When is peak Corbyn?

The Labour party, popular for all the wrong reasons?

Our Leader? Our Leader?

One of the most telling things from the referendum was the Remainers remark, 'they did not know what they were voting for'. But can this be so? Well yes and no! For example the Labour party manifesto for the last general election was over 40 pages long and who read all of that and the other ones? But for the Brexit referendum the basics, as opposed to detail, were not at all complicated by dint of the binary option. It's true the issues were complicated but they always are and you might have thought it was the responsibility of the voter to learn the rudiments. But many Remainers who over a year ago did not know their 'single market' from their 'customs union' and are still shaky continue to complain about the result. In the time since then there have been many changes. In Turkey Erdogan has elevated himself to a very lofty position that does not look good in a democracy but we did not hear, 'they did not know' then. In fact it does seem that the supporters of Erdogan wanted an Ottoman bully. While in France the people did not know who to vote for so there was a low turnout for Macron.

Here in the UK Jeremy Corbyn and Labour lost the General Election but like to behave as if they had won and there is help for them from the media to do this from the usual suspects. But what of the people who voted for Corbyn and or Labour, did they know what they were voting for? And make no mistake here this is split several ways, We have those who voted enthusiastically for Corbyn and reluctantly accepted he is also the Leader of Labour. A second group who did it the other way around, very keen on Labour but thought Corbyn was a pillock. Thirdly we have the voters who took to both the man and his party in equal measures, and it may even be more complicated than that! The BBC is still in mourning from the Brexit result, it has been said that senior executives think they could have swung the result if had they not been told to be fair to both sides. Stories abound that when Blair became PM the BBC was ecstatic, they loved both the man and the fact they had helped him to power. But that was years ago then along comes Corbyn and he does not excite them as Blair did; what to do?

Many Left-leaning journalists have taken against Corbyn, Nick Cohen for example who writes for the Observer, Guardian, Spectator and is a BBC regular. Cohen has gone mad, or so it would seem, because of the Brexit result and over a year later can still find the time to tell us what fools we have been for voting Leave. When all this gets too much for Cohen he takes a break and goes to his other obsession, writing about Corbyn. In fact if you ignore the core subject the output is the same in both cases, Cohen knows best. As his words of wisdom prior to Brexit counted for nothing he should be careful as there are suggestions that the great weight of criticism might help Corbyn. In fact a considerable number of journalists are stumped by Corbyn, perhaps the main stumbling block being the relationship between his popularity and the popularity of Labour with the Remainers. It's too easy to say Brexit was not a factor then go on to claim Corbyn represents something 'new', the man who will change things; what things? Leaving the EU was the biggest thing on offer in politics for 40 years but what did Corbyn do? Well for all his political life Corbyn was anti-EU then prior to the Referendum he changed his mind and was a Remainer. This is not a new kind of politics at all, it's a weakness. For seeing as a majority of people voted Leave and Theresa May was a Remainer Corbyn could have been PM on the strength of that alone by now.

And we look at what is going on with the shadow cabinet, this too is split in several ways. First we have people who have been sacked by Corbyn. Then we have the people who have made it clear they will not serve under Corbyn and did so with a great flounce, Chuka Umunna for example. But is Corbyn bothered by this? The media likes to think Umunna is some kind of a sage but so far Corbyn has managed without him! The reasons behind the Umunna flounce are wholly tied up with Brexit and he has been accused by fellow MP Emily Thornberry of virtue signalling over this; something she never does! It may also be people have refused to serve but not made this public putting the presentation of the party before their own gain. Which brings us to the people who have resigned, some it would seem more than once, so the number here is confusing but well over 80 and rising.

One of the latest names on the list being Sarah Champion, the MP for Rotherham. And she is an example why the real number above is awkward as this is her second resignation! How do we deal with that? Champion first resigned after less than a year in post following a vote of no confidence in Corbyn. Perhaps feeling generous Corbyn soon gave her another front bench post. This too was short lived and she went again. The reason this time was an article she wrote for the Sun. The subject was child sexual abuse by gangs of predominantly Pakistani men. This sorry tale is one of many that ensnare Labour, it's MPs, and supporters alike. The Sun claim that Champion was fully aware of both what she was doing writing the article and their intentions for publication including the headline for the article. Yet days later and again we can be certain with her approval the Guardian headline tells us -

she 'distances' herself from Sun article on British Pakistani men

One of these assertions has to be wrong. This is so Labour, it's MPs and supporters, the power but not the responsibility. The party needs the inner city vote but does not know how, or lacks the courage and compassion, to fix the problems that come with the turf. The MPs want to 'speak out' on any subject they choose but cannot see clearly why when they do so on certain topics trouble follows. While the supporters want to carry on as before portraying themselves as victims but by slavishly voting for Labour are in fact the perpetrators of so much that is wrong.

The reaction from the party to the Champion remarks was interesting, old Labour like David Blunkett, once a Sheffield MP, supported her but younger MPs did not. Jess Phillips a Birmingham MP, gave us a torrent of weasel words, said nothing of consequence, but did, again, manage to make herself look foolish. By contrast Corbyn was quiet throughout but is reckoned to have issued the 'resign or be sacked' ultimatum to Champion. But then along comes Naz Shah, again. Unlike Champion she is popualr with Corbyn. This was fortunate as Shah made another one of those telling remarks for which she is getting a reputation and her local newspaper seems unwilling to support her. As we saw Shah speaks out quite a bit, so what is the background to her position? Shah is riding high at the moment, she won her seat from George Galloway. He had been a Labour MP but was expelled and formed his own party, Respect. As its Bradford West candidate he won the seat from Labour and then Shah won it back. So perhaps Corbyn thinks he needs Shah? But much as Galloway, in the end, lost out so perhaps in time will Shah. They are in some ways similar, both are smart enough to utilise the natural ethnic divisions in the constituency to their immediate advantage but not clever enough to survive the outcomes of them long term.

Less fortunate is Amina Lone who backed Champion and has been deselected for this, a Labour councilor in Manchester she has paid the price for her opinion. This is clearly a revenge move and in theory will put pressure on Corbyn. But as we have seen he does not mind as he sees Labour as the saviour of the inner cities and is happy with the present situation. And the very latest name added to our list of resigners above being Kezia Dugdale, Leader of Scottish Labour. There can be no doubt pressure was brought to bear on her no matter what her letter of resignation says. She was not a Corbyn supporter and perhaps not suited to the trench warfare that Labour is all about. The press is rather sympathetic to her but she did make mistakes beyond being luke-warm about Corbyn. Her biggest error being unable to find a path between the SNP and Tories on Scottish Independence.

Corbyn is, as of now, all things to all people, a position that will not last. People who assume, but have no proof, he will advance their desired cause, whatever it is, are in for a shock. But then they can sit alongside the students who have voted twice in the same election for him in the hope of getting their tuition fee debt cancelled only to find that in the best tradition of Labour it was simply an aspiration and not a promise! Corbyn claims to be waiting for his turn to be PM. However, the longer he waits the more will go wrong, Shah is not the only problem he has. The big one being the very way he runs Labour. He is not stupid but gullible and not really in charge, the various power groups around him hold sway.

Under Kier Starmer, very much a Remainer, the party seems to have have moved closer to idea we can be both in and out of the EU at the same time. Starmer looks to be loyal but is no doubt of the opinion he is a natural to lead Labour. But then he too is not stupid but gullible, it looks as if he convinced himself of his legal prowess. The position Starmer propses for the UK is short of detail and really political in nature. But is it practical? The respected EU authority, Richard North, is not convinced -

I am not sure that Keir Starmer and his Labour colleagues really understand what they are taking on, in pursuing their new-found policy of promoting a transitional deal - when Starmer talks of a transitional agreement, the detail is important - But nowhere does Starmer specify the nature of the transitional deal he will seek - In short, without the detail, Labour's new policy is moonshine

It's worth reminding ourselves that Starmer has had extensive legal training and was in charge of the Crown Prosecution Service. That such a man cannot understand the legal workings of the EU is telling, put simply his plan, being both in and out of the EU at the same time, will not work. Also we must remember that Starmer did not initially support Corbyn, he wanted Andy Burnham for Labour Leader but unlike Dugdale has not been penalised for this. We may conclude that Corbyn does not understand the workings of tha EU if he thinks the Starmer paln is viable.

So back to the beginning, the Corbyn supporters, do they know what they are voting for? Probably not. But then we should not be harsh on them as neither the man himself or his cabinet are clued up either. For the moment the Remoaners and a rag-bag of self styled 'victims' may be happy with this they should enjoy it while they can.