to pre-screen our choices for us.
The only things necessary to defeat Corbynism are Jeremy Corbyn himself and the British electorate. It’s sad that Labour MPs and the political / media establishment are simultaneously too selfish and too distrustful of the British people to realise this obvious truth.
This failed coup against Jeremy Corbyn has also revealed the utter dearth of talent among Labour’s centrist MPs. Even the supposed “big beasts” are little more than field mice – none of them had the courage to put their own political careers and future leadership ambitions on the line by challenging Jeremy Corbyn, leaving it to the underwhelming Owen Smith to carry their banner.
But worse than failing to field a serious candidate, the centrists had no vision to offer. Like Jeremy Corbyn or loathe him, he has a vision for a different Britain and principles which he has stuck to for decades, not bending and shapeshifting in an attempt to flatter different interest groups. The centrists offered no vision at all, other than their naked hunger for power. But if you cannot articulate in an inspiring way what you choose to do with that power, it will not be granted to you.
Will the Labour centrists finally learn this lesson? I have absolutely zero confidence that they will.
See my “submission” series – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
Good question from Norman Smith to Diane Abbott – “why shouldn’t local parties deselect local MPs who continue to be vocally critical of a popularly elected leader?”
Abbott deflects, choosing to be polite and magnanimous today – but Norman Smith’s question is a fair one. Why should pro-Corbyn CLPs continue to tolerate Labour MPs who do not share their beliefs and actively seek to undermine Corbyn’s leadership?
In fact – mandatory reselection for all!
To do otherwise would have required competence and vision, qualities with which the angry, self-entitled centrists are not exactly brimming over.
Thinking of starting an “it’s time for the Labour Party to come together” counter on this blog. Nearly everybody interviewed on the BBC so far has used that phrase, however unconvincingly.
Interesting report from Huffington Post – apparently Owen Smith “won” among under 24s (and pre-2015 members) according to an exit poll:
Owen Smith beat Jeremy Corbyn among Labour party members who joined the party before 2015, a new exit poll has revealed.
Although he was defeated in the overall election, the YouGov/ElectionData poll found that Smith also won among 18-24 year-olds and Scottish party members.
The survey found that 63% of pre-2015 party members had backed the Pontypridd MP, to just 37% for Corbyn.
But the current leader had a huge lead among the tens of thousands who have joined the party since Ed Miliband quit, with 74% of them backing him to just 24% for Smith.
Among those who had joined since Corbyn became leader, a massive 83% said they had voted for him in the 2016 leader election, and 15% voted Smith.
While this sounds quite surprising at face value, digging a little deeper I’m not so sure that it is unexpected. Look at the young people who typically get into politics – a significant number of them tend to be university Labour/Conservative types, people who entertain either vague or determined ambitions to one day climb up the greasy pole and launch political careers of their own. Young Labour activists such as these likely want to taste political power one day rather than dwell in permanent opposition, and since prevailing wisdom (right or wrong) is that Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable is it really surprising that many of them fell into line behind the candidate who looked the part of the typical, professional political candidate? I don’t think so.
Yeah, I picked up on this too:
Not a whole lot of sympathy for Owen Smith from the Left:
Good. Owen Smith is an awful politician and was a terrible leadership candidate. He deserves neither consolation nor sympathy.
Chuka Umunna on the BBC, on the defensive against the potential deselection of “good, hardworking and popular” local Labour MPs.
Newsflash, Chuka – if they were so tremendously “popular” among the party activists who sweat blood to get them elected to Parliament in the first place, they wouldn’t be at risk of deselection. But since they have openly defied the wishes of their own local party members, they must now steel themselves to face the consequences.
Hilarious watching sulking centrists stalking out of the conference hall and refusing to even talk to the BBC reporter (Norman Smith) stationed outside. They have only themselves to blame for pitching the biggest hissy fit in the world against Corbyn’s leadership while utterly failing to come up with a compelling vision of their own for the future of the Labour Party and Britain.
Well, that wasn’t a bad victory speech from Jeremy Corbyn – far more magnanimous than I would have been under the circumstances. He congratulated the supporters and activists of both leadership campaigns in a general paean to political activism, and tried to immediately move the focus forward by plugging some big campaign for education (basically against grammar schools) next week.
I’m not sure if that will be enough to glue the warring Labour Party back together – however many times the phrase “we all need to come together” are uttered by different Labour MPs and officials over the course of the day. But for Jeremy Corbyn, it is clearly now business as usual.
And it’s Jeremy Corbyn (naturally), with 313,209 votes of 506,428 cast, meaning a breakdown of Corbyn 61.8% / Smith 38.2%.
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