Friday, October 23, 2020
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Paul T Horgan: Labour has the weekend to decide Corbyn’s future

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The results of Thursday’s local elections are in.  With the Tories enjoying the biggest gains by a governing party in a local election for more than 40 years and the loss of nearly 400 Labour seats, they have been a disaster for Corbyn’s party.

At this stage in the electoral cycle, Labour should be gaining seats. Instead, they are forced to describe their losses as not as bad as predicted.

Friday marked the last possible moment for Jeremy Corbyn to quit as leader of the Labour Party. He has not done so. If he had gone, then another MP could have taken his place so long as no other MP was nominated. It is almost certain that if this MP was not from the Corbynite wing of the party, Labour’s polling would immediately improve. While it may not win the election, it would reduce the likelihood of a Conservative landslide.

Labour’s electoral calamity is entirely down to Corbyn’s disastrous leadership. However, he still refuses to acknowledge this. Most informed opinion now believes that Corbyn’s mission is not to win democratic elections, but to purify the Labour Party by ridding it of anyone who supports capitalism, even if this means a succession of electoral catastrophes. Labour would then wait for the public to tire of the Conservatives and then move in to power. This strategy led Labour to be out of office for 18 years previously. But then socialists are very patient.

Corbyn should have quit a long time ago. This is a leader who has had his most experienced MPs quit the front bench, has had 80 per cent of his MPs vote that he should go, has had MPs quit Parliament because they couldn’t see the point of remaining as an MP, has lost a seat Labour has held for 80 years, and has experienced dire polling since he was voted in by hard-left entryists. Any other leader of any other party would have gone by now.

The local elections were a perfect sample of the national mood about Labour and provided the best possible test of the party. Some local politicians may have been elected on local issues, but historically these elections have been a reflection of Westminster politics.

Under the same circumstances, Conservative MPs are brutal. Edward Heath and Iain Duncan Smith both fell from opposition leadership at a time not of their own choosing when their MPs felt they were no longer up to the job. The Liberal Democrats dumped not one but two leaders when they faltered during the Blair/Brown years. In this respect, Labour’s internal mechanisms seem to be failing as they pander to extremis.

Any move by Labour MPs will have to take place by Tuesday. They would have been able to meet and discuss the situation over the weekend and decided what to do.

If no Labour MP does anything, then it will be reasonable to question their abilities. Walking blithely into electoral annihilation behind a provably disastrous party leader will be more damaging than speaking out. Some Labour MP should evaluate their loyalties. It is also a question of dignity. Being led by Corbyn must be a deep humiliation to some of them.

Labour MPs are meant to be professional politicians. They do politics. This is a political challenge. This is what they do for a living. It is not just juggling competing interests and making the case for special interest groups. Any idiot can do that. And apparently end up leading Labour doing so.

If none of these ‘professional’ politicians has the skills to work their way out of this maze, exactly how professional are they?

There are over two hundred of these people, some of whom will not be returned to Westminster on June 8th, and they seem to be content at the prospect. If they are so close to being ejected, why are they not doing anything whatsoever for their personal or the collective good?

Labour MPs are like the passengers of an accelerating runaway train that is heading towards a ravine where the bridge is down. They could jump off the train now and save themselves, but the risk of injury increases as the train gets faster. Falling down the ravine is almost certain death. For some reason they wish to remain in their comfortable seats until they tip into the void.

Clickety-click, clackety-clack…

(Image: Garry Knight)

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Paul T Horgan
Paul T Horgan works in the IT Sector. He lives in Berkshire.

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