Thursday, 28 July 2016

Labour Party: Splitting and Co-Operating.

Labour Party: Splitting and Co-Operating.

    In 2 months' time the Labour Party will elect  a leader by a democratic vote involving Party members and registered supporters. There are (currently) to be two names on the ballot paper; the wildly popular Jeremy Corbyn, and the practically unknown Owen Smith, who is nevertheless believed to be the preferred choice among Labour MPs. If Corbyn wins, which seems probable, there is likely to be a walkout by the Parliamentary Party. Corbyn will find himself head of a large grass-roots party, but with a mere handful of loyal MPs. What might happen then?
    To provide an effective opposition in parliament, it would be good if the rebel MPs could organise themselves to co-operate in some way with the Corbynites to test government bills. And not just the Corbynites, for the concept of an "official opposition" seems no longer appropriate. Why not cooperate with all non-Tory MPs?
     There will eventually be a general election, in 2020 if not before. The constituency parties, which may well have recruited massive popular support may find themselves forced to select Corbynite candidates. In that event the current Labour MPs may wish to fight their own seats but under a new name ("New Labour", "Blairite Labour", "Right Labour", or some such). A head-to-head fight would presumably let the Tories win practically every existing Labour seat. That dire situation might sufficiently focus the minds of non-Tory candidates to lead them to an alliance. (Something like that advocated in today's Guardian by Clive Lewis.) It seems obvious that in no constituency should a Labour fight against a New Labour, or a Scottish Nationalist, or a Green. Adequate straw polls and discussions will have to take place to make one or other of these competing candidates emerge as the "most likely to succeed", to avoid self destructive conflict.

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