No battle is more viscous than that between Brothers

Jeremy Corbyn addressing a huge crowd of supporters in London.
Jeremy Corbyn addressing a huge crowd of supporters in London.

UK – It seems to me that no battle is more viscous than that between brothers. Or should that be comrades? Somehow I do not think that the Blairites have ever regarded themselves as comrades.

What we are seeing within the Labour party during the leadership election is a prime example of this. The Blairites are so desperate not to lose the leadership and control of the party that they are tearing each other apart in the scramble for the ultimate prize.

It is interesting that the leading candidate Jeremy Corbyn is not indulging in this humiliating dance of self destruction. He is being rewarded for this composure (and message of hope) in the polls.

What we are seeing is a struggle for the control of the Labour party between a faction, the Blairites, and the membership of the party. No faction ever has all the answers. Only some of the answers for some of the time. It is never long before the faction becomes hidebound or hamstrung and irrelevant by its own orthodoxies.

Factions are only ever tolerated while they are delivering electoral success. David Cameron is widely held in contempt by Conservative voters but he is tolerated. In much the same way that ‘Big’ Tony Blair was by the Labour voters.

More seriously It is interesting to see that both the main political parties have done this narrowing of their orthodoxy in the 1980s. Neil Kinnock and so called Militant. Margaret Thatcher and the One Nation Tories (the so called wets).

It has dragged both parties into serious electoral trouble and plunging memberships. As I understand it at the beginning of 2015 the Conservatives had between 85,000 and 100,000 members and Labour has 180,000 before the leadership election.Conservative party membership has more than halved since David Cameron became their leader.

None of the political parties can be legitimately described as mass membership parties. This is a serious problem for democratic legitimacy. The party machines hold the members in contempt. Regarding them as a necessary evil whose views are not important. But their financial contributions are.

A political party needs to a broad church in order to appeal to the electorate. It is no surprise that this narrowing of orthodoxy in both political parties has resulted in a declining electoral turnout. With only die hard core voters bothering to vote.

It seems that the leadership election has caused a reported 400,000 people to apply to take part (AKA new members) So now the labour party has 5 to 6 times as many members as the Conservatives. This has to be a good thing for the democratic process.

More seriously It is interesting to see that both the main political parties have done this Kinnock with so called Militant. Thatcher with the One Nation Tories.

It has dragged both parties into serious electoral trouble and plunging memberships. As I understand it the conservatives have between 85,000 and 100,000 members and Labour has 180,000 before the leadership election.

None of the political parties can be legitimately described as mass membership parties. This is a serious problem for democratic legitimacy.

A political party needs to a broad church in order to appeal to as much of the electorate as possible. It is no surprise that this narrowing of orthodoxy in both political parties has resulted in a declining electoral turnout. With only die hard core voters bothering to vote. These die hard core members put other less ideological people off from joining.

It seems that the leadership election has caused a reported 400,000 people to apply to take part (AKA new members) So now the labour party has 5 to 6 times as many members as the Conservatives. This has to be a good thing for the democratic process.

So why is the labour party leadership so upset about a man who draws crowds better than the other three candidates put together?

Have they no respect for the electorate or their own members?

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Author: Dr Suusi Watson

Editor of the Bastard

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