I’m 42 – and I’m a lifelong Labour voter.
And I’ve also never known a leadership election like this.
At his victory speech at the Labour election-night party, Royal Festival Hall, London, 2 May 1997, Tony Blair uttered the now famous words, “A new dawn has broken, has it not?”
However, the way in which this particular #LabourLeadership election was run was dreadful.
As Dr Éoin Clarke had tweeted,
Weighing up all available evidence I’ve spent months gathering, about 250,000 who wanted to vote for Labour Leader were unable to do so pic.twitter.com/Wo59L3wXzs
— Éoin (@LabourEoin) September 23, 2016
I’ve known Liam Young, who supports Jeremy Corbyn, for a long time. His recent piece in the Independent details in full gory detail how, despite his best efforts otherwise, he ended up not voting. I can vouch for Liam’s commitment, having known him for years.
“I have been a member of the Labour for the last six years, and involved with the party for as long as I can remember. I remember heading to party conference in 2010 at the tender age of 15, and my grandparents often fondly remind me of the times they used to take me out canvassing in my pushchair – my grandfather was the leader of the local city council and mayor at one point. I had countless unrelated “aunties” who I grew up with, assimilated into my extended family by virtue of the Labour work they did with my relatives.
So this month, I was surprised when I didn’t receive my ballot in the normal timeframe for this leadership contest.”
The comments to this article make for desperate reading. Most authors, especially ones for The Guardian newspaper, never read the submitted comments, but I strongly suggest Liam has a look.
Here is a typical comment.
The whole Owen Smith campaign was a fiasco.
In fact, what happened from the time at which Hilary Benn threw his early morning temper tantrum was a full blown disaster.
Believe it or not, I had not intended to blog much about this #LabourLeadership election, though I’ve doing some sort of Labour political blog for about 7 years now.
Looking back on it now, the entire anti-Corbyn campaign imploded from the very beginning. The ‘challenger’ was implausible, the policies half-baked, the campaign sodden with gaffes, and, put simply, an insult to the wider Labour Party membership “electorate”.
I charted some of this mess in various blogposts including “Saving Owen Smith“, “The inevitability of death, taxes and Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election as leader of Labour“, and “Owen Smith MP must surely have been aware that the NHS is being rapidly privatised?“.
Some of my time had been taken up the desperate moves of the NEC to thwart people voting in the law courts, and that was before the #LabourPurge2 had gathered full momentum (pardon the pun).
The mainstream media were reluctant to cover the bare essence of the illiberality of the legal manoeuvring, astounding given the overwhelming ‘liberal’ press.
Such blogposts included “The Court of Appeal judgment was profoundly illiberal, and the issues need scrutiny notwithstanding“, “Nobody is above the law not even in the Labour NEC“, and “Tom Watson MP says he doesn’t believe in conspiracy theories, and nor do I“.
Ed Miliband MP, like other failed leadership contenders Liz Kendall MP, Lord Neil Kinnock and Gordon Brown (2010), stuck the boot in, possibly even adding to Jeremy Corbyn’s credibility, viz. “The overall incompetence of Ed Miliband’s opposition should still raise alarm bells“.
But there was no doubt at all, that if Owen Smith MP was the answer, the question was not even worth thinking about.
The Owen Smith MP candidate was the talk of the town – for all of the wrong reasons.
It never gained any credibility.
For example, I wrote on “Why has Owen Smith MP lost all momentum in his leadership campaign?“, “Owen Jones’ interview reveals Owen Smith MP is dangerous for the nation’s health“, “The Parliamentary Labour Party cannot cope with the decline and yet further decline of New Labour“, “Owen Smith’s campaign blowing up on lift-off is not a good look“, “Owen Smith is ‘reconstituted Labour’, but still a disastrous recipe“, and “Owen Smith MP is swimming in the deep end with armbands. We can’t go like this.”.
And it seems now that Angela Eagle MP’s leadership was merely now a ‘bad dream’.
This is where it all started: e.g. ““Saving Labour” or “Crushing Corbyn” – that is the question?“, “Why the level of vitriol against Jeremy Corbyn?“, “Angela Eagle’s “Contrived Leadership” was overbranded and under authentic“, “The emphasis of Hilary Benn on “winning” ironically explains a lot Labour’s failure“, “For me, Angela Eagle is part of the problem for Labour’s electability, not the solution“, and “If Labour can’t unite behind a democratically elected leader, it doesn’t deserve to be in government“.
I feel hugely excited about this morning. I have had enough of trolls suddenly popping up on Twitter, and lying to me – I don’t have to waste hours trying to work out why they are shilling on behalf of a certain lobby any more.
I don’t have to think about reasons why Corbyn would be a ‘disaster for Britain’, or why Jeremy Corbyn ‘does not believe in winning’, or how Labour ‘has become the party of permanent protest’, or how Labour is now full of far left Trotskyist individuals allegedly, and so on.
For me, it feels as if a noose has been finally removed from my neck. There’s about 10 or so Labour MPs I think their local constituencies should examine as to their suitability for parliamentary election. I don’t think any candidate should be renominated under duress if (s) he disagrees strongly with party policy. Democratic re-selection is very healthy for the party. As in all good teamwork, it’s a question of give and take. I don’t see a case for the parliamentary Labour Party having bullied their way into this all-consuming leadership election, detracting attention from the split and division within the Conservative Party, to call any shots. Most scandalous of all, the entire NHS is collapsing, grammar schools are on the way back, the foreign policy with Libya for example has been utterly discredited, and Owen Smith MP is obsessed about talking about he (not the House of Commons or Lords) ‘won the PIP debate’.
Too many people in the Labour parliamentary party love themselves, especially the ones who are now acting like spoilt brats having been to one of the big 4 accountancy firms.
I don’t mean him…
Or Andy – who has been utterly brilliant throughout.
The other bunch of loudmouth talentless Labour MPs, the “deplorables”, rather need to step up to the plate, contribute policy – or else get out of the party.
They should stop fanning their own egos in TV studios with vitriolic bile against Corbyn.
They need to do some actual work in making Labour look like a serious political party. The membership are overwhelming sick of their narcissistic putrid selfish self-centred behaviour, rotten to the core.
Some journalists, especially at the Guardian, should stop preening their feathers, and stop spewing incessant negative junk in their low circulation papers.
Basically – anyone who is not up to the job of helping Jeremy Corbyn has overstayed his or her welcome -…
and should get out now.
And what have we learnt from all of this?
We now know that this man
doesn’t want Seumas Milne’s job now, nor in the future, here or in any other parallel universe.
As was in the statement to the press on arriving at Hillsborough Castle for the Northern Ireland talks, 7 April 1998, Tony Blair said, “A day like today is not a day for, sort of, soundbites, really – we can leave those at home – but I feel the hand of history upon our shoulders, I really do.”
Wherever Labour goes from this point onwards, today is a very special day.