The Labour Party at War With Itself

The evidence is clear. Even the increasingly biased press has been forced to admit the truth about the conspiracy to unseat the leader of the Labour Party.

It is important to remember how the leader of the Labour Party got there in the first place. Three leadership candidates stood alongside a token, rank outsider. Jeremy Corbyn threw his hat into the race at the last moment. He had never gone out of his way to curry favour with the Parliamentary Labour Party. That was never his strength.

Corbyn was widely held to have less than a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the leadership election. He presented his case quietly and intelligently, with no fanfare or drumroll, not pulling any punches or playing any games. To the surprise of everyone, Corbyn’s message won over hundreds of thousands of supporters amongst the Labour Party membership.

While winning the vote of the majority of the existing members, it is also the case that many new members joined the party at the time of the leadership contest. All political parties have spoken in recent years about the need to engage with younger voters. Corbyn achieved this in spades purely on the strength of his message.

His critique of government policy outlined, in particular, the fact that the relatively young and the least well-off in the country have been disproportionately disadvantaged over the last thirty years, social mobility has declined, services and access to housing have been slashed in so-called growth and prosperity enhancing measures, followed by the same result in the so-called austerity measures that came along soon after following the financial crash. Either way policies favoured the rich. While ordinary wages stagnated the rich became the super-rich and they paid, over time, proportionately less tax.

Corbyn explained to the public what many instinctively knew to be the case. Since the turn of the century, and even more so after the crash in 2007/8, the majority has been relatively disadvantaged by a set of government policies designed to favour a select few. This critique of the neoliberal agenda is what won him the popularity that he still commands amongst both new and existing party members. The disappointing paradox is that, rather than welcoming it, the parliamentary party dug its heels in to oppose Corbyn at each and every turn.

It was not money or glamour or a megaphone that got Jeremy Corbyn elected leader, it was purely the strength of what he had to say. Increased membership, both before and after Corbyn’s election as leader, and the engagement of younger voters, might have been heralded as a great achievement. Instead the Parliamentary Labour Party became more and more uneasy and distrustful.

The people listened patiently to a quiet, thoughtful man and saw the truth of what he had to say. They saw the integrity of his intentions. They saw past the loud voices, to the heart of the matter. While friends in parliament were disparagingly few, friends outside were hanging on Corbyn’s every word. Rather than report his convincing speeches and the heightened level of support outside parliament the press preferred to use moles within the party to take advantage of every opportunity to undermine Corbyn’s authority.

Lets remember it was the unrestrained greed of bankers, who were making millions for themselves, that produced the level of risk and instability that brought on the 2007/8 crash in the economy and brought forth ‘austerity measures’ under the banner of being ‘all in it together’, measures which fell most heavily in the most deprived areas on the most deprived people. It is this fundamental truth that those to the right of Corbyn are so afraid of. Corbyn tasked himself with slowly, slowly changing the narrative, slowly, slowly helping people see what has happened and how we can change things so that the ordinary people can progress rather than just the offshore bankers and their phoney account holders.

The more Corbyn succeeds in challenging the neoliberal narrative the greater the venom that rises against him in the Parliamentary Labour Party, in the media and amongst the Conservatives. We now find ourselves facing an almost Shakespearian conspiracy to unseat a leader, a conspiracy orchestrated by the Blairite kingmakers of the past, resurrected from their embarrassed silence for one final snatch at power before the courts might rule that their previous escapades will put at least one of them in jail when the Chilcot Report is published next week.

Not many could stand up to this onslaught. Not many would continue resiliently to fight for justice and for human rights, and for economic management in the interests of the many rather than just the few. Very few would be strong enough to continue, in the face of so much bile, to speak out in the interests of a stable and prosperous long term future rather than for the ‘slash and burn’ short-term expediency of the establishment view.

Cameron’s miscalculation on the EU vote has divided both his party and the country, in the process also damaging the EU, our nearest and largest trading partner. Cameron took a huge gamble and lost, plunging the nation into uncertainty. The blame for the current social and economic upheaval lies at Cameron’s door, but, in  a bizarre twist of logic, all the Parliamentary Labour Party conspirators can think of is to attack their own leader. Corbyn has shown immense strength and immense leadership but he is up against city hall. History tells us it is likely, but not necessarily inevitable, that city  hall will win.

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