The Blairites have made no secret of the fact that they have wanted Jeremy Corbyn removed as Labour leader since he was elected last September with a huge mandate from party members. Now they are in open rebellion against Corbyn, trying to force him to resign. The timing is perfect for the Blairites. The mainstream media is distracted by the fallout from EU referendum vote, the Prime Minister has resigned and the pound is tumbling in value – it’s the perfect opportunity to move against Corbyn. His enemies are hoping for a quick palace coup before anyone notices and have chosen now as their moment to strike.
However the so called "moderates’" plan is remarkably short sighted. They can force a vote of no confidence in the party leader (which is likely to pass) but then they will face a leadership election. The party membership is firmly behind Corbyn and there is nothing to stop him standing again for leader and winning. Eventually the Labour moderates will have to come to terms with the fact that they are deeply unpopular with the grass roots of the party. Their plan is not that well thought through.
Even if they were able to take control of the party and install Chuka Umunna or Tristram Hunt as leader, then what? Under Corbyn the party had a clear direction. What will the new direction be? Have the moderates considered what they would do with power? Remember, a general election is probably going to be called soon, so whoever leads the party needs a plan to face the electorate.
Just so that we are clear. Here are some things that are not plans:
- Anyone but Corbyn for leader
- Step 1: Make Tristram Hunt the leader
- Step 2: Er...
- Step 3: Win general election
- Surf into power on the back of the huge popular recognition of and support for Dan Jarvis based purely on the fact that he used to be in the army. People like soldiers, right?
- A commitment to austerity and controls on immigration. Just like Ed Miliband, proposed.
- Whatever the Sun says the plan is, that’s the plan.
Labour Party is facing a lot of external challenges right now. Challenges that predate Corbyn’s selection as leader. UKIP is gaining support in the former industrial North. The Tories are eating into its middle class support. Scotland is firmly off the table as a source of Labour MPs to form a majority government. Disillusionment with professional, media trained politicians is turning voters away from the large parties. The country is divided, between those gaining and losing out from globalisation, while politicians lack a narrative to bring it together unity. All of these will be important factors for Labour in a future election. So, what‘s the platform the moderates will offer to tackle these issues and win an election? What is the plan for solving the nation's problems?
Under Corbyn's leadership the party has grown in members. People now know what Labour stands for, whereas under Ed Miliband it was unclear. The public are responding well to Corbyn's authenticity, the fact that he is clearly different from inauthentic media trained politicians, and that he has clear principles. Policy is being developed from a range international economists including Thomas Piketty and Yanis Varoufakis. It is better to stick with the current platform and leader than to face the country with nothing expect a new leader who no one outside the Westminster bubble has heard of.
This sudden change in leadership being pressed for by the Blairites is a bad idea, especially if the new Tory Prime Minister calls an early election. It is a really bad idea to get rid of Corbyn now and replace him with uncertainty and lack of policy. The actions we have seen from Labour's moderates over the last few days do not indicate that they have a well thought through plan. This is just a reckless attempt to divide the party.