The winner of Labours leadership

Just a short post to make a very simple point. The winner of Labours leadership election tomorrow has won the argument. Thats it. They deserve full and fulsome support. But just as the Democrats are able to unite after long and often brutal primary campaigns, so must Labour. Corbyn wins!

I have consistently made the argument that Labour has a far greater distance to travel than it is has been capable of admitting to. What will not help the party make that journey is a new bout of factional posturing. Labour can not afford a new version of Brown v Blair style factionalism. It was costly in government. It will be devastating in opposition.

Whatever the the flaws in the leadership election system- and they are considerable (whenever I tell people that I had four votes they respond with disbelief and its easy to understand why)- no candidate chose the rules. So unity will be the key tomorrow. Whoever has won deserves the opportunity to make the most of their opportunity with full and fulsome support.

In return I hope the new leader will realise the scale of the task before them and show openness and humility. Their success could well depend on it. But they have won the election, won the argument, and they have won the right to lead. He who wins, wins.

Labour's love affair with Europe

Labour has had a conflicted relationship with “Europe” and its various stages of political union, ever since Ernie Bevin rejected Jean Monet’s 1950s plan for a European Coal and Steel Community because “the Durham Miners wouldn’t buy it”.

Political historian Peter Hennessy has explained that this opposition reflected both the workers’ concerns that they would lose control of the just-newly nationalised heavy industries, but also how those same men had fought across Europe just a decade before as the Durham Light Infantry, and would be loath to share any form of power or sovereignty with their former foes.

More than half a century later, these old suspicions and enmities have dwindled but Labour has remained restricted by a parochial Weltanschauung.

Tony Blair promised in 1997 to put Britain “at the heart of Europe” but rapidly found himself constrained first by New Labour’s timidity towards the tabloid press (remember The Sun’s headline describing then-German finance minister Oskar Lafontaine as “the most dangerous man in Europe” over tax harmonization proposals?), and then by the toxic fallout from the Iraq War and Donald Rumsfeld’s distinctions between “Old” and “New” Europe.

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