Sunday, 26 June 2016

Project Corbyn Makes Its Move



It would be tempting to think Jeremy Corbyn is currently hunkering down in the Winchester with a cold pint and waiting for it all to blow over. This, however, could be project Corbyn transitioning to the next stage and all it going to plan. His Shadow cabinet has always been a rainbow coalition of the hard left, soft left, Blairites and moderates. Jeremy Corbyn's complete polarisation from David Cameron placed him on the remain side of the EU debate and it was absolutely clear to even the casual observer that this was a not a decision of conscience but one of political calculation. 

His EU campaigning was lacklustre, indifferent and apathetic and his true Euro scepticism was only just below the surface. He ignored the open and vocal criticism following the Brexit result. The resignation of Hilary Benn did not have to result in his sacking. For the sake of unity he could have been kept Benn in the Shadow cabinet forcing to resign in protest instead. Protesting to his boss in a private phone call would have been a clear sign to the Labour Leader that he was not about to resign on his own accord. If his magnificent speech in Parliament over military action against Daesh did not make him resign then an expression over his lack of confidence would not have done.   Instead Jeremy Corbyn seized the initiative and he would have been abundantly aware his sacking would lead to mass resignations leaving either the ultra loyal, such as Emily Thornberry or career driven like Andy Burnham. And this plays right into Corbyn's hands. 

The Labour Party rules are clear about what any potential challenger needs to do when there is no vacancy but there are no rules instructing the incumbent leader to do anything. Some comparisons are being made with Tony Benn's challenge of Neil Kinnock's leadership in 1988 but there are few similarities. This was a Labour Party which had just expelled militants, not welcomed them with open arms, this was a Labour Party which voted by block votes. Today's Labour party is one where the members have the say and Jeremy Corbyn has a massive mandate from the membership which has since been swelled by ever more Corbynites. A challenge to his leadership is bound to lose and will embolden him to pursue with ever more vigour his hard left socialist agenda. 

Before he was elected leader I wrote about the dangers of a Corbyn leadership (tory-story.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/corbyn-wont-run-country-but-he-can-ruin.html)and it maybe entering the next stage of project Corbyn. A blood letting of the moderates will give Jeremy Corbyn the space he needs to appoint a cabinet of his preference rather than one of political expedience. In my previous piece I was, and still am, very concerned that locally this will be bad news.

Labour will from this point be seen as a hard left party with an ultra socialist agenda. There will be more resignations and, at constituency level there will be deselections as the energised Momentum  makes real progress in taking over the Constituencies and selecting ever more left wing candidates. With Andy Burnham declaring is unequivocal support for Jeremy Corbyn the first visible sign of Project Corbyn part 2 will be his election as a Corbynite Mayor of Greater Manchester in charge of Police and Justice, Transport, Health and Housing. 

Project Corbyn will eventually run it's course and wither but until then it has never been a more critical time for a strong unifying leader of the Conservative party to make sure we stay in Government and spare the country from the extremes of a left wing administration. The new Conservative Leader needs to have broad appeal as possible, I wrote in Conservative Home (www.conservativehome.com/never-give-up-on-the-coalfields). Ordinary, non-political, working people from all backgrounds must be able to identify with Conservative policies and this may not be any of the candidates so far being touted.

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