As I pack my bags to head up to the Labour Party conference I do so with a heavy heart. Usually I am looking forward to joining friends and colleagues but this time I am looking forward to playing in the annual MPs v Press football game more than the conference itself.
Today the Party unsurprisingly re-elected Jeremy Corbyn as its leader despite the dire year he has endured and his inability to lead the Party and form a credible opposition party – never mind a party that looks like to could win a general election anytime soon.
I have written enough about why I think this result is a disaster for the long-term future of the Labour Party and the removal of the Tories anytime soon. As I wrote earlier in the Summer it came to the point that arguing with Corbyn supporters was a waste of time. In a cult lie fantasy world – despite all the available evidence – they believe Jeremy is their man to lead the party. I am not sure where they actually think he is leading us but they won’t hear a word against him. Indeed even daring to suggest Jeremy isn’t up to the job was always enough to draw out the online abusers.
But we had an election and he won. I graciously congratulate him and will work for a Labour win in 2020. But this is not unconditional Unity!
So the only thing worth writing about is where we go from here. The reasons for my decision to support anybody else other than Corbyn remains. I will be staying in the Party as it is my Labour Party as much as those who have recently joined. I will be showing Jeremy the same respect and loyalty he has for other Labour leaders. It means I stay to argue for making Labour electable again. It seems Corbynistas want total obedience to the leadership – an attribute they failed to show anybody else. In his own words today Jeremy said the Party is a place”To debate and disagree”. I agree. We never called for Corbyn to be de-selected or told to join another party when he was a serial rebel and undermined the Labour Party in Government.
So I will continue to make the case inside and outside the Party to make us electable and to work with those who want to think about what future policies need to look like for the country we face in 2017-2020. This means not harking back to the 1980s as Jeremy does or even 1997 as some of my friends do. The world is different and we need policies fit for the future. We need to get the JC team out of the Momentum bubble and rallies and to listen to floating voters in marginal seats. That’s my focus. What does Labour need to do to win over voters in the marginal seats we need to win? Big issues like BREXIT, Immigration, our economic competence and Austerity, that need new answers. I think it will be difficult if not impossible to achieve this but I will try.
In my day job of business and sport we do analysis and plan proper strategies. We look at evidence and make plans based on this. We look at defeats and learn from them. I fear politics and particularly the Momentum movement work on vague words and vague hope. They speak inside their own bubble. I don’t get the feeling they are wanting evidence and want to hear what it takes to build the coalition to win marginal seats! But I will try.
But the analysis isn’t good for Labour.
The fundamental problem remains that Jeremy is not a god leader and for the electorate he does not and will never look like a potential prime Minister. but it seems the Party has settled that question and he will be our leader as we go into the next general election. I cannot honestly say I see anything that will change that makes me change my mind.
So as I head up to Liverpool I do with a sinking feeling. It feels like those days when I first joined the Party in the 1980s when the Party was out of touch with the electorate and 18 years from power. That makes me sad. But I fought to make Labour electable for 20 years. I am not giving up again and if takes that long I will stay to fight again as Britain needs a progressive, left of centre political alternative to the Tories.