Sunday, 6 September 2020

Left Out - a serial review

 So, a few weeks ago a book was published, under the title of Left Out.  It was written by Graham Pogrund and Patrick Maguire and purported to tell the tale of Corbyn's leadership from its zenith in June 2017 to the disaster of December 2019.

I hadn't been terribly interested in reading it, frankly, because of some of the immediate media coverage had suggested it was going to be something of a Corbyn bash.  Hell, the Daily Mail got into a lather about it, though I won't link to their write ups.

Then I happened upon Pogrund's twitter account and I thought, "Well, he might work for Rupert Murdoch, but that doesn't sound too bad."  So I acquired a electronic copy of it and will now treat you - my riveted readers - an occasional chapter-by-chapter summary of it.

So now ...

THE PROLOGUE

This is very interesting.  Obviously, I am pro-Corbyn and am mostly interested in things that show him to be the luckless victim of the 'centrists' in Labout who thought they new better than the leader of the party and the membership who elected him (twice.)  But I'll try to be honest and reflect the opinions of the writers.

I am glad to report the opening pages offer plenty of rick pickings.

It opens - almost inevitably - at the moment of neesis, as the exit poll is announced on the 12th of December, 2019, and whatever hopes Labour supporters had of a repetition of the miracle of 2017 were dashed.  I was there, I remember how it felt.  The authors note - without comment - that Corbyn was viewing the exit poll at the offices of a charity called Freedom From Torture.  Perhaps, after the travails of the past few years, that was appropriate.

The authors note that Corbyn's inner circle had been aware they were up against it for sometime - that the grim, static polls in the run up to the election were reflecting what their own polling was showing (if anything, Labour outperformed their private polling, which indicated the party would win fewer than 180 seats.)  Never-the-less, the sense of shock and misery is well described in these opening pages, and rendered sympathetically.

The prologue quickly defines the fault line at the top of the party - between Corbyn's inner circle (McDonnell, Milne, Murphy and a few others) and those who opposed him, implacably, from the start.  Here the authors do not hold back, describing the latter as "the seditious officials at party HQ."  Dwell on that word for a few moments - "seditious."  That isn't all of it.  A few lines later, they quote an email from Corbyn complaining about "self-absorbed disloyalty" following the leaking of the party's campaign grid.  Think on that - someone had opted to divulge information they were trusted with relating to the conduct of the election campaign.  This isn't small stuff.  I'm nervous of throwing words like 'treachery' around, but sabotaging your party's camapign ... what else do you call it?  Let's foll the lead of Pogrund and Maguire and call it sedition.

Later on, they hark back to the happier result of 2017, commenting how that apparent high point really marked the beginning of the decline.  Though "the Project" had earned the authority to try things its way, in the face of "two years of bitter resistance from its internal opponents" it would really be all down hill from June 2017 - "the hostility of MPs and party officials did not abate" the authors note, referring to the leaked report on anti-Semitism, cataloguing the "toxic, distrustful and openly mutinous culture of Southside".

It isn't effusively pro-Corbyn, however.  The authors do note, even ain these aearly pages, that Corbyn and his inner circle aren't blameless in their undoing and offer some wanings of what may come, commenting on the issue of anti-Semitism in ambivalent wording, "Corbyn's own stances on anti-Semitism and foreign affairs came to wreak such damage on the Project."

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Left Out - a serial review

 So, a few weeks ago a book was published, under the title of Left Out.  It was written by Graham Pogrund and Patrick Maguire and purported ...