Labour deeply divided over leadership vote

The British Labour Party has commenced its leadership election. Members have until the middle of September to vote on whether current leader Jeremy Corbyn or his rival Owen Smith should take the helm. In a bid to prevent Corbyn from being re-elected critics even went as far as to bring procedural matters before the High Court - in vain. Should they change their strategy now?

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The Times (GB) /

Now is the time for a split-off

The many critics of Jeremy Corbyn in the House of Commons should establish a more moderate party of their own, as was done with the (albeit unsuccessful) Social Democratic Party in 1981, the Times advises:

“Mr Corbyn’s supporters do not see electoral victory as the ultimate purpose of the Labour Party. They may not simply disappear if and when Labour goes down to heavy electoral defeat. ... If Mr Smith fails in his attempt to unseat Mr Corbyn as leader, Labour MPs should gird themselves for a more courageous response. British politics is more fractured than it has been in a century. ... There is no prospect that a manifesto of nationalisation and ending the nuclear deterrent can win electoral favour. The space for an alternative party of the centre-left may be wider than it was 30 years ago.”

The Independent (GB) /

Beat Corbyn with arguments, not tricks

The Labour Party leadership wanted to exclude 130,000 members from the vote because in its view they have not been members of the party for long enough. The High Court has rejected the plea. The Independent is irate that the party leaders are now contesting the decision:

“Whatever the law, the spectacle of a Labour Party fighting its civil war through the courts is unedifying, and the politics is on Mr Corbyn’s side for the moment. He has the support of the majority of Labour’s vastly expanded membership. As long as they want him, he is entitled to the leadership. Those Labourites who say that Mr Corbyn is the wrong person to lead the party have to beat him through argument, rather than by fixing the vote. Some of Mr Corbyn’s supporters may be entryists who do not have Labour’s interests at heart, but most of them are enthusiasts for policies that they believe in.”

The Guardian (GB) /

The last hope for Labour's left wing

Corbyn supporters see him as the sole representative of the traditional leftist values that Labour has set aside in recent decades, columnist Ellie Mae O'Hagan writes in The Guardian:

“I am yet to meet a single Corbynite who is naive about Corbyn’s failings as a leader, the great challenges he faces, or who does not want to win a general election. But the reason so many have coalesced around him anyway is because they view his leadership as the only opportunity they have had in at least 30 years to see their views finally represented in public life. The Labour rebels' attempt to unseat him is, in their minds, as much an attempt to excommunicate the wider left as it is to get rid of Corbyn himself.”