Wednesday 29th June
This all started a few years ago when, from maybe the best of motives, Ed Milliband changed the rules for the election of a leader of the Labour Party; having been elected himself partly on the block votes of the Unions, he created one member one vote, where every Labour Party member’s vote had equal weight; M.Ps, union members (who had paid the Political levy) and ordinary members. He also created the speeded up £3 membership. Jeremy Corbyn stood as the standard bearer on the Left and nobody thought he stood a chance. But actually during the campaign he began to appeal, not only his strongly Socialist message, but his calm and thoughtful approach. Anyway, he got elected, much to the dismay of most of the M.P.s.
He struggled to form a Shadow Cabinet (many former members choosing to walk away, but some choosing to make the best of it and serve) but eventually got there, and made maybe his biggest mistake by appointing John McDonell as his Shadow Chancellor. Maybe had he appointed Angela Eagle or someone else from the soft Left he might have fared better, but he was determined to take the party in a Left-wing direction. After the Syria vote he had a minor re-shuffle but the knives were already being sharpened. Labour did just enough at the May elections for Jeremy to survive but after the referendum, where his tepid performance was seen (maybe unfairly) by many as the reason many (but less than half) of Labour supporters backed Brexit.
Anyway, a concerted and rehearsed series of resignations from his shadow cabinet ensued, one by one they walked away – even Angela Eagle and others from the soft Left. A vote of no-confidence is being organised now and Jeremy will almost certainly lose it by a large margin. But Jeremy is fighting on, using the mandate from the members as his raison d’etre. There is now an almighty struggle for the soul of the Labour Party. But more importantly Labour is looking ridiculous, and at a time when the Press should be reporting on Tory woes they now have the trouble with Jeremy to fill their pages with. And though I initially supported him I feel that without the support of his M.P.s and with a Shadow Cabinet full of complete unknowns it would be best for Labour and the country if he quietly fell on his sword – but I am not sure that he will.