A Mexican standoff of vain stupidity

7th January, 2016 9:14 am

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Are you kidding me? No seriously, are you having a laugh? Is this some sort of dare? A Mexican standoff of vain stupidity? Russian Roulette with a gun with no empty chambers?

Let’s establish a couple of things first. A Leader is perfectly entitled to shape his cabinet as he pleases. It’s a bit weird to do it only three months after the last time, but that’s his prerogative.

Equally people who no longer want to serve under that Leader are perfectly entitled to resign from doing so. They are also entitled to their opinions and to voice them outside of the bounds of collective responsibility.

Collective responsibility means supporting agreed policy positions in public. It doesn’t mean not arguing about them in Shadow Cabinet meetings. It doesn’t mean voting an agreed way on a free vote.

But if you can’t stop slagging off your very newly elected leader in public, you can probably expect they won’t keep you on for very long. Loyalty – that word du jour – is a two way street. Trust is a process not a right.

Right so having established all that: ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

On what planet is it a good idea to start briefing about a reshuffle and it’s potential casualties over the period more commonly dedicated to peace, goodwill and a slow news cycle?

On what planet is it a good idea to then hold that reshuffle on the day your activists got up super-early, in the cold and the rain to leaflet stations across the country thus stepping all over your own fares campaign?

On what planet is it OK to brief the potential loss of your Shadow Foreign Secretary, then brief he’s staying, then brief he might be going after all, then keep him? I’m sure the public is completely convinced of your faith in him and the job he’s doing. Anyway, not like it’s an important role…

On what planet is it even slightly a good idea to take four days to reshuffle what turns out to be a derisory number of posts?

Our infighting has been the story for three days (and counting). Days where the Tories comprehensively killed social housing, and failed (again) on floods. David Cameron executed what should have been a humiliating U-turn on Europe and nobody bloody noticed because you were too busy having fratricidal fun. And If I see one comment along the lines of “WAH WAH WAH Tory Press!!!” I will scream. Yes, the press is largely Tory, but we are feeding that beast. Our incompetence and malignity is feeding that beast.

I haven’t finished. Because the other lot are just as bloody bad.

You are not entitled to a Shadow Cabinet position. When you get sacked, take it like a grown up and act with some dignity. Particularly if you know in your heart you’ve given the Leader every reason to do it. Yes, the crowing on the left is hideous. Don’t fight hideous with hideous.

If you want to coordinate a revolution, it will take more than three junior MPs with similar politics. If Corbyn is as unelectable as you think and should be got rid of, stop bloody serving in his Cabinet. Don’t idle up to saying so, resign and get it on a bloody t shirt. If you aren’t going to do that – en masse – then shut the hell up.

Stop blaming everyone else for your woes. “It’s the Soft Left’s fault” “It’s Ed Miliband’s fault” “It’s Andy Burnham’s fault” “It’s Tom Watson’s fault” “It’s Lord Collins’ fault”. It’s your fault. You lost an election and riled the selectorate so badly with reheated, rehashed out of date Blairism. I’m not talking about Liz Kendall’s campaign (though there was far too much Blair there) I’m talking about the last 20 years. Years of disengagement, disrespect and downright dishonesty towards a membership who chose to have their revenge after suffering fools with only seething resentment for too long.

This week has revealed more than ever before the parlous state of the Labour Party. The Tories are ripping up our social fabric carte blanche and we don’t even seem to care any more. As long as our personal faction is up or down, left or right, in or out. If we can’t stop – somehow or another – we will never oust them from government.

The electorate is looking at us right now with one collective thought: Vote Labour, are you kidding me?

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