Wednesday, 2 December 2015

A split in Labour?

What is to be done? Here is Iain Martin, here is the Economist and here is Steve Richards in the Independent each talking about a split-off, moderate Labour Party. Iain Martin is discussing the Tories' internal travails (they have Corbyn to thank for the fact that a sex-and-suicide scandal is largely being ignored), while the others are discussing Corbyn directly, but they overlap on this point.

This is the Economist: "In any logical political system, the answer would be for the Labour Party to split. It is increasingly two parties: a moderate, instrumental one and a hard-left, expressive one. They could exist much more happily, perhaps even more harmoniously, were they organisationally separate." Richards agrees: "for both sides a split is neater than the current nightmare. Corbyn could lead his movement for change without having to spend 90 per cent of his time managing an insurrectionary parliamentary party that is opposed to the movement and the change. Despairing Labour MPs would be liberated from their torment by starting afresh."

And what about the prospects for such a spin-off? This is Martin: "The Conservative leadership won a stunning victory in May. But the Tory “brand” for want of a better term, has deep residual problems and is only ever five minutes away from a sleaze-related disaster. Voters – several million of them – made a practical binary choice when faced with the prospect of Ed Miliband as Prime Minister. That does not mean they love the Tories. Good grief, no. The Tory party remains remote. If a breakaway moderate Labour party ever got going, and the economy malfunctioned, the voters would switch quicker than you can say Major Dan Jarvis ...".

Imagine Farage gone and Cameron gone - this imaginary Jarvis-led party would be very attractive to a lot of people, especially if the main alternative was an Osborne, May or Johnson-led Conservative Party. (On a slightly different but related note, here is an interesting piece by Janan Ganesh in the FT suggesting that if Britain sees itself as being at way -  if politics is about big issues, and not just Major-Blair-Cameron economic tweaking - then the appetite for heavyweights or statesmen as leaders could grow.) The problem, as always, is how to get from here to there.

No comments:

Post a Comment