Something that I am seeing a lot of in the media and the quotes from all sides of the political spectrum is a deliberate failure to understand the reality of the situation. Or at least what I see to be the reality and I'm not alone.
People are talking about the next Labour prime minister and the next Labour government. We have the likes of Blair helpfully throwing his comments into the fire and generally stirring up trouble.
The thing is Labour are NOT electing someone to stand for the next PM. That's not going to be a consideration until 2025. What they are doing and should be doing is electing someone to actually rebuild their party into a political power that is actually relevant rather than being a failed red Tory party or Nasty lite.
Labour, as they stand now, are NOT a viable opposition or even a major political party. They are groups of people who happen to share the same rosette colour. They need to rebuilt themselves, decide what they actually stand for and then start getting that message across.
Until they mean something again they will not be able to take their place as a major party again and will probably not survive. Without a unifying meme and purpose they could very well splinter into left and right.
This is not a battle for a person to sit in No 10 in a few years, this contest is about picking someone who can rebuild and re-unify the party. That’s not going to be a quick task as Blair keeps demonstrating by attacking any movement back to the left or a return to the roots of Labour which also happens to be a place where a lot of their voters are to be found.
Blair and those like him have nothing but contempt for the traditional Labour voter on the left where as these are the very people Corbyn speaks for. But there are many in Labour who still follow Blair's advice.
As a result left and right are all too often at each other’s throats, a split that has become bloody obvious since the election. Witness the attacks by Blair or the more recent comments from the likes of Chuka Umunna and Liz Kendall. Both of whom have now clearly stated that they would refuse to serve on a shadow cabinet if led by Corbyn. Consider carefully the image that gives, two people who both stood in the leadership campaign openly refusing to work with someone or to participate in the future of their own political party just because a democratic process returned someone who was more popular than them.
Honestly is that what Umunna, Kendal or Cooper want as the future of Labour?
Right now Labour as a political entity has three choices.
They can stay where they are, keep fighting for the centre with the other parties, this is the status quo, nothing changes. Labour will remain as it is now which is to say pointless, no longer the opposition, without anything approaching guiding principles or an actual political direction.
The do nothing choice.
They could push further to the right, the Blair road to power, instead of competing with the Tories they can try to become the new Tories. After all Cameron keeps going on about how he represents the working person so perhaps Labour thinks they could swap places. Instead of being red Tories or the Nasty party light they could go for the real thing.
Then they could start an anti EU drive, promise to stop immigration and woo the voters they lost to UKIP.
This takes the current situation, with the Labour being less right wing than the Lib Dems who are less right wing than the Tories and just moves the players around a bit leaving the left of the political spectrum an empty and lonely place. A political void that has bought the SNP into it’s current position as the functional opposition party.
The third choice is to return to where Labour was born, perhaps the place where its soul was left when Blair started the gallop rightwards. This is the Corbyn choice and will, probably bring back millions of core labour voters who watched their party abandon them and so didn’t vote in 2015.
A left wing labour party as an extreme is as much a threat as the current right wing Tory extreme, neither will work to the benefit of everyone and will rather work just for the chosen few. But it is up to the Labour party and their chosen leader how far they walk to the left, it is entirely possible to go part way, reclaim their purpose and avoid become swivelled eyed loons on the far left.
This leadership election is critical, not because the person picked needs to be a potential PM, but rather because the person picked is going to determine where Labour goes over the next decades or even if Labour will exist ten years from now.
Cooper said “I don’t think you should walk away from the Labour party” then went on to say she wouldn’t respect a democratic process and would refuse to serve on a shadow cabinet if the wrong person was elected.
But here is the thing Yvette, people didn’t walk away from Labour, the Labour party walked and jogged and ran away from the people. In an effort to attract a few million new voters Labour dumped millions of old voters.
All the arguments and comments about PM material and the like simply detract from what needs to be done. Corbyn will look to rebuild the Labour party as it was pre Blair. To bring British politics back to left and right rather than the current situation of everyone being shades of right wing with a few actual left wing people alone in the wilderness.
The Tories are insulting Corbyn because he isn't seen as PM material but I don't think he needs to be. What he does need to be is a builder and a unifier.
The job of the new Labour leader is to rebuild Labour and make it into a major political party relevant to the 21st century and able to function as an opposition party. That should be the focus for the next few years, NOT the 2020 election. That one is lost already.
Right now Labour aren't even the opposition, they have abandoned even that role and the SNP have take up the duty of speaking against the government. This is a sign of how far they have fallen as a party and of how far they need to go to climb back up again, and yet they don't seem to be aware of the fact.
In 2020 IF the SNP decide to expand south and if they don't screw up in any major way they will be fighting the election as the opposition, Labour will be the other guys.
The job of the incoming Labour leader is to make sure that Labour is a viable force in 2025, fighting the battle on who will make the most charismatic PM in four years time is a waste of time and effort and denies the real problem.
Which is that Labour doesn't have a future right now, something the new leader needs to change.