Anti-Corbynite planning for the aftermath of what looks like certain victory for the Islington socialist in the Labour leadership contest is still in disarray. Though Chuka Umunna’s intervention calling for ‘solidarity’ earlier this week was a bold move designed to take some of the poison out of the contest, it hasn’t gone down well in some quarters, with those involved in the other campaigns feeling rather frustrated that he is talking as though it’s a done deal (though his attitude on the result is understandable), and others irritated by the suggestion that Umunna could work with Jeremy Corbyn. But as I wrote earlier this week, Umunna’s speech was one of the first signs that the anti-Corbynites still have some political nous.
What’s not yet clear, though, is who has both the nous and the appeal to lead an effective resistance in the party. Is Umunna, who pulled out of the leadership race, the right figure? He’s certainly organised, thoughtful and slick. Tristram Hunt, who writes in his Spectator diary this week that ‘we are entering the era of emoji politics’, is also a key figure in the Labour for the Common Good resistance movement. But are they the right anti-Corbyn leaders?
Another group of Labour moderates are also holding talks on how to deal with a Corbyn leadership. Labour First will meet at the start of the party’s conference in Brighton in a few weeks’ time to discuss ‘the next steps for moderates in the Labour Party following the leadership election’ and the various votes at conference, too.
But as Dan Hodges writes, the machine of the moderates needs serious attention before it can take any serious steps against Corbyn – and they also need to leave enough time so that any move against the leader doesn’t look like a move against the party membership’s democratic verdict. The debate over when the right time is will inevitably cause further splits in the party.