- Sun Nov 17, 2019 4:52 pm
I've been thinking about the size of the mountain that the Labour Party has ahead of it to climb, both during the current election campaign, and afterwards when (some of) the dust has settled, though it remains to be seen whether tere actually is a way back.
Guess what? I think there is a common factor to all of it. Here's my brain dump :
It seems to me that every problem, every obstacle, that today's Labour Party faces can be traced back to a single factor. That factor is the decision, made twice, to elect a quite unsuitable individual as Labour's leader. A man who has achieved the dubious distinction of being the least popular leader of the opposition ever.
Let's look at this notion in some detail.
The General Election campaign currently underway is showing Labour trailing behind the Tories in opinion polls by up to 17 percentage points. Other polls have shown Labour's electoral prospects to be dramatically improved with virtually any other leader. Labour needed to gain 60 seats from the 2017 position in order to gain a majority, but thanks to defections (largely because of the leadership) and so on, the figure is now closer to 80 seats, as well as having to hold onto other seats unexpectedly gained in 2017 such as Canterbury. Scotland is lost, with the SNP poised to sweep the board, again substantially due to the Labour leadership's failure properly to oppose Brexit, as thousands of Scots voters recognise the futility of remaining tied to an English partner seemingly bent on self destruction via Brexit. The party's convoluted position on Brexit, imposed on the party by a disgraceful conference fix - to renegotiate a European exit deal and then, in reality with Corbyn as leader, though he refuses to admit it, campaign for the UK to go ahead with Brexit in a new referendum, is alienating leave-favouring voters and remain-favouring ones alike. Why is this happening? Jeremy Corbyn.
It is clear that the best that can be hoped for is another hung parliament in which Labour is the biggest party and can implement a new referendum offering the hope of salvation from Brexit, with the support and votes of the other pro-Remain parties. But Jo Swinson, leader of the largest pro-Remain party, the Lib Dems, has said firmly that she will not agree to any arrangement that puts Corbyn in 10 Downing Street, jeopardising the chances of a new referendum. Nicola Sturgeon indicates that the price of SNP support is a second referendum on Scottish independence, which Corbyn has flatly refused. Even with a nominal or minority Labour government, the chances of delivering a new referendum and averting Brexit, to say nothing of being able to get a Queen's Speech containing Labour's radical policy programme, are in serious jeopardy. Why is this happening? Jeremy Corbyn.
In the meantime, the Labour Party is subject to a full investigation by the EHRC into whether it is institutionally racist. The only other political party to have been subject to the same level of EHRC investigation is the BNP. This investigation is about far more than just the many individual instances of anti-semitism that have blighted our party since Corbyn ascended to the leadership in 2015 (it is no coincidence that these have increased so much during Corbyn's leadership tenure, as many SWP types, "tankies", former communists and assorted members of other far-leftist sects with "relaxed" attitudes to the fragile boundary between anti-zionism and anti-semitism have felt emboldened by Corbyn's takeover to swell Labour's membership numbers). It is about more than the party's tardiness in dealing with these instances, though these are shocking in their own right. We are talking about a level of anti-semitism permeating the party potentially on a par with the institutional racism that the McPherson Report found within the Metropolitan Police. And again, why is this happening? Jeremy Corbyn.
So it can be seen that responsibility for *every* single element of the predicament that Labour faces needs to be laid squarely on Jeremy Corbyn's doorstep. He is entirely to blame - as befits the responsibilities of leadership - and when the reckoning comes after the coming defeat, he must not be allowed to shirk that responsibility. He must go, and go quickly.
"The opportunity to serve our country. That is all we ask." John Smith, Leader of the Labour Party, 10 May 1994.