Can Labour survive its civil war?

Jeremy Corbyn is still the leader of the Labour party after 100 days at the helm, but he has yet to win mass support.


Jeremy Corbyn is still at the helm of the Labour party

"The world hasn't ended," says Michael Chessum in the New Statesman. "One hundred days into Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, and Labour still exists." Opinion polls are improving and thousands have joined the Labour party. But if the left has "every right to shout about its achievements" such as John McDonnell pushing Chancellor George Osborne into "open retreat on tax credit cuts" this is also a time for "sober reflection". Many folk are "tuning out" and Corbyn must find a formula to "widen Labour's base and win back mass support".

That won't be easy, says Peter Hyman in The Observer. The two strands in the Labour party will "never be happy bedfellows". Either the Corbyn party needs a "home outside the Labour party or the mainstream, or the Labour party will need to make common cause with others to forge a new party". Those who think they can "bide their time, find a more palatable candidate and stage a coup are deluding themselves. The issue is not just the leader, but the passion, the ideas, the policies, the organisation that will produce a new, dynamic political force."

There is a great need for a modern, progressive, values-driven party that can tap into the aspirations of the public and be seen to "grapple seriously with the big questions of the day", from migration to welfare to the environment. Corbyn successfully tapped into a "growing clamour for authenticity" and something more hard-edged and less cautious, but in its current form, Labour "may not survive".

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A split isn't the answer, says The Independent's Steve Richards. Labour may be "dysfunctional but it has a good memory". The SDP, formed in the 1980s, split the anti-Tory vote, paving the way for Margaret Thatcher's "overwhelming victories". Only a charismatic figure could lead a new party and make an impact there is no one.

As long as the status quo prevails, Labour bears a great responsibility. "There is no alternative government": not a thriving SDP, nor Ukip, nor the "nearly-invisible" Lib Dems. If both sides in this civil war are going nowhere as Corbyn put it they "better try harder to work together. Of all the dead ends this, it seems, is the least dead for now."

Emily Hohler

Emily has extensive experience in the world of journalism. She has worked on MoneyWeek for more than 20 years as a former assistant editor and writer. Emily has previously worked on titles including The Times as a Deputy Features Editor, Commissioning Editor at The Independent Sunday Review, The Daily Telegraph, and she spent three years at women's lifestyle magazine Marie Claire as a features writer for three years, early on in her career. 

On MoneyWeek, Emily’s coverage includes Brexit and global markets such as Russia and China. Aside from her writing, Emily is a Nutritional Therapist and she runs her own business called Root Branch Nutrition in Oxfordshire, where she offers consultations and workshops on nutrition and health.