Most of my politics chimes strongly with Jeremy Corbyn’s. But I don’t support Corbyn as leader of the Labour party. Neither, for that matter, do I support Owen Smith. Corbyn cannot speak to the alienated working class and his record as Labour’s greatest ever rebel means that he cannot command – or demand – loyalty in party ranks. Smith would sell his own grandmother for a sniff of power.
Not that either of them will be remotely concerned about me. For a start, I don’t have a vote in the leadership election as I left Labour for the Greens in October 2014. And when the dust has settled – if the dust ever settles – the winner of that contest will have no need to concern himself (shame the ‘him’ is a given) about my vote in the next general election – I will continue to vote for the party which, under the monstrously undemocratic first-past-the-post system, is most likely to unseat the present Tory Government. And in Keighley, that’s Labour.
The point, as I have said many times before, is that I am an outlier. And that tends to be the case with my many left-wing, Corbyn supporting friends. We are practically off the chart when compared with the average voter. The voters Labour does need to worry about are those who have historically voted Labour, but who voted Tory – or UKIP – at the last election; and those who may do the same at the next.
We’re in the immediate wake of a disastrous European referendum in which the Tory party was split down the middle and the Prime Minister got the message so wrong that he had to resign. That was followed by a leadership election characterised by such treachery and blood-letting that it made the Borgias look like the Larkins. Yet what are press and media talking about? The Labour leadership crisis, of course.
It serves no useful function to mither about Murdoch and the right wing press & media: that’s crying over spilt milk: and the bias isn’t going to change until the news-buying public wants left-wing slanted reporting, which isn’t going to happen. More to the point, Labour has gift-wrapped their crisis for the media and tied it off with a big red bow. While the Tories dispatched their traitors with discreet stillettos, and then immediately closed ranks and bared white teeth to the cameras, the Gangs of New/Old/Corbyn Labour have spilled out into the high street and are not bothering to even hide the axe handles.
A coherent Labour should have made mincemeat of the Tories over the European Referendum. As it stands, Labour is currently 14% behind the Tories in polling:
(Courtesy of Yougov)
That is abysmal; and both Corbyn & Smith should, in conscience, resign on the strength (or rather weakness) of it. Neither will. Of course, Smith can’t win the leadership election and the onus is upon him to withdraw from the contest, if only to stop Labour being the bloody story. He won’t.
The Tories’ triumph is in choking back the bile in the knowledge that their political aims are best served first, by achieving power. Labour’s failure is in not even understanding that, let alone applying it,
Labour’s last chance of redemption is for the entire party to commit behind the winner of the leadership contest – whether that is Corbyn or (unlikely) Smith. But do I believe either wing is capable of that? See you on the stump in 2020.