Jeremy Corbyn has become almost a mythical figure to many of those who support him. Forever kind and gentle, always on the right side of justice and of course always open to debate. These myths about Corbyn propagated by those who support him have been able to take hold, and now the party is paying the price. The result is that one wing of the party are arguing everyone else doesn’t hold labour values, are ‘red Tories’ who simply hate Jeremy and need to be taught a lesson in party loyalty and ‘democracy’. That what Jeremy represents is what’s pure and right and every alternative is a watered down version of Toryism to the point where people even feel they need to in the words of one corbynista ‘eradicate blairite vermin’ from the party. Blairite has come to mean anything opposed to Corbyn’s radical left policies, even center left figures on the party such as Lucy Powell or Tom Watson (the man who orchestrated Blair’s exit) have been called Blairites.
Corbynista’s often highlight his values as the main reason why Corbyn is good for them and Jeremy Corbyn has values that is true, however are they values which Labour members really want to endorse though? Corbyn’s specific brand of foreign policy like his leadership style speaks only to those who are already on board. Calling Hamas and Hezbollah social justice movements, denying genocide in Kosovo, supporting both the regime in Caracas and only yesterday attending a Cuban solidarity meeting in Parliament. Many are enthusiastically highlighting his opposition to the Iraq war, what many do not know is that Jeremy has opposed just about every military action Britain has engaged with during his time in Parliament. He rejected the need for the first gulf war when Saddam overran a sovereign nation, believed we should have a negotiated settlement over the Falklands despite the Islanders voting to remain under the rule of British sovereignty, and has even blamed NATO for Russia’s aggression in the Ukraine. Certainly none of these positions are based around principles which i consider vital for the future of the political party.
The gentler kinder politics which Jeremy promised to bring forth to the Labour party never occurred and now surely never will; instead what the Labour party is left with is internal division which hasn’t been seen in the party for three decades. Was there ever a possibility that Corbyn would bring forth a new conciliatory politics? Or was it all hot air which was never more than a slogan much like Cameron’s ‘big society’ pledge.
It started relatively well with a unity cabinet being announced from most wings of the party, however events quickly turned sour; the votes on air strikes in Syria was the first major battle with the shadow foreign secretary giving a rip-roaring speech watched on by the furious face of Corbyn and his fans demanded the ‘war mongers’ take Jeremy’s side, (a man who has defied the labour whip over 500 times) with sackings being threatened and calls for de-selection the cracks were already apparents. Pretty soon events cascaded from historically poor by-election results to a vice documentary highlighting suspisions about leaks, Corbyn’s own belief it wasn’t his job to highlight government failures as leader of the opposition, consistently poor polling results and a lacklustre EU campaign compounded by his historic euroscepticism with claims of active sabotage by the Corbyn team was the final straw. His weird brand of non leadership has left the Labour party without any specific policies besides slogans, an economics council hindered by the resignations of Picketty and Blanchflower,and party turmoil with the PLP going to unprecedented lengths to commit regicide all the while the membership are in a state of civil war as his numbers have crumbled.
This continuing nightmare has left shadow cabinet positions unfilled and some in the shadow cabinet doing more than one job as Corbyn has lost the confidence of all but a miniscule number of MP’s. Does the fault lie with MP’s who have finally had enough? When Corbyn was asked on Marr what he would do to appease the MP’s and reach out he didn’t have an answer, he ignored Angela Eagle’s texts to discuss the problems and talks with Tom Watson have broken down as Mcclusky (whose own union members want Corbyn gone) insisted Corbyn wasn’t going anywhere. Instead of talking about Teresa May as PM and pushing the Conservatives he was at a Cuban solidarity meeting. It seems that the MP’s who were in a unity shadow cabinet (one of which is now challenging him for the leadership) did their best and when MP’s from the left of the party resigned in protest at his inability to grasp the scale of the problems which Labour faced it can no longer be blamed on a small clique.
The problems in the PLP seem miniscule to the wider war in the party at large.The abuse at CLP meetings, smaller local gatherings and aimed at MP’s on social media has been well documented and there for all to see. Corbyn has naturally condemned the abuse, however when it matters he seems he is nowhere to be seen. One moment which was naturally concerning was when Corbyn chatted to the man who was only minutes earlier making weird accusations against Labour MP’s at the launch of the long-awaited anti antisemitism inquiry. indeed when Momentum organised a rally outside Parliament to support Jeremy it was taking direct aim at the MP’s who disagreed with him, Paul Mason calling for mass de-selections, so much for the kinder gentle politics…
While Corbyn condemns the abuse his followers don’t seem to take note, either they don’t think he means it or he’s lost control of the movement which brought him to power as leader of the Labour party. While Corbyn isn’t abusive himself, he does seem to be especially ill-tempered around those who challenge him in interviews (remember Andrew Marr and Jon Snow) and was especially on show with the vice documentary film maker who was initially a Corbynista himself.
Corbyn hasn’t reached out and neither have many of his fan base, abuse has become common currency as well as being told to leave and ‘join the tories’. This is what Corbyn mania has brought our party, a re-positioning into a toxic left wing protest movement which has no care for power, ignores polling and as Jon Lansman the head of momentum argued that winning elections only matters to the ‘elite’. The nightmare doesn’t look like it will end anytime soon with the party’s internal divisions getting wider by the minute, the only solution seems to be to stare them down, beat them in a fair fight and win back my labour party.