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Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Jeremy Corbyn Is Finished

The Labour Party may have only elected its new leader in September, but it is now clear that they will be electing another in the very near future. After many of the party’s MPs have spent the intervening time throwing a variety of mardy strops, the time has come when, whatever assurances Jeremy Corbyn gives in rounds of media interviews, he will no longer be permitted to function as party leader.
That the endgame is now being played is not down to the tedious succession of whinging pundits, for whom nothing less than the reinstallation of Tony Blair at the head of the party will be enough to quell their anguish, but that the petulant behaviour of some MPs who should know better has now been accompanied by clear signs that potential leadership contenders are breaking ranks and going, shall we say, “on manoeuvres”.

First of these, although he did not submit himself to the membership earlier this year, has been Hilary Benn, who is determined to speak in favour of dropping significant amounts of high explosive on the mainly civilian populations in those parts of Syria controlled by ISIS. That Benn - and several other Labour MPs - give the impression of wanting to rain death on the unfortunate inhabitants of Raqqa as a way of kicking Corbyn shows just how shameless and insular this exercise has become.

Once Benn had kicked off, and apparently he continued to reinforce his position at yesterday evening’s meeting of the Parliamentary party, the effect was as to fire the starting gun, and soon deputy leader Tom Watson was, effectively, positioning himself for what was becoming the inevitable end of the Corbyn era.

Not to be outdone, Andy Burnham “the shadow home secretary, who is not convinced about airstrikes, used some of the strongest rhetoric as he said he refused to be part of a ‘sham shadow cabinet’”. So he’s getting ready to run, too, as is Yvette Cooper, “who made similar comments to [Margaret] Beckett accusing Corbyn’s supporters of trying to divide the party”. Benn has now said he doesn’t want the leadership, but the damage is done.

What part does this week’s Oldham West and Royton by-election play in the scrabble to get Corbyn out and another leadership election on the go? Should UKIP actually win the seat, it is highly likely that Corbyn’s leadership will be tipped over the edge there and then. But even a close finish - say, a Labour majority of less than 5,000 - will be used as an excuse to move the Islington North MP closer to the exit door.

Now that the pushing and shoving among potential leadership candidates has started, there is no way back. Labour has not removed a leader without allowing them to contest a General Election since the fall of George Lansbury at the 1935 party conference. But that is the course of events that has now been set in train. Not even the Labour Party will entertain a leader who is quietly principled but insufficiently bellicose.

It is unedifying. It is not pleasant. It verges on the desperate. And that, folks, is politics.

24 comments:

TheMurf said...

Sorry Tim but here you're wrong. At some point Labour has to face up to its deep electoral failings and burying their heads in the sand behind an unelectable leader is itself a betrayal of all those voters and families who need the implementaton of a Labour manifesto to remove the suffocating punshment being meted out daily by this vicious Tory government.

That means making compromises I'm afraid, like it or not. By electing the unelectable Labour had pitched itself right at the edge of oblivion - it teeters there still. There is time to turn the show around but Corbyn has to go and the membership such that it is has to reconcile itself with the British voters.

Anonymous said...

If this comes to pass, I will never vote Labour again. In fact, I will vote Tory, even though I detest everything about the Tories. I will vote for them in order to hasten the demise of this country and send it into such a state that the only course of action for the people of Britain will be violent insurrection, and then maybe, we will get the politics we need.

Most of all, I will continue to read the Guardian, which has been the Grand Inquisitor of Corbyn's brief tenure, with ad-blocker switched on and without paying a subscription in order to hasten its inevitable demise.

The behaviour of the British Establishment Left has been absolutely disgraceful these past months, and they must be made to pay.

jelltex said...

Who says Corbyn is unelectable? As a dis-enfranchised former Labour voter, the process in the selection of the new leader re-connected me and hundreds of thousands of like-minded former voters.

The media is saying he is unelectable for daring to say that there is more than one narrative.

How many people did not vote at the last election? Connect with those and victory is possible.

In the end, it is who controls the party: the PLP or the members. The members voted for Corbyn, he was voted in by the party. if the PLP kill replace him, I will never vote for them again.

The media campaign against his has been relentless, quite how anyone other some other Bliar-clone can get the approval of the press is now beyond me.

Brian Higgy said...

If Corbyn goes then we need another "socialist" at the helm of the Labour party. What we don't need is another "Tory light" party as it was under Blair and Brown.

mirandola said...

If they throw out Corbyn won't there have to be another election? And won't there be exactly the same result? Is it in their power to alter the constitution and the electorate before such an election?

SteveB said...

The Labour party, like the Conservatives, are basically selling an ideology - and in that respect they have a similarity with ISIS.Yes I know that will spark a shower of abuse but stick with me.


If Cameron does manage to bomb the leaders of ISIS into the dust then new leaders will appear. If they suddenly decided to change direction, stop fighting and start using oil revenues to buy acceptance (like certain Gulf states) it would upset a lot of their traditional supporters. They would say the new leadership doesn't own the ISIS "brand". There would be in-fighting.


This is true of our political parties. Labour tried to reinvent itself, or more accurately Blair did, and he at least rebranded it New Labour. Now Corbyn has tried to take the structure and bank accounts of New Labour whilst altering the branding back and changing course. At the end of the day there has always been two sides to the party, mostly held together by their loathing of the Tories.

Corbyn is saying he has the support of the party membership, who are the people who put him in the job. Many of the rebelious MPs say they have the support of their voters - who are the people who put them in the job. If Labour go all out to please the voters then they lose the membership that actualy pays for the party activities, if the party sticks to the principles of it's membership it loses the electorate. Sticky position to say the least.

And made more difficult by the fact that the MPs were mostly elected on the basis of the Milliband policies. Even in opposition that is what they should, in theory, be honoring. If they now turn around and go all Corbynish then they can be accused of the same sort of thing that Clegg and most of his MPs did in 2010. If Trading Standards had powers over political parties most would be shut down for breach of contract!

They all have various options. All policy could be decided by the membership - and risk not having any MPs. Or the parliamentary candidates could stand as independents on their own views and without a party to support them. Either way the electorate would know where they stood. But what will happen will be some form of fudged compromise which the professional politicians will be able to live with - leaving both the electorate and membership unhappy. And Cameron laughing.

For me there is one long term option. Split the party (membership and financial assets) AND DROP THE NAME. Too many people cling to the name and past victories and forget the important stuff like the present and the electorate.

Anonymous said...

Tim,

A fine piece which gets the opportunist spivs bang to rights.

And what a list of two-bit neocon traitors it is. Benn (not Tony, but a slimy second rater who shouldn't be allowed near any group of human beings), Burnham/Cooper/Beckett (all Blairites, thus mass murderers and war criminals), and Tom Watson (who should know better after his tussle with the Murdoch Nazis). If your forecast is accurate, what this means is a craven return to a de facto one party state copied from the US neofascist oil-owned model.

This shameful gang of mass murdering charlatans do NOT represent party members, as the recent poll demonstrated. They are nothing but a sell out mob of London based hypocrites without an ounce of courage or morals. They would sell the lives of innocents to keep their own place on the gravy train. They will again be up to their arm pits in innocent blood once the mass murders intensify.

Mainstream media will be even worse. I have just watched Ken Livingstone telling some home truths on the BBC, truths which remain solid whatever lies the extreme right wing propagandists peddle over the ether - people like the pathetic arm-waving Norman Smith or Bradby (still auditioning nightly for Fox News) on ITN. They will be equally responsible because they spread and try to justify the immoral poison, which will sooner or later draw an equally homicidal lunatic response.

All of this presages a Western move to instigate an even wider conflict. For 1914 Balkans substitute 2015 Middle East. Tell me again who we're at war with.....EastAsia or EurAsia? It's exactly the same kind of mindless, conscience-free power-seeking madness.

ISIS, like the Taliban, is a creation of the crackpots at the CIA, MI6 and all the other European paid murderers. ISIS was created to destabilise Assad and further control the supply of oil, no other reasons: The deluded fools will be allowed to exist for just as long as they are useful, then they will be eliminated. That is the way neofascism works everywhere. It's why the US has been only relatively marginally engaged against ISIS. You can wager the loonies at Langley and Vauxhall Cross count attacks in Western cities as nothing more than "collateral damage." Any day now we'll be hearing a repeat of the utter disgusting hypocrisy of "winning hearts and minds," which means nothing more than killing everybody who disagrees.

Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell and their supporters have at least tried to put sanity and decency back on the agenda. They and their supporters can at least hold their heads up. If they fail, it will lead to even more shame for the Labour Party and produce another "leader" puppet like Blair/Brown/Kinnock, people who abandoned every last scrap of honour purely for their own corrupt ambitions.

Meantime, we know what to expect from the tories: the same old deathmongering, profiteering and economic attacks on our most vulnerable citizens here and abroad. They have no conscience and humanity. They will never change and nobody should expect them to.

It is altogether the most sickening spectacle. It can only be stopped by the people of this country. Nothing can be expected from a Parliament so corrupt, anti-democratic and evil it is almost falling to pieces before our eyes. This is war without end, a never ending search for enemies, the next target almost certainly in Eastern Europe and Asia. It is perpetual war for perpetual peace.

How terribly, tragically ironic it should all repeat one hundred years after The War To End All Wars, the same disgusting mindset still in control. But not, obviously, of Jeremy Corbyn. The rest of them are the cowardly political dregs of this country.

SteveB said...

I think Anon at 10:23 may have just breached parts of the Terrorism Act in campaigning to get violent insurrection.

mirandola said...

If there is another election, this time it won't be speaking in euphuisms with masked politeness. It'll be gloves off. The Blairite neo-cons and their allies in the press have had their gloves off from the start, but now the other side will too. There will be one subject for the election - Syria.

And the neo-cons already have an unbelievably weak, dodgy case for it - the "70,000," that makes Blair's WMDs look like the Rock of Gibraltar in comparison. Even in the recent debate heavyweight and informed Tory backbenchers were queuing up to attack it - Lewis, Leigh, Lilley, Blunt maybe. Ashdown's come out against it. So have "respectable" Tory militarists like Max Hastings and Peter Hitchens. And as for the public. In Tory press bastions like The Express and The Mail, readers have been queueing up in the Comments columns to rubbish it and praise Putin. In an article on the debate over 20,000 readers rubbished Cameron's position and a mere 1,000 backed it. They were angry letters fed up with being continuously lied to about the Middle East, able to see straight through the lies which surround Syria.

If the Blairites have chosen to fight on Syrian ground - which they will do if they overthrow him now - it will be their graveyard, not his.

mm1145 said...

so despite the fact that the party as a whole voted for him the MP's will not work with him? so who selects the MP candates? I think they need to do some serious thinking

Dave said...

I don't think this will happen - at least not yet. I did not vote for Corbyn, but I think he is a principled man and an excellent constituency MP and I agree with him on many issues, not least Syria. However, I have always doubted his suitability as leadership material and his ability to appear to the wider electorate. I still have those concerns but it is not time to give up yet and it would be most undemocratic to unseat him now. That said, if the Oldham result is bad it won't help his position but I think his opponents will wait until the next local/Euro elections. If those are poor, both he and his supporters will need to consider whether they are best serving the needs of those they claim to represent by handing the next election to the Tories. The next election is a long way away - it is not time to panic or overreact yet. However, the sort of demented comments I'm reading by Anonymous here - and there are plenty like him on the Guardian's site - shows what is wrong with the more unpleasant elements of Corbyn's support. The Guardian has been very fair in its coverage of Corbyn - it has never pretended it supported him but it has given space for his views. I suggest people read The Sun, The Mail etc if they want to see what real unfair coverage looks like.

David Aust said...

I don't think this will happen - at least not yet. I did not vote for Corbyn, but I think he is a principled man and an excellent constituency MP and I agree with him on many issues, not least Syria. However, I have always doubted his suitability as leadership material and his ability to appear to the wider electorate. I still have those concerns but it is not time to give up yet and it would be most undemocratic to unseat him now. That said, if the Oldham result is bad it won't help his position but I think his opponents will wait until the next local/Euro elections. If those are poor, both he and his supporters will need to consider whether they are best serving the needs of those they claim to represent by handing the next election to the Tories. The next election is a long way away - it is not time to panic or overreact yet. However, the sort of demented comments I'm reading by Anonymous here - and there are plenty like him on the Guardian's site - shows what is wrong with the more unpleasant elements of Corbyn's support. The Guardian has been very fair in its coverage of Corbyn - it has never pretended it supported him but it has given space for his views. I suggest people read The Sun, The Mail etc if they want to see what real unfair coverage looks like.

Arnold said...

I wonder what would happen if the SNP fielded candidates south of the border in the 2020 election. It's a more effective opposition than the PLP at present. And it seems to have more in common with those who voted for Corbyn than they do with the PLP.

Anonymous said...

@ Arnold.

The SNP is, er, a nationalist organisation. So it can't be expected to expand into England unless, er, it abandons nationalism. Which is why, if Scotland leaves the Union, it will be isolated unless it becomes as neocon as the rest......which means the IMF mob......which means no change in social and economic conditions, apart from getting much worse. Think Nicaragua or Ukraine. There are many others.

redpesto said...

@mirandola - if there is another election, Labour MPs will make pretty damn sure no-one from the left gets on the ballot. Benn might run, but as he's a failed deputy leadership contender, Cooper came third to Corbyn, and Burnham says he won't run again, the field is looking pretty uninspiring from the start. And that's before you get to the PLP's position on Watson. The 'shadow Shadow Cabinet' of Corbyn refusniks might come back if one of 'theirs' takes over, but what do they have to offer that wasn't tried last time? They might be more 'competent,' but after that? Not much.

Daniel Foote said...

It is regrettable but if there had been just one of the other candidates with the strength of personality and power in the eye (a good sheepdog commands the sheep with his/her eye and not how loudly it barks), Corbyn would never have been elected. As it is he is unelectable even though I admire him greatly. Why oh why did Harriet Harman not stand?

Anonymous said...

Whether you support Corbyn or not, he won the leadership without a run-off in a landslide against a strong bench of rivals and earned the position he now holds. If that base of support represents Labour's membership, or even the future of Labour's membership, then it's in the long-term interest of all sides to let Corbyn contest the election full-throatedly. If he's ousted before that point, or hobbled into some halfway candidate that satisfies no-one, the desire for a Corbyn-type candidate will presumably remain undiminished.

Of course, it's harder to stomach with deselection threats hovering and when formerly safe seats are on the line (one assumes a loss in Oldham would form a pretext for a coup) but whether you see the Corbyn ascendancy as a welcome revolution or a self-destructive fever, it must run its course if the Labour Party is to unite its fractious base behind future candidates, and to move beyond Blair's toxic legacy.

Anonymous said...

To Daniel Foote.

Thank Christ Harman didn't stand. It would've been just one more neocon war criminal lying Blairite with innocent blood on her hands. The ones that did stand were bad enough.

Corbyn won on a landslide vote from party members. I'm willing to bet that if it was held again tomorrow the result would be the same. Which tells you just how much the Blair gang are held in contempt.

You undoubtedly saw just how bad the mainstream media/Blairite lying attacks were on Ed Milliband, never mind Corbyn. Neither were unexpected. They did the same thing to dear old harmless Harold Wilson, egged on by the usual loonies on the other side of the Atlantic.

I hope Corbyn and McDonnell hold their nerve through this standard attempt to undermine the founding principles of the Labour Party. It is of course just a mere taste of what lies (literally) ahead. The right wing of the party has always sought to sabotage it from within - it's what they're bought-and-paid for.

The fact is the advent of both these men has caused the far right of British politics (that is ninety percent of Parliament) to shit its pants. They'll do anything, including stringing a rat pack of photographers across his front gate to provoke a reaction.

Corbyn has more basic decency and honesty in his little finger than his attackers have in their collective gang. Which is why I hope he sticks it out and gets to a General Election.

Those who witter on about "leadership" ought to take a good long look at Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will" to see the logical conclusion to that abandonment of individual responsibility. Or read the transcripts from the Nuremberg Tribunal.

Corbyn did the proper thing in allowing a free vote. After that, everyone will know who are the two faced traitors in the Parliamentary Labour Party. Whoever they are, they'll be vastly outnumbered by party members who want to see a restoration of decency.

The traitors can then piss off and start their own party like Owens, Williams and Rogers - and with the same prospects of longevity, probably much less. The sooner they go the better for the health of what's left of democracy in this country. So far all they've done is stink out the place with their hypocrisy and betrayal.

Mark Hollinrake. said...

ANOM at 1 December 2015 at 18:34

Totally agree with your excellent post.

Anonymous said...

For once, I sincerely hope you are wrong on this, Tim. I'm also with @jelltex in not buying into the 'unelectable' narrative.

There may be another way of reading this, though. Corbyn does have a huge mandate from the membership and his opponents, having allied themselves to 'bombs away' Cameron, have scarcely any credibility left.

In allowing a free vote, Corbyn retains the moral high ground and his own reputation for integrity and collegiate open debate, while effectively smoking out his opponents and revealing them for the embittered rejected careerists and pretenders they really are. Who among them is 'electable'? There may be someone - ? - who might temporarily rally the PLP but the membership, forget it.

I wouldn't be the only pre-Corbyn Labour supporter to resign my membership and as for those drawn to the party because of Corbyn, well, expect an exodus. And with a dramatic depletion in membership and fees, Labour will be looking into the abyss, an empty husk of a party with no hope of ever regaining power. And who would want to lead that?

Oscar James said...

I have never seen Britain's media in such destructive mode. To claim Jeremy Corbyn is ├║nelectable is such nonsense as he hasn't been given an inch to present a case for change but even worse the ghastly Blairites who are undermining him at every opportunity are the ones who are destroying Labour. Why they imagine in their wildest dreams that a Tory Lite party (Blaitires) would replace the real thing is bizarre but it examples today's vile crop of pollies whose ambition exceeds their grasp of policy.

Even worse it's the Blairites who have partnered with the now 90% Tory media to claim Corbyn is presenting 80s policy yet the Tories and New Labour perpetuated 1980s Thatcherism on steroids and continue to do so wedded to the infamous Market Economy Rules despite its so many failures.

Tony Blair is the man who destroyed a once great party (fuck you Dan Hodges) but his handmaidens still in Labour are legion. And if a Blairite leader believes the media will give them an easy run, again it shows the delusions of modern day politicians.

Who needs Du Sturmer or Pravda when you have Britain's uncontrollable right wing media on the loose (so much for Leveson), slightly wounded but staffed by dangerous zealots in hacks who fear for the jobs and will like all wounded beasts, lash out at anything.

When Bertand Russell predicted that East Europe and Britain would eventually swop places and adopt each other's policies he was so spot on. Stalinist Revisionism is the order of the day now in the UK but it's happening in a sophisticated way that the USSR could have only envied.

As for tactics : even if Labour politicians despised Corbyn the smartest tactic would hav ebeen to give him an 18 month to 2 year's run with support and then if they judged him a failure, replace him. As it is the Blairite's utter treachery will not be rewarded with victory.

redpesto said...

@Daniel Foote: ' Why oh why did Harriet Harman not stand?'

Harman should have stood for leader in 2010, especially given her routine about how women don't get to the top jobs. Maybe she thought that some other woman would do it, though whether Diane Abbott was whom she had in mind is another matter.

Unknown said...

As someone mentioned upstream, there's now two groups with different agendas in the Labour Party:

* MPs who've been part of the current political orthodoxy for so long they simply don't recognise how pissed off the public are about things like the bankers walking off from their frauds Scott-free

* members who voted for Corbyn because he was the only one challenging the orthodoxy (irrespective of whether or not they thought he had the right answers)

What these two groups desperately need to realise is that they are both right and wrong in their own particular ways - the MPs need to remember why they joined the Party in the first place, and the members need to realise that you have to be pragmatic to achieve your aims.

These two groups need to have their their heads banged together. Labour needs a period under Corbyn where it can 'reset' itself to its core values, and then they need to get a new leader who can deliver that (i.e. none of those no-hopers who stood earlier this year). If Dan Jarvis steps forward in 2018, the only way they can beat him at the next General Election is if Murdoch makes up some bullshit about him bayoneting babies or similar.

Anonymous said...

The Labour people peddling the "unelectable" Corbyn narrative are the same people who completely muffed up what should have been an open goal at the 2015 general election. They have absolutely no idea what is "electable" - they just know that they think it should be them.