Last year, 2015, Labour held an election and voted into power probably the most hated Labour leader in living memory. Overwhelmingly loved and voted for by the party membership, overwhelmingly hated by the Parliamentary Labour Party, the Labour establishment, the entirety of the political right and 90% of the mainstream media.
Since then we have had an almost daily hate fest, newspapers, TV and News programs, Labour MPs, they queue up to spew bile and to discredit the man called Corbyn.
This reached a peak when most of the Shadow Cabinet decided to quit in a well choreographed media campaign over several days then the no longer shadow ministers jumped in front of every reporter they could find to hurl veiled insults at that Corbyn bloke. Finally we had the forced leadership election to make Corbyn stand again for the job he had been elected to not a year earlier.
Then we have had example after example of headless chicken panic, nasty tactics worthy of the Tories and sheer incompetence on a scale that is awesome to behold, these are the people who say if they can only get rid of that dirty lefty Corbyn then they can win in 2020.
NOT IN THIS UNIVERSE THEY WON'T !
We have seen vast swathes of party members denied a vote, then charged £25 to vote, then denied a vote again. The Labour party has been expelling people left and right on the most flimsy grounds when their are grounds and just kicking them out when their are no grounds. Several friends have been expelled from the party in this way, one, a lovely lady called Joan who was a long term Labour member and activist who was expelled for no particular reason and had to fight hard to get reinstated, another wonderful lady called Moniqu,e who has been instrumental in getting Labour commit to create a minister for Nuerodivesity post, was expelled and denied a vote for supporting other political groups or for asking how she could complain about anti Corbyn bullying. These are just two out of a number of people I know and tens of thousands of others, most of whom seem to be fervently pro Corbyn.
There may be pro Smith voters getting expelled but they seem fairly quiet about it.
Then we have the complete and utter disaster that is the way in which the PLP is trying to lock out it's own voters and insult them, the word Trot or Trotskite is bounced around along with leftist and a few other insults. Corbyn's recent comments about letting the voters pick some of the shadow cabinet have been attacked from all sides, the ones from Smith about wanting a diverse Shadow Cabinet which means having the PLP pick them NOT the members was just funny. Because with over 75% of the PLP MPs acting as a unified anti Corbyn block we will be getting a diverse range of views if those same MPs pick the shadow cabinet we will.
Right. . . .
Then we have the waves of comments about Corbyn being a threat to national security, a far leftist, anti the armed forces, a bad boss, he causes bad weather and he hates cats. He will never be PM, he will lead the party into a permanent opposition, Labour under Corbyn = 10 more years of Tory government. The insults are unending.
The net result of all of this is that Labour is fighting a civil war, the voting members against the Party establishment and most of the MPs, the National Executive Committee is currently anti Corbyn and pulling some very anti democratic crap against him and his supporters, but once the new members join it will swing the other way. The media are loving it and doing everything they can to smear Corbyn and to give any Labour MP that want;s to speak against him plenty of airtime. The Tories love it, it's a massive distraction that has the country laughing at Labour rather than asking some hard questions about just how much Crap Cameron and Osborne has saddled us with.
There is a cliff, jumping off it will hammer the Labour parties reputation, unity, national and international standing and ability to actually function as a political entity for years to come. So naturally, like lemmings, the Labour Party establishment and MPs rushed to jump off that cliff. The end result is easy to see, just pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV.
And it's all so utterly stupid, shortsighted and suicidal.
What is it about politicians, why do they not have the ability to look to the middle or long term, why can so few of them see beyond next week or next month. Labour, the Tories, the Lib Dems, none of them seem capable of long term planning, all of them jump in with both feet when it comes to gaining a short term advantage and not one of them seems to care or even realise that there will be long term consequences.
Brexit is the biggest such short term stupidity but it's hardly the only example and glorious leader May has charged straight in with her own effort to create long term problems simply to gain short term advantages. These days parliaments run for five years and yet our MPs seem completely incapable of looking as far as next year never mind a few years after that.
The current lemming like activity of Labour is a case in point.
Thanks to spin doctors and the behaviour of our politicians over the last two decades MPs are among the least trusted people in the country, it's a politician and his lips are moving so he lies. Our politicians have worked hard to earn the reputation of two faced, corrupt, self serving, lying scumbags. What the PLP has been doing is to add 'Anti Democratic' and 'Tyrannical' to the list of insults we automatically assume whenever we deal with an MP.
Once the dust settles who, in their right mind, as a party member or voter, is going to trust the hordes of Labour MPs who have so publicly acted against their own voters. In the political arena Labour have taken self inflicted injury to a whole new level.
And it was all unnecessary, all pointless. Whether or not Corbyn is voted back into his job, the damage has been done by the Party to itself, and for what, a battle to pick the best spot on the cliff edge to jump from?
The next election is in 2020, May 7th. three years and eight months away.
I have given these numbers before and I'll keep giving them, for an election a party wants a year to fight the campaign with it's leader and team in place, united and working hard to get elected. The leader and team should have been in place for a year or so, long enough to have proved themselves in their jobs, no one wants to start an election campaign with rookies and unknowns on their front bench or giving interviews on the campaign trail so you need everyone in place and with a year or so behind them.
What this means is that by the end of summer 2018 the parties should have picked the leaders and cabinets that they will keep in place until the following summer and the start of the campaign. Summer 2018, almost two years away now and three entire years away from the point when Corbyn was elected in 2015.
Labour could have taken the popularity of Corbyn within the party and used that to grow, three years of gaining members at the same rate they have this year would have put Labour at over a million members and not just Slacktivists, but people enthusiastic and willing to get out and actively campaign.
Three years to build up and to establish themselves as a viable choice for government, three years of the Nasty party giving them example after example to stand against. Three years to settle down as a political party and to reach a compromise between the centre left, the centre right and the more Neoliberal among the MPs. Then as a massive power they could have looked at a leader to take them into the next election, would it have been Corbyn after three years of seeing him in power or would it be someone else thought a better choice. They would have had three years to look at the choices and plenty of time to stand behind the chosen leader before starting a campaign for 2020.
But no, there was this cliff and so off they ran. A year of tearing themselves apart to achieve, well given estimates of Corbyn winning, a year to achieve nothing at all except to destroy any chance they have in 2020. So many Labour MPs have publicly stated they don't trust and will not serve under Corbyn, even if they have a change of heart when he wins they have simply proved they are as much a two faced self serving liar as any Tory.
The PLP have achieved a massive own goal in trying to force out Corbyn on the grounds that he couldn't win an election, and in the process have demonstrated that they are unfit to win an election either. Labour as a whole has, at most, three years to unify, sort out their problems, repair the damage their reputation has taken both nationally and among their own voters who have been treated so appallingly by the party establishment and then take on the Nasty party in 2020.
Every injury self inflicted in a tooth and claw battle between the Westminster establishment in their bubble and the actual voters in the real world. Can Labour recover? At present I don't think so. 2020 is years away and if they can pull things together over the next three years then settle on a leader they think can win in 2019 but the problem is that regardless of the vote result, the people on each side aren't happy.
If Smith wins because tens of thousands of Corbyn voters were expelled form the party so publicly does anyone think those voters will be happy with Smith, Labour will end up with a leader loved by the PLP and hated by huge numbers of the members.
If Corbyn wins Labour will end up with a leader loved by huge numbers of the members and hated by the PLP. Either way the divides that caused all of this won't have gone away, you only have to look at the response to Corbyns recent attempts to be conciliatory to see that.
Right now I can't see Labour ending this civil war, the divides between MPs and voters are too wide, too much damage has been done over the last year to be repaired in only a few years. Labour finds itself with it's own MPs opposing and opposed by it's own voters, that isn't the way to win an election.
And there will always be another cliff for the party to jump off.