Westminster Squared by Derek Wyatt
I have given up counting how many busses the Labour Party has thrown itself under this past four months.
First, like Gordon Brown before him in 2010, Ed Miliband resigned as leader immediately following his defeat to David Cameron. This allowed the Tories to assume once again ownership of the political narrative. At least, Michael Howard waited until the process was over (Cameron won against David Davies) in 2005.
Secondly, the Party itself decided on the longest elections for Leader, Deputy Leader and Mayoral candidate in the western world. It takes four weeks to run a General Election but twelve weeks for these three clearly more important ones. Has Labour HQ lost its marbles? It has.
Thirdly, there was no consensus that if a woman won the leadership campaign then a man should win the deputy race and/or vice versa. Gender balance is something Labour should be leading on.
Fourthly, there has been no constitutional suggestions from the four leadership candidates in the light of the likely implications of Scottish independence in 2020; nor on voter turnout, nor on reforming first past the post nor on making our MEPs answerable to their national parliaments.
Fifthly, and extraordinarily, some MPs signed Jeremy Corbyn's nomination papers who had no intention of voting for him just so there could be a left wing candidate on the ballot papers. You just might want to re-read that sentence.
Sixthly, there have been very few outstanding candidates offering the country something more than Tory-lite policies. Small wonder St Jeremy has had so much media coverage. Labour was the big ideas party. It no longer is.
Seventhly, if you paid £3 you could vote in these rather important elections whether or not you cared much for the Labour Party itself. So, you could have paid annual fees ofj ust over £50 as a fully paid up supporter to vote or £3: what a novelty. Trade unions have campaigned ruthlessly to make sure their members registered. Record numbers have. The voting is now completely skewed.
Eighthly, on critical austerity measures, Labour MPs were instructed to abstain rather than vote against. So who now represents the dispossessed, the unemployed, the homeless, the disabled and the elderly?
Ninthly, the four Labour leadership candidates have agreed to change the colour of London cabs from black to yellow. (Relax, I just made that up).
Lastly, it just might be that the Labour Party becomes a party of London and some other English cities. It has one MP in Scotland (from 59), none in Northern Ireland, 25 (40) in Wales and 206 (533) in England. Hardly a full-on UK political party. The Labour Party is not yet in the last chance saloon. But, its leadership during the General Election, and subsequently, shows it to be out of touch. It needs root and branch reform from the bottom up. It needs to lose its zealous control from HQ and re-think what it stands for.
Perhaps Jeremy Corbyn can do this but I doubt it.