‘Tories are brutally effective when they are lumped with an ineffective leader. Hague once described the party as anabsolute monarchy, moderated byregicide’
Labour Party members may not like Tony Blair all that much, but they would do well to remember that his election victory in 2005 was the last time their party managed to get someone elected as prime minister.
Sincethen, the party has done everything in its power to distance itself from Blair’s legacy, with its struggle to stay relevant reachinga new low under Jeremy Corbyn.
Labour has little to offer voters right now. There’s no point looking for any big ideas here. Corbyn can’t even pretend to havea frontbench to put forward his cause, as it hashas gradually disintegrated over the last few weeks. Of course, hisallies insist everything is going according to plan.
Jon Trickett greeted Theresa May’s ascension into high office by claiming that Labourwas gearing upfor a snap general election, but that is the last thing the party needs as it ploughs into its own internal tussle for leadership.
Some Labour MPs still struggleto come to terms with Tony Blair, even though he gave them threeterms in office, while others have yet to fully adjust to last year’s leadership election, which gave themJeremy Corbyn.
Angela Eagle has spent this year stoking speculation that she doesn’t see eye-to-eye with him, but has taken her time to go in for the kill. She tried talking with Tom Watson about who should mount a challenge, and they couldn’t decide, so she has finally gone for it.
But if the answer to Labour’s woes is Angela Eagle, they’re asking the wrong questions.
Britain rejected the EU at the referendum, so her backers now think the party should replace an –at best –reluctant Remainer with a passionate Europhile.
Her ministerial career has few highlights:being sacked from the Home Office in 2002 by Tony Blair because he forgot she was already in post and laughing in 2008as Treasury minister at warnings of an oncoming credit crunch.
Ms Eagle can’t be bothered spelling out any new policies as she has little by way of vision, yetthat is exactly what Labour needs. Her objections with him aren’t over ideology, but the fact people don’t like him. So her pitch is simply to be the “unity candidate”.
She has shown little ability to enthuse her own party lately though, coming fourth in the deputy leadership election with just 17.9 per cent of the vote.
If she does go on to face Corbyn in a run-off for the leadership, YouGov’s polling suggests she would lose by 10 points. Perhaps this is why she has taken so long to mount a challenge. She doesn’t really want the job, but just wants everyone to stop fighting.
In the time it has taken since the referendum for Ms Eagle to pluck up the courage to mount her bid, David Cameronhas stepped down, the Torieshavewhittled down the field of possible contenders and already picked one to replace him. The Conservatives are often called “the natural party of Government”, and they are more qualified than Labour for this title now in one way: they are quite good atdecidingthings. Corbyn’s critics can’t even choose who will oppose him, as Owen Smith has also entered the fray.
The secret to ousting a leader - as blindingly obvious as it may seem - is to agree on an alternative. Angela Eagle and Owen Smith both on the ballot paper can only split the “not Corbyn”vote, and so help the bearded wonder stay in.
Recent Labour coups have always been hampered by the fact that the party justisn’t very good at them. MPs fretted about how badly Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband did, but failed to dislodge them in time to avoid electoral defeat.
Jeremy Corbyn has openly admitted that he is more interested in “changing the way politics is done” rather thanwinning elections.
The hysterical reaction from Corbynites when critics likeJess Phillips promised to knife Corbyn “in the front, not the back” if he won’t lead them into office is telling. They are happier now pleasing themselves by being ideologically pure than wooing the electorate.
The Tories, by contrast, are brutally effective when they are lumped with an ineffective leader. WilliamHague once described the party as“anabsolute monarchy, moderated byregicide”. This has served them well over recent years, as the Tories have cleaved through leaders fast until they found one that could inspire voters: David Cameron.
Theresa May has a difficult few months ahead once she starts as prime minister. She has to thrash out terms of Brexit that will be tough enough to satisfy her Brexiteer colleagues and the52 per cent of Britons that voted Leave, while not being so brusque as to horrify her Europhile allies. So she will be privately grateful that the Labour Party isn’t in a position to put up much of a fight.
The real Opposition Mrs Mayis set to face sit on her own benches, ready to criticise her Brexit deal, rather than across from her.Labour’s inability to agree on a leader, or even how to oust him, shows how much of a quagmire they are in. If they can’t sort out their own party, could Tony Blair be their last elected prime minister?