Anyone who has seen the interviews Angela Eagle gave on announcing her leadership challenge to Jeremy Corbyn will know at once that hers is not a serious bid for the Labour top position. Her performances were embarrassing and cringe-worthy. But there is a reason why she’s standing at this precise moment in time – and it hasn’t got anything to do with her personal ambitions. The real reason, in my view, is explained via the following scenario – and not all went to plan…
(See also: “Corbyn: the summer of hierarchical things: Labour can become the counter-power” by Paul Mason.)
Firstly, before the scenario, here is an update….
On Tuesday evening the Labour NEC announced that Jeremy Corbyn would be included on the ballot for Labour Leader, as per Labour Party rules. However, the NEC also announced it would be restricting who could vote at the election. The £3 supporters are gone and from now on registered supporters must pay £25 to vote and they can only do so if they sign up between 18 and 20 July. Also, anyone who became a member after January 12, 2016 will not be eligible to vote, even if they have paid the full membership fee (this affects more than 130,000 people) unless, that is, they now pay the £25. Altogether this amounts to a penalty on working class voters, as well as an attempt to silence Corbyn supporters. At first it seemed that a compromise deal may have been struck with Corbyn at the NEC meeting on this matter. Then this tweet appeared from Robert Peston:
Meanwhile, since this article was first published, it was announced that Owen Smith MP has added his name to the leadership challenge, If he wins (unlikely) then, like Eagle, his role would be more like caretaker.
Back to that scenario (note: just add Owen Smith’s name alongside Eagle’s).
- Coup plotters ‘instructed/advised’ Angela Eagle to challenge Jeremy Corbyn as leader. It took three clumsy attempts for her to finally announce this decision. Her various TV performances were abysmal. Nevertheless she did as was told.
- The next stage was to ensure Corbyn not included on the ballot. The ‘Annointed One’ would then be parachuted into the next available by-election (e.g. the late Jo Cox’s constituency – if that’s not already earmarked?).
- If, however, Corbyn decided to mount a legal challenge to the NEC decision to exclude him, that could take weeks if not months to organise – which would still provide an opportunity for the ‘Annointed One’ to be parachuted in.
- At an apropriate point in time, the ‘Annointed One’ would be added as a contender to the leadership challenge and at that stage Angela Eagle would back out of the contest. The vote would then be between Corbyn and the ‘Annointed One’, unless Corbyn had been unsuccessful in his legal challenge, which would then leave only one candidate – the ‘Annointed One’ – to be declared the new leader of the Labour Party.
Of course, the plan – the coup – has now been scuppered.
But in the highly unlikely event that Eagle or another lightweight candidate (Smith?) wins over Corbyn, his/her role will merely be that of caretaker until the ‘Annointed One’ is ready.
So, who is the ‘Annointed One’?
Most likely: David Miliband.
Why David Miliband? Well, for the Labour right, he is the perfect candidate: handsome, articulate and experienced in Government. The only problem is his association with Tony Blair. There is also the not-so-small problem of Miliband’s connections with Portland Communications. According to Steve Topple, “…Laura Kyrke-Smith (formerly of Portland) is currently head of communications for David Miliband at the International Rescue Committee, was previously chair of the Labour Campaign for International Development (LCID) and a speechwriter for Glenys Kinnock.” Portland is at the centre of the anti-Corbyn coup plot.
So, there you have it. No evidence any of the above will happen – just a wild guess, based on probabilities and basic instinct. And if Miliband does not to stand, there is always Hilary Benn or Andy Burnham…
Not everything went to plan. The current leadership battle may merely be a case of ‘testing the waters’. Anyway, here is the timetable for the Leadership elections as distributed at Tuesday’s NEC meeting. (Source: London Black Revolutionaries)