To let Jeremy Corbyn lead and do what he really should do and wants to do, which is oppose the Tories. Or to form up behind him in a disorderly rabble, opposing only those who are supposed to be friends.
There are two different narratives at large as to why Labour lost the General Election. One says it was too left-wing, the other that it wasn’t left-wing enough. Party history suggests it’s really when it’s divided against itself that it loses.
The party has always defined itself as a “broad church”. This has often been a cover for a deep divide between the socialists and the soft capitalists. Each likes to claim to be the “real” Labour Party.
For the last 21 years the capitalist wing has had the upper hand. Now the party has experienced a revolution. At the “grass roots”, not in the Parliamentary party.
Labour’s split has never been deeper or more apparent. And it’s never been clearer where it lies.
While just under half of all long-standing party members – and almost 60 per cent of all those who voted in the leadership election – support Corbyn, only about 15 of the 232 Labour MPs voted for him.
That gives him – and them – a potentially huge problem. How huge will depend on how some of those other 217 perceive their principles and responsibilities – and how others among them see their career paths.
How the mass of Labour MPs came to be so out of step with the party they supposedly represent is an interesting question.
The simplest answer is to blame Tony Blair and the cosy coterie he built around himself.
There has been much talk of the “entryism” that has supposedly led to the swing of popular support behind Corbyn. But it was entryism of a kind that enabled Blair to force out of senior positions almost all who stood for traditional Labour values.
Most of the (non-Parliamentary) Labour Party now has a visceral loathing of Blair. It is commonplace to blame it on the Iraq war.
But though it is true that many have never forgiven him for the 2003 invasion, there is much more to it than that.
The NHS private finance initiative, the failure to reverse Margaret Thatcher’s catastrophic policies on housing and energy, the establishment of “free” faith schools, the disastrous loosing of regulation in the City… the list of Tory policies perpetrated by Blair’s scandalous government goes on.
Most of those Labour MPs now agonising over whether to back or oppose Corbyn first took their seats under the anti-socialist Blair regime. Many of the rest have done so since.
No wonder the party in Westminster is so out of step with the party beyond.
Is a Corbyn-led Labour Party unelectable, as we keep being told? Until a few weeks ago no one thought he was electable as party leader. No one thought Barack Obama was electable until a few months before he was elected US President. The momentum, for now, seems similar.
The Conservatives hardly have a popular mandate. Only 24 per cent of the electorate voted for them – a long way short of the 40pc they say should be the minimum for a trade union vote to stand. By their own logic they should not be allowed to govern.
It’s common to assume – the Blairites and the Tory press want you to believe it – that a Corbyn-led Labour Party can never win power. I can’t help feeling that had the popular surge that put him where he is today had come six months earlier he might now be resident in Downing Street.
Many of those who voted against the Tories – and many who didn’t vote at all – did so in protest at the general state of politics. One of the unexpected things Corbyn has already achieved is to make Labour again something it has not been for far too long – a party of protest.
Unelectable? I wouldn’t bet on it.
What may make them so is not the allegedly hard-left policies which poll after poll has shown are the policies people actually want.
It’s the rabble of left-over Blairite MPs who are so far out of step with the majority of the party they claim to represent.
War-mongers in Dockland
“War, huh, what is it good for? Absolutely nothin’.” So goes the song lyric, demanding the response: “Business. It’s good for business.”
And, to bring that down to the level of the common people, jobs. War is good for jobs, which is the way the arms trade has always been sold to those who don’t hold shares in it.
The world’s biggest annual arms fair begins in London’s Docklands today, showcasing the deadly products of British manufacturers to a worldwide gathering of potential buyers.
Among countries that have official invitations are Angola, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Kazakhstan and Thailand. All of them considered by the United Nations to be guilty of gross infringement of civil liberties. Any weapons they buy at the ExCeL are apt to be used against their own people.
Delegations from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Colombia are also invited. All three are on the Foreign Office list of “countries of concern”.
The UN has a list of countries where child soldiers are used or which are guilty of “grave violations against children”. Of the 23 countries on that list, the UK has sold military equipment to 19 in the past five years.
The Government continues to ignore UN requests that it ban such sales.
Want to put guns and rocket-launchers in the hands of children? Here, have a few.
Makes you proud to be British, doesn’t it? And gives you an idea of what the new Leader of the Opposition actually has to oppose.