Monday, 1 August 2016

The Three Factions Of The Labour Party & The Sword Of Damocles That Hangs Over Them

The Labour Party is in the biggest mess in its history, which is particularly noteworthy given that we are only two decades on from arguably its political zenith with Tony Blair's landslide election victory in 1997.

Currently John McDonnell is accusing leadership challenger Owen Smith of backing a Labour split, when in actuality it is the persistence and tenacity of Corbyn as leader that would most likely cause a split.

Either way, a split would be absolutely disastrous for the Labour Party, because in terms of obtaining a majority in General Elections it would hand the initiative to the Tories for the foreseeable future.

The breakdown of the party's problems is underpinned by the fact that Labour consists of broadly three groups. They are:

Group 1) The Parliamentary party itself

Group 2) The party members and union members

Group 3) The rest of the Labour voting population

The first group consists of the 230 Labour MPs, most of whose primary concern is having a job and receiving their salary for being an MP, and most of whom are not Corbynites. Most Labour MPs hover around the centre-left. 

The second group are mostly Corbynites, and really do want Corbyn's brand of socialism brought into this country. They are campaigning hard and being very vocal in their unbending support for Corbyn. Naturally, being in their hundreds of thousands, group two is considerably larger than group one.

The third group, and by far the largest number of people out of the three groups, consists of everyone else that votes Labour up and down the country. In the past couple of decades the majority of this group seem to be more aligned with group 1 than group 2 - that is, they are fairly socially conservative, and are more likely to want to embrace a freer market socialism than Corbynites.

All that is quite commonly known - the members (growing in their thousands) are all-out for Corbyn, and as they have the ultimate vote, look likely to keep voting him in until the next election. MPs, on the other hand, feel certain (with justification, I'd suggest) that under Corbyn Labour has zero chance of winning an election, so will do all they can to adopt a position contrary to that of their members and oppose Corbyn.

So it seems we have the irresistible force of the majority of Labour MPs saying they will not support Corbyn, up against the immovable object of Corbyn saying he won't betray the members by resigning. What isn't so clear is quite how the landscape lies in terms of those that vote Labour up and down the country.

Those voters have seen so much change to the party's structure and composition in the past 18 months, it's unclear how the landscape is going to change, particularly as we have at least seven classes in Britain nowadays, and the mainstream parties are so alike these days it's a lot easier to get votes off each other (even UKIP can get votes of Labour these days).
Jeremy Corbyn wants a full fat socialist revolution; Owen Smith, his challenger, wants a socialist revolution-lite. Both have dangerous ideas.
We need a socialist revolution to about the same extent that biological evolution needs a young earth creationism revolution; that astronomy needs an astrology revolution; that the caloric theory of combustion needs a phlogiston revolution; and that the Copernican view of the solar system needs a Ptolemaic revolution - in other words, it's not what we need.
What's needed is for people to have better knowledge of the thing that's true and factual and beneficial to the world, not more of the thing that puts obstacles in the way to those pursuits.