It very much looks as though the Labour party is about to split, budding a new party that might well be called the Democratic Party.
Angela Eagle is putting her name forward today as the leader of the opposition Labour party on the grounds that Jeremy Corbyn, the present leader, doesn’t have the leadership qualities that would give the party any chance at all of winning the next general election.
Although she would win hands down in the preliminary ballot among Labour MPs she would probably lose against Corbyn when the countrywide Labour membership votes because there would probably be a surge of extreme left-wing young, rebellious-minded people joining the party before the vote just as there had been previously when Corbyn was elected.
Angela-Eagle says that she hopes there will be a surge of new Labour party members joining in order to vote for her. That’s extremely unlikely and Eagle won’t be privately thinking so either. Corbyn will be elected again — probably with an increased majority — and this will be the opportunity for the bulk of the party MPs to separate themselves from the nucleus of MPs around Corbyn and form a new moderately left party.
Just as the present Labour party was born out of a new rising class 100 years ago — unionised industrial workers — the reason for the new party is also being born from a new class — professionalised intellectual workers. These are the products of Oxbridge and other elite universities. Two or three decades ago they began to dominate the short lists from which local Labour parties chose their Parliamentary candidates
When the new UK Democratic party — or whatever it will be called — is instituted it will say that it will be concerned for the poorer classes. But it will carry on just as the present Labour party — and, indeed the Tory party — has been doing. This is, being immersed in their comfortable Whitehall redoubt and rather more concerned with national — that is, London-based — policies rather than in reviving well-paid employment in the regions, particularly in the north.
Left-wing MPs will no doubt sort themselves out — even if in two parties — in the near future, but it won’t solve the longer-standing problem — the increasing public disillusionment with the overall political system, left and right, as it presently stands.