James Forsyth

This Labour leadership contest has represented an intellectual surrender to Corbynism

This Labour leadership contest has represented an intellectual surrender to Corbynism
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The Labour leadership result isn’t announced until 11.45am today. But whatever the result—and no one seems in much doubt what it will be, this contest has represented an intellectual surrender to Jeremy Corbyn and the ideology he represents.

Isabel Hardman and Marcus Roberts discuss Corbyn's victory on Coffee House shots

I argue in The Sun this morning, that his opponents surrendered right at the start of the contest. Owen Smith was offered up as a more competent and media savvy leader rather than as the antidote to Corbynism.

Smith himself emphasised that the party owed Corbyn ‘a debt of gratitude for helping Labour rediscover its radical roots’. He stressed, ‘I am just as radical as Jeremy Corbyn’. Now, you can say that this was the best way to try and win over this particular selectorate. But it does mean that the Corbyn worldview has not been challenged in the way that it should have been.

In this contest, Smith has said things that would have rendered him unelectable in a general election. He has talked about getting around the table with Islamic State, has indicated that he’s prepared to consider joining both the Euro and the EU’s disastrous border free Schengen Zone, and argued for the need for higher taxes. These policies would be disastrous for Britain. These are also hardly going to make Nuneaton, or any other marginal seat, return to the Labour fold.

The Labour moderates need to reflect on how far away both candidates were from the common ground of British politics in this contest. If trying to win an internal Labour contest requires you to go so far off the common ground, can Labour as a party ever get back to it?