How Labour can depose Jeremy Corbyn

The purges might go on for years

5 September 2015

9:00 AM

5 September 2015

9:00 AM

How long does it take to rebuild a political machine? Twelve months? Two years? Three years? Maybe it can’t be done at all.

Jeremy Corbyn has won. Everyone within Labour’s ranks acknowledges that now. The issue concentrating minds is how long it will take to remove him, how bloody the process of removing him will be and how much effort it will take to repair the damage once he has been removed — assuming the damage is reparable.

This is why Labour MPs are thinking about the machine. Perhaps one or two innocent souls within the Parliamentary Labour Party think it will be over by Christmas — that the wider party (including, presumably, its new members) will come to its senses and Labour MPs will swiftly isolate their new leader before moving in for the kill. A new leader will be anointed, and the dog days of the Corbyn summer will seem like a bad dream.

But most Labour MPs appreciate the scale of the task in front of them, and the nature of the opposition. ‘There are some people like Tristram and Chukka sitting there thinking, “This is great, we can just wait for him to fall flat on his face, then they can swoop in and pick up the pieces,” ’ one MP tells me. ‘But it’s not going to be like that. He’s going to control the party, the resources of the leader’s office, the constituencies, the selections, the lot.’

For all the brave talk of resistance and immediate fightbacks, Labour’s modernisers and pragmatists are simply not going to be ready to mount a serious challenge to Corbyn for many months, if not years, after his election. Among other members of the shadow cabinet, there is a growing consensus that it may take up to three years.

First, they will have to build up a base within the constituencies. ‘The reality is there are too many of the New Labour MPs who simply have no connection with their constituencies. It’s going to take time to build up those links again,’ said one senior backbencher. Another shadow cabinet figure agrees. ‘For years, all Labour party members were asked to do was turn up to pack out Ed’s speeches. That’s going to have to change.’

Another problem is that the opposition to Corbyn is fragmented, and needs to be pulled together. Some MPs plan on refusing to serve under him and retreating to the back benches to regroup. Others prefer a strategy of accepting shadow cabinet positions and fighting from within. ‘The problem is, if you look at who’s saying “stay and fight”, it’s the old guard,’ says one shadow cabinet member. ‘It’s fine for them. They’re not the ones who will be in there doing the fighting.’ Then comes the need to assemble a coherent alternative vision: should Labour’s pragmatists set out a radical alternative prospectus? Or move towards Corbyn to win credibility with an activist base that has lurched dramatically to the left?

All this will have to be done at a time of a purge, with anti-Corbyn MPs fighting for their very survival. ‘There’s no doubt in my mind we are going to see a move toward deselections on quite a large scale,’ says one shadow cabinet minister. ‘In some of the northern seats where the MPs are well dug in, it may be possible to fight them off. But in the big metropolitan areas there are too many of Corbyn’s people. It’s going to get ugly.’

The ranks of the rebels will be further diminished next May, when elections are held for 126 English local authorities. ‘We’re looking at the potential loss of hundreds of councillors,’ says one MP, ‘but Corbyn’s circle aren’t worried by that. They think it will clear out a raft of people loyal to the “old party” and opposed to Jeremy.’

How long does it take to build a political machine? A long time. Possibly more time than the Labour party has.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Dan Hodges is a former Labour party official.

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Show comments
  • blandings

    “The issue concentrating minds is how long it will take to remove him”

    By what right does a handful of MPs remove a democratically elected Leader who was elected by rules that those same MPs voted for in the first place?
    Do you have a problem with democracy Dan?

    • Lady Magdalene

      When the outcome doesn’t suit him, then yes he does.

    • The_greyhound

      It’s always sensible to remove an elected leader, if they’re insane or certain to lose the next election. If in doubt of that, ask the Tories what they were doing in 1990.

      • blandings

        I didn’t ask whether it was sensible to remove him, I asked by what right.
        I acknowledge your (justified) sarcasm

        • The_greyhound

          If it’s sensible, it’s right. Democracy isn’t at issue, because of the self-selecting, and presumably entryist, nature of the corbyn vote. If the Labour Party weren’t so utterly gormless they would have expelled corbyn years ago.

          • blandings

            Labour MPs nominated him and agreed to the election process.

          • ColinPowis

            TRUE , but only because they never expected him to win

          • ColinPowis

            Too true , he’s a student union radical who never grew up ; a professional protester and political Peter Pan …the LP are now the Party of political anachronism and Luddites

    • tohellwithit

      Yes, he does.

  • Fraser Bailey

    Who cares? Who cares? Who cares about all these vile and incompetent Labour MPs and what they they think or do? We have enough of Hodges in the DT, and now he’s on here as well. Is nowhere safe? Will I open my Wire or Decanter to find him spouting him off about the same meaningless nonsense there as well? Where will it end?

  • John R

    “The ranks of the rebels will be further diminished next May, when elections are held for 126 English local authorities.”

    I think of more significance will be the votes for the Welsh Assembly held at the same time.

    The Welsh Conservatives had their ‘best results in 30 years” in May. For example, their majority in Cardiff North went from 194 to 2,137 and Gower was taken from Labour, a seat held by them for over 100 (yes, 100) years. Ukip’s vote rose from 2% in 2010 to 14% so can expect to get 7-8 seats in the Assembly.

    So, all in all, Welsh Labour are heading for a perfect storm in May with dissatisfaction over the NHS and education (lowest PISA scores in UK), many new Labour candidates (no incumbency “loyalty”) alongside the aftermath of the leadership election.

    So, after losing Scotland, are Labour set to lose Wales? Labour might be able to cobble together a Rainbow Coalition (Lab, Libdem and Plaid) as that’s more likely than Tory/UKIP/Libdem but all in all, not looking good for Labour at the moment.



    • Leon Wolfeson

      Plaid have more sense than to imitate the LibDems.

    • mightymark

      What exactly does this mean – “the ranks of the rebels will [reduced]”? They simply won’t be councillors surely – not that they won’t be members any longer. How does that help Corbyn? Many of these people are amongst the most active Labour Party members and value greatly their position as councillors. When I was a member of the party I recall going out on canvass teams made up almost solely of councillors – apart form me.

      So while I see very little indeed to be optimistic about, the loss of those council seats, if attributable to Corbyn’s “leadership”, might just be what it takes to get a significant section of Labour Party activists – by no means all of whom are moderates – to add their weight to any moves against him.

      But there is another more fundamental point worth making. The Labour Party has been round this block so many times – at least three in my 62 years though admittedly this is the worst. A lot of energy will need to be spent to win the party back to the moderates. the left in the nature of things will always find it easier to get enough activists together at crucial times to beat them, the only exception being, as with Blair, after a very long period of Tory rule. Is the game worth the candle? Might it not be the time to use that energy instead to form a true party of the centre left getting the saner Lib Dems and maybe a few Tories too on board?

      • John R

        “The ranks of the rebels…” quote is from the article. The reason I put it there was to say that I thought what might happen in Wales could have a bigger impact (on Labour) than the English elections. So, you’d have to contact the author for clarification, sorry.

        You’re right about this crisis being Labour’s worse. The situation is so surreal that it is difficult to predict what will happen in the next month, never mind the elections next year.

        Then, we have the forthcoming bun fight when constituencies are redrawn and amalgamated to look forward to. We’ll have sitting MPs (and others, probably) battling each other for the new seats.

        Obviously, other Parties will be affected too but I think the main redrawing will take place in Labour heartlands.

        But, after Scotland, and with a Party at war, what will constitute such a “heartlands”?

        • mattghg

          Inner London and … er, no that’s it.

  • Lady Magdalene

    I hope it takes Labour decades. And then fails.
    Every time Labour gets into government it wrecks our economy. And the last time it deliberately imported millions of 3rd world migrants we neither needed nor wanted in order to “change the face of Britain forever” and “rub the right’s nose in diversity.”
    I will never forgive them for destroying this country.

    • Guest 1

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z38Cl2jvHi0This is the way it ends…
      This is the way it ends…

    • Leon Wolfeson

      1945 never existed, for starters.

      As you call for a one-party state, right. As you lash out at the Other, as you try and destroy this country, foreigner, to reduce wages…

    • Grace Ironwood

      I don’t, the country need responsible leaders, you could be going to places Orwell would find unthinkable.

    • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

      Did they wreck our economy in 1924 or 1951 or 1970? The Tories have held power for 66 of the last 100 years.

    • 2fishypoliticians

      They also set the foundations for fracturing our once great united country with the looney devolution. Even the clown Blair has started to admit it wasn’t the best idea… he sold the country’s soul as well as his party’s just for short term political gain.

  • MikeF

    ‘Centrists’, ‘moderates’ – who are they Mr Hodges? Those who quite happily opened the floodgates to mass immigration to ‘rub the right’s noses in diversity’ – in reality, of course, to create sectarian ethnic voting blocs; those who stuck their snouts in the Parliamentary expenses trough; those who voted for the concept of ‘racially aggravated’ crimes that have nothing to with protecting anybody from assault or abuse and everything to do with creating a politicised police force engaged in a perpetual witch hunt against the population at large; those who countenanced mass rape in the name of maintaining ‘community cohesion’ – in reality to protect their power and position?
    They and you are now simply reaping what you have sewn. Yes – the ‘hard left’ is vicious and vindictive, but you and all those other ‘moderates’ have been happy to consort with them when they have gone out to canvas for you. Did it never occur to you that they might have an agenda of their own? The truth is you blithely thought you were using them and yet the fact is that they were using you. But now they have no more use for you and you are about to find that out the hard way just what that means.
    Remember this is the natural consequence of everything ‘New Labour’ did – its arrogance, its contempt for basic human decency, its animosity to established British values, its inability to comprehend what the term ‘civil society’ has to mean. This is what you get when you make a shibboleth of ‘diversity’ but brand as a ‘bigotry’ difference of opinion. The Labour Party long ago ceased to represent anything but the venality of its membership – it is rotten to the core and you helped make it like that. Welcome to the world you have created.

    • blandings

      Harsh but fair

      • MikeF

        The really harsh bit is yet to come.

      • Fraser Bailey

        Not harsh at all. Rather kind and generous, if anything.

        • MikeF

          It is impossible not to be softened a bit by their big wide staring eyes as they see that train rushing right at them.

    • Jules Wright

      “… its animosity to established British values …” Oh Bravo, Sir! A legendary post: less stinging rebuke, more roundhouse kick to the head …

    • MH50

      Bang on.

      • Geronimo von Huxley

        Geronimo smell rat. One eyed white man speak with split tongue. One eyed man want squaw leader with no bank account.
        Squaw with husband man run away crying like girl.
        One eyed man stupid.
        Now Geronimo take scalp.

    • A real liberal

      Sadly true. We are indeed a decadent society. But then all societies die at their own sword. God help our children.

    • Leon Wolfeson

      But your sectarian political bloc is fine. As Farrage noses into EU expenses, without doing his job. As you condone crimes against people on the basis of race…as you whine about a police force untrusted, in fact, by many minorities.

      As you make up a magical “hard left”, as you call the existance of anyone outside your views indecent, as you spit on British values, and as you decry civility and society. As you lash out at Jews, Muslims, Sihks…all not of your Chosen, and hence an enemy of yours, in your bigotry – that’s the plain English meaning.

      • MikeF

        Ah there you are – thought you would turn up at some point. I will not bother too much with what you say – like most leftists you reinvent other people’s arguments and tilt at your misrepresentation of them. Where do I ‘condone crimes against people on the basis of their race’? Normally your comments are merely puerile but occasionally you stray into the putrid. I will leave it at that.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          So you keep lashing out at “most Leftists”, rather than reading my post.

          As you claim your post does not exist. And of course you’ll not actually run away, Mr. Putrid…

      • Latimer Alder

        Mr Farage is doing his job brilliantly.

        He was elected to represent the voters of the UK Independence Party. The clue to his job is in the name.

        • Bertie

          Indeed, and its thanks to Farage that we are getting a referendum on EU membership at all. Do you think The Tories would have offered it? Labour & Libdems said they saw no need and therefore wouldn’t.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          Then he should be voting in the EU parliament appropriately. He does not.

          • Grace Ironwood

            The man has explained how he sees his role at that entity, and the people have kept him there.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            He’s made excuses for not doing his job, yes.

          • Latimer Alder

            He’s doing exactly what the people who voted for him expect and want.

            That you think he should be doing something different is interesting. But not really relevant. I doubt very much if you voted for him.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            He’s not doing the job he’s *paid* to do. But he takes the money for it.
            He’s a leech, thus, on the back of the taxpayer.

            And if refused to participate at all – in line with most of his followers- he’d not allow Sinn Fein and their abstentionism to outshine him morally, either. But they do – which says a lot!

          • Latimer Alder


          • Leon Wolfeson

            Yea, whatever, no issue if the rich leech after all, etc.

          • Latimer Alder


            The feebleness of your attack on Mr Farage merely reinforces the splendidness of the excellent work he is doing.

            The European Parliament is a toothless talking shop by design – there to give a facade of democracy to a rotten authoritarian anti-democratic rue by commisars.

            That Mr Farage chooses to use most of his time in more constructive ways to get us out of it is a credit to him.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Ah, so the truth to you is feeble. As you call not doing the work “splendid”.

            You keep railing at the EU Parliament, as democratic instituion which you oppose *because* it’s democratic, of course. And you don’t understand the EU, check.

            Farrage chooses to “constructively” not do his job, and he’s a debit, a leech, for it. He’d be no better in any position in the UK, from his actual doing-his-job record.

          • Latimer Alder

            I don’t oppose the EU partliament. I do not ‘rail against it’

            But I *do* observe that it is toothless. Its discussions have almost no influence on anything. It is a sham. It exists only to give a fig-leaf of democracy to cover up where the real power of the EU lies – with the anti-democratic Commission.

            You might also reflect that this emasculation of any democratic process is not accidental. It was deliberately designed to be so by the founding fathers of the EU – like Jean Monnet and Arthur Salter.

            They had a deep mistrust of popular democracy and a touching faith in the abilities of supposedly wise appointed leaders (in their own image no doubt) to know better than the people what was good for them. And they designed their artificial EU construct accordingly.

            It is you, mon brave, who fails to understand the EU. Mr Farage does not fail. And he uses his time wisely.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            So you do in fact rail against it, and oppose it. You refuse to admit it’s power, as you lash out at it’s too-great democratic value, and prove you have no idea about the power in the EU…

          • Latimer Alder


          • Leon Wolfeson

            Facts, Whatever!

          • Grace Ironwood

            Leon, obviously you take the EU very seriously.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            I care about leeches not doing their jobs. Like a certain Mr. Farrage.

      • Grace Ironwood

        Come now Leon, I’ve never heard anyone say a word against the Sikh’s, quite the opposite, and the only sincere defenders of the Jews I’ve heard for a quite a while now, are on the right.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          So you’re ignoring many of your fellow travellers views. That’s nice – I don’t choose to do so.

          As you claim the very thugs painting anti-semetic graffiti, smashing fences and pushing old Jewish ladies are our defenders. That’s your sincerity, your brothers in arms…

          • Grace Ironwood

            Anti “Semitic”, not “semetic”, Leon.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            So you can only argue with the spelling.

          • Grace Ironwood

            Look around you “Leon”, who are the people attacking the Jews locally and globally? Why has Jewish safety from murder become such an issue in recent years? My fellow-travellertsSpectator readers and UKip voters obviously.

          • Leon Wolfeson


            Many of whom are on your far right, and the sort of hate you’re trying to whip up against the Other…not to mention your far right always blames the Jews in the end.

          • Grace Ironwood

            Look around you “Leon”, who are the people attacking the Jews locally and globally? Why has Jewish safety from murder become such an issue in the civilised world in recent years? My fellow-travellers at the Spectator of course!

            You are a tedious default progressive, Leon, I won’t be responding any more to your utterly conventional, bourgeois effusions unless you come up with something less obvious worth debating.

            No, not even to help you with your spelling.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Extremists. Some far right, some Islamist. Your fellow travellers are at best trying to create France’s situation, complete with separate communities and much increased tensions.

            You keep using PC bigotry on me, run away now! You have Jews to spit on, after all, like your buddy up here yesterday.

    • Kennybhoy


    • evad666

      Outstanding piece I will be looking forward to PRESS TV coverage of the gay base jumping from the shard and the scoring for the competitive christian school bombing competition .

    • Ernie Shore

      “The Labour Party long ago ceased to represent anything but the venality of its membership….”
      So when in the past did you think it was OK?
      I’m a stranger round these parts. You are exhibiting paranoid delusions. And it would seem from those egging you on that you are not alone. CBT might be worth a punt?

      • MikeF

        No-one ‘eggs me on’ – I make up my own mind based on my own observations. As for the Labour Party it was a reasonably democratic organisation until around the early 80s – even though it had elements in it that were frankly communist whether of the Stalinist or Trotskyist varieties. Since then it has gradually developed the mindset of the old ultra-left and is now from what I can tell a neo-totalitarian organisation that serves no purose except the furtherance of itself. It must be destroyed – though it seems to be having a go at doing that for itself at the moment, which I am watching with a certain detachment.

        • Ernie Shore

          Observations are theory dependent.

          • MikeF

            Maybe they are for you.

    • Nick

      That ain’t half a good post.Well done and well said;-)

  • The_greyhound

    I’m sorry Dan, but one question you, and Blair, and the rest need to answer : why was a raving nutter, career Trotskyite entryist, terrorist-lover and all-round malodorous piece of offal like corbyn allowed into the party, or allowed to remain despite defying the whip 500 times?

    My sympathy is for decent people like Liz Kendall; but, make no mistake, this is a disaster of Labour’s own making, a comprehensive demonstration of that utter incompetence that Miliband would have brought to Government.

    Labour has a few days left to fix the problem : Harman must expel corbyn from the party, cancel the ballot and scrap the £3 entryist franchise. Things will be rough for a time, but at least there will the possibility of rebuilding a sane and credible opposition.

    Otherwise, it’s curtains.

    • Fraser Bailey

      You might not have noticed, but the modern Labour does not fix problems. They only cause them. Thus we can only hope that you are right and it really is curtains for this relentlessly useless bunch of chancers. But political parties are remarkable resilient things – they can deliver decades of failure and incompetence yet still endure.

      • Leon Wolfeson

        Yes, I’m sure you see Britain, for example, as a problem. That Union, which suits you so badly…

    • Colin

      “why was a raving nutter, career Trotskyite entryist, terrorist-lover and all-round malodorous piece of offal like corbyn allowed into the party, or allowed to remain…?”

      That’s a really good question. Part of the answer is, there are far more of these creatures in the PLP than Corbyn, they’re just not as vocal and open as he is.

      • Leon Wolfeson

        Ah right, so plenty of magical non-Humans around then.

        Like in your mirror.

    • tolpuddle1

      Whatever happens, one half of the Labour Party will be unable to live with the other half.

      That won’t be the death of the Labour Party – it’s already dead, as a glance at the four leadership hopefuls will confirm – merely the stake through the heart.

      Then we can have a new Opposition Party; the Lib Dems being mere fallen leaves; and the Labour Party just a racket run by ambitious, but pointless, politicos.

      • Leon Wolfeson

        Progress ain’t half of Labour.

        As you talk about mass murder to create your one party state.

        • Kennybhoy

          Tele is a troll but you…? 🙁

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Oh sorry, did I read your post?

        • tolpuddle1

          One party state ?

          Try living in the world of reality. Take tablets if you find this difficult.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            I don’t need to take drugs like you to unwind.

            And I read your post, the one party state you talked about…

    • jeremy Morfey

      Someone who adequately reflects the mood of much of the nation, and its feelings towards the whole parliamentary charade, may well have defied the whip 500 times. Good on him! They deserve him.

    • ColinPowis

      the LP are obsessed with the cult of fairness and JC has won this race ; they will just have to suffer and endure this Don Quioxe -like fool until the Tory print media do a hatchet job on him
      Furthermore , Corbyn is just symptomatic of a deeper malaise in the once mighty LP , a sickness of the soul and Corbyn is the perfect fool to lead them off the cliff edge

      • Leon Wolfeson

        Ah yes, it’s sick to you not to be a good hard right winger.

    • No Man’s Land

      That is an excellent question, why was he allowed to remain?

    • Jon Newman

      Corbyn was an MP before your precious Liz Kendall got her first bra.

  • The Dybbuk

    Corbyn, through chance has stirred the Labour pot and exposed the total lack of talent at it’s highest levels. Who, I wonder, can do the same thing for the Tories?

  • LordJustin

    It is misleading to talk about Labour “centrists”. Apart from a few closet Liberals, who briefly took control of Labour because they preferred power to obscurity and a proper job, there are none. Nor are there leftists and rightists, at least in the sense understood by revolutionaries from France to Cuba.

    British politics is, and always has been, about ELITISM: the aristocratic, landed elite and the peasant/trade union/working class hero elite, working together for their common good against the middle class Thatcherite/Faragist elite that they both need to finance them at the same time as they fear their aspirations with every traditional bone in their syphilitic, alcohol pickled elitist bodies.

    Unless you understand that the true political divide is between the Elite Osbornites (Cameron being purely a debating society pragmatist) and UNITE, in the bluey red corner and the Faragists in the purple corner, with Labour in terminal decline, you don’t really understand our quaint, semi-unelected, parliamentary, “democratic”, theocratic monarchy.

    • Leon Wolfeson

      Oh right, so to you workers are an elite. As you promote your one-party state.

  • Precambrian

    Labour centrists? Of, you mean those who combine the sexual ethics of the New Left with the greed of the New Right?

  • tohellwithit

    ‘The issue concentrating minds is how long it will take to remove him, how bloody the process of removing him will be and how much effort it will take to repair the damage once he has been removed — assuming the damage is reparable.’

    Your contempt for a democratic process agreed to by Labour MPs who also nominated the candidates, (for whatever reasons), knows no bounds.

    What if the damage caused by the right-wing MPs is irreparable?

    You don’t care, you’ve lost your wicket and now you’re taking the bat home, you pathetic childish wretches.

  • tolpuddle1

    “How can Labour’s centrists survive ?”

    By drinking water, eating meals and taking regular sleep and exercise; that is what most doctors would suggest.

  • tolpuddle1

    If Labour’s “pragmatists” (!) object to Corbyn, why don’t they start a New Labour Party ?

    Or call themselves the Blairist Anti-Democrats.

    • Clive

      Or the Good Old Orthodox Democrats

  • tolpuddle1

    Dan – it is YOU who are on “the wrong side of history.”

  • alabenn

    You very rarely come with anything sensible to say about that poisonous cancer called Labour, you still have not, Corbyn is not the real danger to Labour, with him it could recover, people would put it down to silly season madness.
    Burnham if elected would destroy Labour forever, he is the epitome of everything that is rotten in the party of other people, his bandwagon jumping is ingrained in this sad little Scouser, “he has just jumped on the Cooper asylum opportunism”his shelving of NHS reports into bad practice cost peoples lives, how many no one knows, his two memes Hillsborough and combining care into the NHS where he oversaw mass death of old and sick people will not win any traction.
    Worst of all is his policy changes, these occur as soon as they meet the slightest opposition, he has flip more policies than Cooper and Balls flipped houses.
    Vote Burnham, you know it makes sense.

  • jeremy Morfey

    Corbyn will press the reset button and then gracefully retire. He is too old now to do otherwise. Like the veteran Scottish Nationalist Mhairi Black, they can both savour their firebrand youth with some wistful nostalgia and move on to more serious things now they have got saddled with responsibility.

    The future of the Labour Party belongs with those who join his Shadow Cabinet, starting with those within the deputy leadership campaign than have shown intelligence and talent – Stella Creasy in particular, if she is up for it. I have read a couple of her articles – particular the one she did following Osborne’s last Budget, and seen her capacity to seem to follow the Party line in the headline and sound bite, and then go off in the body of her speech to describe precisely what she really means. She seems quite a canny politician at heart, and dealing with a Corbyn putsch should be a breeze. She is also well-liked in the constituencies. Her major shortcoming is that she is yet another Londoner.

    • Leon Wolfeson

      Normal people don’t get to retire, and there’s no retirement age.

      This is just briefing against Corbyn, again.

      • jeremy Morfey

        I was bullied into retirement in my early 50s, but I am not “normal”. I am now 59 – a year older than Eric Morecambe and George Harrison when they died. I’m not sure I’d want to be Prime Minister for long.

        Churchill was 76 when he won the 1951 election, and he hung on for four years. Macmillan was 69 when he retired due to “ill health” although he remained active in politics into his 90s. Wilson, who was beginning to show signs of Alzheimers, retired at 60. Thatcher was 65 when she stood down as PM. Howard was 64 when he stood down as Party leader because he felt he was too old, forcing Campbell, who was the same age, to stand down as leader of his party.

        Mhairi Black is 20.

        Actually, Corbyn’s age is one of his prime assets – he is less likely to try to go on and on and on as Blair did, and has a personal interest in bringing on the talent to succeed him, which is precisely what the Labour Party lacks right now.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          You’re ignoring an important factor there – life expectancy.

          • David S

            No he’s not. The four PMs lived to an average age of 87, which is more than Corbyn can expect.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            So you want to ignore it. I see, well.

          • Clive

            Lord Palmerston became prime minister when he was 70 – in an age with lower life expectancy.

            He made a dent.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            My point stands.

  • huw

    its clear to me corbyn like red ed will have the full 5`yrs, but with more infighting `cant wait, :o)


  • Leon Wolfeson

    You already have that machine, it’s called Progress.
    And it’s lost, badly. if you don’t like that…

  • mrsjosephinehydehartley

    It’s sounds rather too dramatic , this talk of building political machines. If we must design typical mechanisms, it’d be best to make sure they can only be voice activated in the truly democratic sense and according to the principle of subsidiarity. Surely the example of the Greek ” oxi” is still pertinent..even though angel merkels typical mechanistic solutions ( if such a ridiculous entity could possibly exist) are obviously hopelessly outdated and unable to connect with democratic truth for the time being.

    Also, true forgiveness comes from the heart, and only real people have hearts.

  • No Man’s Land

    Ellie’s argument, that Corbyn will compromise with his party and reality, is nonsense. The man left his wife because she wouldn’t allow him to send their son to a failing comprehensive.

  • Hegelman

    Labour, in case you have forgotten, is meant to be a Socialist party. Those who have a problem with this can always move on to other parties.

    • Clive

      Define ‘Socialist’.

      • new_number_2

        Not you I suspect.

    • The_greyhound

      Meant by whom?

      The opinions of the entryist idiocy, the £3 clowns who have never contributed anything to the Labour Party (a bit like the drone corbyn himself) trade at a heavy discount.

  • FoxtrotUniformCharlieKilo_Mo!

    Not to be harsh, but she’s a bit out of her league in this ‘debate’

  • Kennie

    A more pertinent question:
    With giving space to people like the pretend-tory and telegraph’s Hodges, how can the Spectator survive?

  • gregusmeus

    Massive opportunity here for the LibDems to capture a load of support from the swathes of Labour voters who aren’t hard-left. I think if they base themselves on what they were during the mid 2000’s they could do well.

    Greens could very well suffer a lot of defections if Corbyn adopts a strong environmental position. Most of them are already Marxist. The other thing the Greens care about – being bigoted against Israel – is already Corbyn bread & butter.

    Any Labour voters who switched to the Tories at the last election obviously won’t be going back, however a re-energised LibDems could pick up a few returnees from the Tories.

  • Anus Homo

    As amusing as Hodges’ endless whining about Corbyn is , the Labour parteh is long overdue for extermination

  • WhiteVanMan

    If labour lose a third of their votes in the 208 London mayor elections, if not the same amount of councillors, that’ll wrap it up for him
    But to stay in the party for three years. It depends if he wins by £3 supporters only,

  • Kevin T

    Let’s take a moment to remember which wing of the party did all the damage to this country’s economy and social fabric between 1997 and 2010. I have no love for Corbyn but his redeeming feature is he’s honest about his positions. He doesn’t get in by promising to be a moderate, claiming to have detoxified Labour and then get us into debt up to our eyeballs, open the floodgates to 8 million migrants, start a pointless war that lasts a decade and try to introduce the Euro. If that’s centrism, give me Corbyn promising to be an unreconstructed Red and I’ll trust the electorate to act accordingly.

  • Clive

    I don’t think it’s clear that Jeremy Corbyn will win. I have heard that 53% on first preferences figure but a lot’s happened since then and anyway, this is a difficult electorate out of which to get a representative selection .

    Suppose he does. He says he’s going to do everything democratically. What exactly does that mean ? One Member One Vote for every policy ? Or is it going back to the Conference setting policy and the NEC setting the Conference agenda ?

    I believe he’s indicated the latter – and it would fit with his retro style. If that is so, it will be the party membership who decide policy. That may well be the party membership which did not vote for him if the pundits are to be believed.

    So we may find those around Jeremy getting frustrated with what happens. We may find contradictory policies getting put into place. We may find union leaders trying to organise their members into voting blocs with headline after headline about it.

    We may find other pressure groups like ‘Progress’ organising themselves into democratic blocs across constituencies and unions. It will be a Trotskyites wet dream.

    Jeremy may find out what the limits of democracy are.

  • Sten vs Bren

    “Another problem is that the opposition to Corbyn is fragmented, and needs to be pulled together”

    In other words, the socialists are now the mainstream of the Labour Party and it is on that basis that the old ‘New Labourites’ will be plotting to restore their programme, whatever the hell that was. War and banking were major parts of it.

  • new_number_2

    “The purges might go on for years”

    Or there maybe no purges at all. Deselections can only be done at a constituency level and not at say so of Jeremy Corbyn, whatever Hodges suggests.

  • rufty

    Bloody Hell, Hodges haven’t you worked it out yet ? Corbyn must win 67% of the votes cast to come an honourable second.

  • kitten

    We don’t know if Corbyn has won, there’s no way of knowing until the votes have been counted.

    The polls are notoriously unreliable and nothing more than a propaganda tool in my opinion.

  • Pete222

    The rise of the SNP, Dan, is the enigma in all of this. There we had the rise of a party – that so quickly resulted in a national mood-change – that none of you, not one of you, predicted. You were all as clueless on this as you were on the 2008 financial collapse. Not one of you was Steve Keen on that one.

    Corbyn has brought out from the wilderness literally hundreds of thousands of left wingers who were disenfranchised by your idols, Blair and the Obscene Mandelson. Most of us (and yes, I’m one of them) either have not voted since 2001 (how could anyone vote for Blair after Iraq?) or have toyed with the Greens.

    We have watched appalled from the sidelines as the Party failed so miserably to script an alternative narrative to Osborne’s economics. And, of course there is one: there are always different ways of approaching economics. It’s only in the last 30 years or so that we have seen this mind-numbing conformity with the views of the Chicago School of Economics in which a shrivelled state – shrivelled by privatisations – combined with an ever more desperate drive to lower taxes is seen as the only way forward. The self-evident fact that these guys wrecked the Russian economy is neither here nor there: ‘There is’, as the Queen of the Metaphor of the Household Economy said, ‘there is no alternative’.

    Well, of course there is. Balls and Miliband didn’t have the bloody nerve to say anything. The fact that the debt in 1945 was so much worse than now? Not mentioned. The fact that the debt was higher with Macmillan when he said, ‘you’ve never had it so good”? Ignored.

    The economics of Ann Pettifor and Steve Keen? Trashed. The tax knowledge of Richard Murphy? Laughed at. The views of the old Keynesians, those like Krugman? Not even referred to. The lessons of off-shore shenanigans and the buying out of London by tax havens – the work of Nicholas Shaxton et al – ignored. Even Private Eye and its public schoolboys have latched on to this one.

    Of course there is an alternative. I wouldn’t expect people here, on a Spectator thread, to like that alternative, but that’s not the point. The point is that there IS an alternative.

    What’s warming, to those like me, is that me and my old mates, all at the fag ends of our lives, have given Labour another glance: but, far more important, that it’s lit a flame amongst the young. Because the Corbyn vote is not just the old Labour cast-aside: it’s those who have never voted before. It’s caught the imagination of the young.

    Just like in Scotland.

    • MickC

      Well, I’m on this thread, and I agree.

      The identikit clones in charge of the three main parties have not delivered. UKIP was the first to break the mould with the win in the Euro elections, with the SNP following, spectacularly so.

      The same flavour ice cream no matter which cafe you go to, just doesn’t work.

    • The_greyhound

      Indeed, the parallels with the lying crypto-fascists north of the border are instructive.

      Ignorant naive spongers whining about their victimhood, and anxious to blame everyone else for their own personal falures. Plus the usual toxic racism (anti-semitic or anti-English as the case may be) with an hysterical personality cult of a poisonous fantasist at its heart.

      Yup, the nationalist and corbynist phenomena mine the same rich seam of dung.

  • red allover

    The British working class is the oldest & most experienced on earth.
    American workers hope they will make their capitalist “Labour” Party into a real one.
    Marx and Engels lived most of their lives in England.
    Socialism is as British as warm beer!

    • The_greyhound

      “Marx and Engels lived most of their lives in England.”

      The world would have been a better place if we had left both to drown.

    • Observer1951

      First who are the English working class today? Second regarding Engels, I used to live in a German town called Wuppertal a great place. One of the largest private house in Wuppertal belonged to, go on guess, yes it was good old Engels. Go on line and look at the wonderful house the hero of socialism lived in.

  • The_greyhound

    The Labour Party had ample reason for expelling the serial traitor, terrorist lover, anti-semite and holocaust denier corbyn. But it didn’t – it just allowed the old ratbag to moulder on, on its back benches, year after year.

    The Labour party didn’t have to open its doors wide to Trotskyite entryism, but it did.

    The Labour Party’s stupid MPs didn’t have to nominate a worthless, useless jerk like corbyn for the leadership, but they did.

    Dan Hodges should join with the rest of us in thanking Providence that the Labour Party isn’t making a similar muck up of running the country. Sorry Dan, but the only option left for sane decent people in the Labour Party is to leave and join Tim Farron.


  • rtj1211

    Self-righteous Westminster troughers whinge that they haven’t still got power without having any support.

    You couldn’t make it up, but what a surprise Dan Hodges says that that is the way it should be.

    If your darlings are so sane, superior and effective, they wouldn’t be in the position they are in now, sonny jim.

    What you really mean is: ‘I’ve left the Labour Party so my only salvation is to trash them until they return to being the Tory Party in drag……’

  • WarriorPrincess111111

    An elected leader is chosen because his views, his policies suit the electorate. If there are Labour members who oppose those ideals – then they are in the wrong party. This is what is wrong with Labour! It has members who do not belong as Labour politicians, members who want to arrogantly act on their personal agenda in opposition to the electorate.
    Whatever their personal views, Labour politicians are being paid by the electorate to represent them. They should stand loyally behind the leader and press forward with his policies. Failure to do so, means that they are being paid for nothing and should be sacked!
    Opposition parties are likely to oppose any leader chosen for the Labour party – but to publicly show how peurile they are in silly personal criticisms, raises doubt among their own electorate as to their capabilities in facing any challenge in a responsible manner.

    • PaD

      anyway back to the reality of the situation

  • Jon Newman

    Because ignoring their own voters is sure to win them the election. If Corbyn is deposed Labour will suffer a massive defeat at the next election. Fucking over their core voters is what killed the Lib-Dems that is not the path labour wants to go down.