Labour’s Lack of Leaders

BY MAUREEN GRIMWADE

I have supported Labour all my life. I am the proud daughter of a Manchester fitter and as far back as I can remember all the family voted Labour. In our eyes the alternatives were the Tories (no chance) or the “other lot” as they were known; “the party the same colour and constitution as weak wee after a summer shandy”.

Voting Labour was standard practice all the way up to Gordon Brown. Even Brown had some gumption. He stood up for the working class and forked out on tax credits and other sweeteners to lift us workers up a bit by our blue collars. Whatever people think about Brown he was a strong man and a politician who’d break into a sweat for what he considered the right, passionate reasons. He was the last bit of Labour fish. Next up it was the scraps.

So along came Ed Miliband.

Miliband was a nadir for the workers. The worst since Foot was the general consensus. The kind of a politician who’d never done a hard day’s work in his life. The sort of a bloke you ask to knock up some cement and he’d have to ask you what proportions. A Marxist Tory who’d quickly volunteer to be a linesman in a school rugby league match or claim he had Osgood–Schlatter disease and do chess club with the Maths teacher.

Miliband was a disaster. He created new leadership rules, an Edstone and a mess of a bacon batch and that was it. Now we’re left with Corbyn. And it’s all Miliband’s fault. The whole ruddy mess is Miliband’s fault. I blame Red Ed for the state of Labour, for Brexit and, possibly worst of all, for Syria. If Red Ed had voted to target Syria when Cameron asked him to, then Putin and Obama would not have contrived to make such a mess out of the whole Syrian situation and Assad would be dead. If Red Ed had not made a mess out of Labour’s leadership rules then Corbyn wouldn’t be leader and there would have been solid opposition to Brexit.

I look at the Labour Party now and I see no leaders.

The recent leadership contenders are all wishy-washy drips: Andrew Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Owen Smith, Angela Eagle. The others are so dull I can’t even recall their faces, let alone their names.

New blood is defective too.

There’s Keir Starmer in his lifts with his wiry hair and about-to-fart expressions who’d be in chess club with Miliband so as he didn’t get mud in his quiff. There’s Clive Lewis who sounds good at times then you realise he’s gaffe prone and not nearly mainstream enough; recently he urged the unions to use new press regulations to silence critical newspapers and some say he’s loony left when you scratch the surface (or scratch that brillo pad on his head, which looks like he’s had it transplanted from between his legs). I quite liked Chukka Umunna but he’s clearly been had a word with by SIS and he doesn’t seem like leadership material anymore (I wonder what he got up to for him to drop out like that? The mind boggles). Then there’s Dan Jarvis.

What is it about soldiers who become politicians? They are never any good.

Wellington, although he rose high, was rubbish and set a precedent of soldiers who think they can transfer soldiering into Westminster but always end up failing. There’s a long line of them who didn’t quite cut it: the Mercers, Heappey, Holloway, Tugendhat and Nick Soames. There are some who fought in the war like Macmillan and Heath or worked as reservists like David Davis (and Clive Lewis) who are somewhat better than the full-time soldiers who seem to be slightly dim. Maybe it’s the regimented lifestyle and lack of brain challenges. As for Dan Jarvis, he’s the great leader that never was. Like one of them Catherine Wheels you buy on the cheap and it put-puts out like a boyfriend tanked up on ale. He’s a wet blanket like the rest of them. He’s about as motivated as the hedgehog hibernating down my garden. You feel like stamping on his foot just to wake him but even when he gets agitated he’s about as inspiring as Philip Hammond.

Finally, people talk about Sadiq. He’s proving himself a decent Mayor of London but it’s early days. Let me be blunt: what works in London does not work in Grimsby or Stoke. They will just see him 1) as a Muslim and 2) as another vertically-challenged Starmeresque ambulance-chaser. Not Britain’s cup of tea. Not enough to win Labour an election.

Maybe some of the women like Stella Creasy or Jess Phillips can get themselves a makeover. But I can’t see it happening. They’re all too nice, the Labour lasses. And the nasty ones are voter repellent. Look at haughty Lady Nugee and her white van man Horlicks and Diane Abbott who claimed that Chairman Mao, the murderer of 60 million, on balance did more good than harm.

Want to know what I hear? Want to know what I think?

People on the street and at the hairdressers feel that Westminster Labour politicians are so out of touch now with the working class that they are finished. After the Co-Op fiasco, Iraq, the PFI time-bomb which will destroy the NHS, after Trojan Horse and after Blair and Brown’s forced immigration policies, Labour’s gone.

Too many own goals.

Too much of a mess.

It won’t be UKIP that rises to take its place. It might be the pee party. It might even be a Tory break-away.

A new party will rise over the next five years. Shod of the Blairites and the Corbynistas. Funded by wealthy industrialists who never got on with the Tories. A new centrist entity that workers can vote for hand on heart and also with head. And it will win in 2025 in England, Wales and Scotland after May has had her way with Britain (and the word on the street is she will do well and we will do well, as Britain rises and Westminster career politicians take one hell of a kicking).

People aren’t angry. They’re not scared. They know things like the NHS have to give eventually. They’re more resigned.

Brexit has made people more political not less and there’s a backs-to-the-wall feeling out there which we all know will make us stronger in the end. People are looking forward to it.

The gravy days for Labour people are drawing to a close.

Time now for that last injection. Time to wipe away the tears and put the old party of Gaitskell, Bevan and my Old Da to sleep.

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5 thoughts on “Labour’s Lack of Leaders

  1. Theresa May head and shoulders above a mediocre bunch of Tory leadership contenders, so not much consolation there either…

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  2. Laughing out loud at the Keir Starmer and Clive Lewis comments. I cannot believe you just said that but I am so glad someone has. So true. These people are way below the mark. No wonder people like Blair want to come back. It is a tragedy unfolding now, Labour. It will end in a car crash.

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  3. Labour’s gone to hell in a handcart.
    Corbyn. You sow what you reap.
    Labour in 97 had on their list: Destroy Tories
    Look how that worked out for them!

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  4. Really enjoyed this, Maureen. Good to have some plain-speaking Northern representation go on record and say it how it is. What about Hilary Benn? Although, again, I’d have to say he’s not leadership material.

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