It seems to me that the Labour Party are determined to disprove the hypothesis of great political commentator, DJ Casper, that every slide to the left is followed by a slide to the right. While the Corbynistas, who seem to lack the conviction of their convictions, want us to believe that the underhanded PLP have already “criss-crossed” and have brought forth Owen Smith to get everyone to clap their hands, the facts are against them.
The seductive narrative that Labour has forgotten the working classes and given up on its values is, well, seductive. But if we take a moment to look at the historical facts (which is what left wingers are supposed to do), there is little evidence for this.
The Labour party has got consistently more and more left wing since the departure of Tony Blair. The “Austerity Lite” feint by Miliband’s premiership is a red herring. Ed dragged the party significantly leftwards and you can guarantee that Corbyn would not have got passed the nomination phase last year if that weren’t so.
Blair, Brown, Miliband, Corbyn… Smith? Corbynistas want us to believe that in Smith the party will lurch to the right, like we thought it would in 2015, and in 2010, but which it never has done. The fact that the Corbyn team have recently accused Smith of copying their policies is more evidence that you can’t stick a labour membership card between them on the traditional political spectrum.
In some cases, Owen Smith is more of a Corbynite than Corbyn himself, particularly regarding the membership. Smith wants a members’ shadow cabinet where the leader can be truly held accountable by the party. This goes much further than Corbyn’s attitude which is “the membership chose me, I am the will of the membership, therefore you should do what I say”, which frankly smacks of the fascist definition of democracy (Hitler was the authentic expression of the will German people. To obey him was to obey the German will, and therefore the Third Reich was a democracy).
A Smithian (Owenist?) Labour Party would be concretely accountable to its members, rather than speculatively. And, for that reason, I think it’s a terrible idea. Hasn’t the last 12 months been full of enough evidence that we just can’t be trusted to make decisions? But, Corbyn’s median voter, Hipster McBeardyTrot, should be in love with this idea and wondering why on earth Saint Jeremy isn’t endorsing it too.
Looking at what evidence is available, I believe any neutral observer has to say that, excepting Trident, their platforms are identical. The only difference is that Smith seems to be much better at getting a message accross than Corbyn and at convincing people he can actually deliver his promises.
In the face of this fact, Hipster McBeardyTrot is reduced to name calling (yes I know I’m being a hypocrite), lies, and generally burying his head in the sand rather than admit he got it wrong. He cuddles up to a conspiracy theory, wrapping himself up in its blissful ignorance, and does what he can to ignore all press releases and shout abuse at anyone who catches him in the act.
But, as the taxi driver said to Stewart Lee, “You can prove anything with facts, can’t you?”