Following Chuka Ummuna’s departure from the battle to be the next leader of the Labour Party, how this is all going to play out comes into sharp focus. Only three days after launching his campaign to become Labour leader, Chuka’s resignation statement was odd to say the least. He talked about himself and his family coming under scrutiny (what did he think would happen?), which has inevitably led to all sorts of rumours flying about, the likes of which I won’t get into.
To give you some idea of the level of disruption this has caused to certain people within Labour, Keir Starmer, who has been a MP for about five minutes, is apparently getting entreaties to stand. This is because everyone can see the writing on the wall now. Chuka’s withdrawal just made it more obvious than it otherwise would have been.
It’s Cooper v Burnham for sure now. And how depressing is that? I think it will mostly come down to who impresses the unions more and thus gains their backing. I don’t say this to be negative, or anti-Labour. I just can’t see it going any other way.
Whatever my reservations about Umunna in some respects, he set out a bold way forward in terms of trying to get Labour to recapture the voters they have lost since 2005 that I admired. Liz Kendall has set out an even better set of ideas, in my opinion, and I still hope she has a shot – but I just don’t believe it somehow.
Unfortunately, for both Labour and the country, I think Burnham or Cooper would be a disaster, and as a result the Tories look more bolted on to increase their majority come the next general election than ever. It seems like this is a drama the Labour Party needs to play out, depressingly, before they either come to their senses – or the party political landscape leaves them behind. If that last statement sounds crazy, look at what happened to the Liberal Party almost a century ago. No party has a God given right to exist, and if Labour throw away another five years, I wish them the best.