D-day for Copeland and Stoke-on Trent Central by-elections fast approaches and we are witnessing the ‘establishment’ machine getting into gear to write the narrative to unseat the current Labour leadership. The Mirror have already run with a couple of stories that either demonstrate that they employ the most imbecilic of ‘journalists’, possessing no political acumen or basic grasps of stuff like facts or figures or it is part of the latest wave to oust Corbyn.
Neither article reports the truth that both by-elections are exceedingly marginal, have been trending away from Labour for some time and have deteriorated further under the MPs who quit the seats to force the two by-elections (an idea inspired by the resignation of Zac Goldsmith?). If Labour hold either seat it will be an impressive victory for the party but that is not what was planned.
It is no accident that two of Labour’s marginal seats were quit in close succession, fortunately we do not have to worry about the MPs who quit the seats as they have received sufficient remuneration in the form of roles within the nuclear industry and a sizable taxpayer funded role. But what are the other pieces of the latest attempt to undermine the current Labour leadership?
It was always expected that Labour would suffer catastrophic election defeats under Corbyn and those could be used as the pretext for a vote of no confidence and a leadership challenge. The defeats were stubbornly unforthcoming so the result of the EU referendum was used as a proxy instead, with the expectation that Jeremy Corbyn could be bullied into resigning. Corbyn refused to betray the mandate bestowed upon him by the party membership and we all know what followed. Mandate number two but at the expense of Labour being tainted in the wider public’s perception by the actions of those attempting to seize control of Labour to return it to pandering to the politics of wealthy benefactors. How else do you secure such favourable terms for money to buy your home?
We were told that the dissenters within Labour would not give up and they haven’t. This latest plan is quite simple, sow confusion and doubt over the leadership’s position over triggering Article 50 and sacrifice two marginal Labour seats that were to be lost in the Tories boundary changes for 2020. If the Labour leadership would not oblige with actual election defeats then Labour’s entryists would have to create some. It is these entryists hope that enough of the membership that support Corbyn and act as a bulwark against the retaking of the party by Labour’s ‘wreckers’ will be suitably confused by their efforts over the Article 50 votes to weaken his support. It was expected that both Copeland and Stoke will be lost and there are attempts to portray both as safe Labour seats. A deal was apparently struck between the Tories and UKIP, to take a seat each, Stoke for UKIP and Copeland for the Tories. And so the pieces were set.
The best made plans.
UKIP’s leader and MEP, Paul Nuttall, has been exposed during the Stoke campaign for being a liar and a disgrace and, potentially, a criminal. His unmasking has reduced the odds on Labour losing in Stoke but it is still a precarious position that Labour holds.
A key local issue in Copeland is that of the Tory plans to close A&E and maternity services, confirmed by Theresa May during a visit to the constituency. Again, with Labour’s candidate having close ties to the NHS in Copeland, it has raised Labour’s chances of holding the seat but it is still as precarious as Stoke.
The plotters within Labour gambled with gifting the Tories/UKIP two precious Parliamentary votes in their attempts to take control of Labour and they have watched the Tories and UKIP trying their hardest to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. In a vain attempt to undermine Labour so close to election day, Tony Blair visited upon us to rally anti Leave sentiments, knowing full well that both by-election areas voted Leave during the EU referendum. It was a clumsy and obvious move by Labour’s Right talisman that has, hopefully, done little damage but a sign of just how desperate Labour’s usurpers are watching the Torieskip potentially throwing away their victories.
So , what can we expect?
If Labour destroy all expectations and hold both seats then I’d expect them to barely feature in the ‘news’ at all. Labour’s usurpers will move on to their next plan of attack.
If Labour lose one of the seats then expect to see that spun into all manner of doomsday prediction headlines for the Labour leadership but it’s unlikely it will be sufficient for a leadership challenge. Possibly we’ll see some calls for Corbyn to resign and maybe we’ll see some Labour resignations. I would not be surprised to see a Labour MP resigning the Labour whip and standing as an independent. Maybe someone like Angela Eagle.
If Labour lose both seats then expect all hell to break lose, calls for Corbyn to resign, wall to wall media coverage. Endless. Labour’s usurpers aren’t just trying to convince the public, they need to convince their PLP colleagues because they will want a mass walk out like they achieved in June last year. If they can get a sizable number of the PLP to walk out again we may well see a party split. Behind closed doors, that will be the agenda and will be the pressure applied during the bullying of Corbyn.
The media are already doing their part, Labour’s dross have been doing their bit, we just have to wait and see if the voters of Copeland and Stoke-on-Trent Central play ball and act as the patsies to put the interests of the donors to Labour’s wreckers ahead of the British public’s best interests. Just as the EU referendum was treated as a proxy battle for the Tory leadership, at the expense of the British public, so Copeland and Stoke-on-Trent Central have been set up to facilitate a challenge to Labour’s leadership, regardless of the cost. All neatly collated, edited and rounded out in my little tome…