A battle of words erupted yesterday between the Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper campaigns.
“If he isn’t prepared to offer an alternative to Jeremy, he needs to step back and leave it to Yvette,” said Team Cooper.
“Yvette’s stunt is panicked, desperate and straight out of the Ed Balls handbook,” said Team Andy.
Ouch. But it’s okay because this morning, the Cooper camp apologised. Passive agressively, obviously. But anyway the hostilities were all for show anyway, and here’s why.
The bookies Paddy Power have paid out on Corbyn bets. That’s right – paid out. As in, not just stopped taking bets, but given the punters who plumped for Jeremy – some at 100-1 odds – their “winnings”. The gambling industry has been wrong before – as many a Manchester United fan can attest to – but they aren’t usually incorrect to this degree. It’s over – Corbyn has won.
And here’s the thing – both Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper know this. They can’t say it out loud in so many words, obviously, but they know it. The reason I know they know it is that it was all obvious from yesterday’s bunfight if you read between the lines. Yvette’s patter was all about how Burnham is essentially just sucking up to Corbyn. And Burnham is, well, basically sucking up to Corbyn. Yvette’s plan, and this carries on from her speech last week effectively denouncing Corbyn and all he plans to do, is to plant a flag for whenever, in her mind, Labour comes to its senses post-Corbyn. “You see,” she sees her future self saying, “I was the only one talking sense the whole time. I was the only one telling you it was all going to go horribly pear-shaped. Well, okay, so was Liz, but you know, out of the two of us who could have theoretically beat Jeremy, I was the sense talker.”
Burnham is aiming for short term glory. He figures by bowing to the leader-to-be now, he will be granted a plum shadow cabinet position (particularly as lots of Labour MPs will be fleeing from them – in theory, anyhow; let us see what happens when push comes to shove).
So that’s what yesterday’s trading of insults between the Burnham and Cooper camps was actually about. They know it’s over; that neither of them will win. But while Burnham wants to save his skin immediately, Cooper’s hunkering down for the long game. Liz, well, she’s coming fourth and has known that for a while now. She’s also known that dropping out wouldn’t have made a blind bit of difference, which is why she’s still there.
Still don’t believe me that Corbyn’s inevitable victory on September 12th is common knowledge within all tiers of the Labour Party? Look no further than all this crap about second preferences and who should give theirs to whom. It’s nonsense and everyone participating in the discussion knows it. Jeremy is going to win on first preferences – and easily too.
A new order is being established and Burnham and Cooper, two stalwarts of the Labour Party, are placing their bets on what the future holds (just as the actual bookies are paying out in the here and now). We’ll see in the fullness of time who made the right decision and who made the wrong one.