After the strange comedy spectacle of Gordon Brown’s oblique attack on Corbyn – the knives are still out for the poor leadership front-runner. Burnham, Kendall and Cooper are slugging it out to try and emerge as the unity candidate, mostly by knocking lumps out of each other.
Now the other Miliband has resurfaced. Matthew Norman at the Independent isn’t cheering: “After a self-imposed exile in New York, the threadbare sock puppet of Blarism, David Miliband has made a pronouncement” he notes. Miliband had written in the Guardian: “I have been struck by the plain speaking, fresh thinking and political courage of Liz Kendall”.
Norman remains unconvinced. “In his bespoke lexicon of political cliche, meanwhile, ‘fresh thinking’ translates to ‘barely re-hashed Blairite ideas which sounded stale a decade ago.” Ouch.
But it’s not just retread politicians that are being enlisted to the Anything But Corbyn campaign. C List slebs are too.
Elsewhere, actress Sarah Solemani (no, me neither) tries to sprinkle some sparkle dust on Yvette Cooper’s campaign with a truly bizarre article in the Independent. In a weird bout of patronising prose she writes: “He seems like a decent enough bloke, like the ageing neighbour you share a smile with and feel nostalgic for. Forgive me, there is no need to be cruel about this dedicated pensioner, but there is every need to be extremely cautious that the Party’s old dear remains so and is not elevated to the role of its condemned executioner.”
It gets worse: “The autopsy from the 2015 general election is ongoing. Yet, we would be fools not to admit that the overwhelming surge to the right, in the largest turnout in eighteen years, during an age of austerity, proved anti-austerity rhetoric failed to capture the public imagination. The public rejected a call to collectively identify as victims, however worse off they were in real terms.”
I think she’s forgotten about a whole country here. Anyway, it’s Cooper all the way because: “She is an internationalist in the best sense, cautious yet muscular, open but principled.”
It gets worse: “The elephant in the room is, of course, the legacy of Tony Blair. Or rather, the albatross of Iraq. The left must accept the invasion of Iraq in 2003 happened under a Labour Government and that Cooper did not commit career suicide to oppose it.”
Pause to consider that sentence. Cooper is qualified to be leader of the party and the country because she chose career over principle in backing the Iraq war. It’s probably one of the most bizarre and cynical arguments you’ll ever hear for political advancement. What happened to the ‘open but principled’ bit?
Solemani goes on to equate UKIP and the SNP, engage in a very odd idea about why we should keep Trident (to stop ISIS) “I know who I’d prefer to guard me while I sleep at night” – and then proclaim about Yvette Cooper’s achievements which she describes as ‘tangible, life-changing, historical’ – amongst which she includes House of Lords reform.
So this is all really very odd. But it points to a wider problem, Newspapers are increasingly turning to celebrities in place of writers and politicians are increasingly turning to ‘endorsements’ to back their (often) contentless campaigns for self-advancement. This is the only explanation for this nonsense. She concludes gushing: “We have to win the next general election. Please, for the love of Labour, vote Yvette Cooper!”