Bill Carmichael: What if Yvette Cooper led Labour instead of a clueless Jeremy Corbyn?

Yvette Cooper, speaking in Parliament this week over Brexit.
Yvette Cooper, speaking in Parliament this week over Brexit.
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I HAVE always had a lot of time for Yvette Cooper – and if Labour was ever brave enough to choose a woman leader she could be an inspired choice.

Note to feminists – those misogynist dinosaurs in the Conservative party first elected a woman leader almost 45 years ago and they have elected another one since.

Would Yvette Cooper make a good Labour leader?

Would Yvette Cooper make a good Labour leader?

In contrast the trendy progressives in the Labour and Lib Dem parties have never managed to find a woman that they judged good enough.

True, Cooper suffers from the common modern malady of aggressive virtue signalling, like the time she publicly offered to open up her home to refugees, only to face ridicule when she quietly reneged on the promise.

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But she is ferociously bright, capable, generally sensible and very media savvy. Put her in front of a TV camera, or a baying House of Commons, and she lights up like a 200-watt bulb – in telling contrast to the dim Toc H lamp currently leading her party.

Watching poor old Steptoe shuffling to his feet for another shambolic Commons performance – this week was no exception – I can’t be the only one thinking that the political landscape would look very different indeed if Cooper was leading Labour.

On numerous occasions in recent months the Maybot has been in desperate trouble, hanging on to the ropes just waiting for the final knock out blow. Then up pops Magic Grandpa to start wittering on about how Mavis from Wetwang is upset her wheelie bin has gone missing, or some other equally riveting case from his postbag, and the opportunity is lost.

I strongly suspect Cooper would be far more ruthless, and if Labour had been smart enough to choose her as leader four years ago, it isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine they could be in government by now.

So what are we to make of Cooper’s Machiavellian machinations in Westminster this week?

Numerous times she has promised voters in her Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford constituency – where more than 69 per cent backed Leave – that she would respect the result of the referendum, and she even sent them a leaflet promising that she would not vote to block Brexit.

Yet she has spent the last few days plotting to do precisely that. And these people wonder why faith in politicians is dropping like a stone!

Of course Cooper argued in the pages of The Yorkshire Post last week that she didn’t intend to block Brexit, but only to delay it for nine months. To me, it amounts to the much same thing.

Either way Cooper’s little plot suffered a resounding defeat in the Commons this week for two key reasons.

Firstly, there was a rare show of unity on the Conservative benches. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you stick together, isn’t it?

Secondly, and perhaps more significantly, there was a substantial Labour rebellion, mainly by MPs representing Leave voting constituencies in the North and Midlands, against the Labour whip which backed Cooper’s Brexit blocking amendment.

Some of these rebels, such as the Don Valley MP Caroline Flint, acted on a point of principle. Unlike Cooper, Flint takes the deeply unfashionable view that if you make a promise to your voters you should at least attempt to keep it.

Others no doubt fear that Leave voters will abandon Labour in droves if it is seen to block Brexit.

Either way Cooper’s defeat and other votes this week have helped to clarify matters. The choices have narrowed dramatically. Because it is now clear Labour, plus all the opposition parties acting together, don’t have the votes to block or delay Brexit.

And given that those Labour rebels are even less likely to support moves to rip up Brexit and start again – also known as the second referendum – then that is off the table too.

If you’re a supporter of the People’s Vote (aka the Losers’ Vote), then I have to tell you that your ship just sunk without trace.

So by a process of elimination we are left with just two choices – either Theresa May’s deal in some form or other, or no deal. That’s it – it is one or the other.

In the coming weeks our legislators will be faced with this stark binary choice. And when it is all over, and if Labour ever recovers from the madness of Cult Corbyn, we may see Yvette Cooper where she belongs – leading her party.