The Labour leadership contest, whose result is announced today, is of far more importance than many Labour supporters and MPs may realise. Not only is it a huge opportunity for Labour to demonstrate that it is relevant to the UK electorate and has a clear message of what it stands for but it is also the last chance Labour may have of proving itself capable and/or deserving of remaining a major political presence.
Recent events involving the party and contest suggest that it doesn’t have a Scooby Doo about the importance of the contest for the future of the party.
Labour lost at the last election because it failed to show what it stood for. Crucially Labour did not show how much they differed from the Conservative party. In the absence of a clear, defined set of policies and message from Labour, the Conservatives picked up votes from people uncertain of what a Labour government would mean for them.
From my point of view it was Labour who brought mass surveillance of the population to the political table; they did not apologise for this or demonstrate a change of heart and attitude towards it. So I was never going to vote for them.
The resignation of Ed Miliband gave Labour a chance to wipe away the remnants of the discredited Blair and Brown eras, the New Labour brand and step away from it as one would an unfortunate bout of vomiting in public. A chance to clearly state what the Labour party is, what it stands for and how that will better the lives of people and business.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that the moment a high profile organisation announces a public election there will be those from outside who will look to interfere with the process and try to skew the results. Quite why Labour did not say only votes from people who joined the party before the date Ed Miliband resigned will count I have no idea.
The resulting increase in membership and events leading to the ongoing #Labourpurge hashtag do not reflect well on the Labour party. By barring long standing party members from voting, Labour are now looking like total control freaks hell bent on allowing only “good party members” who keep quiet and don’t ask awkward questions to vote.
That’s not a good look to have. Very East German if you will.
Observers and opponents alike are mocking Labour for this somewhat Stalinist approach.
Following on from that, there are now questions over the legality of Labour’s use of data in determining who is allowed to vote. The Morning Star and The Register offer their thoughts. It would be ironic if the very body which did nothing to hold Labour’s government to account over its disgraceful BT/Phorm inaction now found the party to be acting illegally and nailed it with a hefty fine.
The choice of candidates for the Labour Party leadership is interesting, especially when one considers that the choice of leader and deputy may well be crucial to the future of the party as a political force.
Andy Burnham has been mentioned a few times on this blog. A serial idiot whose ideas included government approval of internet content. He was also Health Secretary at the time of the Mid Staffordshire misconduct story breaking.
Yvette Cooper is Mrs Edward Balls. Can’t blame her for not taking Ed’s surname, but does she have any of Ed’s traits or ideas? Ed Balls is also mentioned several times in this blog.
Jeremy Corbyn appears to be a more traditional Leftie. Talk of support by and involvement with anti-semites looks to be an issue from what I’ve seen mentioned on Twitter.
Liz Kendall is someone whose name hadn’t crossed the radar here. That doesn’t mean too much really, since I only blog very occasionally these days.
If people like Gordon Brown and Tony Blair are anti Corbyn then I’m inclined to think that there may be something to Corbyn that may be worth exploring.
Any party that allows Andy Burnham or anyone else connected with the regimes of Blair and Brown anywhere near leadership positions does not deserve to be anywhere near positions of power themselves.
Jeremy Corbyn’s mention of the idea of women-only carriages on trains has generated much discussion on social media. What would be better is if train companies were forced to put decent CCTV in trains and stations, to run reliable services at all times, especially late evening and night services, to have train managers actively around on late services and to have accurate information clearly displayed. Any party leaders looking for thoughts and ideas about public transport are welcome to get in touch.
Whoever wins the leadership election, there will probably be accusations that the electoral process was flawed. Given the #labourpurge content the arguments for that may well have merit. Will that mean another election process? If it does then the Labour party will suffer even more discredit.
You can bet that the Conservative party will have its heavy artillery ready for the new Labour leader.
These are challenging times for a party which seems to lack a clear identity. Labour needs to distance itself from everything and everyone associated with New Labour and show what the Labour party is really about. And it needs to do that quickly – if it fragments and goes for a Yorkshire CCC style civil war then there won’t be much of an opposition for the Conservatives come the 2020 general election.