Monday 20th July
The Labour Party faces a crunch moment: does it oppose the Welfare Bill or abstain?
Acting Leader, Harriet Harman, has called for an abstention because Labour, in the face of an unexpected Tory majority, is more concerned with taking stabs in the dark to see whether this was why people didn’t vote their way, than it is with representing the people who actually did vote for them.
There are rebels, most eloquent of which is John McDonnell who says to a surprised House “Let me be clear: I would swim through vomit to vote against this Bill, and listening to some of the nauseating speeches supporting it, I might have to.”
He and 47 other Labour MPs did just that, though they sailed over the regurgitated sea on a raft made from discarded Labour manifestos.
Tuesday 21st July
The Government went on to win the vote on the Welfare Bill by a majority of 184. Which sounds comprehensive, until you consider that the number of Labour MPs who abstained was 184. A close shave there for John Bercow, who was spared from having the casting vote and being forced to do something that would benefit David Cameron.
Of the 184 abstainers, 3 of them are running for the Labour Leadership. No prizes for guessing which of the four contenders was the odd-one-out.
Jeremy Corbyn received some very favourable accolades from left-wingers for his defiant and principled stand.
“Not to worry,” says Margaret Beckett who nominated him for the ballot without wanting him to succeed. “He’ll never win. Never.”
Wednesday 22nd July
Guess what? A shock poll has Jeremy Corbyn on course to win the Labour Leadership.
“Polls?” bellows Harriet Harman. “We’re not going to pay an attention to polls! Lousy, hope-raising, dream-dashing polls!”
“I don’t know,” says Tristram Hunt. “We can’t take the risk of letting this happen. We can’t have a leader that hardly any of the Parliamentary Party supports. We’ve tried that and we ended up in the proverbial, and he ended up in Ibiza. We need to bring out the big guns.”
“Very well,” sighs Harman. “I shall summon him.”
She takes a wadge of £50 notes out of a draw and throws it into the air, and within seconds Tony Blair is there like a demented parrot repeating “Can’t win from the left! Can’t win from the left!”
And so, with bank details exchanged, Tony goes, rather appropriately, to Chartered Accountants’ Hall, for whom he generates a lot of work, and tells the think tank Progress that Labourites who say that their heart wants to be with the sort of leftism Corbyn represents, should get a “transplant”.
Ah yes. Tony doing what Tony does best: pouring oil on the waters. Oil being the operative word.
Thursday 23rd July
It’s all happening now. Firstly, people are urging Liz Kendall to drop out because they want as wide a debate as possible. Sorry – I misheard that. Apparently, it’s because they want her to release her support to stop Corbyn. Which will happen anyway because it’s an Alternative Vote election, and there isn’t a person in the country who would vote for Kendall first and Corbyn second. Apart from maybe Liz herself for, as we all know because we saw it in The Guardian, she’s a Tory Trojan Horse.
Then another grandee comes in attempting to clear the air, which was a good idea. Shame the only one to hand was Lord Prescott.
He was on The Today Programme (and I quote exactly here1): “I thought what Tony said was absolutely staggering though I have a lot of respect for Tony Blair I worked for him for years but to use that kind of language is just abuse, and to suggest that someone should have a heart transplant, and Tony said it put a lot of people off voting for us and on the doorstep it was Iraq what stopped people from voting for us, and I just want everyone to calm down!” he rattled off at a furiously calm pace.
Friday 24th July
Surely all has been said now, as Ken Livingstone wades in by claiming that Corbyn can become Prime Minister.
“If I didn't think Jeremy could win, I wouldn't be backing him,” said the former Mayor of London.
Thus speaks a leftist who lost in the most Labour sympathetic city in the country to Boris Johnson, twice. So he knows what he’s talking about.
Corbyn continues on his merry way, but must surely be fearful he might win this thing. After all, he never intended to.
1Quotations may not in fact be accurate, but the tone is.
This will be the last Weekly Diary for the summer. We will be back in the autumn on the new website, entitled North by North Westminster.
Events depicted may differ from actual events. In fact, this is a work of fiction, with some facts. But mostly, it's nonsense.