The state of Labour: Post-anger, pre-recrimination

by Kevin Meagher

Anger towards Jeremy Corbyn – and the blind alley into which he has led Labour – is probably futile at this point. The party was going to lose this general election whenever it was called. It was inevitable the moment Corbyn became leader 20 long months ago. There is a modicum of relief, perhaps, that the process of rebuilding can now begin in 2017 rather than 2020.

After a gruelling week, the scale of the challenge is now agonisingly clear. Glasgow. Tees Valley. Lancashire. The West Midlands. With its heartlands deserting it, there is nowhere in the country where Labour can’t lose at the moment. Much worse is, of course, to come in a few weeks’ time.

Actually, it feels slightly macabre to speculate about Labour’s short term future. So many decent MPs – servants of their community, country and party – are set to have the ground cut from beneath them.

The immediate issue is what do the party’s campaign managers do about Corbyn himself? His penance, such as it is, is to spend the next five weeks campaigning around the country observing the pretence that he is on course to be our next Prime Minister. But where do they take him where he adds any value to Labour’s campaign?

Just wait for the old soldier to accost him on a walkabout. Or the teenager to come up to him and call him a ‘loser’. Or the Jewish granny who gives him a dressing down for soft-pedalling on anti-Semitism.

No party leader who trails amongst every main demographic group is going to win an election. The voters’ basic, crippling assumption that he is not up to the job is not going to change now. In his heart of hearts Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t believe he is winning either. He knows he is squandering the moment.

But here’s the thing. There is little point railing against Corbyn. Better to accept that he is a victim of circumstance. Others created the opening for him and the hard left to make this extraordinary breakthrough. He never wanted this job. It was, infamously, his ‘turn’ to stand for the Labour leadership, as John McDonnell had done before him in 2007 and Diane Abbott did in 2010.

As the recipient of the left’s big moment and with the party’s ranks swelled with enthusiastic supporters he doesn’t feel he can let them down. Trite though it sounds, a sense of duty drives him on.

However, Like Alec Guinness’s Lieutenant-Colonel Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai, Corbyn’s essential problem is that his sense of duty is utterly misplaced. The issue for a serious political party is winning the country, not stroking the egos of the hard left. Governing, not protesting.

To his followers – the politically illiterate, the demented optimists and the crazies who lament the loss of the Cold War – an appeal to empiricism is wasted. As they see it, this is the election where the country will swing to the Left.

The only thing holding back this Great Moment is the cynicism of the right-wing media and Labour MPs who fail to believe hard enough. Inspired by Corbyn’s call, the country is primed to rise up for socialism. Why don’t they see that?

But there’s a Plan B. If Labour MPs are not swept back into the Commons on a tide of popular adulation, well, that’s fine too. It merely shows the futility of parliamentary socialism. If you’re on the hard left, the next few weeks are ‘win-win’.

For everyone else, the nightmare is postponed.

MPs have departed for their constituencies. Many will hold out the hope that they will be able to take control of their own fortunes and that their local record might count for enough to overcome Labour’s contaminated national brand. It’s a slender prospect.

For now, though, internal anger will subside. Candidates are fighting for their political lives. Make no mistake though, this is the prelude. We are in a period of post-anger, pre-recrimination, if you will.

In a few weeks’ time, the full horror or Labour’s predicament will be revealed and the party will begin the mother of all internal wars.

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Uncut

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6 Responses to “The state of Labour: Post-anger, pre-recrimination”

  1. Tafia says:

    you are deliberately avoiding relity in order to pass the blame on Corbyn.

    It wouldn’t matter who was leading Labour – things would not be that much different.

    You are losing in Scotland because you are unionist party and no former-Labour voter who believes in an independent Scotland will vote for you ever again.

    You are losing in England and Wales because you are still seen as pro-EU and no former-Labour voter that belives in full BREXIT will ever vote for you again until after we are out of the EU.

    And there is nothing anyone in Labour can do about that.

  2. John. P Reid says:

    I, going to say that although someone in the 80’s bought their council home, wanted democratization of the unions, voted Tory and thought, oh I’m posh I vote Tory so am middle class,if they were unemployed or a blue collar worker they’d still be called working class
    Ther real middle clsss Labour wanted the votes of were the small business men and women, labour whilst wanting to appear anti racist, couldn’t bare the though there’s as many middle class racist as working class, so called the working class racist,to get mythical votes

    Labour could afford to lose working class votes after 2001
    The elephant in the room’of the demographics of racism, making areas,not only have a radical cultural change,but a sizemic change in not enough, homes ,education A and E ,and transport infulstructre meant labour was on borrowed time

    Now look at people who don’t live in working class areas, Shami Chakrobarti saying scrap stop and search, violent crime has gone through the roof,she doesn’t have to live with the stabbings, aharriet harman saying new dads who don’t take paternity leave should be shamed,if they’re self employed,or hwve a boss that’ll make them do 3 weeeks work,in one when they come back to work after 2 weeks off
    Then as Charlesclarke pointed out to Blair in 97 ,he was making a mistake,we have white collar public sector teachers ,middle class liberal Fabians,via councils, saying they know best to tell working class people what sort of education their kids should have
    And now those Fabians middle class liberals are saying the working class are thick,violent and racist,that’s why they voted Brexit
    Which fits in with Emily thornberry the day after Brexit saying that as the working class were thick, they should have had her as a middle class person to tell them to vote remain

    Then harman is saying that when it’s one person words against another the accused should already be called the perpetrator the accuser should be called the victim, no anonymity and shouldn’t have a fair trial of being able to use evidence to defend themselves, this’s out of, un fair trial here the judge thinks one side won’t get a fair trial will see the judge just throw the case out before it goes to court, and when labour snobs sneer at union jacks, say all white peole are racist and all Brexiters are racist

    It shows that Harman ,Abbott, thornberry, Vidal, and achakrobarti,all hold blue collar working class males in contempt

    This has been bubbling under since, the 2005 election where Blair trying to. Okay it both ways, making out he understood the concerns in immigration and then saying hoe good it was too the guardian, brown and then ed Miliband with their abritish jobs for British workers,or control immigration mugs sounded good to them,but when they couldn’t do a thing about it, within the EU, I recall, when

    Brixton police in 2001 said they’d turn a blind eye to cannabis use, the liberals jumped with joy, but as Brixton was becoming a Champagne socialist area,they didn’t want it in their back yard, same as when Blunkett and Hazel bleats suggested having legal red light areas for women to hwve brthels, they like (Corbyn said they’d legalize it) but middle class liberals didn’t want it in their back yard,as their middle class areas backed in to the council estate it was being allowed to happen
    The snobbery of not wanting betting shops, cash converters tattoo parlours , irven recall, some GLC middle clsss teachers in ilford in 1986 when the first McDonalds appeared though there goes the neighborhood,if something as common as that could come to ilford.

    I put else where that the next leadership will be Yvette to stop, Rebecca long Bailey, but Yvette is the epitome ,of a middle class person, thinking that her education, knows. Set what’s good for the working class.

    Look what the Tories are going to police and stop and search the working class aren’t dumb to not know that the cut in police,and Theresa jays clsmp done in stop and search,is the reason why violent crimes goingup, and hwve to live in the areas where stabbing are so high, but would sooner vote Tory, than us, because they think we’re obsessed with things like all female shortlists for transsexuals,and having middle class students saying they can decide the debate in campus, to ban anyone who says that a transsexual shouldn’t be on a all women’s shortlist.

  3. anosrep says:

    If a Labour defeat is inevitable, it’s not because of Jeremy Corbyn, it’s because of poeple like you.

  4. Anon says:

    Agreed with Tafia and John P Reid.

    It was the visceral anger that drove Labour voters into UKIP’s hands.

    That anger is still there and those people will not return to Labour.

    Should we feel sympathy for Labour MPs that rode on the pro-EU train? Should we vote for people who didn’t even recognise that there was a problem, when they were meant to be representatives of the people who lost their communities and dignity?

    I’m sorry, but I have no sympathy for the Labour MPs that are going to lose their seats – where was their sympathy for us?

    A little racist? Well, racist or not, we don’t have to vote for people who think of us as cattle that need a touch of genetic engineering – or even replacement.

  5. Tafia says:

    Corbyn is getting the blame but really the problem is that the PLP are overwhelmingly social democrat and the party membership and union paymasters are overwhelmingly democratic socialist – and the gulf and expectations between the two has widened over the last decade to the point that they are now completely separate idealogies and completely irreconcilable.

    The logical outcome is that the MPs leave and create a brand new party centrist party, find new financial backers, a brand new name and a new membership and squabble with the Lib Dems over the rapidly shrinking ‘middle ground’, and the Labour Party selects new all-Left candidates to fight in any by-elections and the next General Election as the Labour Party.

    Corbyn’s actions today suggest he realises that he will lose, lose badly and – more importantly, the suicidal PLP will attempt to depose him again. So he appears by his visits today to be signalling that he will be on the ticket again. And whether the PLP like it or not, he’ll win again as well.

  6. John P Reid says:

    If labour split and there was a SDP mark2″ I think I’d just vote Libdem, the Fabian Polly Toynbee middle class liberals who via the Fabians thinkthey can tell the working class they know best area s bad as tech Shami Chakrabarti sort,who funnily enough wasnt athte launch yesterday,it’s almost as if Jez knows her contempt for the blue collar working class,is off putting for the electorate,

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