Sunday, 29 November 2015

Wrong moves

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the crowds gathered in central London for a march against climate change that they had a message for the politicians gathering in Paris for talks next week - "Do what you are sent there to do."

Decades ago I was playing a league chess match somewhere in Coventry, can’t recall exactly where, can’t even recall who I played for.

Anyhow, there came a point where my opponent took one of my pawns with his knight and at the same time threatened my rook. Chess is very psychological; players sit almost head to head and inevitably body language plays its part. My opponent took my pawn with a tiny flourish, clicked the chess clock and sat back with a look of muted but perfectly obvious satisfaction. Unfortunately for him it wasn’t actually a good move.

I ignored the threat on my rook, pushed a centre pawn onto the sixth rank and the game was effectively over. My opponent’s sense of shock was painfully obvious, even more obvious than his satisfaction had been about a minute earlier.

As in chess, so it is in life. There is no going back once a wrong move has been made. Inevitably there are consequences and although the complexities of real life always offer up new opportunities, they are never exactly the ones we had before the wrong move.

Was Jeremy Corbyn’s election a wrong move? Of course it was – the possibilities stemming from a capable Labour leader are gone. Now it is too late because he has to be ousted in some way and that problem is down to another wrong move – Ed Miliband’s changes to the Labour leadership election rules.

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband is facing calls to apologise for the "disastrous" voting system being used to elect his successor.

Mr Miliband changed the system under which he was elected to "one member one vote" and allowed the public to take part for a £3 fee.


There are only so many wrong moves any individual, institution or country can afford to make. The Labour party has made two in quick succession. The sense of shock is still painfully obvious but Labour has lost more than a game of chess and so have we.

It's less than three months since Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour leader but already newspapers address talk of a "plot" to stage a "coup" within the party.

The i and its sister publication, the Independent, report the calls of four backbenchers for Mr Corbyn to step down, with one saying the party is in a "terrible, terrible mess". Meanwhile, the Times says some senior figures have been consulting lawyers over a way to both unseat him and ensure he cannot be re-elected.



Sam Vega said...

It's a funny situation, and one that we haven't known before. When considering the ghastly individuals concerned, it's tempting to just enjoy the show and watch the comedy of Errors unfold. But actually it's quite serious. Cameron is an appalling PM who is thinking of taking us to war, and there is no effective opposition.

Miliband's false move in extending the leadership franchise can't be over-emphasised in all this. In the Guardian CIF, Labour supporters are putting a brave face on it and saying that it is a triumph of democracy which the country as a whole is not ready to appreciate yet. But I remember my eldest son and all his friends and colleagues in their London private equity firm paying their three quid and voting for Corbyn out of sheer glee. There must have been quite a lot of this sort of thing.

As ever, the end-game will be interesting, won't it?

Demetrius said...

The Massey Ferguson Social Club? Actually, the way Corbyn and his friends work is just the same as they did as leading figures on Islington Council. For that matter they were little different from many Labour councils around the land. Including Coventry. So when the local memberships see how things are this is the norm and what they are used to. It is their particular version of democracy. Unluckily it is one all too prone to wrong moves that are not admitted as wrong and therefore move on to more and more wrong moves. Sadly, there are no rules in this political game for a checkmate that ends it all.

A K Haart said...

Sam - I bet both sides of the political spectrum were voting for Jeremy. It sounds like a shambles.

Our local paper had a piece by a chap who had voted Labour for 50 years but wasn't a party member. He sent off his £3 but was rejected by the party as someone who didn't reflect their values. He didn't get his £3 back either.

Demetrius - I don't think it was Massey Ferguson Social Club but I'm not sure. I was just asked to play so I did. Admitting mistakes is usually a way back but political types seem very reluctant. Why we vote for them is another mystery.

James Higham said...

Is the free vote a wrong move though?

A K Haart said...

James - I don't think so. Maybe he now seems weaker but he must be used to that.