After a Heavy Defeat

Liz KendallI remember a good few years ago when I used to read such stuff ‘management and leadership’ books were fond of quoting Sun Tzu’s classic Chinese text ‘The Art of War’ when giving modern leaders things to think about. Wisdom like:

“All warfare is based on deception.”

So, the explanation might go:

“Don’t be so foolish as to let your competitors in on all your thought processes if you seriously want to outsmart them.”

Naturally I’ve thought of all this again during the current omnishambles that is the Labour Leadership Show and have returned to Sun Tzu to look for an opinion. Reckoning that the class war the Conservative enemy is now pursuing against the people of the country is certainly the kind of war we wouldn’t want to lose. And other than the above, I’ve found nothing. Undeterred I’ve decided to make up my own Sun Tzu quote, informed by his above real words, but to fit our current situation:

“After a heavy defeat the wise army recovers its strength in its barracks.”

So not in a Leadership Show like it’s running now. Where factionalism and careerist desperation are not only rife but obvious, and promotional films are released on YouTube (More on them in a bit).Andy Burnham

It’s bad enough for us ‘insiders’ currently being junk mailed and even phoned up by the candidates teams. We’re strong enough to take that and be (relatively) polite about it. But to carry out open internecine war in public? Even to the extent of the Ancient General’s acolytes pompously telling us to vote for ‘Anyone But…one of the Candidates’ (ABC, I see what you did there AC). It’s just plain stupid and a gift of immense value to the enemy.

So, though a recently returned Labour Party member, I suppose what I’m saying here is:

“I didn’t return for this.”

I returned for an argument, sure. We have been thoroughly defeated and an informed and deep discussion about what to do next is necessary. But I will argue in quiet rooms, with dignity.Yvette

And those films? I don’t think Jeremy’s made one. But Liz and Andy and Yvette have. And they are beyond parody, beyond ‘In the thick of it’ at it’s most omnishambolic. So I won’t link to them. But they are out there, and I so wish they weren’t.

In the end I cast my vote for Jeremy Corbyn, with no second choice. Now let’s have our policy arguments in dignified peace, whatever result this democracy produces.

More of my thoughts on rejoining the Labour Party here.



Published by Ronnie

Writing about life, Liverpool and anything else that interests me. As well as working with others to make the world a fairer and kinder place:

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  1. I think a lot of people have been taken in by the Tories’ new-found confidence and have forgotten that they have a very slender majority, and that before the election no-one was expecting anyone to be able to form a majority government. Which means that the odds must be against there being anyone who can form a majority government next time. So all those within (and without) the party who are saying “Corbyn makes Labour unelectable” are forgetting that the hurdle isn’t so high to jump now. And if Corbyn wins, as he might well do, he could wake up one May morning in 2020 – or possibly before – to find himself leading the largest party, or being offered a place in Government by the Liberals – or the Greens. Or possibly even some party we haven’t heard of yet – say, the “Social Democrats” led by, say, Andy Burnham?

  2. The majority of the candidates for the leadership seem to have forgotten that power is for the people, for the party, not for them personally…
    Labour was unelectable…who wanted a Tory second division party?
    It will remain so if one of the Blair brigade wins the election.
    The tactics used by the Blairite candidates reminds me forcefully of the tactics of the Gang of Four entryists back in the day…scaremongering, brought up to speed for the social media age.

    I hope that Corbyn wins: I hope too that he will have the strength of will to push these Tory clones into the background and appoint a shadow cabinet of people who have not forgotten what the party was founded to do and which – thanks in great part to the Blair regime – the party has to do all over again.

  3. I am in similar position having re-joined and becoming increasingly exasperated. Those MPs who supported Corbyn’s nomination ‘to widen the debate’ without wishing or expecting him to win must be wondering what they have unleashed. Although he appears to speak some sense, in that he avoids jargon and high-flown but empty rhetoric, he is unelectable. The media would have a field day. He appeals to core Labour voters but that won’t win an election. I am old enough to remember the Michael Foot debacle and this is similar, except that Corbyn isn’t as bright or as experienced as Foot.

  4. At the weekend a newspaper columnist (I forget who) wrote in scathing terms about bloggers who were venting their opinions online all over the place. Like you. Like me. I went to the Corbyn meeting in Liverpool and wrote about it. I saw the pictures of the Coventry event. Yet the media seem to think this man is being supported solely by the young.

    I joined the party for the first time a few months before the election hoping against hope a rabbit of genius or just plain sense would be pulled out of the electioneering hat. But no. And now it seems that the more people admire Corbyn and get behind him for his integrity and unwillingness to espouse personality politics, the more they/we are all wrong, according to the public opinion vendors.

    I agree with you, the big debate would have been better had within closed doors. BUT with the consensus firmly entrenched almost everywhere except at grass roots level that the election campaign was too leftist, it would probably have been stifled. So maybe this is for the best. The other contenders and the old guard (like the Tories) have been focused on the 24% – but what about the 76%? And who are the people who did not vote at all? Why did Labour supporters turn to UKIP or Green or SNP?

    Your own post before the election was symptomatic of how many Labour supporters felt. A few weeks ago I asked a Tory friend, tongue in cheek, if she was registering to vote for Corbyn – she said no, she wanted a strong opposition. In war isn’t the element of surprise also useul? You never know …

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