And when Jeremy Corbyn storms to re-election as Labour leader, what then?
Ben Kelly despairs:
To see just how low the Labour Party has sunk don’t look at Jeremy Corbyn, look at the usurper the rebels have chosen; Owen Smith. Is that really the best they have to offer? He is a total non-entity with no personal charm whatsoever. His combination of smarm and Corbyn-lite policy ideas are sure to repel the electorate and offer no hope for redemption for his wretched party. His ambition vastly outsizes his talent and the fact his pitch has been an attempt to attract Corbyn supporters exposes him as not just weak, but utterly pointless.
If Owen Smith miraculously manages to win the leadership race is he really going to bring salvation for the Blairites? He asserts that he is the only person who can unite the Labour Party but it is clear that he hasn’t the courage or the political intelligence to confront the Corbynite activist base, nor has he got the full blooded support of the Parliamentary Labour Party.
The harsh truth is that those figures in the Labour Party who really want to be leader have opportunistically ducked out of this race because they don’t want to enter a leadership race they will probably lose. They are too cowardly to take on the Momentum crowd and want to bid for the leadership when they can cruise into the position in some fantasy future when the Corbnyites realise the error of their ways.
Before Corybn Labour were already losing voters and it was mainly due to welfarism and immigration. Owen Smith is in no better position to win back the voters that have abandoned his party because of these issues than Corbyn. To that you can also add his Europhilia and his commitment to push for a second referendum in a blatant attempt to prevent Brexit. Ideologically his is little more attractive to the electorate and personally? This creep isn’t going to be embraced by the British people anytime soon.
The spending commitments in his cringeworthy, amateur hour, 20 policy pledges is quite enough to repel the wider electorate. The 28% that Corbyn’s hapless Labour Party is polling at the moment is clearly an over estimation, and the idea that Owen Smith is the man to reverse this dire situation is laughable.
The fact that even the man trying to oust Corybn thinks Britain wants socialism of any kind, even after Milibandism was comprehensively rejected in 2015, is a clear indication that Labour is in very serious trouble. It will either split or leap head first into electoral oblivion from which it will likely never recover.
Pete North is similarly unenthused:
Well, at least Corbyn is powering a thriving socialist folk song revival.
This blog’s assessment, however, remains unchanged:
If Jeremy Corbyn remains as leader and takes Labour to an historic defeat in the 2020 general election, the party will be out of power for nine more years at most. But if the centrists, acting in a fit of pique at finding themselves out of favour and influence for once, decide to split the party then it will be ruined and broken forever. The time horizon in the minds of the centrist rebels conveniently gels with the likely length of their own political careers. When centrist Labour MPs earnestly declare that the future of the Labour Party is at stake, what they really mean is that their own parliamentary careers are at stake. The Labour Party has survived bad leaders before. What it cannot survive is the treachery and self-serving behaviour of the majority of its own parliamentary caucus.
If Labour’s centrists are serious about regaining control of their party and influence within in, there is only one course of action. And it involves sitting down, shutting up and letting Corbyn drive Labour off a cliff at the 2020 general election. Anything less than their full-throated support (or at least their tacit acceptance of his rule) will see bitter Corbynites attempt to pin the blame for their defeat on lack of enthusiasm (or indeed sabotage) within the parliamentary party. If Corbyn is to be deposed and Corbynism rejected once and for all, he and McDonnell must be given a clear shot at the general election and allowed to fail on their own.
“But people can’t take nine more years of Tory rule”, sanctimonious centre-leftists wail, indulging in their favourite pastime of painting themselves as the sole Defenders of the Poor. This would be a marginally more convincing if there was actually a radical, Thatcherite conservative government in office rather than the Cameron/May Tories who preach statist, paternalistic big government solutions to every problem – effectively Tony Blair’s missing fourth term.
It would be more convincing if there was more than a cigarette paper’s difference between centrist Labour and the leftist Toryism practised by a party which has more to say about “social justice” than liberty and freedom. But since there is so little difference, it doesn’t really matter whether Labour are in power or not – so they may as well take this decade to get their house in order and decide exactly what kind of party they want to be.
And if, at the end of that process of sober reflection, the decision remains that the party would be better off splitting into a hard left contingent and a centrist contingent for the professional political class then so be it. But this is a grave and permanent decision indeed, of sufficient magnitude that it ought to be determined by something more than the frustrated career aspirations of a few restless centrist Labour backbenchers.
Advice that will doubtless be ignored as this failed generation of exceptionally unexceptional Labour centrist MPs howl, rage and bring the Labour Party crashing down upon their heads, beside themselves with self-entitled rage at being out of power and influence for even a few short years.
h/t Christopher Snowdon – Thank you for the music
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