After yesterday’s failed and rather shit attempt at trying to oust Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Leader, Conor McFall examines what has happened in the last 48hrs.
Brexit has happened and it’s a big fat mess. Libraries full of books will be written about this monumental moment but let’s try to sum this up somewhat succinctly. The Remain campaign, which had the backing of all the major party leaders bar Farage, a healthy proportion of the press, the vast majority of the business class, the entirety of international capital and the major western leaders who used the resources of the state to fight its campaign, somehow contrived to lose the referendum. Britain’s time in the EU is coming to a close, the Prime Minister has resigned, the Tory Party is beginning a leadership contest and the Chancellor has gone AWOL. Meanwhile, Johnson and Gove realise the enormity of what they’ve just done and are frantically trying to put the lid back on Pandora’s Box. But they can’t put back the evils unleashed. There is a constitutional crisis, the very UK state could cease to exist, there is a negotiation process that no one wants to begin and an election will likely be held this autumn. Meanwhile the racist street thugs of the far right are more emboldened than ever. We’re in the fucking abyss.
Now in the Pandora’s Box story, the one thing that remained after the escape of all the evils was hope. This is of course in short supply. It was the hope of some on the left that a socialist alternative could be built from the chaos, free from the austerity shackles of the EU. It doesn’t seem imminent. However, there was an opportunity for the Labour Party to seize the moment and offer some leadership. As Paul Mason argued in The Guardian, this was a chance for Corbyn to capture the Brexit narrative, making an economic offer to the disenchanted working class who made up a significant proportion of the Leave voters. After all, the Tories are in historic disarray, the UKIP racists are running amok and there is a leadership vacuum to be exploited because these idiots literally have no plan.
But instead, the Blairites struck. The moronic Margaret Hodge tabled a motion of no confidence in the leader, Jeremy Corbyn, as an attempt to force him out of his role. Corbyn is blamed for not being enthusiastic enough during the referendum campaign, in spite of the fact that roughly 65% of Labour voters chose Remain, roughly the same proportion of their support as the SNP were able to muster. Of course, the feral British media happily accepted this narrative. After a referendum result that has been characterised as a revolt against the loathed, distrusted and aloof British establishment, the very same establishment has turned to point the finger of blame at the very much anti-establishment socialist Labour leader. Even as their pathetic world crumbles around them they find time to make sub-Machiavellian attacks towards the Left.
“With his mandate overwhelming, Corbyn must do what he should have done six months ago and clear these bastards out. Neither Labour nor the country can afford this protracted nonsense, the time for sackings and deselections is now.”
As sub-Machiavellian as they are. It is hard to underestimate the sheer stupidity of these people. The apparent solution to working class apathy to the Labour campaign was for Corbyn to campaign alongside David Cameron and lie about his overwhelming enthusiasm for the EU. It’s as if the Scottish Independence referendum never happened. Not a single lesson has been learned. Not from Scotland, not from 2015, not from 2010. The sheer irony of these idiots complaining that Corbyn is unelectable should not be lost on anyone. Having attempted to discredit and undermine him since before he even became the leader, they have created a self-fulfilling prophecy of poor leadership while forcing Corbyn to put out the fires of their manufactured crises month after month. Now, real people don’t give a shit about Michael Dugher or whatever other non-entity is whinging this week. But what the Blairites lack in substance, they can make up for with media connections. Having been deeply ingrained in the Westminster bubble since they graduated from NUS careerism to becoming SPADs, these people have fostered relationships with the equally parasitic press, who of course are just dying to stick the knife in Corbyn. So gossip is leaked and a manufactured sense of perma-crisis is established so that Corbyn can’t get on with doing anything worthwhile. All they were waiting for was the right moment to plunge in the fatal dagger.
Being the incompetent, out-of-touch fools that they are, they chose last night. The British state is in historic crisis, the Conservative Party is in near-complete disarray, racist attacks are popping up all around the country and instead of stepping in to offer a way out of this mess, Corbyn is left having to deal with 12 resignations from his shadow cabinet. The groundwork contained in this lamentable column by Polly Toynbee, who is paid to be professionally incorrect about everything. The actual coup attempt was organised by Hilary Benn, who the vacant British media attempted to sell as a great orator following his performance in the House of Commons arguing for yet more bombs to fall on Syria. Corbyn’s response was to sack Benn at 1am on Sunday, barely scratching the surface of the humiliation he deserves.
As Nobody followed Nobody in their deliberately spaced out resignations, one suspects that most people looked to their news updates and thought ‘who the fuck is that?’ What’s even more hilarious is that every single person to resign has ruled themselves out of opposing Corbyn for the leadership. This was the big coup we’ve been waiting for and they’ve got nothing. No credible leader has emerged and the great Blairite hope, Dan ‘I was a soldier, me’ Jarvis is as yet, nowhere to be seen. Not only are the Labour Right morally and ideologically bankrupt but they are also utterly devoid of talent.
It may seem ironic that this all came on the same day in which opinion polling showed that Labour had drawn level with the Tories, but this is actually the point. It’s not that Corbyn can’t win, it’s that they don’t want him to. Otherwise the gig is up for the right-wing triangulaters and the party will no-longer be theirs. Presented with an open goal, these morons have decided to hoof the ball down the other end of the pitch rather than allow the left to steady their foothold. With Britain in systemic crisis and its migrant population in genuine danger, this utter abdication of responsibility in order to play silly Westminster games should be judged with the utmost contempt by Labour supporters, the population at large and honest historians who will look back at this moment.
Fortunately, this seems like an ineffectual hissy fit. This non-binding motion of no confidence is being raised because they know that Corbyn would not be defeated in a proper leadership challenge. He maintains the backing of the majority of the membership as well as the trade union leadership. All these idiots have are the shitty gossip columnists of their own detached world. One questions what the Poundland John Prescott, deputy leader Tom Watson, will do in this situation – though in all likelihood, Corbyn should be able to see off this challenge. But he needs to do more. Sacking Benn was a good step as well as being frankly hilarious. But it’s time to stop being so damn nice. With his mandate overwhelming, Corbyn must do what he should have done six months ago and clear these bastards out. Neither Labour nor the country can afford this protracted nonsense – the time for sackings and deselections is now. Clear them out and get down to the important business of trying to salvage something out of this Brexit shit show for progressive politics. The assessment of Richard Seymour upon Corbyn’s election holds true now more than ever: ‘Blairite tears are not enough, we need heads on spikes.’