Don’t Panic!

Fetch a towel and ride the wave.

At some point yesterday Sadiq Khan came out in support of Owen Smith in the Labour Leadership contest. There was a great deal of anger on Twitter this morning but really… does it actually matter?

Khan won the nomination as Labour mayoral candidate for London when the mood, following Corbyn’s nomination in the Labour Leadership contest 2015, swung away from Blairism. His was an “anyone but Tessa Jowell” victory that he still only managed on the third rollover of votes.

However, Labour united around him and he had feet on the ground from all wings of the party, including Momentum and the left. His and other mayoral, by-election and council victories show what can be done when we unite.

The fact always lurking throughout was that he was no lover of Jeremy Corbyn being Labour leader, even though he had been a nominating MP himself. Khan cannot hide the fact that he’s an establishment man. That he held out this long before coming out for Smith has probably been killing him inside.

What I’m struggling with is the arrogance that he thinks his backing of Smith matters. His mandate outside of London is non existent. That he thinks we non-Londoners care what his opinion is shows he has no understanding about the movement growing around Jeremy Corbyn or indeed, about the feeling of alienation among Labour voters, especially northern ones, who voted Brexit. These people are fed up of London-centric politics and of the political elite thinking that only London matters. The fact that the MSM and MPs supporting Smith are touting Khan’s allegiance as a victory for Smith are also misreading this mood against the establishment, against London being the be all and end all of political decision making. Even if Khan’s backing sways all London Labour members to vote for Smith (it won’t), Smith still won’t win because people who don’t live in London are no longer in the mood to have the elite in London dictate to us.

There is the theory that Khan has come out for Smith the day before ballot papers start being sent out to cause maximum damage. Another example of the arrogance of Khan and the Labour elite thinking that his opinion could cause damage to Corbyn’s campaign. It won’t. Most of Corbyn’s supporters have already suspected for most of this past year that Khan was anti-Corbyn. All this does is prove it. It is more damaging to Smith’s cause to have such a duplicitous snake on his side than it is in any way damaging to Corbyn’s campaign.

What I would be more worried about is that the Labour elite have read Paul Mason’s article The Sound of Blairite Silence, namely this bit:

That, if you are mystified, is why they are pushing it so assiduously; why when one scare dies out they promote another, no matter how ludicrous or unfounded. And why — apart from the victim narrative — senior Blairite politicians are saying nothing political in public, appearing nowhere alongside Smith, and suppressing the very real criticisms they have in private of Owen’s dire hustings performance, and his Jeremy-Lite left socialism.

and thought, “Shit! They’re onto us. Let’s get some names out supporting Smith to create a smoke screen.” That is the scary option. Other than that, it’s just posturing arrogance from the London elite who think they can sway opinion outside of London. Because that worked well in the EU Referendum, didn’t it?