The Labour Leadership Contest Just Became Much More Interesting

Ed Miliband’s resignation as Labour leader was a classic case of bad timing. Just when the newly elected Tory government is about to force through some of the deepest cuts to public services since the Thatcher era, the Labour Party was forced to engage in an internal dialogue rather than turn and face their apparent enemy. A week after the end of the election, the candidates who put themselves forward for the vacant position of leader were some of the blandest, most right-wing MPs in the party. Liz Kendall was the first to announce her candidacy. Kendall, a self-confessed Blairite, believes Labour came across as “too left-wing”. Hilarious. She was followed in short order by Chuka Umunna (withdrawn), Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Mary Creagh (withdrawn). The words “fag paper” and “between them” came to mind. What a dreary slate, I thought.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, to the surprise of everyone, Jeremy Corbyn threw his hat into the ring. Most political commentators believed that Corbyn, a veteran campaigner, had no chance of getting onto the ballot paper but it happened. Here’s Corbyn making his pitch on Newsnight on 8 June.

Now the Tories are lining up to tell anyone who will listen that Labour has done the wrong thing by allowing Corbyn onto the ballot. By doing this, they reckon, Labour would suffer a massive defeat in 2020 at the hands of the wobbly Tory government. Some Tories, like Ruth Davidson of the nearly defunct Scottish Conservative Party claims that she will join Labour as an affiliate to vote for Corbyn.

Yeah, you go and do that, Ruthie. You’re only in the Scottish Parliament because you’re on a party list. However, The Cat believes the Tories are deluding themselves and in their arrogance, they believe their message of never-ending cuts to public services, anti-working class hatred and fear is a winner with the public. They believe this because they won a slender majority on 24.3% of the vote. Hardly a mandate in anyone’s book. But I think the Tories are secretly frightened that a new narrative will emerge to challenge the primacy of neoliberalism. They under-estimate people’s anger and seek to dismiss it as the rantings of the “extreme left”. This is desperate stuff from a desperate, arrogant and out-of-touch government that is little over a month old.

As Vox Political points out,

You can always tell when Tories are afraid of someone – they produce newspaper articles saying that he’s rubbish.

Let the character assassinations and hatchet-jobs commence, eh? Dan Hodges, who’s become a sort of cross between a pantomime villain and Norma Desmond, was first out of the traps; his kecks round his ankles and shite on his hands, with this smear job titled “Jeremy Corbyn proves the lunatic wing of the Labour Party is still calling the shots”. Jeez, what is it with this guy Hodges?

So he made it. Jeremy Corbyn is on the leadership ballot. Bats––t crazy Labour is alive and well.

The opening paragraph encapsulates the article’s tone. From there it’s a sharp descent into melodrama and paranoia. Halfway down the article, Dismal Dan cites this Tweet from Dizzy Doug Carswell, UKIP’s only MP.

Douglas Carswell MP on Twitter- -Please let_picmonkeyed

Things must be getting pretty desperate for Dan (geddit?) if he has to quote a Kipper for support. Who will he quote next? David Starkey? Paul Kagame? But Carswell’s getting ahead of himself. His party isn’t exactly in the best shape at the moment.What with the infighting, the resignations that aren’t really resignations and the defection of the suspended MEP, Janice Atkinson, to the Euro Parliament’s far-right grouping. Remember her? She called a Thai constituent a “ting tong”.

Jeremy Corbyn’s presence on the ballot paper means an alternative discourse can at last be heard. The media outlets will continue to do their best to smear Corbyn and those who support him, but there is a large body of voters who simply aren’t being represented by the Tories and the Kippers; the two butt-ugly faces of capitalism. Fleet Street and the rest of the mainstream media zombies don’t seem to understand this. Now there is a chance. Now there is a glimmer of hope. Even if Corbyn doesn’t win the leadership of the party, the rest of the candidates will have to listen. If they don’t, they can kiss any chance of a victory in 2020 goodbye.

One thing that you can’t deny is that the Labour Party leadership election just became much more interesting.

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