Friday, 26 June 2015

Labour Party represents an increasingly uneasy coalition

The news that Jon Cruddas is part of a new group to set up English Labour (Guardian, 25/6/2015) should surprise no one. The Labour Party is an increasingly unstable coalition of interests spanning from right to left. The Blairite backed Progress group blatantly operates as a party within a party, its standard carrier in the leadership election being Liz Kendall. The left agenda is represented by Jeremy Corbyn. Victory for either of these candidates could signal a split, with the trade unions in particular unlikely to put up with a Kendall led Labour Party. A Corbyn victory could see Progress stalking off to create a new party very much in the way that the SDP did in the 1980s.
Then there are the two candidates most likely to win the leadership contest, Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper. Both to a greater or lesser extent seek to bridge the divide, trying to remain in with the two groups and their support bases. They could be called unity candidates, in a similar way to Ed Miliband last time around – whatever the outcome, success for either candidate seems likely to continue the fudge that has enveloped Labour for the past 20 years, torn between its traditional mission of representing working people and a desire to ape the Tory party by becoming a paler shade of blue.

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