Monday 24 September 2018

The Third Way?

What will she be doing, this Deputy Deputy Leader of the Labour Party who will have to be a woman, something that in any case anyone can now become simply by saying so?

The Leadership and Deputy Leadership, which latter women have already won twice in fair competition, are already balanced between the Left and the traditional Right by the choice of exactly the same voters at exactly the same time. 

But all-women shortlists have always been the device for imposing Blairites whether or not anyone wanted them.

Giving this to Jess Phillips would only heighten the frisson when she lost her seat to George Galloway, in third place behind John Hemming, and possibly in fourth behind the Conservative.

This new non-job is the consolation prize for the open selection of parliamentary candidates, which will come next year even if it did not come this year, and which will render all-women shortlists impossible.

It is too late for most of the local, at least mildly left-wing, and often working-class men who were arbitrarily kept out of Parliament for a generation by parachuted in, extremely right-wing, and impeccably upper-middle-class women.

But those men's spiritual and sometimes physical sons will soon have their day.

Indeed, between the followers of Jeremy Corbyn and the followers of Jacob Rees-Mogg, the archetypal MP of the twenty-first century is already in plain sight.

He is male, single and childless. He is immensely erudite, but he is academically quite undistinguished, because the things that interested him, from Classics to Marxist economics, were not on the curriculum.

Therefore, in the ordinary sense, he has barely, if ever, had a day job. That does usually mean that he knows very acutely what it is to be poor. It makes him completely indifferent to the opinion of the CBI, either on John McDonnell's speech, or on the eventual implementation of most or all of it by the Conservatives.

And it makes him a good MP, since the money is more than he would ever otherwise have had, since he has no one else to worry about, since he has little or no concept of normal working hours, since his dependence on public transport poses no difficulty in central London (and he can now afford the taxis even there, anyway), and since he has been receiving verbal and even physical abuse since the day that he started school.

After the next General Election, there will be dozens of Labour MPs like that. After the next General Election but one, there will be scores of Labour and Conservative MPs like that. After the next General Election but two, there will be more than 150 of each.

And so it will then remain, until long after we are all dead.

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