Thursday, September 17, 2015

The "selectorate" has sent Labour off on a very long sabbatical

According to George Eaton the knives are out for Jeremy Corbyn:  http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2015/09/after-jeremy-corbyns-troubled-start-even-fewer-labour-expect-him-last

A mixture of sour grapes, thwarted ambitions and an insatiable feral desire to mischief-make (an instinct endemic in a majority of politicians, even when it is against their own interest) is already rocking the Corbyn leadership.

Owen Jones would have you believe that it is all got up by the Tory Press:  https://medium.com/@OwenJones84/my-role-in-the-media-in-months-ahead-35a61d193690

But Mr Jones is ignoring the fact that it was Labour MPs who did not cheer his first entry into the Commons as leader, it was Labour MPs who gave Mr Corbyn a "grilling" on the first meeting of backbench MPs under his leadership, and it was senior Labour politicians (including one from the Shadow Cabinet interviewed on the Today programme) who went on the broadcast media saying how offensive it was that he did not sing the National Anthem.

Labour MPs and their supporters in the media need to realise that the Labour "selectorate" has deliberately chosen an unelectable leader.  They have done this deliberately because at this stage in its existence Labour needs to concentrate on reform of internal structures (including selection of MPs and including methods of funding).  This is a process that will take at least ten years (we Conservatives know that from bitter recent experience) and should have been started in 2010 but wasn't because most (not all) in the party leadership wanted to scramble back into power as soon as possible.

Reform must come from first principles which means pure policies that flow from a renewed study of socialism.

This does not mean that pure socialist policies will win elections (they definitely will not) but the purity of socialist ideas, moderated by the Methodist-Labour tradition, moderated by the Trade Unions, moderated by the pragmatists, moderated by the eccentric oddballs, moderated even by the flouncing "stars" like Chuka Umuna, will produced original exciting policies that other parties will not be able to compete with (because they should be doing this process as well, and producing their own unique offering to the electorate).

It is this policy review that Corbyn has been elected to do (and he is certainly one who will deliver a thorough and long-term review of policy, although possibly he might fly with wings of wax too close to the burning sun of pure socialism).

It is as if the "selectorate" has sent Labour off on a very long sabbatical and said:  don't come back until you have a credible and integrated programme of policies we can sell to the voters.

To my mind (and I am not a Labour supporter, so I could be wrong) Corbyn has three tasks:

  • Purge the party of Blairism
  • Restore and rebuild the Labour party in Scotland
  • Develop new, interesting and attractive policies

As a Conservative I envy Labour this period of purgation and catharsis.

And as a Conservative I offer a small prayer that we should not forget our own dark time of wandering in the wilderness - in the words of Kipling:  Lord God of Hosts forgive us yet, less we forget, less we forget.

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