There’s a lot of nonsense coming from the Labour backbenches again – and from the usual culprits.
Angela Eagle’s claim that the Labour leadership battle was about personality, not policies, is ridiculous on two levels.
Firstly, she doesn’t appear to have a personality, and mentioning this is a grave mistake. It is reminiscent of the moment in Blackadder the Third when Rowan Atkinson, playing Mr Blackadder, puts Baldrick forward as candidate for the Parliamentary seat of Dunny-on-the-Wold. “We will be fighting this election on policies, not personality,” he says.
“Because our candidate doesn’t have a personality.”
So it is with Angela Eagle, no personality – at least, not one that anybody in their right mind would support. Look at her treatment of her own Constituency Labour Party.
And Owen Smith, the MP who supplanted her as challenger to Jeremy Corbyn, turned out to have a personality that most people found unmitigatedly vile. This Writer received considerable criticism for pointing this out, early in the campaign – and exactly no apologies after I was shown to be right. The critics just shut up. Funny how people just can’t admit their mistakes…
As for policies – perhaps Ms Eagle is having a memory lapse and should be reminded that Owen Smith’s policy platform was almost exactly the same as Jeremy Corbyn’s. There were tiny differences – for example, I seem to recall Mr Smith supported Trident. Otherwise, the same.
The reason? Mr Smith wanted to pretend he was on the same side as Corbyn’s supporters, but a better organiser than Mr Corbyn himself. But we all saw straight through him. He would have ditched Labour policies and returned to the silly, disjointed, fake-Tory ‘triangulation’ that lost Labour two general elections and Scotland.
Ms Eagle’s lament, that Labour is only appealing to its core vote, is pathetic. Labour’s core vote – the number of people voting Labour because it is Labour – is increasing and the party should work on expanding it still further. There is nothing wrong with that.
Her claim that “big beasts” who are now on the backbenches should devote their time to finding ways of dealing with the major issues of the time is risible. When they were on the frontbenches, did they take any time to listen to the left-wingers behind them? No.
So why would the left-wingers, now on the frontbenches, bother to pay attention to their tired old sub-Tory ideas now? It doesn’t make sense.
Nor does the claim that any of the people Ms Eagle mentioned qualify as “big beasts”. With a few very minor exceptions, they were mewling kittens throughout most of the Coalition Parliament, and no challenge at all to the Conservatives.
Labour’s challenge is to bring politics back to the people, after decades of neoliberal babble in which the political debate was taken away from the public to become the province of the privileged.
Jeremy Corbyn is succeeding very well in achieving this, and it is up to the new members and supporters he has attracted into the party in his first year as leader to continue this important work.
Real people need to learn how the real decisions of politics really affect their lives. Then they will be able to understand how politics needs to change – for the good of everybody in the UK.
That’s a better choice than any of the misinformation we’re likely to hear from Angela Eagle or her backbench “big beast” friends.
Labour’s leadership election was “mainly about personalities” when it should have been about policy, Angela Eagle has said.
The former Labour minister triggered the leadership contest against Jeremy Corbyn before pulling out, leaving Owen Smith a clear run at taking him on. But the bid backfired and Mr Corbyn strengthened his hold on the party with 62 per cent of the vote.
Ms Eagle insisted she has no regrets about triggering the contest and suggested that senior Labour figures on the backbenches will have to draw up a new vision for the party if it is going to have a chance of getting back into power,
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