There are no more Labour moderates
BY SUSAN HALL
There are no moderate Labour MPs. On 12th December every single Labour candidate at this General Election is fighting to make Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister. This is a man, as if we could forget, who hasn’t changed his political views in at least 40 years. This is a man who would utterly destroy the UK’s economy, seeking to roll back every single Thatcherite reform. This is a man who counts terrorists as his friends and who 85% of British Jews believe is antisemitic. If you are on his side, if you choose to stand for election for his Party then you are not and cannot claim to be a moderate.
The vast majority of politicians go into politics with the best of intentions. They wish to improve the village or town or county or city where they live, or they wish to play a part in steering their country into a happier, healthier, wealthier direction. Even as committed, lifelong Conservative, I’m well aware that there are decent, hardworking politicians in every Party. The Labour Party has achieved a great deal for the people of Great Britain. But that Labour Party is dead. Its hollowed out shell has been colonised by politicians with policies, views and ideologies that are unworthy of one of Britain’s great political Parties.
So how did the Labour Party get here?
In 2015 Labour had to choose a new Leader after failed ‘bacon sandwich eater’ Ed Miliband resigned. It looked like there would be three candidates – Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall – with the clearly unsuitable, far-left joke candidate Jeremy Corbyn unlikely to receive the endorsement of the 35 MPs he would need to make the contest. However due to MPs who didn’t intend to actually vote for Jeremy Corbyn in the leadership contest proper – like Margaret Beckett, who later accepted that she was a “moron” for helping him reach the threshold, and Sadiq Khan (who, as far as I recall, has never described himself as a moron) – lending him their support, he achieved sufficient endorsements to make the members’ vote. The excuse those MPs gave was that they wanted to broaden the debate, however it’s hard to believe that Sadiq Khan wasn’t hoping that his support would help to secure the nomination to be Labour’s candidate for London Mayor the following year. Then, thanks to unprecedented levels of far-left entryism, Jeremy Corbyn became Labour Leader.
After a failed leadership challenge in 2016, when all Labour’s big hitters were notable by their absence, leaving the actual challenge to the underwhelming Owen Smith, Labour entered the 2017 General Election looking set to be thrashed. Unfortunately this wasn’t to be. Some of those most disappointed were Labour “moderates” who had hoped that Labour suffering a big defeat would allow them to replace Jeremy Corbyn. Instead, his position was cemented.
You might well ask why those so-called “moderates” had failed to launch a proper challenge to Jeremy Corbyn in 2016 and had then left it to the Conservative Party to solve their problem in 2017. This looked a woeful dereliction of duty at the time and it looks even worse in hindsight. You might also ask how supposedly moderate Labour MPs felt comfortable standing for election as part of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. The most likely justification is that those MPs told themselves that the Labour Party could be recovered and that there was no chance that their Leader would actually become Prime Minister.
In 2019 those MPs do not have that excuse. They have sat and witnessed MPs such as Luciana Berger, Louise Ellman, Joan Ryan being driven out of their Party. They have sat on their hands as their Party became the subject of a formal investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. They have seen 40% of British Jews saying they would “seriously consider” leaving the country if their Leader became Prime Minister.
Some Labour MPs have criticised Jeremy Corbyn and his team for at least some of these failings. They have appeared genuinely anguished about what has happened to the Labour Party. However, like the current Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who has repeatedly stated that he wants Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister, they have fallen at the final and most important hurdle. In just over 5 weeks every Labour candidate will be asking their constituents to elect them and help to make Jeremy Corbyn the UK’s next Prime Minister. There is no “moderate” way to do that.
Susan Hall is a London Assembly Member and Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group. Follow her on twitter: @Councillorsuzie