The Labour MP for Norwich South is talented—could he be Labour's next leader?by John McTernan / February 20, 2017 / Leave a comment
There’s something about Clive Lewis. Like it or not you can’t ignore him. The Labour MP for Norwich South was in almost every story about the Labour Party after he resigned from the Shadow Cabinet two weeks ago. And it wasn’t his resignation that was the focus for discussion, it was his potential as a future Labour leader. There was also a common tone in the coverage—an annoyance and cynicism, a grudging admiration that was mainly grudge.
What is it? Well, obviously, he is a man on the make. He wants the top job and his attempts to hide it haven’t been very convincing. His denial last weekend that he had leadership ambitions was a classic non-denial denial, straight from the Michael Heseltine playbook. And what’s wrong with ambition? Having it doesn’t guarantee success but not having any ensures failure. Politics is, of course, a profession defined by a will to power: every backbencher knows exactly how well they would fill any ministerial or shadow ministerial position. What makes Clive Lewis stand out is just how transparent his ambition is—and that leads to accusations of arrogance.
Which is all to the good. In the end, arrogance is the flip side of authority—and authority is the one characteristic above all of true leadership. And it is utterly lacking in Jeremy Corbyn, the current Labour leader. Indeed, it is no surprise that his campaigns chief, Simon Fletcher, quit last week.