Montgomerie, a Legatum Institute Senior Fellow and columnist for The Times, and Cohen, columnist for The Observer and The Spectator, discussed how Labour’s new leadership would entrench the party’s suspicion of the free market.
Cohen told an audience of party faithful, Labour councillors, university students, and government affairs and business professionals that he blamed Corbyn’s triumph on the Left’s intellectual bankruptcy: “Not one of the leadership candidates”, he said, “offered a big idea.”
As a result, he claimed, the electorate had voted for the one person who had a clear agenda. Cohen went on to warn that Labour, in embracing political correctness, had forgotten its traditional mission to represent the marginalised and persecuted: why were they not standing up for Muslims who risked being killed if they abandoned their faith; or oppressed girls who were forced to be child-brides? Fear of being branded racist, xenophobe or Islamophobe had robbed Labour of courage—yet it was needed now more than ever before
Montgomerie argued that Labour’s factionalism was a constant feature in the party’s history; but Cohen countered that the Left was in crisis as never before. Asked if, with a magic wand, he could put either David Cameron or Jeremy Corbyn in No10, Cohen admitted, “I would rail and rage and gnash my teeth, but I would want Cameron.”