Labour has been splitting for all my adult life. A difference has always existed between those who understand that there is a spectrum of possible economic and political models, which must exclude a non-market system, and those who do not. This is what the Blairites and the SDP got right, and what Militant, Momentum – whatever the Teenage Trots have called themselves at any particular time – have not. We can have a high tax, high benefit, free market social democracy like the Nordics. Or a low tax, low benefit, Hong Kong-style free market. As Venezuela demonstrates, a system which attempts to be non-market does not work. My personal preference is for the low tax option. That the economically literate who want the Nordic solution should split away from those who would have the country run out of toilet paper within two weeks of taking power is not just inevitable. It is also highly desirable. Far from “splitter” and “splittist” being terms of denigration, we should be awarding medals to those who use them.
Chris Rumfitt, founder and chief executive of Field Consulting, says No.
Labour is staring down the barrel of the gun. Despite 50 shadow ministerial resignations and a resounding vote of no confidence from 170 of his MPs, Jeremy Corbyn is refusing to budge. The vast majority of Labour MPs are simply no longer prepared to work under his leadership. As they seek to make his position untenable, their next step is to launch a leadership challenge. The ball will then be with Labour members. The question is whether the events of the last week have shaken their support for a man they elected so decisively last year. If Corbyn decides to hang on through all of this, then Labour will split. But it doesn’t have to be so. The membership could come to its senses and defeat him. Or Corbyn himself could make all this go away by stepping down from a role to which he is manifestly unsuited. If he loves the party, he will go of his own accord. A split isn’t yet inevitable, but the party is in the last chance saloon.