I think the civil war in the middle of the Labour Party is profoundly dangerous for our nation. Labour has a constitutional role to play in our two party system. By fighting among themselves they are not keeping the Tories on their toes. Osborne should have been torn to shreds, but silly games meant that the only thing the public will remember from the Autumn Statement is Mao’s little red book.
I don’t blame Corbyn. I think he is a nice guy, with solid principles, who has found himself out of his depth. He is surrounded by numpties, who don’t seem capable of running a national political party.
I don’t entirely blame the Parliamentary Party – though I take what is happening as a warning against the membership choosing a candidate that the Parliamentary Party has little respect for. IDS was selected by the Tory membership, and he was a disaster as leader. But the Tory Party didn’t implode in quite the way the Labour Party appears to be.
I think the Parliamentary Party – well some of them – are truly fearful that Mr Corbyn’s policies won’t win them an election. They don’t want to see five years of Tory Govt (any more than Corbyn does) and they fear that if Corbyn goes on they will lose in 2020. They’re protecting their jobs and, in their mind, their party.
It must also be really galling to be told by people who voted Green or Socialist Party, or Left Unity or TUSC at the last election that suddenly if you aren’t a Corbynite you are effectively a Tory. I know that during the IDS era I had a Tory association officer (now with UKIP, ironically) tell me that I should go and join New Labour. I nearly hit him. So I can understand why John Woodcock and other MPs are quite so quick to go to the media. They must really be angry with those they perceive are ruining their party.
The civil war inside the Labour Party may be mildly amusing for some Tories, deeply worrying for others, but for people like me, it is frightening. I don’t frankly care who runs the Labour Party. I don’t frankly care what policies they pursue. But they have to get on with the day job; they have to take the fight to the Tories.
This country demands any Government is kept on its toes by a strong opposition; an opposition that could be considered an alternative Government. Labour currently trails the Tories by 11 points. Only 25% of people think Corbyn is doing a good job as leader; 46% of people think disagree, with the remaining 30% undecided.
While Labour tears itself apart, there is no credible opposition. It certainly doesn’t seem like this is a Government with a majority of 12.