Thursday, 23 July 2015

Labour red in tooth and claw

The UK Labour leadership contest is hotting up, and the gloves are off, revealing the unedifying spectacle of public in-fighting and dirty linen being washed.  The latest Yougov poll gave Labour a shock when it showed the left-wing candidate, Jeremy Corbyn, in the lead by 6%.  Such a big shock that one of Labour's big beasts was wheeled out to put everyone right on the way they should be voting.  Shades of the referendum and the deployment of Gordon Brown when the polls weren't going the way Better Together wanted.  Is this a new entry from Labour's Ladybird Book of Tactics?

Tony Blair duly gave his speech, which essentially boiled down to 'you want someone like me really', and included an incomprehensible reference to Star Trek and its being old-fashioned. 
“We lost in 2010 because we stepped somewhat from that modernising platform. We lost in 2015 with an election out of the playback [sic] from the 1980s, from the period of Star Trek, when we stepped even further away from it and lost even worse. I don’t understand the logic of stepping entirely away from it.”
 I don't understand the logic of that passage at all, since all the Star Treks were set in the future, but I digress.

According to Mr Blair anyone whose heart leads them to vote for Mr Corbyn 'needs a heart transplant', which is quite amusing coming from someone who appears to have no heart himself.  For Mr Blair it's all about how to get power, and he and his followers seem to be willing to run after whatever populist notion their focus groups throw at them in order to get it.  Principles are clearly for the weak.

Today Liz Kendall, trailing badly in the aforementioned poll, rejected the suggestion that she should drop out of the leadership contest in order to try and prevent Mr Corbyn winning by allowing her supporters to vote for another of the anti-Corbyns.  She seemed quite annoyed by the idea, even though she has only about 4% support according to the polls, and has reacted by sticking a metaphorical boot into Mr Corbyn and his left-wing views.

Then we had several MPs proclaiming that they would not serve in a Shadow Cabinet led by Mr Corbyn: step forward Liz Kendall (again), Yvette Cooper and Chuka Umunna.  This is being referred to as a 'potential exodus of talent', although it seems that the major talents in question are backstabbing and character assassination.

Labour has always had a reputation for factionalism and internecine warfare, but rarely has it been quite so public.  No thought seems to be being given as to how the electorate will be viewing this embarrassing spectacle.  If they keep this up they may well find that UK Labour is headed down the same path as Scottish Labour.  Time to get their act together and start acting like grown-ups, or they may find that the next few elections see them sent to the naughty step located somewhere in Siberia.

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