I don't care whether youre a Corbynista, Blairite, Millibandito, Blue Labour or whatever. The UK has just gone through the most turbulent three weeks in 70 years. 52% of the country has voted to leave the European Union; the leaders who lied and played the fear card to engineer that triumph have jumped ship; the prime minister who gave the country a referendum as the price of placating his own MPs and holding off a UKIP who gained at Labour's expense, not his, is gone.
There is a new Tory prime minister, chosen by a
handful of grandees; there is the most frighteningly ideological and
inept cabinet I have seen in my 40 years in Britain. In the face of all this, the Labour party has
been silent, not even a squeaking opposition, being more concerned with ousting their own leader and marginalising their
members who elected him. This is a godsend to the largely Tory media, who play Labour's internal division up above all the other problems, but don't blame the media for their biases, they are something you
have to live with.
Labour achieved power under Tony Blair with a Bill Clintonesque third-way strategy based on Clinton's core precept: where else do they have to go? Thus you focus your appeal
on the undecideds, swing voters, independents, marginal seats, and you treat your core voters with a kinder gentler version of the abandonment of a conservative government. Which worked until Labour's tepid response to six years of austerity under the Liberal Democrat/Tory coalition allowed the SNP and UKIP to give those ignored voters alternatives. Tory scare mongering on immigration worked a treat in pushing
Labour votes to UKIP in England and letting Tories win parliamentary majority with barely more
than 1/3 of vote, but it invited the no vote that won the Brexit referendum.
Labour has been waiting for someone to stand up and marshal the opposition to what was going
on--offer the country a viable alternative, help the country make sense
of the disaster that is going on. Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader by party members who saw that traditional Labour values and policies were an answer, but, villfied in the press as a nutter and abandoned by many in his party as a, uh, socialist, he was not the leader to marshal the sane part of
the country, not the person who could gather opposition and perhaps force a vote of no-confidence once the public schoolboys (and girls) have
finished ruining the country they see by right as their playground.
My guess is a figure who was able to do that with
any level of articulation and energy might have been chosen Labour
leader by acclimation once the dust had settled. If a majority of the parliamentary party and their big donors wanted Corbyn out, the sensible way to do it would be for someone to step up and lead
opposition to Tories, not opposition to Corbyn. Filling the gulf of leadership
for the country outside Westminster, and indeed outside the party, would make the point self-evident. But who stepped forward? Who presented a vision of anything for the country, anything except a party not led by Corbyn?
By abrogating their
responsibility to the country in a cheap effort to re-establish their control,
they have moved Labour closer to a split, and nullified themselves not
only as an opposition but as a potential government. The lesson of the Gang Of Four in 1982 was two more election wins for Thatcher, and political wilderness until Nick Clegg's craven deal with Offshore Dave Cameron. Putting self before party, putting party before country, and ignoring the best opportunity to present a united face of sanity in the wake of the past three weeks of chaos was the only sane thing to do, and the opportunity has been pissed away. Like a pack of rabid hyenas they turned on themselves, while a lame sheep strolled past uneaten. Shame on you, Labour.
NOTE: I don't often use this platform for political party broadcasts,
but this morning I wrote a quick angry rant on Facebook, & it
stayed with me through the day. So I've filled out the thoughts a little, trying hard not to let my despair poke through too far.