For Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the knives are well and truly out. He would do well to consider the fate of Julius Caesar, as his colleagues collaborate to unseat him from his job. He may not come across as much of a firebrand any more these days. He is older, and perhaps tired of the machinations he has experienced during a long career in politics. He may not look the part either, with his casual attire, and an appearance that could be described as scruffy. In parliament, he has failed to make his mark as an orator, and lacks the necessary spite to take on his opposite numbers.
But like him or not, he was elected leader. And by the membership of his party, not as a result of a general election, or because he was chosen by his parliamentary party. There was a time when this would have been considered adequate, and his detractors would have had to like it, or lump it. But then came the EU Referendum. Labour fastened their colours to the ‘Remain’ camp, and lost. Instead of accepting this defeat as part of the political changes in this country, many of them sought to pile all the blame onto one person. Jeremy Corbyn. It was all his fault, they claimed. He wasn’t assertive enough, failed to get the Remain message across, and was lukewarm in his condemnation of those wishing to Leave.
Some of them are now in the process of trying to force through a new leadership election in that party. Two front runners have emerged, both with very similar ideas and policies. Not surprisingly, similar ideas and policies to the now discredited Tony Blair too, though they both deny being Blairites. One of these is the abrasive 55 year-old Angela Eagle, MP for Wallesey. She is well-known in parliament for having an identical twin sister who is also a Labour MP, and for being openly lesbian, and married to another woman. She claims much of her ‘Northern working-class roots.’ She was born in the north, that is true. It was in the Yorkshire town of Bridlington, a peaceful seaside holiday resort on the east coast. She then went on to study Politics, Philosophy, and Economics at the prestigious Oxford University, before going to work for the Confederation of British Industry. This is hardly the stuff of cloth caps and mining communities, even if her parents were factory workers. She has also hinted at the possibility of a second EU referendum during discussions and debates.
The second candidate for Jeremy’s job is Owen Smith. Smith is the 46 year-old MP for Pontypridd, in Wales. Born in Lancashire, he went on to study History and French, at Sussex University. He later worked as a producer for the BBC, and as a lobbyist for the international drug giant, Pfizer, where he earned £80,000 a year to promote their products. Once again, hardly the ‘dirty hands’ man-of-the-people working class hero we might have once expected to emerge from the Labour Party, and hope to lead it. He has clearly stated that he would like the Labour Party to promise not to trigger Article 50 to leave the EU, and that he thinks that a second referendum would be a good idea.
So where does that leave the opposition? If either of these people succeed in ousting Corbyn, we face a return to the Blairite politics of years gone by. Cosy with business, supporting the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and impossible to tell apart from the softer Tories sitting across on the other side of the House of Commons. Worse than that, they intend to try to overrule the democratic process and betray more than 17,000,000 of the people in the UK, by attempting to change the result of the recent referendum.
And we thought we lived in a democracy.