Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Left To Itself?

And so inflation soars away. But remember, there are still people who think that George Osborne was right all along. For that was the position of the Labour front bench until Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell took over. It remains the position of perhaps 100 Labour MPs, most of whom are going to leave Parliament, voluntarily or otherwise, at the next General Election, but who are still there for now.

Remember, when they start gobbing off about something or other, that they still think, to this day, that Osborne was right and that Labour ought to fight an Election saying so. Like Osborne, and indeed like Philip Hammond, they remain career-long absentees from the list of politicians whose economic policies have been endorsed by Nobel Laureates in the discipline and by the IMF. For that, you need Corbyn and McDonnell.

Keeping on one or two of those 100 or so might serve a certain purpose. It might make Labour look broad enough to tolerate them, although of course nowhere near so extreme as to permit them anywhere near the running of anything. Thus would the Labour Right mirror what has always been the role of the Conservative Right.

Yes, always. Ken Clarke was a Minister continuously from 1979 to 1997. Whereas few of the Conservative Maastricht rebels had ever been Ministers and none had ever been anything very much as a Minister (unlike on the Labour side). None of the really hardcore lot who had the Whip withdrawn over the European Finance Bill had ever held Ministerial office or, with one exception, ever had any hope of such. Jeremy Paxman mockingly asked John Redwood, who was then a Leadership candidate, which of them he intended to have his Cabinet, as if that question itself were a joke. It was.

Welcome to the future fate, if it has not already befallen them, of the Blairites. Keeping on a small number of them would make Labour look broad enough to tolerate them, although of course nowhere near so extreme as to permit them anywhere near the running of anything. And it is possible that someone has already been cast in the same role on the Left. Despite her political and personal closeness to the Leader, she has not been made so much as  Parliamentary Private Secretary, whereas there are members of the 2017 intake already in Shadow Ministerial positions.

It has clearly been decided that she is the figure so tribal, sectarian and separatist that, while keeping her on makes Labour and Corbyn look broad enough to tolerate her, neither Labour nor Corbyn will ever permit themselves to appear so extreme as to allow her anywhere near the running of anything. All that can be said is that that role, however useful, is not the one to which a Constituency Labour Party is accustomed in its MP if that office has previously been held by Ernest Armstrong, Hilary Armstrong and Pat Glass. Yet that is the role with which Laura Pidcock is now stuck, for the whole of a parliamentary career that might easily last 35 or 40 years. Left to itself, that is. Left to itself.


  1. It should have been you, Speedboat: "Here's what you could have won."