19 thoughts on “British Prime Minister May scared of election debates with Labourite Corbyn

  1. Wednesday 19th
    posted by Conrad Landin in Britain

    IT WAS surely inevitable that Theresa May’s announcement of a snap election would be blamed on Jeremy Corbyn.

    The PM has jumped, critics of the Labour leader say, because the party is not an “effective opposition.”

    Most of the naysayers, of course, were eerily silent when Labour supported Tory austerity, took a year to oppose the bedroom tax, declined to pledge to return Royal Mail and the railways to public ownership and said a Labour government would be “tougher than the Tories” over benefits.

    Realities aside, the narrative has gained traction. And while not the only reason for Labour’s poor polling, many are convinced that so-called moderates’ briefing against the party leader has made the party less attractive to voters.

    Matt Zarb-Cousin, until recently Corbyn’s media spokesman, went public with this view last week. He has accused former shadow cabinet member Michael Dugher and Bermondsey MP Neil Coyle of undermining the party’s fightback.

    Still, and in spite of their public pronouncements, many of Corbyn’s critics may be concealing a smile. If they are right and Labour is destined for defeat, they will have their best opportunity yet to topple Corbyn. Their chances of reversing the Labour left’s recent insurgence would be bolstered by the timings of May’s announcement. A Labour leadership poll would almost certainly take place before Labour’s September conference.

    So there would be no chance for the left to push through the so-called “McDonnell amendment,” which would lower the threshold for leadership nominations. Corbyn only made the 2015 ballot because party members put pressure on their unsupportive MPs to nominate him.

    Now MPs know a leftwinger is likely to win, they would use their power to keep any such figure out. Should Labour lose the election, therefore, there will be even more pressure for Corbyn to stay on and contest any leadership challenge: as the incumbent, he does not need to be renominated.

    Regardless of the general election outcome, one internal Labour battle looms nearer. Several MPs, including rightwingers Alan Johnson and Tom Blenkinsop, have already indicated they will not stand again. So far no parliamentary candidates selected under Corbyn have been from the left, with the Labour right’s bureaucratic machine more desperate than ever to maintain a foothold. Whether this can carry on with the sheer pressure of a general election is another matter.



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