Toby Young Toby Young

Labour: my part in its downfall

One of my co-conspirators has suggested we ­resurrect Tories4Corbyn, but I’m not sure it’ll be necessary

A few weeks ago, I took part in a debate at the Cambridge Union about the future of the Labour party. I argued that a combination of factors, such as the decline of Labour’s working-class support, the election of Jeremy Corbyn and the party’s near-universal backing for the EU, meant that Labour would struggle to survive in its present form. But I thought the crisis point would come after the next general election, not after the referendum. It didn’t occur to me that the party would be in its death throes by the end of the month.

I suppose I have to accept a small amount of responsibility for this. During Labour’s leadership election last year, when Corbyn was still a rank outsider, I helped to launch a Tories4Corbyn campaign, urging fellow Conservatives to take advantage of the party’s new membership rules whereby you could become a registered supporter for just £3 and vote for the 67-year-old old communist. I don’t know how many did and my own efforts to join were foiled by a party hack. It probably had something to do with the reason I gave on the official application form: ‘To consign Labour to electoral oblivion.’

One of my co-conspirators —Paul Staines, the man behind Guido Fawkes — has suggested we resurrect Tories4Corbyn, but I’m not sure it’ll be necessary. At the time of writing, it’s not clear whether there’ll be another Labour leadership election, but the polls suggest he’d win about 60 per cent of the vote, just as he did last year. Several left-of-centre journalists have urged people to shell out £3 so they can save the party from Corbyn — it seems to be connected with their despair over losing the referendum – but I doubt they’ll beat the Trots at their own game.

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