The list of names being presented as next Labour leader gets more ridiculous by the minute. I have now established that Rebecca Long-Bailey is not a spoof, but even so the idea that the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury is the answer to Labour’s problems is preposterous. At least she is not Clive Lewis, who has gone in under five minutes from Corbynite newbie to trainee statesman, according to his fans. For what it’s worth, my money is still on Julian Middle-Temple, MP for Islington West, failed organic baker, and the only person who nominated Jeremy Corbyn for leader in 2015 deliberately, and not by accident.
What a mess Labour is in and it’s getting worse. At least when the Tories had their blood-letting in the 1990s and 2000s the leadership contests contained some contenders the politically engaged members of the electorate had heard of. Think of Hezza, Ken, Michael Howard, Portillo and David Davis. And the fresh face – David Cameron – connected because he was also genuinly impressive.
What can Labour do? I mentioned last night in a piece on Clive Lewis – pointing out that he is not the answer, to anything – that Labour should be looking at the rise of Martin Schulz in Germany for inspiration. A no-hope leader of the SPD was replaced by Schulz ahead of this autumn’s election. The media derided his move from Brussels, but in the Age of Crazy Populist Turmoil almost anything can happen. The SPD now leads Merkel’s mob and Schulz outpolls her when they are put head to head. She may recover, what with her being pretty brilliant at politics, if not at achieving anything other than winning (name something else, see, you can’t). But an old stager, Euro leftie fanatic Martin Schulz, has made the race competitive.
Who is the Labour equivalent? Is there anyone in parliament?
Might Sir Keir Starmer go for it? Alan Johnson won’t do it, and half the membership need to be fired, but with a bit of daring and panache something could be pulled off. One mad idea occurs: A patriotic Labour MP in a safe seat should stand down to allow a by-election and the parachuting in of a person standing under a “Britain needs an opposition and you have heard of me” banner.
Ed Balls? Tony Blair? I’m struggling here. Anyone?
Someone do something.