Ditching Corbyn now: probably the daftest political idea in the world

As I write Labour politicians are defecting from the shadow cabinet at a rate faster than people left the Titanic. That analogy is flawed as it seems most people behaved rather honourably in that bygone age (although First Class women passengers had the highest survival rate, Third Class women had a higher survival rate than First Class men). The reasons for this mass desertion are many but fundamentally they come down to Corbyn’s leadership during the referendum campaign and his … Read more

Ivan Lewis sacked as Shadow NI Secretary

Well that esclated quickly Earlier today I offered to remain as Shadow Sec of State for NI for the time being in the light of the current political crisis.(1) — Ivan Lewis (@IvanLewis_MP) September 13, 2015 I thought it was the right thing to do. Jeremy has decided to offer the role to someone else. I wish my successor well at this crucial time. — Ivan Lewis (@IvanLewis_MP) September 13, 2015 UPDATE Corbyn source says @IvanLewis_MP not sacked, offer to … Read more

“Corbyn owes less to his own merits than to the weaknesses of the alternatives…”

Before I sign off for the weekend, this from Chris Dillow on the Corbyn victory: Was this a victory for Jeremy Corbyn or a defeat for the Westminster Bubble? I ask because of three different but related things. One is organizational. Many New Labour figures supported the introduction (pdf)of registered supporters as a means of weakening the influence of activists and union leaders – of avoiding “stitch-ups by special interest groups”. It turns out that that innovation bit them on … Read more

Labour’s Leaderships: Entertaining political psychodrama or a struggle with the protean reality of 21C Politics?

So, normally I hate futuring. But leaving aside what the polls say, the betting markets are convinced Corbyn is home and hosed as the new Labour Party leader. He may even come in at anywhere between 60% and 70% of the party electorate. The party electorate as opposed to the party membership. As William Hague took rather too much delight in telling the Daily Telegraph’s readership, those aren’t the same: If there was an NVQ Level 1 in How To … Read more

Nationalisation is always a disaster: another truism in need of challenge?

Corbynmaina has gone a little quiet recently centrally due to repetition. Personally I am still unsure whether he will win or not. However, after having looked at some of the potentially questionable truisms regarding the unelectability of Labour in 1983 and the disaster which was the 1970s, I thought, to take our minds off the current excitement of UUP politics, a look at another truism would be reasonable. Another supposed suicidal policy of Corbyn’s is nationalisation: he has specifically mentioned … Read more

Top of @UKLabour’s new Deputy ‘to do’ list is to sort out the party’s governance system

‘Don’t mistake a mass meeting for a mass movement’ -Mick McGahey, former VP of the NUM It’s probably too harsh to invoke the ancient proverb that runs “a fish rots from the head down” when it comes to the Labour party. But it is probably true that the difficulties in their leadership race is based on an attempt to handle the disruption of the new connective technologies that allow voters to talk through them and past them. The key problem for everyone (ie, not just … Read more

Burnham “We were offering little gimmicky policies designed to change a couple of days headlines”

I was on Radio Leicester on a semi regular slot I have with Jonathan Lampon to comment on his interview with Andy Burnham. Two things worth highlighting. Burnham is probably the only one who (albeit indirectly) identifies Labour’s most proximate difficulty which was the last failed campaign. He notes Labour didn’t have enough to say to make the broad appeal needed to get into government. In recent times we have had a more shallow form of politics, retail politics its … Read more

The Labour Party in Northern Ireland: the first ripple in a new wave of electoral dynamics?

Craig Harrison writes for us about the Labour leadership and the possibility of the party contesting elections in Northern Ireland This week, Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham made a public commitment to review the party’s policy on standing candidates in Northern Ireland, arguing: “I want the people of Northern Ireland to make their voices heard in the Labour Party, and if I am elected leader, I’ll ensure that the party is listening”. If we ever want to see a normalization … Read more

“there’s a great spreading middle-aged backend sitting on our politics and our economics…”

Coming up briefly for air on the Labour Leadership competition, this recently came to my attention… The killer point by Will Self is here: I think a lot of people who backing Corbyn are young and what young people see is that there’s a great spreading middle-aged backend sitting on our politics and our economics at the moment and they want to readjust things around that. Bingo. Oh, and there’s this excoriation of an apparent nascent modern myth (H/T Paulo) … Read more

Questions for slugger readership on the Labour Election

Mick is on holiday and has asked me to do the following: Clearly the Labour leadership election has been the source of many stories both on slugger and elsewhere (helped by both it being the silly season and the interesting nature of the campaign). Unusually for such an election, any of us can vote by becoming a registered supporter (see link here). To try to get people to think about it and to try to see their reasoning we would … Read more

Ideological Purity: Electoral Irrelevance?

This week, both Helen Lewis of The New Statesman, and Rafael Behr of the Guardian, have written very insightful pieces about the current debate raging within the Labour party about the ideological stance and policy positions of each of the candidates in the leadership contest, and the future direction of the party more generally. Essentially the current tension in the party is between principle and power; ideology and electability. After May’s devastating election result, the Labour Party has turned in … Read more

Return of Blair: “This is what I call the theory that the electorate is stupid…”

So, in a world of blandness, an old New Labour blade returned to a rather more public sofa at a Progress event today, coinciding with a poll that suggests the Labour masses prefer a little old left Labour grit in their leadership cocktail… Here’s some clips from YouTube before the main event… “We should use defeat as an opportunity….” “This is what I call the theory that the electorate is stupid…” “So yes, move on. But don’t, for heaven’s sake, … Read more

Labour’s defeat: the future is rarely as bleak as it seems

One of the advantages of reaching middle age is that, provided one has a good memory, one can see lots of things happening again. I have never been interested in betting: partly a good Calvinist upbringing but also the fact that aged 9 or 10 on a Sunday School outing I put money into gaming machines in Barry’s in Portrush and noted (unsurprising with hindsight) that I got less out than I put in. I have just once since been … Read more

Leadership elections – the Labour way

Strangely, the (Daily) Telegraph seem to be leading the way on converage post-Labour’s leadership election. First they had Ed Miliband’s article in Sunday’s paper, and this morning they printed a behind-the-scenes look at the choreography and emotions of the announcement and aftermath. Brother David was focussed on winning. After a quick discussion, one of the group was chosen to warn David to prepare himself for the worst. Would it not be wise, the aide suggested, for him to think about … Read more