Sunday, 9 January 2022

Second Time Lucky?

If Jeremy Corbyn did set up a new political party, then it would almost immediately have far more members than the Labour Party, which, beyond a dwindling band of very elderly stalwarts, would be reduced to its MPs, to their paid staff, to its own paid staff, and to a certain number of people who had already been sitting around waiting to lose the councillors' allowances that they had previously assumed were going to be theirs for life.

The new party's age profile would be vastly lower than Labour's, and every member would be highly active. The pressure to switch affiliations in most unions would be so strong, and would in many cases be pushing against an open door, that Labour's only remaining source of funding would be the handful of extremely wealthy individuals who had bankrolled Keir Starmer's Leadership campaign.

But the new party would carry over the fundamental flaw of the Corbyn project. Like Corbyn himself, it never could decide whether it was Red or Red-Green, ultimately based on class politics or ultimately based on identity politics. It knew what it was against, and it was right to be against those things. But it never quite knew what it was for, because it never quite knew what it was.

As for the Potemkin party that the new party would have left behind, so to speak, on this fiftieth anniversary of the start of what turned out to be the triumphant miners' strike of 1972, it is worth considering that a section of that party would seek to claim the mantle of, for example, the sometime Agent of the Durham Miners' Association, General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers (Durham Area), and longstanding member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party, Sam Watson. 

They would be more than welcome to that mantle. Watson conspired to close pits, he opposed all local strikes, he supported the sacking of his own due-paying members, and he secured for the Durham miners the lowest wages in the country, a situation that was not rectified until the strikes of 1972 and 1974. There is a room named after him in the Knesset building, which is not the kind of honour that is conferred on a casual acquaintance. One Struggle, brothers and sisters. One Struggle.

Bringing us to the possibility that the spooky Ruth Smeeth or someone called Mary Creagh might contest Corbyn's seat, apparently because they blamed him for the loss of their own. Of course, they must know that they would only be taking one for the team, although whoever had done so would then be raised to the peerage. But the man who lost Stoke-on-Trent North and Wakefield was the man who abandoned Labour's commitment to Brexit. They ought to be standing in the constituency next door. They ought to be standing against Starmer.


  1. An Islington North Starmer candidate would come third behind Corbyn and the Lib Dem in either order.

    1. But Labour would claim a Lib Dem victory as a win for the Progressive Alliance.