Tuesday, 12 July 2016

The Dubious Future of Britain's Labour Party as The Opposition

The way parts of the PLP attempted to stitch up the removal of Corbyn, through a 'secret ballot' by the NEC to vet candidates for any new leadership race, who was voted for with 60% of the members vote in 2015, was clearly 'counter-productive' and made his rivals look shabby, dogmatic and wary of democracy.

The least rival 'factions' could do is let Corbyn stand in a new election for leadership, as by not doing so the prospect is of Labour splitting or being permanently damaged. Labour could well destroy themselves over this. The Brexit Crisis proves the British political system of two and a half parties is now truly dysfunctional.

Neither Party is truly as one and they are divorced from their rank and file members. But Lucy Powell's claims that even Labour members no longer support Corbyn, so it hardly matters whether the secret ballot removes him, was Orwellian doublethink. If they no longer did so, then there was no reason why Corbyn should not stand again.

In the welter of alleged threats of violence and death and recriminations-and allegations from some Corbynites that these threats and the bricking of challenger Angela Eagle's office was a 'false flag operation' and part of a smear campaign-one thing is certain: the Labour Party could be finished as a serious opposition.

Brexit proved that the Labour Party, irrespective of Corbyn's leadership and ambiguity about the EU, could no longer reach or influence large numbers of its previous voters in northern post-industrial towns. Another Blairite such as Eagle being installed would be even worse for its future prospects than Corbyn.

That's why Powell has called for a 'fresh face' ( Owen Smith ) as Eagle is largely an obsolete remnant of a failed Blarite project, an MP trading on identity politics and stale cliched and mediocre rhetoric alone as well as being a clear hypocrite. She calls for a 'kinder' politics and yet was a leading voice for a Iraq War based on spin and deception.

But it was also hypocrisy of Powell to want to omit Corbyn from a leadership contest he won only a year ago by now switching the rules of the game after he was elected by not even wanting him to stand in a new post-referendum leadership race. It would only confirm Labour MPs are not interested in broadening their support base.

The real problem Labour has is that it would be likely neither to be able to win an election with any of the bland Blair and Brown era clones that were groomed for New Labour style politics nor with Corbyn. While voters might be attracted back to the promise of real social and economic democracy, Corbyn has questionable ideas too.

While Blair's foreign policy and his legacy is ruinous, Corbyn has been able to use the Chilcot Report to destroy Eagle's 'credibility'. However, his attempts to stake out positions on the Israel-Palestine conflict and unclear positions as regards Hamas and Hizbollah-and indeed ISIS-could likewise discredit him.

It is also questionable with the migrant crisis and the potential fallout of Brexit whether British voters are prepared to have a politician who appears to be in favour of mass migration and trying to advocate Britain's moral humanitarian duty across the globe no less than New Labour internationalists.

Even if Corbyn has a very different take on Britain's role as Global Player-one dependent upon Britain setting a moral example, renouncing the use of military force in almost all situations-it is not clear whether voters are going to see that necessarily as better than Blair's attempts to solve them through 'humanitarian intervention'.

Brexit portends a more insular Britain with many preferring an end to 'trying to put the world to right' and a foreign policy based more straightforwardly on a national security agenda at home. Theresa May, the new Conservative PM, is certainly going to reinforce the security message against Corbyn's 'irresponsibility'.

Corbyn has shown radical ideas with which to challenge Trident missile renewal, the rationales or pretexts given to British foreign policies in the Middle East and the dubious benefits of alliances with autocracies in the region. But he lacks the flair and charisma as a leader to make people understand why it matters.

On the contrary, because of this Corbyn's anti-war stances too often come across as intransigent lines and positions dictated by ideological rectitude.Then there is his open past enthusiasm for Hugo Chavez's Venezuela ,a nation that has collapsed into economic chaos, political strife and potential civil war.

Given Corbyn's opposition to Trident, Britain's 'special relationship' with the US and antipathy towards NATO, with the rising prospect of economic volatility undermining May's government, if he were to lead Labour as the only opposition, UKIP could surge and rightists could start to advocate strong measures against him.

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