Today I cast my votes in the Labour Party leadership elections. These are both in the plural because, people may not realise, there were multiple candidates for Leader, Deputy Leader, a Conference Committee and so on. It took some effort to read the candidates’ statements and, frankly, they were pretty useless. Instead I relied on external commentators to fill in the background and, on the whole, they didn’t make very encouraging reading; very few candidates come out of close scrutiny with a resounding endorsement. Some seem to be gaffe prone, others appear to have little experience.
The thing which bothers me most, and I’ve blogged about this before, is that nobody is talking about taking the fight to the Tories any sooner than 2020. I seriously worry that there will be an election before that, perhaps in as little as 2 years, driven by the in-fighting in the Conservative Party over a referendum on EU membership. The way things are going with mass migration (and UK immigration) rising to the top of the popular agenda I see an increasingly fragile Conservative majority in the House of Commons being tested by UKIP and their adherents. If Labour aren’t ready for that, and as a consequence lose a snap election in 2017, they may not get another shot at power until 2022!
I’ve written to the present Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman, and to all the leadership candidates to ask their opinion on this; I don’t expect a reply any time soon. If I get one at all it might at least indicate whether the threat of years in the political wilderness is real, not because Jeremy Corbyn is, or isn’t, elected leader but because the leadership as a whole has taken its eye of the ball.