The British Labour Party leadership race is generating more headlines than anyone could have imagined. This surge in coverage is thanks to the rise of perceived rank outsider – the left wing MP Jeremy Corbyn
Some senior Labour politicians supporting the other 3 candidates – Liz Kendall, Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper – are livid at the possiblilty of any left wing politician leading the party.
- Former PM Tony Blair – “if Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader it won’t be a defeat like 1983 or 2015 at the next election. It will mean rout, possibly annihilation.” Thanks Tony. That’s so counterproductive.
- Alan Johnson (supports Cooper) has warned the party members to “end this madness”. [I like Alan Johnson. Yet Johnson has had numerous chances to run for the leadership since 2010 and chosen not to do so. If Johnson had showed enough guts to run for the leadership in 2010 then maybe we would not be having this tear-up in the Labour Party.]
- Alastair Campbell is in ABC mode – anyone but Corbyn.
- Tristram Hunt MP (backs Kendall) warns against a Crobyn lefty motives.
- Chuka Umunna MP (backs Kendall) said he would not work in a Corbyn shadow Cabinet. A bit rich from a once leadership contender who bailed out in a feeble manner.
Credit to Corbyn for putting his hat in the ring in the first place and staying the course. Many felt he had no chance of even coming 4th! But he has impressed on the campaign trail.
Corbyn has done what few Labour centrist politicians tend not to do – answer questions directly. Corbyn’s elevation to front runner status has been helped by the bland campaigns of the other 3 candidates.
I expected a stronger challenge from Burnham especially. Cooper’s campaign was too complacent and seemed to rely on the premiss that Labour would vote for its first female leader.
Other senior Labour MPs such as Caroline Flint, Tom Watson and Stella Creasy et al went the “not-me-gov” route and are running for the deputy leadership post. Watson -” Gordon Brown’s ninja assassin” is the clear leader in the polls for deputy. Watson, the man many say who brought Tony Blair down as PM.
Although Corbyn’s been an MP since 1983 his approach has been refreshing and has become a revelation despite his advanced political years. The other 3 contenders are younger (under 46) but it is the 66 year old Corbyn’s message that seems to be appealing to the average Labour supporters.
Corbyn has mostly given straight answers to the questions. I have never seen Cooper give a straight simple answer from the time she became a senior member in Labour. That’s been frustrating. Burnham tries to be clear to a certain level and Liz Kendall’s waffingly can be a turn off as in the clip below.
In the end if the polls are still strong for Corbyn this week [latest poll has Corbyn at 53%] I expect Liz Kendall will pull out. Cooper and Burnham may do a deal for one to withdraw and leave it to a two horse race to prevent a Corbyn victory.
Closing date for votes from the Labour members is 10 September but the Burnham/Cooper camps cannot leave such a deal to the last minute.
Will the Daily Mail, Telegraph and Mail on Sunday come to the rescue of Campbell’s ABC plea?
As a Labour supporter I am disappointed with the poor cailbre of leadership contenders for such a major British political party. There are others in the party that were capable of being more effective and chosed not to run. Thus giving Corbyn such an easy run against his ill prepared opponents.
Before the race started all the Westminster political journalists felt Corbyn’s left leaning views would make him the court jester in the race. Corbyn has proved the complete opposite.
Modern British politics is an unpredictable concept. Who would have thought:
- Nick Clegg would become Deputy Prime Minister
- Labour would have just 1 MP in Scotland by May 2015
- Lifelong enemies Sinn Féin and Democratic Unionist Party would share power in Northern Ireland continuously since 2005-06.
In hindsight should former leader Ed Miliband have made better use of Jeremy when in charge? Miliband/Labour may not have been annihilated in Scotland.
If Corbyn manages to win then expect his Labour party enemies to brush up on their Frank Underwood inspired plots in order remove him within 2 years. Rules or no rules.