As the strife in Labour mounted following the EU referendum, its former leader Neil Kinnock told a meeting of the party’s MPs: “Dammit this is our party! I’ve been in it for 60 years! I’m not leaving it to anybody!”
The sentiment was repeated, albeit in milder form, by the former leadership hopeful Liz Kendall in an interview with GQ last week.
“I’m not going to leave my party,” she said. “I am not going to give up my party to people who do not represent what we believe.”
Who exactly the “we” or the “our” Kinnock and Kendall refer to is unclear in the above statements.
Indeed, the tussle over Britain’s major leftwing party has revealed a complex ownership that underpins any large organisation.
Since the selection of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour party last summer, pundits across the spectrum have mused of a potential split in Britain’s main leftwing party.
Nowadays there is a stark divide between Labour’s centrist parliamentarians and the party’s leftist leadership, with the general party members siding with the latter.
There is also precedent within living memory of a split, Britain having seen an iteration of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) spin off from Labour in the early 1980s.
With a new leadership contest in which Owen Smith takes on Corbyn for the leadership title, the possibility of the flat-capping wearing hard leftist cementing his control over the party seems to provide Labour MPs with a good opportunity to leave.
But will a split happen under the leadership of Corbyn, and before the next general election?
You may have heard that Britain, a small country in the north-west of Europe, recently voted to leave the European Union (EU), by a narrow margin of 51.9 to 48.1 percent.
The result mostly crept up on the political, media and corporate establishments (not to mention the bookies), who had thought that Britons would cleave to the perceived safety of the status quo, even as polls in the week prior to the vote signalled otherwise.
Since the outcome was revealed on June 23rd many have predicted that it could be undone by legal or political shenanigans. The lawyer David Allen Green has even claimed that Article 50, the legal mechanism for Britain quitting the EU, might never be invoked.
All of which leaves an obvious question: After the referendum result, is Britain actually going to trigger Article 50 and leave the EU? And will it do it by 2020, the year the next general election is scheduled for?
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In this final episode before our summer break we examine prime minister Theresa May’s first cabinet, the progress of Brexit negotiations and the failed coup in Turkey.
As someone who spends much of his time listening to left-wingers, I’m used to seeing people upset after losing an election.
Contrary to popular cliché, such events rarely look like the five stages of grief, and the aftermath of the British decision to leave the European Union has been no different.