OstrichYesterday, David Lammy issued a statement that suggested Parliament should overturn the Referendum result; in case you weren’t aware, David Lammy is a Labour MP who became a minor household name via an appearance on ‘Celebrity Mastermind’ in which his grasp of general knowledge revealed his belief that Henry VIII’s successor as King was Henry VII. As buttons go, it’s fair to say he’s not the brightest on offer. Then again, he’s hardly unique where representatives of ‘the people’s party’ are concerned, by imagining that a mandate delivered by the electorate can be reversed because it doesn’t fit with his own cosseted view of the country. Some metropolitan parliamentarians clearly haven’t learnt a bloody thing from what happened at the end of last week.

Jeremy Corbyn is not part of the metropolitan parliamentary elite, of course; nobody could accuse him of that, at least. If, as some have claimed, Nigel Farage wants Britain to return to the 50s, Corbyn wants us back in the 80s; his cult popularity rests with survivors of that decade’s vicious ideological battles as well as their Millennial offspring who are by nature ‘lefty’ while ever they are still registered as students. It’s the comfort zone of many veteran Labour backbenchers for whom the worst event in their political careers was the deposing of Margaret Thatcher. Corbyn’s unlikely appearance on a podium alongside Blairite Labour hopefuls during last summer’s leadership campaign was so incongruous that his outsider status swung it. A break with the recent past via a return to the distant past – one so distant that it has nostalgic connotations for those who were there, and novelty value for those who weren’t.

The problem with yearning for the class wars of old is that the class Labour once spoke for has moved on; and Corbyn hasn’t. His selling point is that he isn’t like Cameron or Gideon or Boris – and he isn’t; but that doesn’t necessarily mean he means anymore to an unemployed 30-year-old in Doncaster than Cameron or Gideon or Boris. If anything, an unemployed 30-year-old in Doncaster is more likely to know Boris than he is to know Corbyn, whose invisibility during perhaps the most important post-war political campaign this country has ever seen helped bury the message of the party he presumes to lead.

Sunday morning opened with the news that Hilary Benn – one of the few leftovers from the last Labour Government still occupying the opposition front bench – had been fired from the Shadow Cabinet. This had been on the cards ever since his grandstand speech in support of military intervention in Syria last year; but it apparently came about due to Benn’s criticisms of his leader’s lacklustre and fairly unconvincing efforts at getting Labour’s Remain position across to the people the party allegedly represents. Eleven other members of Team Corbyn left of their own accord on the same day as Benn’s dismissal, and this means the country’s top two political parties are in simultaneous disarray.

As messy as things currently are for the Tories, however, their difficulties are considerably eased by the fact that the party whose role it is to hold them to account and exploit their perilous position is in an even more abysmal state than them. The election of Jezza as leader was portrayed as a people’s coup by the membership, a grassroots groundswell facilitated by the disastrous, naive new rules that saw thousands able to join the party online and manipulate the voting process; and then Corbyn’s shock triumph was declared as a victory for erasing the dark days of Blair from the map. A man who won the party three consecutive General Elections clearly tore up the sacred rulebook stating that Labour’s proper place is as Her Majesty’s Opposition, and – whatever else he has to answer for (and, let’s be honest, it’s quite a long list) – as far as Labour internal politics are concerned, Blair’s success with the electorate way beyond the party’s traditional fan-base was unforgivable. So, the party is now comfortably defined by what it stands against rather than what it actually stands for.

The anti-Semitic issue was only belatedly addressed when it went public, though recent revelations of the way in which female Muslim Labour council contenders have been bullied, blacklisted and mistreated by their male Muslim peers in some of the party’s stronghold Asian neighbourhoods haven’t been addressed at all; and this utter inability to deal with a serious problem within the party is as pathetic a response as Labour’s utter cluelessness as to why the party has been rejected by a white working-class who provided Labour with its founding raison d’être. When the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg had the nerve to criticise Corbyn on air, the Messiah’s online brown-shirt bullyboys targeted her in the same petulant manner as Twitter trolls, upholding Corbyn’s blinkered belief that every media outlet is out to get him because he’s not a member of ‘the elite’. Dare to criticise him and you may as well hold up your ‘elite’ membership card. No wonder The Kids love Jezza; he shares the same infantile mentality.

Unlike the Tories, Labour has no outstanding candidate to lead a coup that will depose the party’s lame duck leader; and the longer the anti-Corbynites dither, the quicker Boris or Gove or May will take control of the Conservatives, call an Election and condemn the country to five more years of austerity policies. The crash at the polls that Labour experienced in 2010 was something the party has yet to come to terms with and if Corbyn remains at the helm should Cameron’s successor go the country in the autumn or next spring, I foresee what happened to the Lib Dems last year being repeated in Labour circles, the kind of electoral apocalypse that will make 2010 feel more like 1997. And that leaves Britain – or England – as a one-party state. At this extremely uncertain moment in time, that is not good; and unless the party gets its act together soon, Labour as a political force is doomed; mind you, if fatty Paedofinder General Watson fancies his chances, the party really is over.

© The Editor

9 thoughts on “RED SAILS IN THE SUNSET

  1. There may indeed be no outstanding candidate amongst Labour’s current ranks of MPs but there may be something spooky about the timing of Hilary Benn’s ‘early hours of the morning, sack-me, sack-me’ phone-chat with Corbyn – wouldn’t it wait until breakfast time ? But then in New York, it was the evening-time and guess who immediately flew in from New York, the Prince Across the Water, Miliband Major – and guess what, there’s a by-election due at Batley & Spen, for which the nominations are still open…… Politics, as with sex and comedy, is all about timing……

    Setting aside that tin-foil-hat conspiracy theory, I find it sad that a party with such a distinguished history of serving the disadvantaged masses has lost the plot – the plot being that, as a perpetual but principled student-union Opposition, you can achieve nothing but, if you get elected, you can change the world. Blair knew that and, although his changes may not have been universally popular, at least he got, and stayed, in a position to make them for a decade.
    Until there is a proper Opposition with a hunger for office, the ‘natural party of government’ will have the easiest ride ever, but the disadvantaged masses certainly won’t.

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  2. Good article. However, you make the assumption that the Conservatives can carry on as before. They are as divided as Labour, the only difference being that they have their domestic disputes behind closed doors. Will any Leavers be happy to have Remainers alongside them? Can they bury their differences? Of course not. The party is split as irrevocably as Labour. Is there any one person able to unite them? No. So what now?
    I predict that many will defect from the Conservative Party and together with UKIP for a new conservative party- Traditional Conservatives. I also predict that Corbyn will take his supporters and form a new Socialist Labour Party, leaving the Blairites to join with what’s left of the LibDems and the centrist Tories to form a new Centre Party. We have seen the end of Left-Right politics.
    So what will the Labour Leavers do? They won’t be welcome in either of the new Labour parties. Can they join a party that the MSM will label ultra right?
    Heaven knows we need the likes of Gisela Stuart, Kate Hoey and the others in a new government of national unity. Can this happen?
    We live in interesting times

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    1. In a rough draft of this piece, I did wonder aloud if there was a likelihood of an SDP-type split from Labour or Tory; certainly, the depleted Lib Dems would probably welcome another alliance. I don’t think the waters ahead for the Tories will be smooth, but I think the problems for Labour are even more profound.


  3. If the whole fiasco – I mean all over – wasn’t laced with such sinister undertones at every turn, it would be hysterical, and worthy of being played out to the tunes of Benny Hill style music. Leaving aside that Boris as far as I can see never wanted an Out Vote, he just wanted to position himself as the darling of the Tory voters, let’s try and make sense of Labour. Corbyn is an old school, Hammas loving Trot. He is not very bright. But he is tenacious. Labour’s MP’s are on the whole not Trots, and recognise that with him in charge, Labour is unelectable. Labour’s membership is controlled by the vocal, strident and vicious core of of extremely “right” on progressives who think Corbyn is a deity. These people live on hummus and wear knitted jumpers and sandals. These are people who are the antithesis of Labour’s core voters, which no longer recognise Labour as having their interests at heart. So they all vote UKIP. So, chaos!

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    1. Dead right, Gildas. It’s interesting that it took this referendum (and the Leave campaign’s rather shameless sole focus on immigration) to wake up the sleeping-giant of Labour’s volume core voters to the fact that the party they had so slavishly and thoughtlessly supported for generations never really wanted them anyway, they were just ballot-fodder every few years to allow the Islington chatterers to carry on regardless.
      Right now it’s impossible to predict how this political turmoil will be resolved – traditionally, you could rely on the Tories to default to pragmatism far quicker than the more dogmatic Labour folk, but I’m not sure even that rule of thumb applies any more.
      The bits of the political jigsaw have been thrown up in the air, when some of them land they may be too damaged to fit into the eventual picture – it would be a loss if the thinking-folk like Gisela Stuart, Kate Hoey and Frank Field became casualties, as their roundly considered input is usually worth hearing on any topic.

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  4. Remember Murphy’s Law? “Anything that can possibly go wrong, does go wrong.” And it couldn’t have gone wronger!

    The referendum has effectively divided the populace and is causing so much factional acrimony. The fault is Cameron’s: he thought it would silence his eurosceptic critics and shore up his own position. Politicians! Self-serving idiots, the lot of ’em. Even worse, faced with the unexpected result, the entire UK political infrastructure has gone into melt-down.

    Right now, the country needs a PM with foresight, integrity, and the negotiating skills to deal with the eurocrats. (That said, it’s perhaps as well that Cameron disqualified himself!) In turn, s/he has to be backed by a united party, supporting a coherent policy. The candidates currently touted as contenders for the top job seem to be either fervent idealogues, blatant self-publicists, or unproven lightweights — which doesn’t bode well. Furthermore, given UK’s essentially two-party system, it’s equally important to have a united opposition party, also with coherent policies and a respected leader. If the opposition is itself in disarray, it cannot provide the necessary checks and balances on governmental excesses. So what hope is there for retrieving anything remotely advantageous to the UK from this debacle?

    Disclosure: I have a dog in this fight. I’m British but reside (legally, at the moment) in a EU country. At least no-one has shouted “Go Home!” at me, as has been the post-referendum experience of some people in the UK — regardless of whether they were born there, or are recent (wholly legal) migrants. The “Leave” campaign seems to have stoked xenophobia in UK, which I find very sad.

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  5. I had now had the misfortune to have actually heard David Lammy being interviewed. By the perfectly amicable but by no means stupid presenter and man of the people, Tony Livesey. At one point in the face of Lammy’s astonishing but arrogant ineptitude, Livesey just burst out: “But that’s the stupidest answer I have ever heard a politican give.” And so it was. People like Lammy are inept and positively brain dead, but intensely arrogant, and thus do well in politics. They are also dangerous. Fortunately on the other side of the coin e have the acerbic Rod Liddle, who is a reformed Trot and BBC stalwart who saw the error of his ways and now revels in puncturing balloons on left and right. Liddle has started a petition to have Lammy removed as an MP and replaced with a set of garden furniture and a frog with a fishing rod. I feel that this is a good thing, and I have signed it. This is democracy in action, is it not? Meanwhile, after last night’s football, I am very angry. The wrong side won. I am starting a petition to have the game replayed so that the right result I reached, and this time, to ensure fair play, the Icelandic team will not be allowed to take the field. That’s how sport really works.

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