Is the realignment of British politics happening in front of our eyes. Is this summer going to be a period where all of our certanties disappear and 2017 will feel a very different world?
I finished blogging last night with the line up of the potential Tory contenders for the leadership (and of course being our next PM) becoming clear. The uncertainty of what will happen to Corbyn over the next 48 hours throws the future of Labour into the mix too. The consequences of another leadership battle with Momentum members winning for Corbyn in the summer could effectively mean the end of Labour as we know it. This is worthy of a full post, but in an interesting Twitter exchange with Brian Moore today (he campaigned for me in 97 in Loughborough) the potential popularity of a progressive centre left party is obviously popular. In a provocative article Tim Farron has already signalled he is ready to see change and the Greens and Plaid have already signalled they are open to fresh thinking. If we need any confirmation that realignment is taking place we only have to look at Scotland to see how the old left/right binary decisions are falling away. The rise of UKIP however unwelcome has to be addressed. As this chart below shows the binary left right doesn’t answer the current divide in politics.
We know the #brexit Leave vote was heavily divided too – by age, social class, eduction, geography, etc. Our political map has become equally divided. After 2015 Labour in the South was roundly beaten (with notable exceptions like EXETER) and the Tories remain non existent in large urban areas in the North.
So there are no simple answers and whilst today I will be live updating on the Corbyn debacle here and on Twitter these are longer term trends that need addressing. I think the battle over the soul of the Labour Party is part of this larger debate but it is being turned into a left/right battle. This is a short term solution to the fracturing we are seeing above.
I have given my public support calls for Corbyn to go. This is partly ideological (I’m not from the far left but the soft left – and not a Blairite) but also more importantly about having a leadership that is capable of leading in a modern political age. That means moder communication and the ability to articulate a vision and to create a team. Corbyn has no discernible leadership qualities – that’s obvious. But as I wrote during the leadership election the qualities needed to lead a political party were very rarely discussed!
“The problem is Corbyn does not love the Labour Party as many of the Shadow cabinet members do – he has spent most of his life attacking it. He wants to build a social movement not a successful parliamentary political party. I don’t mind him wanting to do that – but don’t destroy the Labour Party I have been a member of since 1983 to achieve it”
So the rest of this week will see the battle lines drawn for a summer of madness in politics. I will be shouting from the sidelines here on this site whilst trying to keep my business going!
9.00 30th June 2016