Feb. 25th, 2017

mtbc: maze N (blue-white)
The Scottish Labour Party is currently having its annual conference in Perth, a few miles from where I live. (Next month we get the Scottish Liberal Democrats.) This afternoon Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, and Kezia Dugdale, the leader of Scottish Labour, are speaking. Tomorrow afternoon Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK Labour Party, is to speak and behind the scenes his leadership will be much debated given Labour's historic loss in Copeland, in the very northwest of England, a couple of days ago. (UK elections tend to be held on Thursdays.)

I have wondered about Jeremy Corbyn's popularity. The Labour party originally grew from socialism and unions though under Tony Blair's leadership it tacked hard to the right. Jeremy Corbyn is much liked by his party's grass roots but rather less so by its more centrist senior career politicians: when he was first elected leader it seemed to me that he was honest and passionate, competing against cardboard-cutout figures blandly trying to say the approved thing. His leadership has not seemed professionally competent at all times; I get the sense that he means well but does not quite have the skill to herd cats.

Labour's rocky path in recent times makes me wonder how much Jeremy Corbyn truly is to blame. It occurred to me that the party's situation may be an American-primaries-style casualty of the candidates who appeal to its membership being too far from center for the electorate at large. Or, if his apparent weakness or failure is more due to the Labour Party's professional politicians: rather than supporting their elected leader in good faith, being all too pleased from the start to doubt and undermine him and watch him fall flat accordingly.

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Mark T. B. Carroll

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