Want to lead the Labour party? All you have to do is tell everyone the Tories are right

In May the poorest areas of Glasgow voted against Labour for the first time in 100 years – they must have been outraged at their plans to get rid of non-doms

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The Independent Online

At last the Labour leadership candidates appear to understand they lost to the Tories because they were opposed to the Tories, which is a stance they must never take again if they ever hope to beat the Tories.

From the way the debate is being conducted, it seems likely they’ll conclude that most British people are not members of the Labour Party, so in order to connect with the British people they should choose a leader who isn’t a member of the Labour Party.

They’ll choose someone at random, such as Dave from Maidstone, who can make a leadership speech at conference that voters can relate to, that goes “Conference, it’s an honour to address you as leader, and let me be absolutely clear. My sister runs a nail bar and if anyone wants a discount, I can sort you out. But conference, Madam Chair, you’ll have to pop down on a Wednesday as that’s their quietest day. “And let me finish by saying this, I’d  best nip off as my mate’s popping round later with a wardrobe.”

One strategy that all candidates except Jeremy Corbyn follow, is to make speeches that start “We must accept the voters didn’t trust us with the economy. That’s why I will demand that even if we win an election, we’ll let the Tories stay on as the government. But we must go further. I will make the whole party go hill-walking in Peru for five years so we can’t go near the economy, because we have to learn the lessons of our catastrophic defeat.”

Another feature of the contest is that all candidates have to trump each other with how catastrophic it was. Harriet Harman is winning so far by stating “Even people who voted for us were relieved we lost.” But Yvette Cooper will top this, with “I didn’t even trust myself. I voted Ukip because I simply don’t trust myself on immigration. I told myself this on the doorstep but the stark truth is I wasn’t listening and so I paid the price.”

One figure who has made helpful comments to explain the defeat is David Miliband. Several Labour MPs have expressed their regret that he wasn’t leader, as Labour would have done much better than with his brother. The press wouldn’t have been as hostile, they say, and that makes sense, because unlike Ed, the more statesmanlike David has never been photographed in an embarrassing pose with an item of food. And even if The Sun did have a silly photo of David holding, to pick a fruit at random, a banana, as responsible publishers you can be certain they wouldn’t have used it during the election to make him look silly in any way.

The other advantage David had was that unlike Ed, he remains adamant it was right to invade Iraq. This would have increased his appeal to the two other people in the world who agree, Tony and Cherie Blair, and those two votes may have been enough to win the election.

It seems to be accepted by Labour’s leaders that they couldn’t possibly win as they were seen as “anti-business”, by promising to abolish the non-dom tax fiddle, and supporting people on zero hours contracts. This must be why Labour’s most disastrous results were in Scotland. The poorest areas of Glasgow voted against Labour for the first time in 100 years, so they must have been yelling: “Away ye wee Labour gobshite pish, I’ve got a family of seven in here that are all non-dom tax evaders with a wee business in the Cayman Islands, how dare ye interfere with their corporate tax liability, so get tae fuck.”

Despite strong competition, the candidate that seems to express Labour’s thoughts most coherently is Liz Kendall. In 12 minutes on The Andrew Marr Show she managed to summarise her outlook, with insights such as, “I believe in the national interest”, which she said four times in a row. Because people who only say it three times in a row are traitors. Asked for her views on the economy, she replied: “I think our economy is really important”, and it’s touching really, to know her policies are being written by a child of six.

The whole 12 minutes was taken up with this sort of philosophy, so it sounded like one long sentence going, “We need to balance our books, which is important, and it’s really important that we deal with what is important with modern challenges that we must all face up to – and that includes me and you and everyone and all of us, including me and you – and win back the trust of me and you and a dog named Boo”.

She may not become Prime Minister, but she’d be brilliant at winding up cold callers. They’d ring to say: “Hello Ms Kendall, it’s Janet here from Insurance Direct, I’m ringing to see if you’ve had an accident you may wish to make a claim for that could earn you several hundred pounds.”

And Liz would say: “What I do know is that any claim we make must be one that includes values because I believe in values and the British people are a people of values and while I won’t be drawn on the specific question about a claim I think accidents are really important”, until the insurance woman screams: “All right. I’ll never call again.”

The most depressing part is none of them have a sense of history, of why their party exists, of what changes they would make to society, of what inspires them, of what they’ve read, of who they admire, of why they care who runs anything, let alone Britain – except for Jeremy Corbyn, which is why he has no chance of winning.

And if they did take a glance at history, they’d probably advocate going to war with Spain, because Elizabeth I did that and stayed in power for more than 40 years, so must have been brilliant at winning elections.