Kevin Maguire: United we stand a chance of change – Kevin Maguire


Labour splitting to form another ill-fated centre party gives wobbling Theresa May and her warring Conservatives their best hope.

Dividing the opposition – as the SDP did in the 80s when they cemented Maggie Thatcher in No10 – would be a fresh gift to the Tories.

Listen for two minutes to the Labour kamikazes hell-bent on destroying their left-wing leader. It becomes clear some so-called moderates would prefer the Tories to Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister.

In Brighton this week, Vince Cable’s shop-soiled Liberal Democrats seem so contaminated by the disastrous ConDem coalition they have nothing to lose from starting again.

But let nobody be under any illusion – the governing party would immediately benefit from what would be billed as a realignment of politics.

Conservatives understand that they rule by sticking together. A party that last split in 1846 over the Corn Laws is the most likely to survive Brexit basically intact.

I, like millions, would be fascinated to see how a Corbyn government changed Britain

Labour malcontents such as Chris Leslie and Chuka Umunna – who are part of a dozen-strong group toying with following Thatcher-admiring maverick Frank Field out of the party – are mistaken if they think the grass is greener on the yellow side.

Cable enjoyed more parties than Katie Price before settling on the Lib Dems. Behind his lugubrious air of a funeral director officiating at his own burial he is trying to recruit a Labour terracotta army to guard his tomb.

I fail to see how a new Liberal-SDP Alliance could deliver what evaded the originals in the 80s.

Then the Gang of Four, who led almost 30 defectors from Labour, were substantial politicians.

No disrespect intended to Umunna or Leslie, but they are not a Roy Jenkins, Shirley Williams or David Owen. Bill Rodgers perhaps – the one everybody forgets.

Tony Blair warns that it “may be impossible” to generate a successful new national party under a two-party electoral system – wise words for both friends and foes.

Staying and fighting is an ­honourable political tradition. Treachery and betrayal are not.

I, like millions, would be fascinated to see how a Corbyn government changed Britain. If Labour rebels stop him, it will be at the price of prolonged Conservative rule.

History would never forgive them.


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