Labor sensibilities are starting to push back – but they should push harder

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The political implications of the Paris attacks are only just beginning to emerge. But there are early signs that it may be the rapid growth of (inevitable) divisions in the Labor Party. Jeremy Corbyn’s response to the ensuing debates has reinforced the impression – as if any cement was needed – that the new Labor leader is out of his depth, skeptical of things that should be clear and committed to the mix. ugly of sanctity and moral relativity that has a sudden metastasis. through his party moved to leadership in September. Mr Corbyn insists his MPs will not get a free vote on Britain’s intervention in Syria, his first (since reversed) move against the use of lethal force there the conditions like that in Paris and the proximity to the anti-West Stop the War group. he fired up MPs who accepted him before, or at least claimed the time before he fell.

Last night’s meeting of the Parliamentary Labor Party was a resounding affair in which Mr Corbyn gave vague and unsatisfying answers and at times was shouted down by his MPs. As if they needed proof of the gormless narcissism now at the helm of their party, some were outraged when Diane Abbott, the shadow development secretary and one of the few MPs who actually gives support her director, working through several letters as a discussion. before Syria was ravaging around us.

Today brought another show of challenge with the sensitive people. In a sad Commons session on the attacks in Paris they rose, one by one, and gave voice to universal, liberal, informed instincts too often absent from the Labor leadership. Emma Reynolds said that the attackers were solely to blame for the attacks (that this even needs to be said in today’s Labor is an indication of how deep the party is – now). Pat McFadden noted that to advocate anything else is to “attack terrorists and treat them like children”. Mike Gapes urged the prime minister to offer immediate air support to the Kurds. Chuka Umunna highlighted Mr Cameron’s commitment to national security and urged him to explain the framework by which British police can use lethal force.

Mr Corbyn is unlikely to go anytime soon. He won a major mandate in September. Furthermore, the overwhelming consensus in the moderates of the Labor Party is that he should fall, rather than be put down. Only then, it is thought, will a reasonable number of his supporters reconsider the politics of digestion they voted for (perhaps, in many cases, in protest rather than positive support) and will support a newer and established alternative.

However, the last few days are important for Labor as they have moved the party a little closer to recognizing that their leader is hopeless. This could be raised early next month, at the Oldham West and Royton by-election. One of the clearest claims made by Mr Corbyn’s supporters in the leadership campaign was that his straight-talking style would help the party win back Old Labor voters in seats held by the Neo Party. -UK populist dependence is now a real presence. This by-election will put him to the test and – if my visit to the seat last week is anything to go by – find him wanting. To quote from my column:

If Labor wins the seat – as seems entirely possible – MPs across the party should be worried about their prospects. But will they act? In my opinion, after the Paris attacks and following the reaction of the party, it is no longer a question of whether he will break 30% in the next election but whether he will cut 20%. Voters pay very, very little attention to the daily political news. But a few things will be noted. Labour’s uncertainty about the extent to which it should stand for British citizens is one, as my evening on Oldham’s doorstep (even before the Paris attacks) revealed. The longer this goes on, the more it will damage the image of the party. Its moderators are assuming a different weight (correctly) from their leader’s weight and waiting for him to slip away eventually. But the last days have shown that this is not enough. They need to start thinking about actively eliminating him and building a local base to compete with the man who put him in a position he didn’t deserve to win.

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