5 January 2016

Corbyn fires Michael Dugher, sows seeds of own destruction


Most voters won’t have heard of Michael Dugher. He was a backroom boy for Gordon Brown in Number 10 and before that a special adviser to Geoff Hoon at the Ministry of Defence. Now he has been fired by Jeremy Corbyn from the shadow cabinet, in a move that was widely expected at Westminster but is still jarring now that it has happened. Dugher has voiced concerns about where the far-left leadership is taking Labour and in a tweet today he said simply: “Just been sacked by Jeremy Corbyn. I wished him a happy new year.”

Sacking Dugher will, I suspect, turn out to be one of the most stupid moves made by Corbyn in a long and growing list of stupid moves. I am not imbuing Dugher with some hallowed status. Politics is a tough old game in which getting fired is an occupational hazard. I simply observe that the makings of quite a formidable alternative Labour team is piling up on the backbenches, and they now know if they didn’t before that this is war.

The correct policy – to save Labour from the infiltrators and far-left loons – should be to organise, organise, organise. That means pooling all efforts, forming one organisation to rival Corbyn’s Momentum, appealing to former donors, and attempting to recruit moderate Labour voters to the cause while there is still time. Think of Dugher and his like-minded colleagues as embodying the potential rebirth of the old pre-New Labour right that is pro-defence and economically moderate but rooted in England and the practical concerns of voters.

A long war lies ahead for them, and they may fail. It will take years to rebuild Labour, if indeed it can be rebuilt after the calamitous Corbyn experiment. But if it can be done it will be done in the next ten years by people such as Dugher. And who is their most likely alternative Labour leader? Dan Jarvis.

Iain Martin is Editor of CapX