Sunday, 13 September 2015

Blairite toy chucking

It started as Jeremy Corbyn was delivering his victory speech - as he was praising his rivals in the leadership contest and praising his opponents for their courage, tenacity and principals.

James 'No, I've never heard of him either' Reed announced his resignation from the shadow cabinet, using twitter to ensure that everyone - well, his family and friends, more likely - knew about it, and so the first question Corbyn faced could be "Do you know James Reed is resigning?"

He even appended a copy of his letter of resignation, to try to increase the possible damage.

A more mature, less destructive response - one that actually acknowledged a duty to the Labour Party - would have been to do it quietly, during the process of establishing the new cabinet.  But this was not the route chosen by Reed.  He preferred to flick two fingers to the new leader and the 59.5% of voters in the leadership election who backed him.  And to the party, and the people who will suffer under the Tories, as disunity rather than ideology 'extremity' has been what has kept Labour out of power.

A decent man would not have acted as you did, Mr Reed.

Also within minutes of the announcement of the result, Rob Marchant, a Labour party blogger and journalist published a near hysterical rant titled, "Jeremy Corbyn becomes Labour leader: Today is our darkest hour – we have become unelectable" and nailed his colours firmly to the mast with a series of what he probably thought were devastating broadsides against Corbyn - a man who was still giving his victory speech at the time, remember:
The harsh truth: this is a disastrous, collective decision made by Labour’s comfort zone, aided and abetted by hard-left dinosaurs leading the big unions, some wide-eyed youth looking for inspiration, a few leftover Trots and some three-pound political tourists. 
It is almost a storyline for a low-budget comedy film, where the Monster Raving Loony Party candidate unexpectedly claims the seat of the Prime Minister. It is something which so hits the party’s credibility, it is difficult to see it recovering by 2025, let alone 2020.
Nothing like unity, eh, comrade?

If this had been posted before the deadline for votes, it would have counted as a valid contribution; a truculent, petty contribution, but a valid one none-the-less.

Posted minutes after Corbyn wins with 60% of the votes cast, this is at best spiteful mischief making. Though a more likely explanation is that it is self promotion. You had this little poison epistle ready to go because you wanted - had - to be the first one to make like Cassandra and pronounce doom thundering down upon us in the moment of triumph.

This is really all about you, isn't it, Jamie? Making youself out as the Fearless Truthspeaker Cutting Through The Hype And Excitement To Deliver Uncomfortable Home Truths To The Deluded Fools.

Because if you though these ... thoughts ... of yours were really that important, you'd have shared them with us before. I suppose we should be grateful that your instinct for self promotion spared us being treated to your wisdom earlier.

Why are you doing the Tories' job for them?

Much has been made - especially by Marchant is his fulmination - of how Corbyn is a throwback, a 1980s relic. Maybe so. But his Blairite opponents then make a specious claim that Labour lost in the 80s because of the policies Foot and Benn imposed on the party.

That's a dubious reading of history. In the 80s, Labour split, with a generous portion of soft-left support forming the SDP. This fatally split the centre-left vote, allowing Thatcher to enjoy a landslide victory on a minority - and a diminished one at that - of the votes cast. History, to paraphrase Marx, tends to repeat, first as tragedy, then as farce. The Blairites, not the membership, are the ones intent on repeating the mistakes of the 80s, retreating to their comfort zone in a fit of pique instead of accepting that, yup, that's what their party is.

(Though if they are going to argue that the Labour Party is essentially Blairite, they then have to think about why they have failed so massively - how come they were utterly drubbed by an old, short wearing 'dinosaur'? The uncomfortable answer is that if Labour is not essentially leftwing, then the rightwing candidates must be really, really bad to have driven so many to embrace Corbyn.)

And in doing so they risk producing the same result - a fatal split allowing a Tory hegemony to develop.

One wonders why they are so blind? Are they so grief stricken at having the reins of power so rudely seized by the man they described as the 'Pied Piper'?

(An interesting analogy - are they suggest the members of the Labour Party are misguided children ... or rats?)

Or is there a deeper motive, a deliberate strategy to try to wreck Corbyn's leadership in time to get a shot at regaining control before 2020?

Corbyn is old, and it is possible he intends to step down anyway, in 2018 or 19 - even if he isn't pushed out befor that. If so, it is important for the Blairites to make it look as if he is being forced out, not going of his own volition. Their greatest fear is not Corbyn, in this scenario, but a Corbyn successor - John McDonnell or Lisa Nandy. To secure the vacant leadership in 2018 or 19, the tem 'Corbynite' needs to be invested with the sort of loathing that 'Blairite' has come to carry.

It would be deeply, unspeakably cynical. But perhaps the prospect of a weak and increasingly unpopular Conservative administration, losing votes over Europe and with its majority whittled away, is too tantalising for the Blairites.

And in their greed for power, they'll deliver Cameron's successor - not Corbyn's -a gift in 2020.

(I think they will fail in making 'Corbynite' a term of abuse, however, as I think they misjudge their party. And it isn't like a peacable cove like Corbyn will be launching any invasions from the opposition benches.)

Cowards, flinch! Accept that maybe, just maybe, the membership know better than you what they and people like them want. That maybe Jeremy Corbyn won't immediately start calling for Das Kapital to be on the school curriculum. And that even if he does harbour such dreams, he's more likely to realise them if he gets to fill his Shadow Cabinet with his mates.

Still, Blairites never seem happy being in the tent, pissing out, unless they own the tent.

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