Column: I think the Labour party is doomed by Roy Bainton

editorial image

May 7 was a disaster for the Labour Party. Yet Labour’s descent into history’s dustbin is entirely their own fault, I believe.

Now we see the comic spectacle of some members of the Conservative party paying £3 to temporarily join the Labour party so that they can vote in the forthcoming leadership election.

Why? I think it’s because David Cameron desperately wants Labour’s left-wing candidate Jeremy Corbyn to become leader.

Corbyn is an old-style fire and brimstone socialist. He’s anti-cuts and austerity, pro NHS, pro public sector and a staunch trade unionist.

I think the Prime Minister therefore believes that one final push by Labour to the far left will finish the party off for good, transforming the UK into an unchallenged Conservative landscape for decades to come.

If the national media were able to trash Ed Miliband so successfully by calling him ‘Red Ed’, then with Corbyn they’ll have a field day.

He’ll be a gift to Rupert Murdoch and papers like the Daily Mail, who will compare Corbyn to everyone from Stalin and Trotsky to Pol Pot, and chances are the strategy will work.

When a party surrenders its core values, often against the wishes of its wider rank and file, as happened with ‘new’ Labour under Tony Blair, it may enjoy temporary success with a bamboozled public.

Yet Blair’s controversial scrapping of Clause 4 in Labour’s constitution was the first step towards today’s disaster.

Clause 4 aimed “to secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry”...“upon the basis of the common ownership”.

New Labour replaced this with ‘the enterprise of the market and the rigour of competition’ which is about as Thatcherite as you can get.

Such changes needed new people on Labour’s front benches, ‘sophisticated’ young metropolitans, not embarrassing, horny-handed blue collars like Dennis Skinner.

Thus the party ended up with Balls, Miliband, Burnham, and today’s new pro-Tory wing, Chuka Umunna, Liz Kendall and Harriet Harman, people who seem to find themselves in the wrong party altogether.

Ultimately, it is the electorate who decide who governs who. Labour’s century-old roots lie in socialism’s total opposition to capitalism. But in May the British people spoke.

They prefer capitalism and socialism has become irrelevant. The electorate have succumbed to the repeated mantra that the poor have only themselves to blame, that in some way it was benefits ‘scroungers’ and Labour’s profligate spending which caused the banking crisis, and that spending £150 billion on renewing Trident is more important than saving the NHS.

So is the Labour Party doomed? In my view, it is. No matter who leads it, it’s beyond resuscitation.

However, by voting Jeremy Corbyn in as leader, then once the corpse is buried, it will at least be pushing up the daisies with its honourable old working class heart still beating.

Of course, I’d like to be proved wrong. But to quote John Cleese: “I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now.”