There was a hint of menace and hypocrisy in Jeremy Corbyn’s rambling acceptance speech on Saturday (12 September).
Menace in the tone of a placid man unable to shake off old class warrior tendencies. Hypocrisy flowed from one of Labour’s eternal rebels suddenly calling for unity within the party’s “broad church”.
Talk of a rainbow coalition of shadow ministers only deepened the deceit. The appointment of John McDonnell as a true anti-austerity Shadow Chancellor makes sense. Credible, authentic leaders have no need to appease.
Corbyn has rebelled against the whip more than 500 times in his Parliamentary career. This naughty-boy behaviour offers a lesson and a third way to the rump of Labour moderates who publically eschew him. Just as Corbyn has capitalised on the thirst for authenticity and a return to principled politics, so the Ummunas and Kendalls, Coopers, Reeves and Hunts should now make the brave step and coalesce, when appropriate, with socially liberal Tories and economically progressive Liberal Democrats and Greens on key issues that impact the nation – from economic affairs to foreign policy.
This would be the first step in a genuine re-alignment of British politics. It would offer proof that national interest can be placed above personal ambition. These new coalitionists would promote national common good over political machinations and sulk.
Amid the tsunami that swept Corbyn to the Labour leadership, many lost sight of the warning shock in London, 24 hours earlier. Candidature for London Mayor was expected to be close but few anticipated a 20-point majority for Sadiq Khan over Tessa Jowell which, commentators noted, significantly boosted likely Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith’s push for City Hall next May. Harder left thus boosted softer right.
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