He’s at it again. I wondered how long into the Labour leadership contest we would have to get before Blair made some grandstanding speech about it all. Obviously, the poll putting Jeremy Corbyn in the lead has spooked him. Of course it did: his view of what the Labour Party should be is the polar opposite to Corbyn’s. That and Jeremy would lead the party to electoral damnation, but that’s a side note.
I can understand Blair’s concern, and his desire to try and help stop his party from committing suicide is admirable. But does he not get that he helped Corbyn with that Progress speech, the one about how Corbynites had to get a heart transplant? How is Blair blind to the fact that to most of the party activist base he is evil incarnate, and that anything he urges them to get on with will convince them to do the precise opposite? Or that the term “Blairite” has become the most pejorative thing you can throw at someone within the Labour Party?
I just wish I understood how Blair thinks about these interventions beforehand. Is it a personal thing? A vendetta against a party that rejected him wholeheartedly following his departure, despite being their most electorally successful leader ever? If that were the case, I guess I could at least partially understand it, on an emotional level anyhow. But Blair seems to really believe he is doing the cause he purports to be behind some genuine good.
Anyhow, we might all look back in a few years time and agree the Blair speech was wot won it for Jeremy. I’m really starting to believe Corbyn could do it, mostly because of the sheer panic he’s causing in the other candidates. Yvette, the most level-headed and experienced of the bunch in many ways, has blown a gasket, having her team try and hype up a poll that puts her in the lead. A poll that on further inspection has a sample of 234 people. Okay, not the end of the world; could still be right despite the small size. Thing is, the respondents are all Labour councillors. Oh, right. Think the Yougov one might have a wee bit more data integrity, sorry Yvette.
A final word about Blair. Look, Tony, I know it’s mad that they want to write you out of their history, but here’s the thing: they really do. Stop giving speeches on the topic of the next leader if you actually care about the Labour Party not going insane. The only people in Britain you are convincing to do anything at present are the Corbyn-Burnham swing voters who after your latest intervention are off to make dear Jeremy their leader.