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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

A very public split

Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper trade blows as leadership contest intensifies

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Andy Burnham offers Jeremy Corbyn “a job”, in his Shadow Cabinet and presumably any government cabinet which Burnham may form at sometime in the future. A remarkably magnanimous gesture from a man who claims never to have voted against the party whip in the House of Commons, a man who has consistently advocated further austerity for the UK economy, has frequently demonstrated an ability for evasion, particularly during Ian Dale's LBC Radio programme and along with all but 48 members of the Parliamentary Labour Party, abstained on the vote on the Conservative Welfare Bill last July. Burnham qualifies this offer however, with an appeal for Labour party members who intend to vote for Corbyn in the leadership election, to move over to the Burnham camp to prevent Kendall or Cooper emerging as the winner.
This “offer” of course make two very sweeping assumptions. Namely that (a), Burnham will actually win the Leadership election and consequently be in a position to offer anyone a place in his Shadow Cabinet and (b) that he would actually win a General election at sometime in the future.
Perhaps the observer could be excused for thinking that the member for Leigh is optimistic, naïve, a little arrogant or even a mixture of all three. 

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The “offer” to Jeremy Corbyn has widened and made very public, the split between Burnham and Cooper which has been festering away from public scrutiny for some weeks. The “Anyone but Corbyn” campaign has always had a fundamental problem, in that there are three candidates, all from the “right” of the party, proposing the same old status quo policies and all competing for the same voting support base. The only thing that unites the three is their fear and dislike for Corbyn.
With Cooper now publicly calling for Burnham to stand down from the leadership contest the divisions between her and Burnham and in the background Kendall, have shifted the debate away from the real issues and created a slanging match between three candidates, intent on promoting themselves as the only alternative. In standing away from this spectacle Jeremy Corby maintains his position of putting forward proposals and policies and refusing to become involved in the puerile activity of name calling and personal attacks.
This current hostility between Burnham, Cooper and Kendall, raises a pertinent question. If the only word they have to offer, the only appeal that they can present to Labour party members, the only message that they can offer to people around the country, is that only one of them is the person that can beat Jeremy Corbyn, then why should anyone trust in them to address or even understand, the real issues and problems which face this country today?

Homelessness, growing use of foodbanks, problems within the NHS, Welfare Cuts, austerity, education, banks, anti trade union legislation and a hundred other issues are the real priorities and it is only Jeremy Corbyn who is addressing these problems.