Stephen Daisley Stephen Daisley

Labour’s Richard Burgon problem

Richard Burgon is an idiot. Yes, I know you subscribe to The Spectator expecting more high-brow invective but I believe in being direct. Now, ordinarily I’d be in favour of leaving such a simple creature to his own devices, but this is the Labour Party we’re talking about, so Daisley’s First Law applies: The worst candidate in any Labour election is the one most likely to win.

Elections for the deputy leader of the Labour party are generally to be filed under ‘private grief’, but Burgon is bent on spreading the misery around. He wants to be ‘campaigner in chief’ and pledges that, ‘within the first month of being deputy leader I will visit every single seat we lost’. If the people of Bishop Auckland don’t regret voting Tory yet, they soon will. Worse, he threatens that, ‘by halfway through this parliament I will have visited every single seat in the country’. No wonder support for Scottish independence is on the rise.

There is, however, a more compelling reason to pay attention to the deputy leadership election: like that for party leader, the outcome will be some indication of Labour’s contrition (or lack of it) for the past four and a half years.

On the deputy slate, Burgon is the continuity Corbyn candidate, arguing:

‘While Jeremy Corbyn failed to win a general election, he decisively shifted Labour from lukewarm opposition to cuts and close association with illegal wars to offering a real alternative.’

He also decisively shifted 54 seats from Labour to the Tories. Plus the last time Labour had a close association with illegal wars, it won an historic third consecutive election with a 66-seat majority. Would that all Labour leaders were in the illegal war-associating business, then we could do away with the Tory party altogether.

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