July 31, 2015

IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN SOONER OR LATER...:

Labour's Reckless Left Turn (Matthew d'Ancona, 7/29/15, NY Times)

Mr. Corbyn's rise has caused some consternation. The former prime minister Tony Blair, who led Labour to three successive election victories by jettisoning precisely what Mr. Corbyn stands for, has warned the party against a regression to left-wing purism. To those who say that their heart tells them to vote for Mr. Corbyn, Mr. Blair said, "Get a transplant."

Mr. Blair's analysis is hard to refute, but so far the party is deaf to his entreaties. Ms. Kendall, the only candidate who shares Mr. Blair's perspective, is running fourth. Ms. Cooper and Mr. Burnham are both capable politicians, but neither communicates a sense of urgency or passion.

To win the 2020 election, which will follow redistricting, the Labour Party would need an additional 106 seats in the House of Commons. To achieve this, it must woo Conservative voters.

In Scotland, the dynamic is different. Labour must try to take seats from the left-wing Scottish Nationalist Party. But at present, there are only 59 constituencies in Scotland, so a Labour strategy based on competing with the S.N.P. will fail if applied across the rest of Britain.

This points to the heart of the problem. With the exception of Ms. Kendall, none of the candidates would follow a Blairite template for winning back moderate Conservatives. Although Mr. Miliband, who earned the nickname "Red Ed," already tested to destruction the theory that Britons had shifted leftward, the left is overweening, contemptuous of the "Blairite comfort blanket" -- the idea that tacking back toward the center would make Labour more electable.

In practice, there's nothing comforting in Mr. Blair's message. He's asking a progressive party to confront the bleak reality that millions of decent people are fearful that voting Labour in 2020 would be an act of self-harm.

When I hear Mr. Corbyn speak -- and he speaks very well -- I recall a story from Mr. Blair's great ally Peter Mandelson. He recalled being told by a far-left colleague during Labour's long years of opposition, from 1979 to 1997, that there must be "no compromise with the electorate."


...a party of the right will run on the First Way or a party of the Left on the Second and they will cease to matter to their nation's politics.  Labor bids fair to be the canary in the coalmine.

Posted by at July 31, 2015 2:06 PM
  

blog comments powered by Disqus
« IF DOCK ELLIS HAD BEEN ABNER DOUBLEDAY: | Main | NO ONE HAS IT HARDER THAN THEIR FATHER DID: »