THE stakes could not be higher as Labour begins the process to select a successor to Jeremy Corbyn – and also Tom Watson who quit as deputy leader on the eve of the election.
Get the decision wrong and lose the next election, warns Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer, and the party will face its longest period out of office since the Second World War.
[https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/opinion/columnists/what-labour-must-do-if-it-is-to-win-again-after-jeremy-corbyn-election-disaster-john-grogan-1-10180381|What Labour must do if it is to win again after Jeremy Corbyn election disaster – John Grogan|Read here}
But it is even more profound than this after Labour lost the trust of working class families, the people it purports to support, at last month’s election, not least because of the dogmatic insistence of Sir Keir, and others, that there should be a second referendum on Brexit.
And while he now accepts that the referendum argument has been lost, Labour is still staring into the political abyss as it tries to find a way to win back the confidence of its traditional supporters who switched to Boris Johnson and the Tories in such significant numbers on polling day.
That is why Labour can no longer afford to oppose for Opposition’s sake in the coming weeks while senior figures like Sir Keir, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Emily Thornberry, to name three, attempt to fulfil their front bench duties as they campaign for the leadership.
They will win plaudits for constructive criticism and the forensic scrutiny of Ministers – that remains the democratic duty of Her Majesty’s Opposition – while the party re-evaluates its policies. In one sense, Labour does not have time on its side.
But, in another, it is better to take its time, and come up with the right leader for the 2020s, than imposing a Corbyn-backed continuity candidate who does not assuage the most important constituency of all – the voters.