Labour needs a leader who can connect with working class voters
“Don’t forget, It was Godfather Two that won the Oscar”. That was the cheering thought offered to a bunch of Saving Labour stalwarts who gathered to reflect on their failure to avert Jeremy Corbyn’s second leadership landslide. The unanimous view was that Labour still needs saving from electoral disaster through a change of leader. The Godfather analogy inspires the hope that the next time will be more successful.
There was innocent amusement that Paul Mason, one of the Labour leader’s loudest cheerleaders, has been outed as Corbyn doubter. He will be appalled to hear that he is set to become a Saving Labour icon on the basis of a secretly videoed conversation released by the Sun He is heard opining that Corbyn was out of touch with working class people – that he has “no cultural references to the way they live.”
Mason and his allies set out to shoot the messenger, denouncing the Sun for invading his privacy. He did not deny that he likes the look of Clive Lewis as a replacement for Corbyn. He joins a growing list of people, including Kieran Pedley, Owen Jones and myself who see the potential of the Shadow Business. As a reserve Army officer, who served in Afghanistan and a former BBC journalist Lewis, secretary doesn’t lack confidence. But he does need to remember that the world is full of EFLs – ex-future leaders of their party.
In the meantime, Labour’s man of the moment is Keir Starmer. The Shadow Brexit Secretary teamed up with Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry to set out 170 questions on how the government will handle EU negotiations which one veteran Labour researcher declared it was “the best bit of opposition we have done in the past five years.
It helped Jeremy Corbyn to turn in his second impressive performance in a row against Theresa May at Prime Minister’s questions. Labour is on the front foot because Leave campaigners never had a plan and May – the Remainer who didn’t campaign — still doesn’t have one.
The most notable effect of the referendum vote is the slide in the value of sterling to a 168-year low. Devaulation is always a mixed blessing – good for some parts of the economy and bad for others — but where to look for the political fallout? My hunch is that, with 40 per cent of shopping basket products being imported, it is rising inflation that be the focus of voter impatience with what Jeremy Corbyn rightly described as “shambolic Tory Brexit.”