In the wake of the EU referendum, with the government in disarray, one would have thought the Parliamentary Labour Party should be making the most of a wide open goal. Not so, instead, the PLP has chosen to hit the self destruct button, imploding in on itself in spectacular fashion. There is however, a sense of inevitability about it all, given that, even before Jeremy Corbyn was elected, there were suggestions he be immediately deposed, should he win the Labour leadership. The most vocal proponent of this course of action at the time, was former Labour special advisor and unapologetic Blairite, John McTernan.
During the Labour Party leadership contest of 2015, McTernan was unequivocal "I can’t see any case for letting him have two minutes in office, let alone two years in office because I think the damage that will be done to the Labour party to the Labour party in that period makes it incredibly hard to recover". Writing in the Daily Telegraph barely a month after Jeremy Corbyn's election as Labour Party leader, McTernan was calling for action, saying "Labour needs competent leadership, and the current team have rapidly shown they are not up to it. How to engineer a change? A coup, obviously".
Labours difficulties stem from the fact that the PLP, has by and large, been hijacked by Blairite automatons. Shiny, shallow crypto-Tories, bereft of principles, who would have power for power's sake. Whilst they were thoroughly unhappy with the election of Mr Corbyn as party leader, the Blairites recognised that an immediate move to overturn such a thumping mandate would be folly. Instead, we were left with the rather peculiar situation of Blairites sitting uncomfortably on the front benches, alongside Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, who's policies were patently anathema to them. No longer.
Following the coronation of Gordon Brown, as Labour leader and Prime Minister in June 2007, the Blairite grip on the party appeared to weaken. Brown, unsurprisingly, attempted to create distance between himself and the legacy of Tony Blair. The unexpected election of Ed Miliband as Labour leader in 2010, seemed to consolidate this, to the point where in 2013, Tony Blair himself was moved to caution the Labour Party over a move to the left. Blair's comments that Labour risked becoming "repository for people's anger", rather than an alternative to the Conservatives, have been echoed in the last ten months or so, by those who fear that the party has become an instrument of protest, not power.
Jeremy Corbyn's present predicament, displays all to clearly, that the Blairites are still very much the majority in the Parliamentary Labour Party and that they are eager to "take back control". There is a clear disconnect between Labour MP's and the wider party membership. Whilst it is by no means a foregone conclusion, all the signs are, that Jeremy Corbyn will be re-elected as Labour leader in any forthcoming contest. What then, for the 172 MP's who voted against their leader, in yesterday's motion of no confidence? Do they slink off to the back benches, seething silently, sitting it out till the next general election? Alternatively, do they, having accepted that they do not represent the kind of politics favoured by the wider party membership, break away from the Labour Party, to form a new centrist party? There might even be room in such a venture, for moderate Tories, who fear a shift to the right, in the event that Boris is elected Tory leader.
During the 2015 leadership contest, Andy Burnham took issue with those who did not, and do not support, Mr Corbyn being labeled as Red Tories, saying it "is just outrageous. Every person in this race is Labour through and through". I beg to differ, the abstention of 184 Labour MP's in a vote over the Government's welfare reforms in July of last year, tells a different story. I would suggest, that there is less political distance between a Hilary Benn, Liz Kendall or Chuka Ummua and outgoing Tory leader, David Cameron, than exists between them and Comrades Corbyn and McDonnell.
In the final analysis, the Blairites' concerns that under Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party is headed for yet another defeat at the next general election, may be well founded. It is worth remembering that the Labour Party has not won a general election since the departure of Tony Blair as leader. Indeed, the last twenty years or so, seem to demonstrate that Labour are only electable when they assume the form of Tory-lite. It may be that, such is the dominance of the neoconservative hegemony, a true party of the left, in England at least, is seen as being beyond the pale. That being said, assuming Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister and the United Kingdom departs from the European Union, there could well be an invigorated desire for the "new kind of politics", Jeremy Corbyn was overwhelmingly elected to deliver.