Thursday, August 04, 2016

Better the devil you don't know

At the start of August it seems an appropriate time to look back at the politics of the previous few weeks. At the start of July we were expecting a long Tory leadership campaign which was resolved in a rather brutal way, curtailing the 6 weeks of blood sport into just a few days. Theresa May has been installed as PM and somehow the Tory civil war that afflicted the Referendum campaign has been forgotten. May employed a few political flick knives and knuckle dusters to get rid of the likes of Gove and Osborne and handed on the poisoned chalice of Brexit negotiations to Bumbling Boris and the other Brexiteers.

Meanwhile, on the Labour benches, Jeremy Corbyn’s love of the 70s and especially the 80s is being re-enacted like a badly written soap opera with a recycled script. Far from being able to form a government, they can’t even form an opposition. How a party can go into an election with the majority of their MPs openly hostile to their own leadership is beyond me. That assumes of course that Corbyn wins the leadership contest which is looking very likely. Challenger Owen Smith must feel a bit like Captain Kirk, spending his time trying to defeat Klingons for the one thing Corbyn is good at is clinging on to his job.

Quite what the difference is politically between Smith and Corbyn is difficult to pin down. Both are pitching their platforms to the left, both seemingly putting forward the same policies,such as throwing people out of work by banning zero hour contracts and spending vast sums of money without any explanation as to where it is coming from. Perhaps there is no difference politically. Perhaps the difference is on personalities only. Smith is a complete unknown in the country as a whole. I have to confess I had never heard of him until he was paraded as a possible challenger to Corbyn. It seems that his pitch is “Better the devil you don’t know”!

These are strange times. They certainly remind me of the early 1980s when a mass-neurosis gripped the Labour Party. While many in Labour want to relive those years, that’s not something that appeals to me.

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