Sunday, 29 November 2015

Tipping Point

Even a Lefty writing in The Independent has this weekend indicated that Jeremy Corbyn needs 'to be got rid of' as the headline puts it.

The trouble is that it can't be done. Anyone who knows how the Labour Party constitution and procedures operate will already be well aware that it is virtually impossible to topple the party leader. The leader has to step down, realistically, and that generally happens only after a General Election failure – as Ed[ward] Miliband did after his such failure just six months ago.

On top of that, with the huge support the current Dear Leader received when elected to that position – and still receives even today, if not to quite the same degree – both among the Labour party membership and around the country, it would not go down well if anyone were even to attempt to oust him, whether or not it succeeded.

Indeed, the mere attempt would not only impact Labour's support and votes in future elections, it would almost certainly lead to an unrecoverable split and the party breaking into two – something like what the 'Gang of Four' did some thirty years ago when they too broke away from Labour and created the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

This would split the existing Labour vote even more than if Mr Corbyn were to be left in place and his leadership never challenged, and make neither resulting party a strong parliamentary force, as each would have only a few dozen MPs at best – and those would no doubt be representing their own party's heartlands almost exclusively (there might be the odd fluke win for one or the other) so not representative of the majority of the electorate.
There are several other bad things that will probably happen, but that will be the overriding consideration, I can well imagine.

Perversely, therefore, it is probably best for the party to leave things as they are, grit their teeth and wait it out until the next General Election in May 2020. They are simply going to write that one off in advance – and I suspect that privately many have already done so.
They can meanwhile, in the shadows, and starting right now, be devising and creating mechanisms that they can simply drop into place immediately there is a change, ready to begin re-building the party's electoral (and perhaps other!) fortunes immediately after that almost certain total disaster, rather than losing months during the leadership election that will follow. Remember: it took more than four months to elect Jeremy Corbyn.

They must therefore hope that, after the 2020 election, Corbyn will then do what Ed-M did earlier this year and step down of his own volition (or perhaps with encouragement from party colleagues and others) as soon as the scale of the inevitable rout becomes clear, and certainly once the Conservatives pass the finishing line (326 seats) in the election results.

It is the only way they can now proceed, realistically, in a kind of damage limitation exercise that will last some 54 months.
They made their bed – no-one else imposed it on them – and now they must lie in it!

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