So finally, it’s on. Corbyn wouldn’t submit to parliamentary pressure and so Angela Eagle was forced to formally challenge him. Jeremy himself went on Marr to talk about it over the weekend where he displayed no discomfort whatsoever. It seems clear that whatever happens he is going to win by his own measure. Either the NEC lets him onto the ballot and he wins, or he gets on and somehow Eagle wins (at which point Momentum becomes a new party), or he doesn’t get on and he sues the party – I think he figures he wins either way. So long as he has his own socialist cult to himself, then who cares.
The notion that he might sue the Labour Party itself gives you a fair indication of how far wrong all this has gone. What a terrible precedent to set. What’s next, a sitting prime minister suing parliament because they lost an election? For better or for worse, the unwritten constitution works via certain conventions – such as not suing the political party you are the leader of when things don’t work out for you.
But this will all be civilised compared to what will happen away from Westminster and the machinations of the political class. The atmosphere is febrile already post-Brexit, and one can only wonder what far-left activists have in store for Angela Eagle over the summer. Her politics are not really mine, but I do admire her greatly for having the courage to face down this bunch, many of whom will undoubtably attack both her gender and her sexuality. I’m not sure I could face it all myself. I think however all of this plays out, what Eagle has done will reverberate as a necessary and highly praise worthy element of where we eventually all end up.
I really do lament the politics of the moment, my only hope being that out of all of this chaos a new arrangement emerges that is better than what we had pre-June 24th. That shouldn’t be that difficult, but it is a long way from guaranteed.
In the meantime, we have things like Diane Abbott’s interview on Radio 4 this morning. To call it out of touch with reality would be extremely charitable. To summarise its message: Corbyn will continue being leader of the Labour Party regardless and there won’t be a split as a result even though the parliamentary party think he’s rubbish and nor will Labour stop functioning as a party (the ship has already sailed on the last one). Are we to surmise from all this that the PLP will be “re-educated” in some way? It’s the only way to square its inconsistencies.
I pick on Abbott for a reason: she can be highly reasonable, so the irrationality of the interview was highly disconcerting. As we saw during the EU referendum, politicians and what they feel can and can’t be said really does set the tone for the country at large. Right now there is a lot of talk in Westminster that is downright delusional and what that does to an already fragile politics scares me.