Labour's going downhill fast

Is the Labour Party careering out of control?

Tuesday, 17th January 2017, 8:33 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th January 2017, 9:36 am
1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

Jeremy Corbyn fiercely denies this suggestion. But there is no doubt that HM Opposition is in dire straits.

Some Jeremiahs are predicting that a Labour Government is too far ahead to be contemplated, and others even say the party is on the verge of extinction. This is too much for many Labour MPs, for whom the prospect of virtual perpetuity in Opposition at Westminster is something of a nightmare. They are about to lose two of their most talented MPs, Jamie Reed (to industry) and Tristram Hunt, pictured, (to the Victoria and Albert Museum), while Lord Mandelson says more will follow.

The two seats now facing by-elections, Copeland and Stoke-on-Trent Central, are no longer impregnable Labour strongholds.

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The political massacre that Labour suffered in Scotland in 2015 is spreading like a contagious disease into England. Labour has hitherto relied on Scotland to give it its majorities, and there is now no guarantee that Labour will hold on to these constituencies. Indeed, if the Tories and Ukip could reach a pact at these two by-elections, Labour would surely lose them.

Corbyn’s leadership is a major part of the problem, although he naturally will not admit it. And attempts to dump him have failed abysmally.

Labour’s big-hitters of yesterday are appalled at the state of the party. And they have every justification in feeling that way.

n A future Labour Government, says Jeremy Corbyn, would take over Britain’s care homes – an entirely laudable idea. It seems wrong that old and infirm people have to sell their homes and drain their savings dry in the last months of their lives, in order to be looked after properly by professionals. Their relatives are often liable to be hard-hit financially as well.

Such a commendable move, to make care homes an arm of the National Health Service, would add only a fraction to what people pay for the existence of the NHS and would avoid all the terrible hardship now faced by many people. Would the Conservatives ever consider doing this? I doubt it since they run a mile from anything that smacks of the “dirty word” nationalisation. A pity.