‘Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.’
So wrote WB Yeats nearly a century ago. If you believe in reincarnation, you could be forgiven for thinking that Yeats’ falcon did something awful, and was reborn as Jeremy Corbyn.
Turning in a gyre not solely his own creation, Labour’s leader is no longer able to hear the advice of the falconer on the ground. Perhaps he never was, and things are certainly falling apart.
Undeniably, this distance from the traditional ringmasters of the Labour Party; the Peter Mandelsons, Alastair Campbells and Tony Blairs had proved one of his most alluring attributes to the masses who twice voted him in.
Sadly, since Corbyn took charge, it appears his team has dispensed not only with the party’s political past, but with politics itself.
Yet it would be rude to exclude the parliamentary Labour Party from this dearth of political dexterity. All one needs to look at is the failed coup that brought about his second election: A very Labour coup, in that it failed.
With Corbyn commanding just the support of John McDonnell, his cat and possibly his wife, the pretenders still failed to topple a man who’d been in frontline politics little over a year.
At a time when Labour should have been capitalising upon Tory chaos over Europe, they were fighting amongst themselves, and at a time of national crisis.
As such, it is no wonder the Conservatives now hold an 11-point lead. The loss of Copeland, a Labour seat since its inception, shows that however wonderful Corybn’s policies might be, he has a fatal inability to articulate them.
Over the howl of Britain’s political storm, the falcon has become as inaudible as the falconer. Much of this storm has now blown in off the continent, and has proved too tempestuous for the Corbyn ship.
Labour has wrestled itself over Europe before, but always under the capable captaincy of heavyweights like Harold Wilson or Tony Blair. Corbyn, for all his idealism is unable to unite Labour, and is surrounded by a team less competent than himself. Let’s be real, the etching was on the gravestone the day John McDonnell produced Mao’s Little Red Book in parliament.
Ultimately, another leadership challenge is out of the question. The party rendered itself toothless by launching an irresponsible, illegitimate and futile challenge before Corbyn had been given a chance, instead of waiting for disaster in Copeland.
Now it is incumbent on Corbyn to negotiate a means of stepping aside that facilitates an election, in which the members of the party’s new left like Angela Rayner are permitted to compete. With every delay, the looming spectre of Tory re-election becomes an increasingly real threat.