In a week that has seen numerous prominent Republicans across the pond express their antipathy towards the man their party has chosen to lead them into November’s Presidential Election, a poll here has revealed that 29% of Labour voters would rather vote for Theresa May than Jeremy Corbyn – so that means the Tories could count on 2.7 million extra votes were the PM to call an autumn Election. As things currently stand, the Government are fourteen points ahead of Labour. Basically, what the hell is she waiting for? It’s hard to think of any Prime Minister in recent times being in such a strong position to secure a mandate; and it could well be a far more concise mandate than the one she inherited. In many respects, it’s a measure of just how weak the opposition is that the Tories were able to overcome their bitter divisions on Europe and emerge relatively unscathed in record time.
Despite widespread dissatisfaction with Jezza’s leadership both within his own party and outside of the enclosed echo chamber of party activism, it’s hard to imagine the unstoppable cult of Corbyn being brought to an end by Owen Smith. The election of six Momentum candidates onto the National Executive Committee – the last outstanding barrier to taking control of the party by the far left – means Corbyn’s neo-Trotskyist cronies now have a majority on Labour’s ruling body. This comprehensive coup even overshadows the machinations of Tony Benn and Militant Tendency to seize power in the early 80s; and if that gave birth to the SDP, what on earth will current events begat?
Despite the fact that the post-Brexit Labour frontbench seems occupied by anonymous members of the public whose place there is due to them winning a competition, the news that Andy Burnham, one of the few remaining leftovers from the last Labour Government, is to run for Mayor of Greater Manchester will leave it looking even more threadbare. Burnham has remained relatively loyal to Corbyn, hence holding onto his post as Shadow Home Secretary after the exodus following Hilary Benn’s sacking; but the chance to become the first elected mayor of a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ was clearly too tempting to reject in favour of sentimentally staying aboard a sinking ship until it disappears beneath the waves of mediocrity.
By the way, for those of you south of Watford, Manchester begins just after you exit the Midlands and takes you all the way up to Scotland; there’s nothing else in The North other than Manchester, of course. Oh, there is Liverpool; but that’s more or less in Ireland, anyway.
With just over a month left before the Labour leadership election, Owen Smith not only has to contend with his own absence of charisma, but the online army that Corbyn can call upon, one that recruits party members by the thousand on a daily basis, if we’re to believe the hype. Unless you happen to be a Biblical magician ala Moses, trying to stem the flow is a futile exercise; even the High Court this week ruled that the new recruits should be entitled to a vote come September. Like a lot of hip ‘n’ groovy techno-savvy movers and shakers, I am on Facebook, but I generally use it for personal messages, and my FB wall is solely an advertising board for posting links to articles on this blog and the ‘Looking for Alison’ one; when confronted by my news-feed, however – the section of the system that shows what one’s friends have been posting – I’m regularly bombarded by pro-Corbyn propaganda that provokes a roll of the eyes and a scroll of the page. There is no room for debate where the Messiah is concerned; you’re either with us or against us, and if you’re against us you’re a Blairite Tory, simple as that. This is the monochrome level the whole scenario has descended to.
I’m tempted to say ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ Corbyn is re-crowned Labour leader at the end of September, it’s impossible to envisage those within the party who don’t subscribe to the cult simply sitting quietly on the backbenches. Many of them have served in government and are quite keen to get back into it, unlike Corbyn’s disciples, whose natural (and preferred) place is in permanent opposition. The aim of the Corbyn Project is not to govern the country, which would mean having to actually engage with Racist Homophobic Islamophobic Transphobic Blairite Tories, but to look after its own clique and devote all its energies to ridding that clique of anyone who dares to venture an opinion that contradicts the Project. The future has never been brighter for the Workers’ Revolutionary Party and never bleaker for the Labour Party.
So, what happens the day after the expected Corbyn triumph on Sep 24? Liberal Democrats may be coy whenever talk of a potential merger between their depleted party and the anti-Corbyn Labour MPs is raised; and nobody has yet publicly proposed such a marriage bar vague comments by a few opportunistic old hands like Paddy Ashdown. But a Corbyn-led Labour Party and Momentum-dominated NEC is one that will be utterly incompatible with the majority of Labour MPs, not to mention the majority of the electorate. A split is surely inevitable, and what that will lead to, God only knows. Another decade of Conservative Government, probably.
© The Editor