Britain is in a state of political turmoil post Brexit following the traumatic vote to leave the EU on the 23rd June. Therefore, what better way to perpetuate stability, than for self-serving establishment Labour MP’s to organise a coup on the current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. This is no more than a pathetic attempt to maintain Labour as a poor man’s Conservative Party and to continue the neoliberal status quo. Currently 50 of the Labour Party’s front benchers have resigned and a vote of no confidence has been passed by Labour MP’s 172-40. It’s important to note that this vote is non-binding, therefore Jeremy Corbyn is under no obligation to stand-down as the opposition leader.
This treacherous act is in defiance of the majority of Labour members, approximately 250,000 of them who unanimously voted for Corbyn, giving him 59.5% of the vote in September 2015. Ever since his rise as party leader, Blairite MP’s have done nothing to solidify the party, despite Corbyn’s attempt to reassure MP’s that the party was a ‘broad church’. They have continued to criticise their leader on numerous occasions; such as Hillary Benn’s speech in favour of bombing Syria, which will in due course see him on the wrong side of history. Another example of these subversive tactics were the desperate attempts by rebels to undermine Corbyn following the recent local elections, even though Labour performed adequately.
What this displays above all else, is the extreme disconnect between the parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), the Labour grassroots membership and more importantly their constituents . As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, right-wing Labour MP’s have more in common with their Conservative counterparts than they have with the people they are supposed to be serving. What is clear following Brexit, whether you were for or against the move, is that the vote was primarily a protest against establishment politics and for many people the EU referendum was a vehicle to convey their collective displeasure. The PLP as well as the Tories encapsulate everything the peasants are revolting against. Yet the PLP’s decision to use Brexit as a catalyst to revert back to a neoliberal party agenda proves that many MP’s residing in the Westminster bubble have clearly lost the pulse of the nation.
It is now apparent that this revolt was not some organic proposal led by Margaret Hodge, but a carefully orchestrated manoeuvre by Blairites to depose of Jeremy Corbyn, to primarily further their careers. Labour front benchers resigned almost hourly to maximise their perceived effect. The Mirror newspaper suggested that blue-labour, as I shall call them, used a vote of no confidence in the hope that Jeremy Corbyn would resign; as the PLP are well aware that Corbyn would most probably win any further leadership vote. The Labour leader has rightly ignored the pleas of Labour’s right flank, reiterating that he has very strong support from grassroots supporters. The Canary recently reported that this coup has been the brainchild of Portland Communications, which is a company fronted, controlled and supported by an arrangement of former Blairite spin doctors. It is also worth noting that out of all the resignations from the shadow cabinet 15 are members or supporters of the Fabian Society, 9 of theses being shadow ministers. The Fabian Society was initially an gradualist, democratic socialist society, however, like a lot of political entities in the 90’s it was hijacked by New Labour. This movement used the Fabian Society as their forum to promote Tony Blair as the Labour leader and eventual Prime Minister. The leader of this current revolt Margaret Hodge is the Vice President of this society and their voice has been amplified by current Fabian journalist Polly Toynbee, who has criticised Jeremy Corbyn whenever possible. I think we can conclude that this coup has been an organised attempt to promote a political ideology that is currently being rejected in most parts of the UK, but continues to be espoused by a very insular group of self-serving politicians. With regards to timing, there is a very strong suggestion that the revolt has been executed as this moment to gain control of the Labour Party prior to the release of the Chilcott Inquiry’s report due on the 6th July. This report is set to damage reputations of many high ranking officials, including the Prime Minister at the time Tony Blair. Jeremy Corbyn who was strongly opposed to the Iraq War, has stated that if Tony Blair is found to have committed a war crime, he should be tried for it.
The silver lining in this rather murky cloud is; if Corbyn can survive this onslaught a more unified Labour Party could emerge that reflects not only the party members, but people who are disenfranchised with the current political state of affairs. Corbyn to his credit has not been slow in acting, dismissing Hillary Benn as his Shadow Foreign Secretary. Since then he has sensibly named a shadow cabinet, which is much more of a reflection of Jeremy’s own political views and more importantly the views of the vast majority of Labour members. At this precise moment the Conservative Party and the right in general are in disarray following the Brexit debacle. Now more than ever the Labour Party need to provide a cohesive, unified and coherent opposition to an ideology that has quite frankly over-stayed its welcome. The people who are causing this rift within Labour have no place in a party that is trying to provide a viable alternative to neoliberalism. These myopic politicians are by no means the solution to the UK’s political problem, they are the problem. We have had too many years of politics of self-interest, of blatant lies (Iraq), of economics leading to rising inequality, all the while ignoring our biggest global challenge ahead of us, in the form of climate change.
A revitalised progressive left leaning Labour Party with Jeremy Corbyn at the helm, offering strong opposition to unbridled, thoughtless capitalism might be just what is called for right now. This opposition needs to propose strong, robust, people centric alternatives to empower the neglected and politically apathetic. A set of principles based on compassion, empathy and quiet but self-assured strength. A set of proposals that will allow nobody to get left behind for the benefit of a tiny elitist minority. We require an opposition that can not only diagnose problems at a local level, such as inequality, a failing underfunded NHS and a fearful vulnerable population, but one that can construct well thought-out solutions. Looking at our challenges globally, climate change directly opposes the principles of capitalism. We therefore, cannot continue our frivolous consumerism or the depletion of our finite resources for energy and a strong opposition should reflect this. This is why I feel Jeremy would be the perfect leader at this delicate stage in the country’s history. We have to change direction from an ideological perspective and a principled, moral, compassionate leader such as Jeremy Corbyn, would help facilitate these much needed adjustments to the realities of modern life.