Labour is completely broken, and the forthcoming leadership election will prove it
BY CHRIS ROSE
A Labour leadership election is scheduled to begin on the 7th of January. A very fractured and divided Labour party will soon start the process of deciding who is best and most capable of repairing the colossal Corbynite damage which devastated them on election night. So far, it isn’t looking promising.
There are two predominant camps in Labour, who have been very vocal about where the blame for the Party’s dreadful election campaign lies. The Hard Left believe that the Labour manifesto offered “hope” but Corbyn was forced to accept a second referendum by Blairites. Elsewhere, the Blairites blame the Corbynites for proffering lubricous polices such as abolishing private schools, scraping tuition fees, free broadband and a four day week.
In the early hours of the election night, former Labour Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alan Johnson took aim at Jon Lansman and Momentum by stating, “Corbyn was a disaster on the doorstep.. .everyone knew he couldn’t lead the working class out of a paper bag.” Alan Johnson went on to describe Momentum as a “little cult”, calling for them to be kicked out of the party. This ITV clip went viral, to the jubilation of ‘moderates’.
In retaliation, Corbyn supporters responded by smearing people like Alan Johnson as warmongers and neoliberals. Indeed, they took the hysteria even further by blaming the media for highlighting Corbyn’s total lack of substance and leadership, and reporting his long history of toxic comments and associations. A football team can blame the referee for their loss but, unless they reflect and improve their performance, they will continue getting beaten.
Labour’s next leader will need to re-build the party into one which is neither a Remainer-Blairite tribute act, nor a rebranded Corbyn Project, regurgitating the A-Level politics of Novara Media.
This creates a dilemma for Labour members eager to make the party electable. All their most competent leadership candidates are tarnished with mistrust over Brexit – as well as their willingness to campaign for Corbyn, even though they knew it was wrong. Figures such as Emily Thornberry, Keir Starmer and Hilary Benn may be Labour’s best speakers (yes, things really are that bad) and a superficial upgrade. But their support for a second referendum and attempts to obstruct Brexit will not be wiped from Labour’s traditional voters’ minds easily. If Boris delivers and champions Brexit, whilst conspicuously “levelling up” his newly-won working class communities, no Labour leader – no matter how “moderate” – will be able to turn things around at the next election.
The membership are more likely to prefer another left-wing idealogue; a Clive Lewis or Rebecca Long Bailey. The problem with this is that they are nothing more than a continuation of Corbynism – an electoral pitch which has been decisively rejected. Additionally, they’re both weak performers – on television and radio, as well as in the House of Commons – and would be easy targets for the Tory machine.
Labour is in a bad way. And, the likelihood is, it’s about to get a lot worse.
Chris Rose is an architect and Conservative influencer. Follow him on twitter: @ArchRose90