You didn’t ask but, having heard Owen Smith, I feel I should briefly opine on his leadership campaign.
He is keen to declare that Corybn is not the only socialist in the village. Is that a reference to comedy series Little Britain? For what it is worth, Smith is much more of an enthusiast for the media than the incumbent but I think it is fair to say that both are on the left side of the party. My impression is that Smith is also concerned about what it is politic to say whereas Corbyn is much more determined to keep his principles in sight than to negotiate a way that, possibly, would finally reach the same point.
It was interesting to hear him and I think he would have potential in future but my feeling is that Smith needs more parliamentary experience under his belt. He has been a lifelong party member but has only been an MP since 2010, elected in Pontypridd – his home town and a safe Labour seat. My fear for him is that, if he wins the leadership contest, his career will be cut short. I think the members of the Parliamentary Labour Party who have been leading the ongoing rebellion against Corbyn probably view Smith as a plaything; if he gets elected, he will need to put most of his armour on his back.
I’m not really qualified to be a political pundit so take this with appropriate quantities of salt but I think the best outcome for Smith, Corbyn and the Labour Party would be for Corbyn to secure a solid win, albeit less convincing than last year’s landslide. Corbyn says – and even his opponents admit that he tends to say what he believes – that he wants to seek reconciliation and so Smith could find himself back in the Shadow Cabinet. Given that Corbyn is already in his late 60s – still sharp but, even in these austere times, eligible to draw his pension – he could give another year or two of opposition and then open the way for a new leader for which Smith might then be a more convincing candidate rather than perhaps a catspaw for the Blairites.
All very much just in my humble opinion.