December 9, 2015

IT COULD ONLY COMPETE AS THE OTHER THATCHERITE PARTY:

Labour is falling apart, but don't blame Jeremy Corbyn for its collapse (Roy Greenslade, 7 December 2015, The Guardian)

Tony Blair's success in winning three consecutive general elections, despite launching an unpopular war, concealed some uncomfortable truths. The party's rightist stance attracted votes from the Tories but it upset those offended by its technocratic, bureaucratic and bland political underpinning.

At the same time, it alienated both old-style leftwingers and also the emergent generation without any cold war memories.

The situation hardly changed when Gordon Brown, infinitely less able than Blair as a leader, took over. Even so, the outcome of the 2010 general election came as something of a shock to Labour's system. 

It watched glumly as the Lib-Dems, foolishly believing they had also turned a corner as an electoral choice, went into coalition government with the Conservatives.

Labour's response was to turn its back on its rightwing leadership and opt for a vaguely left-of-centre character, Ed Miliband, who lacked the guile or the personality to re-energise a party that did not recognise its glue was coming unstuck.

In May this year, Labour's fabric was torn apart. It lost Scotland to a party espousing a heady mixture of nationalism and socialism (or, at least, anti-Toryism). It lost England and Wales to a Conservative party that does not conceal its agenda (even if it conceals the effects of carrying it out).

With Miliband having opened Labour's doors, and its levers of power, to many thousands of people, there was no stomach to return to the Blairite agenda by electing any of the three candidates who carried varieties of his torch.

Immediate confrontation for Corbyn
So, out of the blue (or should that be red?) in walked Corbyn. The ageing figure of the left got a massive majority courtesy of the expanded public membership and found himself immediately confronted by a hostile parliamentary party... and an equally hostile press.

A formal SDP-style split has not occurred thus far. But the party no longer makes any sense in its current form. Despite strolling to the Oldham by-election victory, the party is generally regarded by the majority of its MPs, political journalists and their editors, as unelectable.

Yet, if some way were found to tip Corbyn out of office before he proves the naysayers right about his unelectability, it is obvious that his army of supporters would walk away.

And that cataclysmic event has the potential to precipitate the creation of a new party of the left because they would realise the hopelessness of changing Labour from within and quit.

Posted by at December 9, 2015 9:28 PM

  

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