Here’s my response to Owen:
Your strategy was good, but what did you expect? As you note, Corbyn didn’t expect to win, had to hire a team on the spot and had to learn on the job. As much as I agree with you re the case for left patriotism and feet on the ground, this was never going to be a quick win. It was, and remains, a war of position. Like you I’m in favour of a handover to someone like Clive Lewis in 2018, like Clive I’m in favour of progressive alliances and PR, but if Clive claims he’s not ready yet then we should take him at his word. In the meantime we should get behind Corbyn because one thing can be guaranteed should Owen Smith win: Momentum and the new members will be purged from the party and Labour will return to a failed pre-2015 electoral strategy. To those who doubt such a prospect, I’d just point to two factors: the NEC’s gerrymandering machinations and the fact that so many MP’s openly express their contempt for the members: remember, they remain convinced that a Blarite strategy is the way to go, and Blair famously paid more attention to focus groups in Kettering than the members.
I don’t doubt your loyalty to the cause, nor do I believe for a moment that you’ve been co-opted. I get your concerns re the 80s too, I grew up in the north-west and remember how Foot was ridiculed. But these are different times, and this is a different project. Remember your Gramsci, this is a time for optimism of the will, not pessimism of the intellect: wars of position take time. If Clive takes over in 2018 everything will be forgotten by 2020. Who talks about David Cameron now?