This comment from David Wearing has just been published by the Guardian:
For a sense of the division now tearing through the Labour party, consider a moment that occurred during the Fabian Society conference back in January 2010. The day’s proceedings finished with a Dragons’ Den-style competition for a big idea for the next election manifesto. A pitch for a “Green New Deal” that would provide a Keynesian stimulus, create good jobs, and decarbonise the economy was greeted enthusiastically by delegates, but rejected by Gordon Brown’s pollster Deborah Mattinson, who said that, while climate change was “the biggest issue facing humanity”, this was not an idea she could sell to voters.
There, six years ago, was the essence of Labour’s civil war. On one side, a grassroots bursting with ideas, determined to tackle the most urgent issues. On the other, a party establishment so deferential to “political reality” that the survival of human civilisation has to take a back seat. This is the real struggle taking place in the party now: not one between “Blairites” and “Corbynistas”, but between conservatives and progressives.
Or, to put it not too unsubtly, it’s been an argument about whether ideas I have promoted (the Green New Deal to create jobs, tackling the tax gap to beat austerity, delivering tax haven transparency and People’s Quantitative Easing to fund investment) are what Labour is about or not.
Which is why I am now a little annoyed to be told I’m a Blairite when I have had to acknowledge that Jeremy Corbyn cannot (and may not even want to) deliver this radical agenda, when I wished he could.
For the record, I think that Owen Smith would deliver the agenda I have proposed: the hype Wearing offers in the second half of his article is just that, and wrong. It’s time he worked out fact from fiction. There is only one chance of a Green New Deal right now, and Jeremy Corbyn has never been near the idea.