X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Blogs Coffee House

Labour’s centrists have held up the white flag of surrender

2 September 2015

1:46 PM

2 September 2015

1:46 PM

Smart political operators are often the stupidest people. In conventional Westminster terms, it was smart of Labour’s Chuka Umunna to say last night that everyone in Labour should work with Jeremy Corbyn.

Received wisdom expects us to applaud Umunna as he bows his head to conventional pieties and says Labour should get down with the kids, ‘celebrate’ the Corbyn-supporting yoof, ’embrace’ them and ‘harness’ their energy to revitalise Labour.

We are expected to nod sagely as political journalists tell us that Umunna is calculating that ‘if Corbyn, the clear frontrunner, is to fail, Umunna’s wing of the party must not have done anything to make it responsible’.

Clever move, we are meant to mutter. This guy knows it is best to keep your head down, and not go looking for trouble. A Corbyn-led Labour party will be a disaster, of course: a coalition of the cranky and the malignant. When it falls apart, you can see why Umunna and his colleagues don’t want to be blamed for disaster.

You can go on like this for some time. Until, that is, you stop and think for – oh, I don’t know – 30 seconds, a minute max, and realise that Umunna’s strategy cannot work.


Chuka, baby, don’t you get it? The far left will blame you whatever you do, if they don’t purge you first. The excuses are already prepared. However loyal Labour politicians are, however toothless and servile, failure will be their fault (and the media’s fault, I should add). The far left never takes responsibility for its defeats. It can never admit that its ideas are wrong and alliances with Islamists and Putinists repellent. The failure of the true faith is always the fault of the heretics, and never of the godly.

How is Umunna going to maintain the illusion that Labour is a happy family? Can he not see the wolfish smile on the lips of John Humphrys as he contemplates the happy prospect of interviewing hideously compromised Labour politicians?

‘Now, Mr Umunna do you support your leader when he says….’

Umunna himself admits that he has a few disagreements with Labour’s leader apparent: on Britain’s membership of Nato, Britain’s membership of the EU, unilateral nuclear disarmament, the tax regime for business and other trifles. Will he, will others, ignore fundamental political differences in the name of ‘solidarity’? Does he, do others, think that they won’t be laughed to scorn if they do?

But the biggest objection to maintaining the lie of party unity is that it does nothing to address the concerns of those who are stampeding towards the exits. Many millions will abandon Labour for the same reasons they abandoned it at the election. If voters did not think that Ed Miliband was a credible prime minister, they are hardly likely to think that Corbyn is a better candidate. If they refused to trust the economic programme of the formidably learned Ed Balls, what will they make of shadow chancellor Diane Abbott?

Some of us are going to leave, however, not because the far left is left-wing, but because it is a dangerous and often filthy reactionary force. If you need me to explain, consider that left-wingers are always denouncing the Tories and Ukip supporters as racists/sexists/homophobes, occasionally with justice. Then they elect as their leader a man David Cameron or even Nigel Farage would expel from their parties for:

  • Appearing on the propaganda stations of Iran, a theocracy that oppresses women, homosexuals, trade unionists and the Sunni and Kurdish religious and ethnic minorities, and appearing on the stations of Russia, an imperial power, which shows no more respect for international borders than it does for gay rights. When I discuss these matters, Corbyn supporters huff that their man is ‘engaging’. To date they have been unable to provide me with one example of Corbyn raising his tremulous voice to protest about the human rights abuses of his gruesome hosts.
  • Welcoming and campaigning for a variety of Arab and white anti-Semites, including outright fascists who deny the holocaust. These gentlemen not only want to kill Jews but to oppress every progressive force in the Middle East, from feminists to free thinkers. Once again his supporters play the engagement card. Once again they have failed to produce one scrap of evidence that Corbyn has challenged the prejudices of his allies. It seems racism does not matter if its targets are Jews. Feminism does not cover women with brown skins. Warmongering is acceptable if the mongers in question are killing British troops.

In other words, in the affairs of the world, Labour under Corbyn will be well to the right of the Tories. Thousands will leave for that reason alone, not least because they will find the hypocrisy too great to stomach. They may be going already. Rob Ford of Manchester University tells me that there is evidence of a ‘sharp recovery’ in Liberal Democrat support.

People could be persuaded to stick with Labour if politicians like Umunna were prepared to argue for social democracy and take on Corbyn, not only because he is unelectable but because he is immoral. No such argument seems likely. Umunna appears to think that you can win the battle of ideas by hiding in your trench, and hoping that someone else will do the fighting for you.

He is in for a rude shock. Indeed the shock may be so great it could finish the Labour party.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close