It is hardly news that seven Labour MPs are leaving the Party or their proclaimed reasons.
The reasons they give are shallow but not without any substance. The Party has not got to grips with left antisemitism and its failure to be clear in opposing Brexit has lost it a great many opportunities to blast this, the worst Tory government ever.
But these aren’t the real reasons why the ‘Gang of the Seven’ are quitting.
The real reasons are these.
Every one of the Seven came into politics as New Labour advocates. Their tutor was Tony Blair. His aim was to systematically reduce the voice of what he saw as a troublesome labour movement, in particular the trade unions.
Blair acquired that view from Thatcher. He wanted to end the hope, continually expressed in that labour movement, that workers should have a political voice and that voice should be in control of government.
Chris Leslie’s statement today that Labour’s current advocacy of class politics is his reason for leaving is the most honest and accurate of them all.
Blair and these ‘centrists’ are not ‘Red Tories’. Those words are no more than swear words which gained currency in response to the destructive actions of some of the seven and others during 2015-17. But the phrase itself makes little sense.
They are not ideological Tories and bear little resemblance to May and her hard right dominated Tory Party. But neither are they ‘Red’ in any sense.
What they all share is a supersized sense of entitlement common to the team-Blair crew. They see themselves as “the professionals” – principles to them are secondary. So despite being a long way from the current Tory Party, they nevertheless want a job. And the jobs market does not look good for them.
They are currently probably liberals. They believe that workers should be ruled over by the interests of capitalism but that it should be a humane and decent rule.
They realise now that Blair’s project has been irrevocably lost. And that is why they have been talking about going for so long.
Why have they gone now?
Ironically the issue they thought was their winning card – opposition to Brexit – has divided them from their former close Blairite allies Kinnock and Flint.
The lack of principle implicit to Blairism has taken the Blairites different ways.
But another blow they have suffered is that opposition to Brexit is no longer their exclusive call. Thankfully parts of the left have now taken that battle away from them. We have relocated it in working class internationalism rather then the business globalization of Blair.
Opposition to Brexit can no longer be used as the primary fake weapon to revive Blairism.
Consequently it should no longer be used to stymie debate in the Party Those who try to reduce the argument in support of Brexit to one of ‘are you for Jeremy or for Blair?’ will need to find some better arguments.
For that we should be thankful