Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Britain's Labour Party and the "Splitters"

The wrangling over 'party unity' and a 'unity candidate' for the British Labour Party is futile. The membership, under rules drawn up by the previous Labour leader for leadership elections and accepted by the party, appear most likely to vote Corbyn again. The PLP wants Owen Smith because most MPs do not want Corbyn.

For all the accusation of who are 'the splitters', the fact is the party is permanently split and needs to implode no less than the Conservative party does. This could well be quite possible too once PM Theresa May fails to 'deliver' on Brexit while the UK and European economies stagnate and greater mass migration raises the stakes.

Britain needs a new political system to be able to absorb burgeoning discontent within and the two-and-a-half party Westminster model is incapable of representing the plurality of political opinion and forces within the UK. Posturing over who 'really represents' the 'soul' of Labour is utterly pointless and could well continue.

The rumours of a split that McDonnell accuses Smith of plotting could well be true, though he is using them to suggest Smith is trying to destroy the party if he and his supporters get their way and so accuse him of disloyalty. But it is impossible to see how most anti-Corbyn MPs could ever suddenly become loyal to him.

The majority of the PLP has spent the summer after Brexit-and were scheming for some time before-trying to bring Corbyn down. If ( when ) Corbyn wins again, they are not going to spin around 360 degrees and start proclaiming undying loyalty to a real leader. Most of the shadow cabinet resigned after Brexit.

If anything these MPs, mostly proteges of the Blair regime and of Brown's administration, would consider 'reclaiming' Labour. But if they lose that , then surely they are going either to have to resign en masse or would be deselected as part of a mass purge. Or else they would just have to mutiny and form a new SDP.

If that was possible, how it would work is uncertain. The biggest opposition party-the new SDP-would vote its leader and Corbyn would be leader of a rump Labour Party. In fact, the PLP is already mostly a liberal-left party rather than 'Labour' in the older sense. The only reason they want 'Labour' is because it is a recognised 'brand'.

As mostly careerists, and clones of the Blair regime's epoch of power, a great many MPs are mostly obsessed with keeping their positions and careers. If they had any genuine integrity, they would simply be prepared to renounce the party they no longer control and, once Smith is defeated, set up a new party. There is little alternative.