5 days on from the referendum, British politics (not to mention the country as a whole) is bedlam. Her Majesty’s Government has descended into infighting over their next leader when they should be focused on trying to tackle the mess that is Brexit: when are we triggering Article 50; is there a way to keep Britain (or at least the parts that want to) in the single market; how do we stop the rising incidents of despicable racism; what does post-Brexit Britain look like; what’s the plan? Do any of the Tories know? Nope. They’re busy trying to work out which of the short straws is longest: Bozo Boris?; Theresa “close the border” May?; Stephen “born on a council estate” Crabb?; Other? It’s certainly a great watch, luckily though we have Her Majesty’s Opposition to hold them to account and actually ask the questions the people need answers to for reassurance that our elected officials can actually steer us through the oblivion that is Brexit, oh wait, no, Labour have decided that this period of national crisis is the perfect opportunity to try and oust the democratically elected leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Right. Ok. Makes sense.
Since Friday, Margaret Hodge (yeah I’d never heard of her either) called a vote of no confidence in Corbyn due to what she saw as his lacklustre campaiging during the EU Referendum, on Saturday night, Shadow Foreign Secretary Hillary Benn was sacked after saying he no longer had confidence in Corbyn’s leadership, this then sparked a wave of (seemingly staged and planned) Shadow Cabinet resignations over the coming days, who all called on him to resign. The vote of confidence was lost by Corbyn by 172 to 40, and again they called on him to resign. Today former Labour leaders, Labour deputy leaders and even the lame duck outgoing PM himself have asked Corbyn to go. The situation as it stands is that Corbyn is still in office backed by: his parliamentary loyalists, McDonnell, Abbott and Thornberry; the majority of the membership and the unions. It is expected that the now former Shadow Secretary of State Angela Eagle will launch a leadership challenge tomorrow.
So let’s look at what the MPs issues are with Corbyn. A number of MPs were unhappy with his campaign to keep Britain in the EU, some going so far as to blame him for the Leave vote. Well while Jeremy is a known Eurosceptic, he rightly backed Remain as he understood Britain in a reformed EU is far better than leaving altogether, I believe this pragmatic view was the right position to campaign on as opposed to the “EU is perfect” line advocated by some further to the right in the Labour party, as it has become clear, large swathes in Labour heartlands had animosity to the EU due to flames stoked about immigration (actually a largely positive force) by UKIP over the last 20 years or so, then the Leave campaign over the last few months, these voters bought into a false narrative concocted over a number of years when Labour was ignoring it’s deprived, disllusioned heartlands. Corbyn is mending those bridges (2/3rds of Labour voters did vote remain) but it’ll take a long time to win back those that haemoraghed to UKIP. Regardless the referendum was not lost because of Corbyn, it was lost because of the Tories (From Thatcher right through to Cameron) and the failings of Blair/Brown Labour government to bring prosperity to its heartlands. Another issue the PLP seem to have with Corbyn is that he can’t win an election as he’s out of touch with the general electorate. Well Labour are currently neck and neck with the Tories in the polls, Jeremy won the Labour leadership with the biggest mandate ever, he’s been winning elections in his constinuency since 1983, he’s won every by-election during his leadership tenure, Labour won back the London mayoralty, and Labour remain the biggest party in the local elections. There is simply no evidence that Corbyn wouldn’t connect with the electorate, but plenty on the contrary. I would hypothesize that given the anti-establishment sentiment that is becoming dominant in this country, as evidenced by UKIP and the Greens rise as well as the referendum result, Corbyn would inspire a swath of voters as a genuine anti-establishment leader of a mainstream party, with policies that would help the most deprived in our society. The people are begging for a genuine alternative to the painful, cruel, heartless, needless austerity of the Tories, Corbyn is this.
It’s clear that this attempt to force Corbyn out, has very little to do with the referendum or his leadership, it is a pre-planned coup by the Blairite bloc of the party who fear the left of the party winning as it would prove their “modernisation” and ideologies to be what they are, outdated and ineffective. The country’s moved on, New Labour should go. What is particularly sickening about the actions of the PLP over the past few days is that it is exactly what is turning people against Westminster politics, Corbyn was democratically elected by over 200,000 ordinary, hard-working people including myself, who are the PLP to remove him, they have no legitimacy, they know no better than us, they are not better than us, they are not smarter than us, if anything they’re stupider if they think Labour is better off without Corbyn, if Corbyn goes they’ll be giving the country to the far right for a generation, seriously, the stakes are that high. The PLP have no right to overrule the will of the people, Labour are the party of the people. If this coup succeeds they will relinquish the right to call themselves that. They will become hypocrites and traitors to the ideology they claim to serve. What they’re doing is selfish, nasty and treacherous, and is exactly the kind of underhand behaviour that makes so many people hate politics, and why so much Labour voters have been turning to the “straight-talkers” of UKIP.
Thankfully, Corbyn, being the great man of the people sees resigning as a betrayal of the membership which he clearly values, he’ll be on the ballot and will undoubtedly beat Eagle in an election. What happens then? There is serious talk of a split if Corbyn wins the election with those that are against Corbyn forming a new party, with Corbyn perhaps then forming a left-wing alliance with the Greens and SNP. Whatever happens, this nation needs a Corbyn-led Labour party in whatever form that has to take. More importantly it needs a Corbyn-led opposition even more, pressuring the weak Tories and preparing to win an iminent general election, instead the PLP may have pushed Britain even further into the abyss. There’s a vacuum of leadership in the time of our greatest need, the one man who could of helped is being backstabbed by his own party. It’s truly shameful. The most worrying thing of all, they think Corbyn and the membership of the Labour party are in the wrong for wanting to follow the rules. We live in a democracy. The problems with politics today is that the Westminster elite are more concerned with what the richest and the media think, rather than the cast-iron democratic will of the people. Look at recent years, the media has been wrong on every election result (Corbyn remember has been attacked by the media more than any other political leader in history and still won the biggest mandate in Labour history), as has Westminster MPs, the people have stopped listening to those that believe themselves betters, those that talk in soundbites but do nothing, those that look great on camera but care only about their own ambition, the people want their voices heard. Labour is the party that needs to listen before it’s too late but the only one listening is Corbyn, but the Westminster cabal led by the smiling Labour assassins have sharpened the knives. I stand with Corbyn.