Saturday, 16 July 2016

Deal Breaking

The Granita Pact is a standing joke in the North East, where everyone knows that the real deal was struck at County Hall in Durham, a building that in those days still had a reasonable claim to be a centre of the Labour Movement rather than an object of its protest.

But there was a deal, and if it had gone the other way, in favour of the man with such deep Labour roots that he had been assigned to teach the completely apolitical Tony Blair the basics when they were both new MPs, then Jeremy Corbyn would not now be the Leader of the Labour Party.

Nor would he be so if Bryan Gould had beaten John Smith in 1992.

It is also common knowledge up here that Blair only decided to stay in Parliament at all when he heard that the Leadership had come up due to the death of Smith, who had literally refused to have Peter Mandelson in any room with him.

If Gordon Brown had indeed become Leader, then Blair would not have sought to retain his seat at Sedgefield. By the way, the official story of how he ever came by that seat is quite beyond laughable.

When Smith died, Labour, which was already absolutely guaranteed to win the next General Election by an enormous margin, gave its Leadership to an utterly unqualified man who knew nothing about the Labour Party except that he did not like it very much.

We all know what happened, both economically and internationally. That was what was always bound to happen.

The only surprising thing about the present backlash is that it has taken so long to occur.

If John McDonnell had made it onto the ballot against Brown, then either he would have won, albeit very narrowly (and think back to 2007 if you assume that would have been wildly improbable), or else he would have taken so large a proportion of the vote, certainly 40 per cent and possibly 45, that the whole tone and character of the policy debate would have been changed dramatically.

Brown's unopposed ascent, and the fact that he was Gordon Brown, kept a lid on that, as did the election of Ed rather than David Miliband.

But the lid is off now.

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