Angela Eagle: A lack of sound and fury, signifying nothing

Angela Eagle did, indeed, announce her leadership bid on Monday, thus confirming point number one of my five predictions. Too bad it was immediately overshadowed by the fact that the news media didn’t give a shit and immediately ran away to report more interesting news, like that we have a new Prime Minister. I will say this for the Tories; they are ruthless cunts. It takes a level of cuntism that can only be described as pure genius to schedule your press conference for the new Prime Minister to be anointed (as that’s effectively what it is) over the top of your rivals’ leader’s rival’s leadership challenge announcement. My hat goes off to them.

Of course, points two and three (that the leadership bid will involve moving to the right on immigration policy and an obsession with the public finances in order to capture “swing voters”) haven’t had time to bear fruit. They especially didn’t today as Eagle didn’t talk about any policy at all, any kind of driving ideology, any kind of anything really that would motivate anyone other than “I am not Jeremy Corbyn and Jeremy Corbyn is shit”, something bound to really, really excite and motivate the 60%+ of Labour members who still support Jeremy Corbyn. The most we got was a declaration that she’s “Not a Blairite, not a Brownite and not a Corbynista”, which is first of all meaningless since it is a statement that applies to basically everyone from David Cameron to Hitler, and doubly meaningless because she’s not said anything that she actually stands for other than winning elections and not being Jeremy Corbyn.

In fact, just to be fair, I went to her campaign website and read some of the materials therein. Her key selling points seem to be, according to her statement, that:

  • Labour is good and wonderful and has achieved many good things
  • Northern. Socialist. Joined Labour because of Thatcher.
  • Likes winning elections. Labour winning elections leads to nice things.
  • Can unite the party

To which my responses are:

  • Yes
  • And?
  • How?
  • How????

Not included is any discussion of policy, the direction she’d like the party to go in (other than winning elections and being united, of course), what she would want to achieve once she’s won those elections, how she would win those elections or any statement of ideology, intent or an overarching goal for any government she might conceivably one day lead. This is embarrassing compared to the former leadership campaign site of, for instance, noted political incompetent Jeremy Corbyn, with its bushel of policy documents.

I’m sorry, but even without her conference being interrupted by major events, this is just embarrassing. How long has this leadership bid been going on for now? It’s been trailed heavier than most Disney/Pixar films; they’ve all but had Angela Eagle bobbleheads in Happy Meals the amount that this bid for leadership has been promoted. You’d think in that time that she’d have been able to knock up a side of A4 or two on policy, wouldn’t you? And this is supposed to be the “professional” side of the party? We’ve put up with two weeks of some of the shittest public relations this side of our hiring Rolf Harris to do the grand opening of the Ian Huntley Day Care Centre, and the sort of sabre-rattling usually experienced in the weeks before a North Korean nuclear test, only to have it turn out like, well, a North Korean nuclear test – underwhelming and, while supposed to be concerning, actually rather calming in its own way.

I’d dearly love to have a more media-friendly leader than Jeremy Corbyn – his approach to public relations (i.e. hiring Seumas Milne to do it for him) has been about as successful as Josef Fritzl’s. But a policy vacuum who’s not even that good at media relations herself and whose sole selling point appears to be “I’m electable”, a bald statement that is never followed up with any reasoning as to why or how this will be achieved (and is in fact, given the abysmal messaging surrounding this whole thing, a statement that gets less plausible by the day), is not particularly something you’ll motivate Labour members to vote for after they’ve quite categorically rejected triangulating policy vacuums en masse. The fact she can’t appear to put any goals down on paper other than the winning of elections and that she’s a socialist (so was Tony Blair) demonstrates an alarming paucity of ideas and, worse, a cynicism that you have nowhere else to go if you want to get rid of Corbyn, so we’ll just run any old shit and hope it works. Christ.

In my previous post, I said this:

I hope that Eagle has enough nous to know who she’s pitching herself to – 600,000 people (and counting) who aren’t in hock to Corbyn because of some strange Marxist-Leninist personality cult but because he actually speaks a language they understand, shares the same concerns they do and is quite vocal about wanting to do something radical about it rather than tinkering around the edges of a system that is failing people.

Just based on the fact that her pitch is of absolutely nothing other than an end goal of winning an election with nothing specified before and after, I don’t have high hopes for this to be the case. Once again; I’d be pleased to be proved wrong.

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