The apparent rebellion against Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour Party is doomed to failure, according to Simon Wren-Lewis on his Mainly Macro blog.
He reckons the clashes between Labour members that are currently being highlighted by the Tory press are caused by a minority of members he kindly describes as being Social Democrats, against the wishes of most of their colleagues of the same political persuasion, who want compromise because there is no time to create a candidate who can win an election.
The chances of replacing Corbyn before the election and still winning it appear incredibly slim. A successor to Corbyn has to emerge who can both appear to share the spirit and strategy that led Corbyn to victory, but at the same time is capable of uniting the parliamentary party behind them. They need to have time to establish a personality and media acumen that can enable them to get away with standing against a Labour leader and still win over enough of his original supporters to win a leadership contest. All this, and still have time to unite the party enough to win the next election.
An attempted coup would inevitably split the Labour Party, rather than uniting it, because it would ignore the reality demonstrated by the leadership election, of what the party’s members want from their leaders.
Given the leadership election result, those on the right would lose in any battle to control the party. If that happened, the lessons of the past (which this group draw freely upon when arguing that the current situation is doomed to fail at the polls) suggest that a split would be disastrous in the short term, and those that split to the right would eventually fail.
However attempting to openly sabotage the current leadership is also in danger of being counterproductive, as it allows the leadership to use this as an excellent excuse for any failure at the polls.
Party members will be rightly appalled that at a time when the mistakes of the current government were becoming increasing apparent others seemed more concerned with overturning their leadership vote.
The harsh reality, which some Labour MPs seem unable to accept, is that if their pessimism about Corbyn’s chances in the polls is correct, the next election is almost certainly lost.
Take note of the “if” that I have highlighted in the last sentence. It is by no means a certainty. And in any case, it seems the ‘social democrats’ (or Blairites, moderates, intolerants, right-wingers… they are picking up nicknames faster than they are gaining any ground) haven’t got a leg to stand on because the policies of the ‘socialist’ leadership are more or less in line with theirs in any case:
The programme that will be hammered out between the leadership and its MPs over the next year or so will be pretty social democratic. There is little in John McDonnell’s latest speech that is socialist rather than social democratic. For the great majority of Labour MPs, their best strategy for winning back the party is to be patient and let Corbyn fail on his own terms without their help.
Charming. And this from a man with a position on John McDonnell’s economic advisory committee.
There’s no way of knowing that Corbyn will fail, of course. He was elected with a very strong mandate and increasing numbers of people decide to support him every day.
The clever part of Professor Wren-Lewis’s advice is that it takes this into account; if Corbyn’s critics leave him alone, he will either fail on his own terms – in which case they get what they want and a new leader will be elected, or he will win – in which case they get what they want: A Labour government.
All this backstabbing and bitching will only make them unpopular.
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