Friday, 11 March 2016

Dan Jarvis, not the Messiah, nor a naughty boy

Labour’s parliamentary coup against Jeremy Corbyn moves at such a snail’s pace that it is more Game of Drones than Game of Thrones.

Fancied Dan Jarvis MP rolled across the plains of Jordan yesterday with a speech that glimpsed Labour’s new promised land.

Jarvis batted away my obvious question about whether he wants to be Prime Minister, and insisted his speech was not a critique of anyone in the party.

His speech didn't change the planet, but seeded the ground for the emerging politician. There were roots in Barnsley, the all-importance of education and opportunity, a nod at the trade unions and business too. Call it middle left messaging that no one in signalling to middle Britain right now.  

There is nothing wrong with the Jarvis message, he fingers the problem facing left-of-centre parties across the western world. 

Globalisation has left too many poor people behind, by the time Labour gets a sniff of power a whole swathe of middle class people will find their jobs offshored or computerised too.

Reconnecting Labour values with fractured communities before other identities takes root is the big ask. Answer that, and the job with Hilary Clinton is yours. 

A Special Forces veteran, a father and widower, Jarvis has all the makings, but the best thing to say about him is that he’s not the Messiah (yet).

It would be a shame to lose him under the wheels of a 2020 Tory juggernaut, so Jarvis needs a John the Baptist, or an Alan the Postman, to pave his way.  

I actually think his military instinct works against him. Any special forces guys I’ve met always strike me as the most unlikely men in the room to be trained killers. They blend into the background, don’t draw attention.

Jarvis has presence, but carries himself modestly. To step towards leadership the Barnsley MP has to discover his inner extrovert, which might ruin him.

Until then, it’s as you were, with the Maoists behind the leader’s chair and the Corbyn-supporting comedians cheering their admiration of the SNP.

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