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This Eagle won’t fly

ANY Labour member toying with the idea of supporting Angela Eagle to replace Jeremy Corbyn must wonder now how such an arch-ditherer ever thought herself up to the job.

How many false starts before she accepts that this was a silly idea from the start?

It’s not her fault that Sir John Chilcot set tomorrow to unveil his report into how Tony Blair took us into the invasion of Iraq because he had promised US president George W Bush he would.

But the timing will remind people that Eagle backed Blair all the way and voted later against holding an independent inquiry into the war.

Yet she continues to posture as a viable candidate against a leader elected just nine months ago with 59.5 per cent of the votes against three “serious” frontbencher challengers.

Eagle tells us that there are many people up and down the country asking her to run to “resolve the impasse,” which is how she characterises Corbyn’s refusal to be bullied into resignation.

The former frontbencher is experienced enough now to know that, if she wants to replace the elected leader, she can issue a challenge by collecting MPs’ signatures and making use of Labour’s normal democratic procedures.

She hasn’t done so because she fears the outcome. After all, at the time Corbyn won the leadership, Eagle limped in a poor fourth in a five-horse race for deputy leader behind Tom Watson.

Despite this, anti-Corbyn coup-plotters have designated her the “unity” candidate, apart from those conspirators backing Owen Smith as the real “unity” candidate.

It must be clear to both of them that, if Corbyn hasn’t bowed the knee by now, he probably isn’t going to, leaving them with a best-of-three decision to make.

They could either trigger a leadership challenge to the incumbent or persist with their “I will, I really will this time, don’t tempt me, I’m halfway out my seat” posturing.

Alternatively, they could put an end to the coup charade and agree, as they should, to the mediation proposal emanating from the trade union movement.

Farage sunk

COMMENTATORS are too ready to accept that Ukip leader Nigel Farage resigned because he has achieved his life’s ambition and can reflect on a job well done.

This superficial analysis should be rejected. Farage was holed below the waterline at the general election when our undemocratic first-past-the-post electoral system translated four million Ukip votes into just one MP.

Worse for Farage, that MP is Douglas Carswell who despises him and backed the Tory-led Leave campaign rather than the Ukip leader’s vehicle.

His standing was further eroded this year by the Ukip outfit in Wales nominating shop-soiled English Tories for the Senedd election list and choosing cash-for-questions Neil Hamilton as group leader.

Farage has opted to renew his ticket on the EU gravy train for two more years rather than prepare for a general election as head of a party that doesn’t listen to him.

Carswell insists that Labour seats that voted to leave the EU are fertile ground for Ukip gains, but he is just as likely to return to the Tory fold when he judges it expedient.

Ukip has been partly about EU membership, partly a vehicle for voters fearful of the consequences of immigration and partly a catch-all protest bucket for working-class areas alienated by New Labour neoliberalism.

Labour’s current left-wing leadership, campaigning vigorously against racism, xenophobia and capitalist austerity, has the capacity to boost its own fortunes and sink the rudderless Ukip craft.


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