Daily catch-up: a week is a short time in politics, and other unexpected truths

Divided parties win elections; plus a new Labour leadership candidate

John Rentoul
Tuesday 20 October 2015 07:34
Comments
There is no record of Harold Wilson (detail of painting by Ruskin Spear) saying a week is a long time in politics
There is no record of Harold Wilson (detail of painting by Ruskin Spear) saying a week is a long time in politics

Another fine column by Janan Ganesh in the Financial Times today. "Labour could become a play that nobody wants to watch," he says.

Politics is full of truisms that are not actually true. A week is not a long time in politics; much more stays the same than changes. People do not vote for hope and vision, but for the lesser evil. And nobody really minds a divided party. Division, managed properly, can convey vitality while draining opponents of a reason to exist. There is no solace for Labour in the Tories’ coming strife.

Professor Tim Bale ‏agrees with him: "If anyone can show me research which proves division harms parties' electoral chances, there's a prize."

Jess Phillips, the Labour MP ‏for Birmingham Yardley elected in May, continues to be refreshing:

Dear people with faces like eggs on Twitter and anyone who endorses anything George Galloway has said: I ask you to politely do one. The fact that I didn't support Jeremy Corbyn to be the leader of the party seems to have been taken, by some, as if I tried to steal their first-born child and sell it to an elf with a golden spinning wheel. It's not just cyberspace where such pearl-clutching sensitivity goes on. At a recent meeting of Birmingham University Labour Students, a bunch of people who had done none of the work to build this active group, decided to hijack the meeting with their negativity and poorly-printed flyers with old Russian men on them.

Do you know who doesn't like what you are doing? No, it's not me, I loves me a good Twitter spat. It's Jeremy Corbyn, that's who. Do you know who you make look good, clever and reasonable? Yep, that one is me. You make Jeremy look terrible. I suggest you look at your model, seems flawed to me.

I said I thought she should be Labour leader. She replied: "Thanks John, think you may be a little ahead of yourself there....oh why not, I'll give anything a go at least once." Jess We Can.

• Utterly predictably, the Mail on Sunday fictionalisation of Blair hate-fulfilment on which I commented yesterday has gone round the world. The further it spreads, though, the more its unintended comedy becomes clear: "Memo 'reveals Tony Blair support for US in run-up to Iraq War'," reports the Sheffield Star. Well, that's going to mean a big re-write of my book, which contains a balanced account of Blair and Iraq, if anyone in Sheffield is interested.

• Thanks to Tom Freeman ‏for this:

"People who type 'tho' make me go 'ugh'."

• And finally, hats off to Moose Allain:

"I prefer to watch like no one's dancing."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in