By Dave Stockton
In spite of a barrage of dirty tricks, blackmail and anti-democratic measures, Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign for Labour leader is going from strength to strength.
The election campaign is effectively taking place in a state of emergency inside the party. CLPs have been banned from meeting to carry out their business, and many CLPs are simply refusing to hold nomination meetings.
Over 100,000 new members were summarily excluded from being able to take part in the election. The latest news is that up to 50,000 registered supporters have been denied the right to a vote.
The right wing MPs and party apparatchiks are using every measure at their disposal to whittle down the overwhelming support in the party for its elected leader.
Despite stealing many of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell’s policies, Owen Smith has utterly failed to generate anything like the support for his campaign. His rallies are attended by dozens or hundreds rather than thousands; at the time of writing he has secured 17 CLP nominations to Corbyn’s 77.
Corbyn has succeeded in making anti-neoliberal, pro-working class policies the ‘centre ground’ of debate in the Labour Party. The right wing reveal their hypocrisy in backing Smith and his policies, given that they are policies they have opposed all along – some of them for decades. Smith has lifted Corbyn’s policies for one reason only – to dupe members into electing him.
Nobody should be fooled by the sudden conversion to Corbynism from a man described by one fellow Welsh MP as “a Blairite under Blair, a Brownite under Brown, then on the soft left under Miliband”.
Smith’s sole task is to deceive members into replacing Corbyn so that the right wing can get on with the business of organising which of them should actually lead the party – in a contest without Corbyn on the ballot.
For the right wing, victory means a complete reversal of the seismic change that has swept the party in the last 12 months; kicking out Corbyn, demoralising and purging the membership and subordinating the trade unions to the leadership of the PLP.
In short, they have set out down the road of destroying the party in order to save it as a B-team of the British ruling class, one which accepts the policy red lines of commitment to Trident, neoliberalism and military intervention.
That’s why these backstabbers are wearing out the carpets in Westminster plotting to split the Labour Party and steal its name and resources.
Labour List cites a report to this effect which appeared in the Daily Telegraph, that well-known organ of the labour movement, which “confirms plans which are known to have been in circulation in Westminster for some weeks.”
Doubtless the names of the plotters are known to the Westminster insiders and their friends in the Tory and Liberal media. Only the members of the Party, voting for NEC members as well as the leader are kept in the dark as to who wishes to “save” the Party by destroying it. All the 172 MPs who tried to force Jeremy to resign should be asked by their constituents to make clear their loyalty to the Party and the decisions of its membership. Alas the Party branches and constiuncy meetings have been closed down for the duration making this much more difficult.
The report goes on to outline their plans which are ‘to choose an alternative figurehead in the Commons and pick their own shadow cabinet, as well as approaching Commons Speaker John Bercow to try to be named the official Opposition on the basis of having a greater number of MPs. They could even launch a legal bid to take control of the Labour Party names and assets.”
It is laughable that the plotters call their coup against the membership a “semi-split.” Presumably they hope that the Annual Conference and the NEC, plus the Party’s supporters in the leadership of the affiliated unions will “semi-surrender” to them and recognise two leaders, two shadow cabinets etc.
The reason these anonymous splitters are leaking their proposals to the Tory press is two-fold:
Firstly, they want to blackmail the voting membership – vote for Jeremy and we split the party. This casts Owen Smith’s already tenuous claim to be the “unity candidate” in a rather different light. Whilst Smith has had to disavow plans to split, he claims the Party is “standing on the edge of the precipice right now.” Yet despite claiming to be the one to “heal the Party” he is the candidate of the splitters.
The second reason is to tout for support amongst the various liberal millionaires and businesses who already fund right wing MPs and Labour Party factions like Progress – not to mention widespread suggestions of a possible lash up with the Liberal Democrats. The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.
Everyone knows that blackmailers cannot be negotiated with especially when the only hostage they threaten to kill is themselves.
If those touting for a split are so keen to join the infamous Ramsay MacDonald and the Gang of Four in the rubbish bin of history, then we shouldn’t stand in their way.
If Jeremy Corbyn wins – which is still the most likely outcome – then we will need a quick reckoning with the wreckers. We will need not only leadership of the party but control of it too.
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