The Party is Over
What is going on now can no longer be seen as a fight for control of an existing institution. The split has already happened in all but name. There are already two parties. There is no unitary Labour Party to be fought over anymore. There is no going back.
That is the only logic behind the actions of both warring factions of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Let’s just be clear about that. What is going on is not a principled fight between two wings of the Labour Party for control of that Party. That wouldn’t be anything new. Variations on the theme have been played out since Ramsey MacDonald, right the way through Bevan and Gaitskill, Cartland and Wilson, Benn and Healey, Militant and Kinnock.
The difference between then and now is that back then there was something to fight over that would still be there no matter who won. Not any more. Now there is no scenario where EITHER wing can win the whole party over. What is happening now is a fight over the assets of a party that has already ceased to exist. And both warring factions know it.
Quod Erat Demonstrandum, Ergo Split.
It’s not exactly news. They’ve been effectively dysfunctional for a year or more. So bereft and nihilistic was the “establishment” wing of the party in the wake of their defeat in 2015 that Corbyn got on the ballot as a matter of balance and nostalgia and then won…much to his own surprise…not really because people were excited to hear a prospective labour leader, even one as crashingly dull as Corbyn, talk like a socialist…but because there was simply nothing left in the batteries of the rest of them…so that Corbyn’s pale imitation of conviction sounded , well…alive…at least by comparison.
Anyway, they may not have actually published the divorce papers yet, but the two parties have already separated without any hope of reconciliation and there is no prospect of either giving a shit about the kids. The assets are going to be split between the two…the affiliates, the members, the Union backing, the name and the headed notepaper. There are precious few other assets and a good deal of financial debt. The Tories barely need to get out of bed to have the next two or three elections in the bag. The demise of Labour south of the Tweed is about to be as precipitate and terminal as it was in Scotland.
(Which pretty much kisses off any prospect of Labour recovery here, by the way. All that was left was the prospect of a Labour government in Westminster. That duck is floating upside down and displaying no signs of movement.)
I fear that the Tories will just HOOVER up seats in England. That’s why St Theresa made a left wing speech in Downing Street before going in to summon the most right wing cabinet since Attila the Hun organised his cavalry.
So in 2020, there will be two Labour parties, both exhausted financially and personally by years of courtroom action…one probably calling itself “Real” Labour or something equally vacuous… taking votes off each other all over the country. There will be a party of socialist saints and a rump of socially democratic pragmatists…who may hope for some kind electoral alliance that includes the SNP.
But I think that ship sailed in 2015. I fear that the Tories will just HOOVER up seats in England. That’s why St Theresa made a left wing speech in Downing Street before going in to summon the most right wing cabinet since Attila the Hun organised his cavalry.
(That is, if we’re lucky, and someone even more seriously nasty doesn’t emerge in the meantime when Brexit fails to send the immeegrunts packing and wages go even lower while prices batter through the roof on the back of a collapsing pound…)
Enough of all this. There have been calls in Bella and elsewhere for practical economic arguments to get made for “indy” right now.
Well, here’s one.
A lot of people I talk to want to “wait and see” The electorate on both sides of the border are pretty wary of electoral politics right now, nationalist politics included. A lot of other people have been calling on Bella (which is mostly written by volunteers who happen to write about what they happen to write about) for economic arguments around the issue of “Indy.”
Well, not speaking as anything like an expert, here’s one with a bit of politics and a bit of economics and the future of the planet (or human civilisation, anyway) all rolled into one:
Renewable energy is, in the view of a lot of people, a sine qua non of the economic case for “independence.” But…
It looks like all the investment needed for renewable energy research, from the UK as well as from the EU…is drying up. Theresa May is merging the department of energy and climate change which underwrote research into a new department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. I don’t know exactly what that means, but I do know that the mechanics of Brexit, economic and institutional, are going to absolutely consume all the time and all the money that the UK government has got. A future for Scotland and its economic base is not remotely near being on the agenda, let alone in “a safe pair of hands”
Wait and See? While Trident is renewed? While we leave the EU ? While Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition can’t even form a Shadow Cabinet? Wait and see?
Like they say in disaster movies, I don’t know if we have that kind of time.