Jeremy Corbyn isn’t gone yet, but his is now a phantom presence. He’s very much a political dead man walking. His replacements are lining up, setting out their stalls.
Two of them – Jess Phillips and Lisa Nandy – have columns in The Guardian today.
Both are keen to blame Labour’s loss of “connection” with the working class, yet neither mentions Brexit.
They’re both trying to sell the idea that Labour was too far left to appeal to areas of England which have voted Labour since World War 2.
There’s a lot of waffle and verbiage but, as usual with any opinion piece, you can distil their entire message down to one paragraph.
Romanticising the struggle deeply offends them and the message of solidarity is undermined by some policies that make little sense. Nationalising rail is a good, sound policy but should we have staked so much of our campaign on that policy when so many of the towns we lost have no train station and rely on buses anyway? Should we really be rejecting nuclear power when it is one of the best sources of good jobs outside London? What is the point of a minimum income guarantee if you have to stack shelves for the rest of your life and want something more, or a big offer on tuition fees if you can’t see a way of getting through college?
Her Labour will promote “competition” and “opportunity” (read: Capitalism), and won’t bother nationalising trains because people use buses instead. They will be pro-Nuclear power, and won’t increase the minimum wage OR scrap tuition fees. (Because that’s what workers want, apparently).
Jess Phillips goes even vaguer with it:
If we are to find a way to reconnect with those working-class voters, we have to be brave. It’s time to try something different, rather than re-enacting old battles. I’ve never been afraid to say what I think. The truth is, there are corners of our party that have become too intolerant of challenge and debate. The truth is, there is a clique who don’t care if our appeal has narrowed, as long as they have control of the institutions and ideas of the party.
She will ask the “hard questions” (she never says what those are), and will root out the parts of the party that are “intolerant” (read: the leftwingers). She wants to try something “brave” and “new” – Like a Labour party without socialism.
Later, she writes of helping…
working-class communities who need a Labour government.
But “working-class communities” don’t need a Labour government, they need a Socialist government. And if you abandon socialism in order to get yourself into power the only person you’re helping is you.
It looks like neither of them has a problem with that.