In road cycle racing there is a technique employed by teams where a team will send a rider from their team ahead in a breakaway, often on mountain stages. The intention is that the team leader can make a surprise attack late in the stage, when their main contenders are isolated, the attacking team leader can launch themselves up the road and their teammate up the road ahead will sit up and wait for them to catch them up. With a fresh team mate to make the pace, the attacking team leader can work with his team mate to either break any of their rivals that have been able to go with them or to work to increase the team leader’s lead.
I guess, in politics, the equivalent would be one political side having a political commentator appear to be a supporter of their opponent while their opponent is in a strong position. They leave that commentator out there, seemingly supporting the opponent and then, at a time when their opponent could be vulnerable, the commentator sits up and turns on their opponent. It would be easy to think that someone like Owen Jones has played that role of ‘domestique’ for Labour’s ‘wreckers’. Jones supported Corbyn’s leadership in the beginning but has, definitely, in the past week, turned on Corbyn.It would seem to be a fitting description of Owen’s role …but, I think it’s unlikely.
Primarily, the domestique sits up when their team leader feels they can go on the attack and, for all of Owen’s change of heart, there is no contender standing fit to stand. Despite Jess Philips oddly timed (to coincide with her book release?) announcements that she would consider standing for leader, there are no legitimate leadership alternatives. Not just because there are no other people that the membership will vote for to take over from Corbyn but none are making those noises.
Isn’t it odd. For all of the talk about Corbyn being no good and how Corbyn should resign, there are no MPs standing and actually saying that they would make a better job of being leader. The PLP have not chosen a candidate that they feel should be leader. At least not publicly. It is obvious that the new ‘coup’ is actually just like the first one. Labour’s ‘wreckers’ expect that Corbyn will resign. In fact, you could argue that they are resigned to that fact. But, whereas with the first ‘coup’, there was an expectation that Corbyn would be forced to resign, now there is merely a hope that he will resign.
If Corbyn does not lead Labour into the next general election then there are several things I would expect to happen:
- The majority of Labour’s membership will walk away from the party. I would hope that they would join another party like the Greens, rather than simply walking away from politics altogether. The membership that have been enthused by Corbyn’s leadership should carry that engagement with them and put their shoulders to the effort of finding political representation elsewhere if Labour rejects them in favour of a rerun of New Labour.
- The Labour Party will experience a repeat of their results in Scotland in 2015 but across the UK. Labour will be as the Lib Dems were in 2015. Labour will go from being the largest supported political party in Western Europe to one of the least. Labour will be door-nail dead in Scotland.
- The LibDems will not inherit exiting Labour members. The LibDems have already signaled that they are no longer the ‘alternative’ vote they once were. The LibDems have become the party reliant on the scraps from the Tory table and ‘New Labour’ donors like Sainsbury. During last years Labour leadership campaigning, the LibDems declared themselves the port in a storm for Smith voters if they chose to leave Labour following a Corbyn win.
Corbyn has stated that he is going nowhere. That, at least, is reassuring. But, candidly, if Labour don’t excise itself of its ‘wreckers’ then Labour will not win the next general election. Labour might be able to gain enough seats to form a coalition government but not a majority one, which risks the Tories being able to form a coalition government with the LibDems again, presuming disgruntled Conservative voters.swap Blue to Yellow. So what are Labour to do?
No one in their right mind believes the attacks from within Labour will cease until the ‘wreckers’ get their way and are handed the keys to the executive washroom again. While the internal attacks continue, Labour will never be able to regain its standing with the general public. In his recent change of heart over the Labour leadership, Jones appears to not address this at all, which suggests that he does not believe the ‘wreckers’ can or will be dealt with. To an element of the uninformed country, Labour’s problem is Corbyn. The element of the country think that because it is what the media have told them, reinforced by ‘wreckers’ within Labour. The general public don’t know a ‘wrecker’ from a deck chair and could care even less. The ‘wreckers’ are opportunist parasites, hellbent on representing the interests of their wealthy paymasters and they don’t much care what flag they sail under. Labour have been unfortunate to have attracted and not dealt with their share of them; the Conservative party has been over-ridden by them and the LibDems have seemingly followed suit. British politics is festooned by the dross, it is why people were so enthusiastic to elect Corbyn .as Labour leader; to counter the tide. Corbyn has so far refused to neglect the mandate he has been twice gifted to lead Labour because he knows what is waiting to engulf Labour if he does. I suspect Jones chooses not to talk about it, not because he’s a domestique for their cabal, because he thinks that Labour cannot extract their claws from the party, thinks the only thing to do is cede the party to them, and would not want to risk Labour’s possible chance at election victory post-Corbyn by the public finding out just what sort of people would be running Labour.
The problem is not Labour’s alone, it is all of ours. British politics has been corrupted by the interests and egos of wealthy self-interested, self-serving people; people who do not judge the opinions, values, voices, of 100,000s or millions of us worth while. Those millions of people, those us, are the people that Corbyn’s Labour represent. I wrote in my very first blog post:
I don’t care if Jeremy Corbyn is leader of the Labour party, I didn’t vote for him in last year’s leadership election, but I have been very puzzled as to why he has faced such opposition from within Labour from day one of his leadership and I will vote for him as leader if there is a leadership challenge now. His greatest crime appears to be that he is a leader who refuses to make a deal with Rupert Murdoch or offer Murdoch concessions.
Corbyn should continue to stand as leader and the likes of Watson and McNicol should do their jobs to protect Labour from its internal attackers. Whatever pressure needs to be applied to remove the ‘wreckers’ should be, if it can’t then Labour has no future anyway.
Unlike Jones, I think that if there’s an early general election, with Corbyn still at the helm of Labour, Labour will hold the majority of its traditional seats, gain a few from the Tories but most likely be forced to lead a coalition government that could well involve the LibDems and the SNP; which, in the interests of maintaining the United Kingdom, is the only realistic outcome that would steady Scottish hands from voting Yes in the next IndyRef. Jones doesn’t like that risk, which is fair enough but, from my perspective, the alternative is no alternative.