Pop some popcorn, sit back, and watch the UK Labor Party leadership election meltdown

If you're like me and think that sometimes, politics is a spectator sport – especially when the outcome doesn't affect you – then you are going to love what's happening with the Labor Party in Great Britain.

The venerable political organization is about to elect as leader a man who has called Hamas and Hezb'allah "friends," whose radical economic ideas are scaring the wits out of the financial industry, and whose bombastic and aggressive style turns off most voters.

In short, Labor is about to commit political suicide by electing Jeremy Corbyn as its leader and is tearing itself apart in the process.

Former foreign secretary David Miliband sums up the coming disaster:

Electing Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader would be a backward move that risks creating a one-governing-party state dominated by the Conservatives, David Miliband has warned.

The former foreign secretary, who narrowly lost the Labour leadership election to his brother, Ed, in 2010, is the latest in a long line of senior politicians from the New Labour era to argue against the frontrunner.

Writing in the Guardian, Miliband said he would be backing Liz Kendall as his first preference, after being impressed by her “plain speaking, fresh thinking and political courage”. His second preference is Yvette Cooper, for arguing “passionately and effectively for a positive reformist vision and against the siren calls of ‘defiance’ of the Corbyn campaign”.

Echoing the warnings of Tony BlairGordon BrownAlistair Campbell, Jack Straw and Neil Kinnock, Miliband said Corbyn’s ideas on nationalisation, 7p in the pound increases in national insurance for those earning more than £50,000, and equivocation about Britain’s place in the EU, were the same policies he learned were wrong when he first joined the Labour party in 1981.

However, such interventions have failed to dent Corbyn’s status as the frontrunner, suggesting they have backfired or fallen on deaf ears among members and supporters. Ed Miliband has been facing calls from within the party to speak out about his choice, but is understood not to be planning to say anything.

Corbyn’s office has dismissed the string of warnings about his politics, saying “credibility cannot mean an orthodoxy of austerity that chokes off recovery”.

The machinations against Corbyn by the Tony Blair wing of the party ("New Labor") show their desperation:

The Mandelson plot

A source close to Team Cooper has claimed that Lord [Peter] Mandelson, one of Tony Blair's closest allies, approached representatives of Cooper, Kendall and Burnham with the suggestion that they all withdraw from the race. 

Mandelson believed this would invalidate the contest and force Harriet Harman, the interim party leader, to abandon the election. But party officials said Corbyn would simply be elected unopposed, reports the Daily Telegraph, and 'Mandy' had to drop the idea.

The Kendall plan

The Daily Telegraph columnist Dan Hodges claims that Liz Kendall proposed to Yvette Cooper last week that for the good of the party they should both withdraw simultaneously. Team Kendall's phone-bank data apparently showed that only Andy Burnham had any realistic chance of stopping Corbyn.

But Cooper refused. She had just made the decision to take on Corbyn in a speech in Manchester on Thursday – a move her camp now says has given her campaign a considerable boost.

Two post-election strategies

Anti-Corbyn Labour MPs are discussing two alternative strategies should he be victorious on September 12, according to Dan Hodges.

  • The Free French strategy: Labour MPs would withdraw all support, refusing to serve in his shadow cabinet and declining to observe the Labour whip. Just as Charles de Gaulle and his Free French forces retreated to exile in Britain after the Germans invaded France in WW2, returning only on D-Day to liberate their homeland, so Labour MPs would hang back until Corbyn gives up and a new election has to be called.
  • The Maquis strategy: Another direct reference to WW2, this involves "staying behind enemy lines" and fighting the enemy from within, as the French Resistance guerillas chose to do. Senior MPs would exploit Corbyn's promise to hold elections for all shadow cabinet posts, and proceed to oppose his more radical policies and "start to construct an independent base" within the Parliamentary Labour Party from which to launch a coup when the time is right.

Meanwhile, their antics will probably go for naught.  Polls show Corbyn in front and that he is popular even with non-Laborites. 

Is what we're seeing in Great Britain similar to the Trump/Sanders phenomenon here?  Politics is very different over there, but it appears that the same kind of anger and dissatisfaction that is prevelant in America is also being played out in Great Britain.  Corbyn as a symbol of that anger is a potent force.  But when it comes time to pull the lever, what will happen? 

It will be interesting to see if ordinary Labor voters agree with the establishment that Corbyn will destroy the party.

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