Belonging to the Labour party must be challenging these days. Not content with blame and recrimination over why they lost the election, Labour seems in turmoil over the possibility that Jeremy Corbyn might become leader. First we had Blair sticking his nose in; then we had the moron jibe, and now we have party figures saying the leadership election should be halted. You couldn’t make it up.
If Labour do elect Jeremy Corbyn, then maybe the party will regain its soul. However, call me a pessimist, but despite the apparent groundswell of support for him, I still can’t see Corbyn winning – I’ve heard just too many Labour party members say he isn’t electable.
But what about Kendall, Cooper or Burnham? I don’t think they’re electable either. Labour has failed to inspire; and will continue to do so under any of this trio. And all the while Cameron & Co. are allowed to set the agenda (which they have done for at least the last six years), Labour hasn’t a chance.
So instead of looking good for Tory voters and newspapers, isn’t it time that Labour decides where it really stands? Are they progressive or conservative? More precisely, what sort of society does Labour actually want for Britain? If they could work this out then at least people might have some idea what they’re voting for. It isn’t just about looking competent, Labour needs some vision. Otherwise why should anyone bother?
But also, perhaps Labour should recognise that it doesn’t need to win absolute power to make a difference. A Labour party in some form of future coalition with Greens, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and yes, the SNP, could push through some progressive policies. Policies that would never see the light of day if the party shifts further to the right…. And if such a coalition gave us a PR voting system, it would make a Tory majority government a thing of the past.
What I’m trying to say is that Tory lite doesn’t have to be the answer. There is room, in today’s multi party system, to campaign for policies that Labour party members want, not policies that the media wants.
It won’t happen of course. Labour is still clinging to two party politics. Meanwhile the Tories must be delighted. There they go, smugly pushing ahead with one of the most nasty right-wing programmes we have ever witnessed; and the official opposition can’t even decide which way to vote over welfare.
I shall resist the temptation to describe the current Labour party as a shambles, after all, they don’t need my help doing that.