As I write this article, a judge is examining the rules once again on whether Jeremy Corbyn should have his name automatically placed on the ballot paper. This is an obvious sign that the Blarites and the soft-left are desperate; they know Corbyn has incompressible support among the membership. For many on the centre ground, this is their only hope of ousting Corbyn.
Personally, I believe his name should not be on there without the backing of the 51 MPs that Owen Smith requires. Not only is it unfair that Corbyn does not have to get sufficient support but if you cannot get the backing of 51 MPs in your party, then you simply do not have the unity within your party to get anything done. Neither can you form an effective opposition. And whether the party’s hard-left members voted for him last September or not, the point is that the state his party is in at the moment means Labour will struggle to get elected at the next general election. So in order to truly get the voices of Labour voters and members heard, whether they are hard-left socialists or Blarites, a change in leadership is clearly needed.
There was a seismic shock last night within the world of politics when Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham, decided that she would return to Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet. The momentum suddenly seemed to shift away from the rebels. The significance of this decision was immediately apparent and there are concerns she will not be the last to do this. Although the reasons for Champion’s decision are unclear, it could be an indication that Corbyn’s foes fear that his positon is too strongly cemented by the membership and the ability to change this will be incredibly tough. It could also indicate that she has simply changed her mind or that maybe she rushed into resigning too hastily. However, I believe it to be a lot more likely that she feels that Corbyn is not going anywhere and this is an opportunity for her to develop her own career in Corbyn’s shadow team.
One of the Blarites biggest fear is that the alternative to Corbyn, Owen Smith, is not much better. In fact, the only thing which glues them together in supporting Smith is that he is an alternative to what they see as a ghastly, extreme, hard-left socialist. But Smith too has said he is just as radical. He may be the better of the two for the Blarites but whether he is their ideal candidate is unlikely. And whether he has the charisma and charm to win the next general election is unknown. Either Angela Eagle or Hilary Benn probably would have been better representatives for the Blarites. The only problem there though is that they lack the ability to connect with the Corbynites.
I fear that because support for Owen Smith is not whole-hearted, MPs will soon lose faith in his campaign and start to accept the fact that Corbyn is more comfortable in his position than ever.