Centre ground is quicksand

Labour is perhaps facing its worst crisis of identity since 1924 when the establishment fabricated the infamous Zinoviev Letter to topple the very first Labour government after barely a year in office.

The peril this time, however, is not so much from outside forces as from its own ranks.

Ever since the defining Clause IV was dropped by Tony Blair in 1994 Labour has struggled to offer a coherent and credible alternative to Conservatism. Labour won landslide victories in 1997 and 2001 not because of their partial embrace of the city and capitalism but because the country was heartily sick of the Tories.

But this increasing compromise with Conservatism – which included the Iraq war – began to take its toll.

Turn-out at elections fell drastically and popularity waned. Then came the great crash of 2007/8 and the writing was on the wall.

So, to the current Labour leadership contest. I declare myself openly for Jeremy Corbyn – and woe betide anyone who calls me a moron!

The other candidates, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall, are entangled in the compromises of the past and talk endlessly about the centre ground which is nothing more than a half-way house, or a quicksand waiting to suck you down.

In Chris Mullins’ prescient novel, A Very British Coup, the key moment comes in a cabinet meeting when the newly elected PM Harry Perkins warns: “If we play by their rules we lose.”

And that is why Labour lost the last two elections.

Corbyn holds out hope, and not just for Labour, because he doesn’t play by ‘their’ rules.

Stephen Jackson

Albert Road


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