Blogpost by Gavin Callaghan
IT IS funny how history repeats itself.
Right now in British politics;
The Tories are trying to take the education system back to the 1970s with the reintroduction of grammar schools.
Labour is trying to take the country back to the 1980s with a left wing leader who stands for an economic agenda totally at odds with the wishes of the British people.
And this week I found myself saying the immortal phrase from the 2010 General Election, ‘I agree with Nick’.
That is because the former Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat Leader articulated on LBC, the truth behind the Corbyn support; it’s based on anger and grievance and is designed to blame the few, not offer solutions to the many. In fact, as uncomfortable as it is for them to admit, 12 months after Jeremy Corbyn’s stunning leadership victory, the Corbynistas are no longer the rebels without a cause. They are the establishment.
They now have to make difficult decisions. Jumping on populist bandwagons, which has been a hallmark of Jeremy’s parliamentary career, is no longer sufficient. It lacks the broad appeal needed to sustain the official opposition’s credibility as an alternative government in waiting. The truth is as well, Corbynistas know this. They understand that if Corbyn wins again on 24 September, it’s only going to get harder and more difficult. And they hate it.
I confess that I haven’t heard a political figure sum up the current state of the hard left revolution quite as succinctly as Clegg did this week. It made me glad he is the former Lib Dem leader and not the current one. If he was still in charge, many in the Labour Party would be sweating right now, a week out from a Lib Dem Leader’s speech at conference from Clegg that could see the pavement politics that was so successful for the Lib Dems, return.
That could see Labour wiped out in local government in cities like Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield, just like we were a decade ago and at a time when Local Government has never been so important. If it were to happen, suddenly the Metro Mayor candidates in the North West wouldn’t be sitting quite as comfortably.
And it may actually happen.
You see the public don’t look at Corbyn and think he is a principled politician who has the courage of his convictions and could lead our nation on the G20 stage.
After all, in the space of twelve months, Corbyn is someone who couldn’t make his mind up whether to sing the national anthem or not.
He couldn’t decide whether to wear a suit and tie and try to look like a statesman or to stick with the market stall vest and scuffed shoes.
He forget whether he was in favour of the EU or whether the 32 years in which he vocally supported Brexit was all just a myth peddled by the ‘right wing media’.
He said we should invoke article 50 hours after polls closed on June 23rd, only to then try and wriggle out of it and say we should take our time and get it right.
He came up with hard left economic policies a year ago, then realised that implementing them involved leadership, persuasion and an ability to change the hearts and minds of those who don’t already agree with you so he decided to kick the tough decisions into the long grass, culminating in his economic advisors all resigning, citing his incompetence as the main reason.
He said he was in favour of party democracy but then voted against the Trident renewal in parliament even though renewal is the expressed democratic wish of the party membership.
He says he is against anti-semitism but has stood by while it has reared it’s ugly head within the party once more.
He said he was against the Honours system and the unelected second chamber, but then nominated a Labour corny of his to take up a life time Peerage in the House of Lords.
He claims to be outraged by the abuse that MPs, particularly female MPs are receiving, but then stands on a platform at a Labour Leadership hustings with a fellow MP who is heckled and abused by supporters loyal to Corbyn and he doesn’t utter a word in condemnation.
He can’t even make his mind up whether to answer a journalist’s question of whether or not he wants to be our country’s Prime Minister – so ridiculous is the idea, even to him.
The public see all of this. Then they reach the same conclusion I and many Labour colleagues have; Corbyn is a weak Leader who will never lead Labour back to power and we need to end this nonsense now.
So in the final few days, when many people in the Labour movement are making their minds up whether to go with Jeremy or Owen in this race, know this:
The majority of Labour Party Members of Parliament – men and women who have dedicated their working lives to our party – think Jeremy should be replaced.
The majority of 2015 General Election candidates who stood in key marginal seats, giving up years of their lives, their own money and their own careers to fight for Labour against the Tories – think Jeremy should be replaced.
The majority of councillors, elected up and down the country and doing the ground work every week in safe, marginal and unwinnable Labour seats – think Jeremy should be replaced.
The majority of the public, the people who we need to win over in order to win power – think Jeremy should be replaced.
Corbyn has the worst pulling numbers of any party leader, Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem, Green or UKIP, in British political history – despite having more airtime and column inches than any Leader of the Opposition. He has continually squandered the platforms he has been provided.
Under Corbyn, Labour are set to be reduced to just 182 seats in parliament, with the Tories on almost 400, at the time of the next General Election.
These are the facts. And it doesn’t have to be like this.
In just 12 weeks Owen Smith has out,indeed more concrete, credible policy proposals on infrastructure and immigration than Corbyn has managed in 12 months. Owen is a dynamic politician with a background rooted in Labour values, free from the London-centric, technocratic approach of Corbyn and his immediate predecessor.
So it’s make your minds up time. Fortunately you now get to do it with your eyes wide open to the dangers of a Corbyn Labour Party. I’ve already cast my vote for Owen Smith, but now you must decide for yourselves.
This time, however, you’ve been warned.