Alan Johnson’s Permanent Revolution

Despite Owen Smith’s imminent, glorious defeat at the hands of Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership contest Take 2, New Labour grandee Alan Johnson is in no mood for acceptance and reconciliation.

In fact, as the Telegraph reports, Alan Johnson is still firmly stuck in the “denial” stage of grief for the stalled New Labour centrist agenda to which he dedicated his political career:

Moderate Labour MPs must wage a remorseless campaign to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership “year after year” or the party will die, Alan Johnson has said.

The former Cabinet minister called on his colleagues on the centre-Left to “recapture this party” from Mr Corbyn and his socialist allies by emulating their record of opposing previous Labour leaders.

Mr Corbyn is expected to be re-elected as party leader next week, with another landslide majority from members, but he lacks the support of most of his own MPs.

The Labour leader admitted on Saturday to making mistakes and disclosed that he would be making a peace offer to MPs in an attempt to persuade his critics to return to the shadow cabinet.

However, Mr Johnson, the former Home Secretary, condemned Mr Corbyn as “useless”, “incompetent” and “incapable” of running a political party, and called on rebels not to give up their efforts to oust him.

So it’s to be a permanent revolution, then – at least in the puffed-up, self-important world of Alan Johnson’s imagination. Labour MPs should continue to loudly and proudly wear their contempt for their core voters like a perverse badge of honour, be it on Brexit or their preferred choice for leader of the party. The PLP should ruthlessly pursue its own agenda while still demanding and assuming the support of the CLPs who stated their preference for Corbyn, and who will become increasingly enraged by any further attempts to remove him. What could possibly go wrong?

Back on planet Earth, though, the groundwork continues to be laid for the PLP’s abject, humiliating capitulation to Jeremy Corbyn – as this blog has discussed here and here.

Labour’s centrist MPs have severely tarnished their reputation by opportunistically exploiting the EU referendum result to rise up against their party leader, and then failing to put forth any better candidates than the hapless Angela Eagle and the detestable Owen Smith. They have no real political capital left to spend, and while the Corbynite dream of mass deselections may still be out of reach now, another mass rebellion of the centrists would all but guarantee a severe grassroots response.

Besides, all this talk of petulant, hysterical and unending opposition to Corbynism is a bit rich coming from a man repeatedly urged to step up and challenge for the Labour Party leadership himself, but who lacked the courage and willingness for self-sacrifice to answer the call even once.

If Alan Johnson really wants to recapture the Labour Party from the Corbynites, he might consider sitting down with a notepad and pen and trying to come up with some attractive new centrist policies which don’t simply look like splitting the difference between Margaret Thatcher and Michael Foot. Want ordinary people to be enthused by centre-leftish policies? Then stop making them such a darn fudge. Stop desperately chasing votes and start crafting the policies which might actually win votes.

But why go to the trouble of doing anything constructive when one can just carp from the sidelines?



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Traditions Are The Foundation Of Our Future – We Destroy Them At Our Peril

State Opening Of Parliament - Queens Speech


By Ben Kelly, blogger and editor of The Sceptic Isle.

A healthy respect for tradition and custom is a guarantor of stability and a means of conserving what is good and worth preserving about our country, its culture and its political system. I therefore find it regrettable that so many people pour scorn on tradition or are utterly baffled as to why it is so important. It is of particular concern when these sentiments are expressed by members of the ruling class.

Whenever I hear self-proclaimed “modernisers” lamenting the traditions of parliament such as the rituals and dress I get very nervous. It seems peculiar to me for them to join an institution with such a strong intent to transform it, to tear up its very roots. It isn’t that I fear change or that i’m against reform and refreshment when it is necessary, but I am very much against change for the sake of change. The same resentment of tradition can be seen in all walks of like but it is particularly troubling to see amongst modern politicians tinkering with centuries old traditions without the appropriate reverence.

Nothing pains them more than the awesome historicity of ceremonies such as the opening of parliament and the Queen’s speech. They look around the Palace of Westminster and see too many humbling echoes of the past and the last thing self-aggrandising “modernisers” want is to be humbled. They hate the ceremonial dress, the pomp and circumstance, the rituals that act as stark reminders of what has gone before, from the searching of the cellars to the slamming of the Commons door in the black rod’s face.

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