There is an ever slight whiff of panic in the air around the Labour Party at the moment. It seems likely that the joke candidate, the candidate that even those who nominated him didn’t want to win but ensure that there was a debate (how patronising is that and how foolish are they feeling right now) may well win. As I have stated before I am not a member of the Labour party and so don’t have a vote and if I am truthful I think he will be a disaster for both the Labour Party and the country. However, if he wins he deserves to try and find an answer to the question that is Jeremy Corbyn.
But it seems that some people don’t think he should get that chance. The latest nonsense was that Lord Mandelson is hatching a plot to void the election. Only thing was it had no chance of working, a bit like many of the things he’s been involved in – Millennium Dome for example – and now he is nowhere to be seen. Meanwhile the papers are taking turns at making wilder and wilder claims about the man whilst at the same time trying to paint him as a quasi terrorist or Leninist or both. He started out the campaign as ‘left wing’ now he is ‘militant left’ or ‘hard left’ in short he is everything you should fear people. This is just cheap journalism and I suspect the journalist know this but you gotta write something to pay the bills.
Perhaps the most depressing thing about this whole sorry state is what it says about the state of the current Labour party that the rank outsider is now on course to win. I read a fascinating article on Saturday in The Guardian called The Strange Death of Labour Britain which summed up much of the problems facing the party. If this is correct then the party is already dying and cannot really turn things around which will be very sad for two reasons: The first reason is that I, like many people, have a certain affection for the party and its demise will be a sad reminder that we are all moving towards such a thing; The second, and far more important, reason is that this country needs to have an effective opposition to the current Tory party government, a government that is not that stable and so will bend and twist to whatever crazy right wing idea that comes crawling out of the nest of vipers that sit on the government back benches – Jeremy Corbyn won’t provide any answers to this nor, I’m afraid will any of the candidates for the Labour Leader.
Just after the last election I blogged about the electoral problems that Labour faces and nothing has changed. Since then there has been a Labour Party just talking to itself and mistaking this as a conversation with the rest of the electorate who has just resoundly rejected everything Labour said. It doesn’t matter that Jeremy Corbyn may comfortably win the leadership election how is he going to even be able to talk to his own MPs when most don’t trust him and even less have any sense of loyalty to him? He can’t even ask for loyalty to the party because in the past he has rebelled so many times against the party leadership that it will hold no power. Of course there is the old left wing approach of purging those who don’t agree with them and this was ever so lightly hinted at by Ken Livingstone the other day on the radio. How this will help I don’t know.
So I find the stupid attacks on Jeremy Corbyn by the right wing media repugnant – he deserves to be listened to and challenged but should be treated with respect nonetheless. I find the withering before my eyes of the Labour rose even more saddening and think back to the days of the Tony Benn / Michael Foot era and realise that history does indeed repeat itself. It was another 17 years before the Labour party formed a government after that – just imagine what the country might be like if this happens again. However, Labour has only themselves to blame.