Tony Blair has warned Labour party supporters voting in the party leadership election to swallow any distaste they might still harbour for his own leadership and to avoid voting for left-wing idol Jeremy Corbyn. Blair claims that a Corbyn win can only lead to annihilation for the party. But is he right and is that a good or bad thing?
Other 'big beasts' from the Blair years have weighed into the debate. Jack Straw and Alistair Campbell also suggested that it's the end for Labour if Corbyn becomes leader. It's hard to fault their logic - under the present system. At the general election last May, the nationalists cast Labour out of Scotland and 'Red Ed' failed to make inroads into middle-England. Being seen to move to the left was apparently disastrous, even though Miliband supporters claimed that his policies were never that far away from the centrist policies Labour has championed since Blair.
Reading the situation like this, Blair and the New Labour stalwarts are right. Moving further to the left, and supporting Corbyn as leader, would just mean consigning the party to permanent opposition status.
But I think there is a very different dynamic at play. The 90s generation are asking Labour supporters to vote for anyone but Corbyn because they see the only electable Labour party as being a cigarette-paper away from the Conservative party. Those who support Labour are tired of being told that their support is valuable and yet their voice is never heard.
Is it only possible to lead the UK today if you espouse neo-liberal market driven policies that ignore how fast the world is changing and how difficult many people are finding it?
What's wrong in suggesting that politicians should feel empathy with the people who vote for them? It looks more like the party political system no longer works for the Facebook generation.
The UK government brags that more jobs have been created in the UK recently than in the whole of Europe - hence every migrant is knocking on the door to get in. But how can these statistics possibly be true? Can the UK really be creating so many jobs that every country in Europe combined cannot compete?
The reality is that the measures are all wrong. If a hairdressing salon employs ten people in Liverpool, that's ten small business owners all competing for the same haircuts, not one business with ten employees. The way people work has changed beyond recognition, but the measures we use to talk about unemployment resemble the old Friday evening jobs round up on News at Ten.
Which British political party is looking fifty years into the future and planning where the UK will fit into the world? Google and Apple are testing self-driving vehicles. Call centre agents are already being replaced by robotic automation. Vast swathes of employment today will be gone in the decades to come. Who needs truck drivers or cabbies in a world with autonomous vehicles?
The Conservative approach to our changing world has been to talk tough to migrants. Ban them from claiming benefits and sell Royal Bank of Scotland back to the City - at a loss. Political minnows talk about leaving the European Union without ever once realisng that the only way Europe might avoid a future as the low-cost sweatshop of China is to stand together.
British people have an instinctive understanding of these changes. They know that being the most expensive place to get an education in the whole of Europe can't be a good thing in the long-term. But the political debate has barely changed in decades. Labour v Tory. Left v Right.
What the people really want are leaders who talk about life the way it really is.
This is why Corbyn is popular. It's our system of politics that is actually broken. The people may feel affection for individual MPs, but the support for broad left or right parties, such as Labour and Tory, is waning.
I believe that before the 2020 election, both the Labour and Conservative parties will split. Not because the party grandees want this to happen, but because the people are fed up of broad-tent parties that accommodate everyone from the raving loonies on the extremities to centrists - this approach is from another era.
If Corbyn wins and leads Labour in September then he will be representing traditional Labour values. If a new version of Labour - centrist or New Labour - splits from the party then would anyone be surprised?
This is the politics of the future, where we expect politicians to follow the will of the people. Is the death of the party whip really worth mourning?Suggest a correction