The 23rd of February 2017 was set-up to be the point from which a ‘fresh’ assault against the current Labour leadership would take place. Two precarious Labour seats, that could be best described as ‘in decline’, had been selected and their sitting MPs suitably compensated for quitting. Staunch Leave areas in the disastrous EU referendum, Labour’s committee for selecting candidates chose two Remain candidates to stand.
Even in Stoke-on-Trent Central, where Labour held the seat, they had been set up to fail and it was only the fact that Labour were running against the disgraced liar leader of UKIP that probably saved the loss; Paul Nuttall reducing UKIP’s vote from 7041 in 2015 to 5233 last night. Labour winning was not the plan.
Much in the media has been made of Labour historic control of both seats, the narrative that has been peddled has been that both were ‘safe’ Labour seats, with the implication that if Labour lost them then it would be a judgement, unignorable, of the current Labour leadership; Corbyn’s Waterloo. And so it has been … but Corbyn has stubbornly turned out to be Wellington.
From a launch pad for a refreshed assault on the leadership, Labour’s ‘wreckers’ have merely strengthened the Tories’ hand in Parliament, at the expense of the British public. Once again, Labour’s ‘wreckers’ have handed the advantage to a disastrous Tory government in their vainglorious pursuit of personal advancement and the dog whistles of their millionaire benefactors (does anyone have any real clue as to why Tom Watson has received £500,000 from Max Mosley over this past year?). Just as Labour’s ‘wreckers’ handed the Tories the advantage when they were at their most weak (up to that point), following the loss of the EU referendum, with their ignoble leadership challenge, they have shown the same disregard of the public’s and the Labour Party’s best interests with this latest stunt that has so dramatically backfired on them.
Sure, the media will try and salvage something from the disaster of Labour winning in Stoke by focusing on Copeland but they embarrass themselves with illiterate commentary as they do so.
And what of the rest of the UK?
Voters across the northern border must be looking down upon their English neighbours with despair. If Scotland needed just one more nudge towards independence then the result in Copeland compounds the shoving they’ve been receiving since the day after ‘No’ claimed such a rueful victory. If England can still vote for a Tory party so disastrous, so damaging, so vandalous, so scandalous, so deceitful, nasty, craven, malicious, weak and pandering, independence is the ONLY answer. There is something very wrong in England’s politics and other nations need to quarantine themselves from its self-destructive nature. A lesson I’m sure Copeland will regretfully learn in due course.
As for Labour itself? The leadership have the same problem that Labour has faced since 2007, a group within and associated with Labour who are hell bent on rotting the party and opposing any leadership that does not hold them close. It is clear that the current leadership are attempting to deal with them but it is equally clear that some people fly Labour’s flag as one of convenience and they either lack the acumen to see the potential repercussions of their actions or simply don’t care. What future they should have in the party seems clear. If Stoke was set-up to be Corbyn’s Waterloo then it is my hope that Copeland is theirs.