Lion & Unicorn Profile picture
Sep 8, 2018 15 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
The pro-Corbyn take on a new party/PLP split seems deeply muddled. The repeated charge that the SDP kept Thatcher in power, and that a new party could do the same for today's Tories, contains an unspoken admission that there *is* an electoral constituency for such a party. (1/?)
Even if all of the new party's support came from 2017 Labour voters (a highly unlikely outcome) that would still indicate that a significant minority of Labour's base strongly favours a different leader and a more centre-left platform. (2/?)
The balance of power between Left and Right inside the Labour Party may have shifted dramatically to the former, but the fact remains that Labour is a broad electoral coalition, and that preserving said coalition (in some form) is crucial to Corbyn entering government. (3/?)
There was probably no way of preserving Labour's internal coalition after Corbyn became leader (although L&U suggested one after #GE2017:…). But as power lies with the Left, the Left has more levers to limit/repair the damage from a split. (4/?)
Backing (or at least not blocking) de-selection and mandatory re-selection, is not going to limit the extent and vitriol of the coming split - it will hasten and harden it. Similarly, allowing high-profile Left outriders to denounce and goad figures from the Labour Right. (5/?)
(Note: many on Labour's Right have behaved atrociously since 2015, but there is no obvious benefit in engaging aggressively with these critics - it sustains negative stories and so crowds out positive messages. The Left should appear more sinned against than sinning.) (6/?)
If Labour enters government after the next election, it will likely have done so because it has a) avoided a major split, or b) co-ordinated with the new party. These outcomes seem unlikely, but they're made no more likely by the Left's current hostility to the Right. (7/?)
A stable Corbyn govt will depend on some kind of compromise with MPs or parties with a politics currently represented by the so-dubbed 'Blairites' and 'Red Tories'. This compromise is going to be much harder if the Left keeps up its current retaliatory/attacking stance. (8/?)
Regardless of how the Left's approach to splitters and internal critics develops, there's also a strong possibility that a Corbyn govt would need to agree a Westminster pact with the SNP and or the Lib Dems. (9/?)
Whether or not mandatory re-selection or mass de-selections occur, whether or not Labour splitters form a new party, all of Corbyn's most likely paths to power run through compromise with more 'centrist' politicians. (10/?)
The rage inside Labour has probably gone too far, there probably isn't a compromise strategy that could work now. The de/re-selections and likely new party will fatally damage Labour, either by keeping the Tories in power or making a Corbyn government unworkably unstable. (11/?)
And that tragedy is as much of the Left's making as it is of the Right's. Corbynism has had the upper-hand since 2015, and quite evidently so since the failed 2016 'coup' and the subsequent general election result. But that hand has been played divisively and defensively. (12/?)
And at root that's because Corbyn's greatest appeal is also his greatest weakness: he isn't much of a politician. He's never done big tents, and when he does compromise and pragmatism he does them late and awkwardly. (13/?)
In short, the Left aren't going to adopt a conciliatory long-term strategy under Corbyn, Labour will split bitterly, and so a Left govt will either fail or remain a pipe dream. And it won't be the fault of a new SDP. (14/14)
PS: I wish I'd ended this thread as follows: "One likely irony of Labour's coming divorce is that the very people who won't compromise to save the marriage may end up doing so to take the House." Geddit?

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