Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Civil War & Transition Time

Civil war within the Labour Party is inevitable following Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader, …

Kim Howells said Labour must reconcile its differences to have a chance of winning the 2020 general election. …

[if still an MP] “I’d be bitterly opposed to the current leadership of the Labour Party.

“I’d be saying things that I believe about the need to win political power and a bunch of old Trotskyites are not going win political power.”
BBC News Website, 23 September 2015 : Labour Party civil war ‘inevitable’ after Jeremy Corbyn win

Well if those are words of reconciliation, I’m a UKIPper.

But Labour is in a bind

“Old” (Pre Corbyn) Labour selected a lot of old Blairites as candidates and consequently most of the Parliamentary Party was elected (by the electorate – despite the system’s imperfections) on a Blairite manifesto.

“New” (Post Corbyn) Labour has elected an “Old Trotskyite” (really?) on a programme distinctly different from the last election manifesto.

So do Blairite MPs with a mandate from the people fall in line behind the new leader, or does the new leader abandon his entire programme in order to lead this bunch of “old Blairites”?

Neither option is “democratically” acceptable.

If the party has genuinely changed, we can expect them to start selecting more Corbynite candidates (and going through the trauma of de-selecting the Blairites who are now beyond their sell-by date). We should expect the party conference to start developing a more radical “Socialist” programme for future elections (Holyrood next year being the first).

And we can expect an uncomfortable Parliamentary Party – with many members trying to fight a rear-guard action. Normally when a company recruits a new chief executive he is permitted to do a “clear out” of those who do not support the new regime. That’s not possible with Political Parties – they can’t sack MPs. (It would, however, be interesting to see what happens in the unlikely event that there is a mass withdrawal of the whip.)

If the party has not changed – or loses its nerve, there will be little change and then I guess it is down to Corbyn’s appetite … for what? Power – I don’t think he is interested in power as an end. Change – on his terms it won’t be available. Obstructing Blairism – a parliamentary battle he will probably lose.

Will it be Kim Howells’s civil war – or will it be electoral irrelevance? Or will Corbyn walk away from the massive mandate he only recently received?

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One thought on “Civil War & Transition Time

  1. Pingback: Labour “split the atom” policy | Outside the marginals

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