Interviewing Angela Eagle MP about her leadership bid against Jeremy Corbyn, Andrew Neil had a simple question:
Other than Trident, what are the main policy differences?
A question that you’d think a group of people who spent months plotting a coup might be able to answer, but it left the Labour coup’s candidate floundering:
Even after Neil repeated his question, the MP for Wallasey was still unable to name a single policy that set her apart from Corbyn, despite being so against him.
And this lack of vision comes after everything the rebelling MPs have sidelined to carry out their coup.
For these MPs, gaining control of the party was more important than capitalising on a Conservative party split down the middle. It has been more important that standing up for junior doctors, whose contract is now being forced on them by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
But most of all, removing Corbyn was held in higher regard than one of the biggest political moments of a generation. Fighting to ensure the interests of ordinary people during the chaos of Brexit came second place to seizing the Labour party leadership.
This simple question from Neil has exposed the plotters. After handing the Conservatives free-reign on the Brexit narrative, Eagle has revealed that the plotters do not even have a vision. She could not name one inspiring policy that sets her apart from Corbyn. From Eagle, all we hear in response are phrases like “strong, united opposition”. It seems the plotting MPs abandoned the nation in the name of empty buzzwords. And not for the first time.
In her answer, Eagle attempted to rebrand herself as anti-austerity. But in doing so, she fails to distinguish herself from Corbyn. It appears the leadership hopeful is trapped. She knows anti-anti-austerity is not a good look, and the membership would roast her for such a stance.
But what has the Labour candidate done to oppose austerity? Eagle and all the rest of the MPs who resigned to topple Corbyn abstained on the 2015 welfare bill, which allowed the Tories to make a further £12bn of ideological cuts to public services.
Abstaining is certainly not opposing austerity. This refusal to oppose austerity is infact a tacit approval. If you’re supposed to be challenging the Conservatives in government, and you don’t oppose their core economics, you serve to legitimise them.
Eagle and the plotters need to head back to the drawing board. The rebels have consumed the media discourse on how ‘unelectable’ Corbyn is, and how they are the ones who can provide an “effective opposition”. Yet, when it comes down to it they don’t have a single galvanising policy on offer. No vision, no values, no plan.
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Featured image via screengrab