Murder in the cathedral – on Labour's tragedy (more Hamlet, really)

by / Filed under Politics

Maybe I’ll post something more cogent on Labour’s tragedy soon, but, as the players learn their fate and the clock hands approach 12, here are a few thoughts:

  • Andy Burnham’s problem was that nobody outside the “Westminster Bubble” uses the phrase “Westminster Bubble”.
  • Liz Kendall’s problem was that she ignored the constituency and mouthed stuff about learning hard lessons; true enough, but they were the wrong lessons.
  • Yvette Cooper’s problem was starting too slowly, too timidly; again, she hasn’t grasped the austerity nettle. But she is the best Middle England candidate, where she’ll be known simply as Yvette.
  • Jeremy Corbyn’s great accidental strength was simply being against austerity. As such, hundreds of thousands projected their desires onto an old hippy. None of the other candidates, to borrow a horrible business term, were agile enough to realise this and adapt their message (Hamlet’s decadent court, if you like).
  • Only Corbyn occupied the real, traditional, social/liberal democratic centre. That means he wins, which must be incredibly frustrating for those who thought they were the centre candidate.
  • 3 quid voters won’t win a general election.
  • Jeremy Corbyn – one of too many jesters – won’t win a general election.
  • Ed Miliband (another jester) made a fatal error, but it just may save the Labour party because it will have to bury and overcome its recent history (your tragedy’s ghosts).
  • Loyal and hardy footsoldiers were actually leafleting during the high tragedy.
  • The best hope for Labour is that the whole tragedy (or farce) does indeed end in a good old bloodbath. From the ashes rises a proper leader of the old centre, who slays Brown Blairite ghosts and the hippy king. Your Fortinbras.