What is the REAL motive for Labour rebels to undermine Corbyn over Syria?

Some of the proposals being supported by Labour rebels, who are preparing to vote against Jeremy Corbyn over military action in Syria, seem woefully overoptimistic.

“A three-pronged strategy in which military intervention… would complement fresh humanitarian and diplomatic initiatives”? What evidence is there that such initiatives are being planned? Who would put them into action? How?

People in the Middle East are wary of Western diplomacy and humanitarian aid, because they know from experience that it always comes with a price tag attached. Jeremy Corbyn knows this. We should also note that the current initiative is headed by former International Development secretary (and slanderer of policemen) Andrew Mitchell, which tends to support the suggestion that there is a sinister commercial aspect to this.

And who are the “at least 50” Labour MPs who are planning to defy Mr Corbyn? Did they support Ed Miliband in his historic success in preventing the UK from launching military action in Syria two years ago? If so, what has changed their minds now?

Were they in Parliament when the second Gulf War was launched against Iraq? Did they support that? If so – considering how poorly that worked out – why on Earth are they considering another Middle East adventure?

You’ll notice from the article’s tone that the new right-wing Grauniad is all for Labour’s rebels to undermine their leader’s authority in this way. That in itself should be reason for us to doubt it.

At least 50 Labour MPs are prepared to defy Jeremy Corbyn by backing military action to protect civilians in Syria, it has emerged, as cross-party support grows for a new and comprehensive strategy to end the crisis.

In a clear challenge to the Labour leader’s authority, a group of MPs and peers is ready to work with Conservative colleagues to promote a three-pronged strategy in which military intervention by UK forces would complement fresh humanitarian and diplomatic initiatives.

In a sign of increasing cross-party cooperation over Syria, Tory MP and former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell, and Labour MP Jo Cox, a former head of policy at Oxfam, have joined forces in support of the plan in an article for the Observer. Corbyn has consistently made it clear he is opposed to British military involvement in Syria.

Although his close friend and shadow chancellor John McDonnell has suggested Labour MPs could be given a free vote in the Commons, it would be a huge blow to the leader’s authority if a vote was passed with the backing of a sizable number of Labour MPs.

Before the launch by Cox of an all-party group on Syria in parliament on Tuesday, she and Mitchell say that the response of the international community to the Syria crisis, through the UN, has been “woefully inadequate”.

They call for more humanitarian support for refugees from both the UK government and EU, urgent diplomatic efforts to bring President Bashar al-Assad to the negotiating table, and military involvement which has “protection of civilians at the heart of the mission”.

This could include the use of troops to protect new “safe havens” inside Syria, and enforce a “no-fly” or “no bombing zone” to prevent Assad launching further attacks on his own people, as well as moves to hit Islamic State in Syria.

Source: More than 50 Labour MPs to defy Jeremy Corbyn in vote on Syria | Politics | The Guardian

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26 thoughts on “What is the REAL motive for Labour rebels to undermine Corbyn over Syria?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      John McDonnell has suggested that there could be a free vote but the problem is that Labour MPs who think bombing Syria might be a good idea will also – inevitably – be seen as undermining the leadership of Mr Corbyn. Ms Sturgeon is trying to play on that because she needs Corbyn to take a few knocks in order to maintain the SNP’s hold on Scottish votes. David Cameron will be delighted at her words because it means he doesn’t have to do anything and may emerge lilywhite, no matter what happens to Labour and Mr Corbyn.
      The practical upshot of all this is that any Labour MP with any intelligence at all will oppose military action in Syria.

      1. John D Turner

        Is this going to be the standard of debate from now on? Questioning the principled views of others, because they clash with those of St Jeremy of Corbyn and his devoted followers? That every action, every comment, every media intervention and article must be seen through the prism of whether or not it is in line with the Gospel of St Jeremy?

        I guess one should not be surprised that the acolytes of the Saint are setting up a top down organisation, with its aims and objectives designed by a group of anonymous activists, one of whom may be that man of the people Owen Jones, in order to form a party within the party. Why does anyone need Momentum to become active in their local community? It is not like anyone may blame Blair, Brown and neo-liberalism from preventing them from doing so, is it?

        One thing, amongst a number, that turned me against Corbyn and the Corbynettes during the leadership campaign was their smug, if not sanctimonious, holier than thou, we are more principled than you attitude:

        “I think meat eaters, if they wish to carry on eating meat, that’s up to them to do so. I don’t stop people eating meat indeed many people that I know very well eat meat often in front of me and I tolerate it with the normal decency, courtesy and respect that you would expect from me.”

        Corbyn supported sanctions during the period between the First and Second Gulf Wars. Sanctions that contributed to the deaths of 10s of 1,000s in Iraq, including more than a few prematurely born babies. Even inaction has its consequences.

        The last bearded leader of the Labour Party was forced out of office on just such an issue as intervention to save people from being forced to change their sincerely held beliefs or die; from being murdered; tortured; raped; sold into slavery or driven from their homes to rely on the charity of others. George Lansbury was put out of the party’s misery by arguably the greatest Foreign Secretary of the 20th Century and a prime mover behind the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. His name? Ernest Bevin, General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union.

        I am proud to be the member of a party whose leaders, what ever their other differences, were not appeasers. There is more than a whiff of appeasement about Corbyn, particularly with regards to Putin. An attitude Corbyn shares with Farage, although for different reasons.
        Incidentally, Putin’s media welcomed the election of St Jeremy. In New, New Labour is that a plus point?

        I was never the signed up member of any faction, preferring to think for myself and judge each policy proposal on its merits, with due regard to my take on socialism. I campaigned here in Birmingham for an elected mayor, alongside Lords Adonis and Heseltine; the leader of the Labour Group on the Council; various Councillors drawn from all three main parties; business people; community activists; people of no discernible politics and so on.

        Building consensuses, even temporarily around single issues is how real politics is done in this country, by and large. Hence McCluskey’s offer to Cameron over the proposed trades union legislation and now the ideas being formulated for informed, dispassionate debate by Mitchell and Cox.

        I confess I am an instinctive Smithite and thus Brownite. John Smith did become leader with the support of 91% of the votes cast. However, given the triumphalism of and machine politics being deployed by hard line Corbynettes, one is becoming more and more inclined, regretfully, to take up Gaitskell’s cry to “fight, and fight, and fight again, to save the party we love.” A party I stood by, though thick and thin, whilst various Corbynettes went off and had multiple emotional spasms (copyright Aneuran Bevan).

        The Labour Party is becoming ever more dominated by a 21st Century take on Orwell’s rag bag of “vegetarians with wilting beards, of Bolshevik commissars (half gangster, half gramophone), of earnest ladies in sandals, shock-headed Marxists chewing polysyllables, escaped Quakers, birth-control fanatics, and Labour Party backstairs-crawlers.” Orwell argued that it was this collection that was making Labour unelectable in the 1930s. Lansbury was a committed pacifist, opposed even to the use of economic sanctions.

        Oh George, if only you were alive today to write an insightful blog post on the state of the modern Labour Party as history repeats itself as farce. You would, of course, have the pleasure of being denounced as a traitor to the cause by bloggers far and wide, but somehow I think you would relish that.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        You start with a false argument – all-or-nothing thinking. Nobody is suggesting what you put forward in your first paragraph. If you honestly believe that to be the case, seek help.

        Why do you think Momentum is a top-down organisation? I don’t have any connection with that organisation but my understanding is it is intended to be a grassroots movement, there to push for change from the leaders but with no direct connection to the leadership and certainly not passing any policies down from the leadership.

        You object to Corbyn because he’s a vegetarian who doesn’t object to people eating meat? Forgive me if I don’t understand your ire but it seems to me that this may be a comment taken out of context to make a point.

        I am not aware of Corbyn’s support for sanctions between the Gulf Wars, and I notice that you do not mention any reasons he may have stated for supporting them. Without that information, I cannot comment.

        Corbyn on Putin: “I am not an admirer or supporter of Putin’s foreign policy, or of Russian or anybody else’s expansion.” Does that seem like an appeaser to you?

        Your criticism of “machine politics” would have been aimed more accurately at the Blairites who opposed Corbyn in the leadership election. They had the whole party machine behind them and there were claims that they were willing to change the party’s mechanisms in order to keep him out. They – and their machine – were beaten because Corbyn simply has the support of far more people in the Labour Party. The reason? He represents what we see as Labour values.

        Now look at your penultimate paragraph. I see a huge amount of intended insult to the majority of the Labour Party and very little content with which to support it. Orwell is not here and it seems likely that, as in so many cases when the words of dead writers are quoted in a modern setting, he may have been taken out of context. You attempt to take him as an ally for your cause but would he want that? It’s impossible to tell, because he is dead. It is discourteous to disturb his memory.

  1. sp4mf15h

    Are they seriously considering no fly zones in a sovereign nation’s airspace, especially one that has already invited Russia to use that air space?
    Is this not just dangerous provocation? all it does is ratchet up tension and make the likelihood of a third world war come closer. Sabre-rattling of the suicidal kind.

  2. Harry

    This is all rather strange. Russian forces after bombing ISIL/FSA’s war infrastructure largely to extinction, are now providing close air support to the Syrian Armed Forces of President Assad, (who was last elected by a landslide majority of around 80% while Camerons cronies rule with no real mandate at 24%), which are currently mounting a major campaign to recover territories lost over the last four years. With the US/Turkey/Israeli air forces bombing at will inside Syria and Iraq until Russia intervened, what does Cameron think Britain will achieve. Currently the US and Turkey are not contesting Russias’ air campaign: Will the RAF go against Russia? I doubt it. Qatar will have to wait for its bloody pipeline; And I do mean Bloody, the effort to remove assad to give qatar its Gas pipeline in order to weaken Russia has already cost Syria over a quarter of a million lives. These wacko politicians need putting back inside their boxes. Or jail. Why do we put up with permitting these mediocre yes men to spend our tax money in the service of megacorps, treating our armed forces as corporate assets. Got to stop.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Your statement that Assad had a majority of 80 per cent worries me, as experience suggests only dictatorial, totalitarian regimes tend to get that high a proportion of the votes. Are you sure Syria is entirely democratic?

      1. Florence

        Is Syria perhaps “democratic enough”, as the last remaining secular state in the region, to be spared the savagery of ISIS takeover which is the main outcome of the continued US/UK aggression? Non-military intervention (eg NATO, UN, EU trade, sanctions) used to be the first not the last action against such states.

  3. Jeffery Davies

    Hmmm blair babies again untill he rids the party of them they will constantly try to undermine him untill they get control back it seems they cant cross that floor to their bigger brother

  4. Andy

    The real upshot is that by supportıng Miliband two years have been lost in bringing any form of settlement to the war.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      No, by supporting Miliband, conflict with Russia was prevented for two years.
      For that alone, Miliband is a hero.

  5. NMac

    Any military intervention will have nothing whatever to do with protecting civilians, and everything to do with regime change. In the meantime, it will create devastation and misery for millions.

  6. Ram K Padmanaban

    Well noticed, It seems, Grauniad is slowly been penetrated by right wing spies! Recent trends seem to suggest that they are starting to support DC&co.

    They didn’t make a ripple about the drilling DC got from Jon Snow last week, Only Independent seem to bring out such stories. I personaly find wsws also brings out some critical reports on US foreign activites. They seem to be more impartial either it is US/Russia/UK.

    Anyway coming to the point, 50 Labour MPs?! lol what source, did they take some kind of secret voting, clear spinning, but why, why form Grauniad? They are the ones still making articles based on Wikileaks, but why heading in the opposite direction when it comes to internal politics?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Isn’t it interesting that the Independent still criticises the Tories, despite having supported them in the election? Graun didn’t, and yet we have this change of direction. What’s wsws?

      1. Ram K Padmanaban

        @sp4mf15h – Yes it seems like the US and its allies are preparing for a third world war, yesterday’s article about Saudi’s austerity cuts on its citizens seems to suggest they are hoarding the wealth for something very big in the near future. I’m slightly nervous.

        US Congress has approved (or still under approval, not sure) a wave of NATO forces, adding some 40,000 troops and hundreds of heavy artilleries, as a retaliation to the hyped up Russia’s violation of turkey airspace and intervention in Syria.

        Violation of air space? wtf? Even after Russia apologised conceding that it was a mistake, while the US is bombing hospitals, talk about hypocrisy!

        @Mike Sivier – WSWS is an independent news site, supports socialist movements and reforms something linked with WRP. The admirable thing is it is very much independent that it stays up on mostly donations from the readers. And it publishes article from journalists and reporters across Europe, many articles are translated to English from German and French. I don’t know if it is spreading over the top adversial reportage against the US and its allies but atleast it is good to read the stories from different angles.

        It’s coverage of Ukrainian coup/uprising last year was quite revolting, something more clearly implicating the US with some alleged recordings and evidences than the Grauniad’s columnist who said something like, “it is US that instigated the regime change not Russia” but his column was supported mostly with mere speculations. check it out.

  7. johnpreid

    Was upto you until, the fact the rebels will be voting with the Tories,when Jeremy voted again 90 dy detention, or a referendum for the 2007 treaty, he voted for the Tories,and Corbyn hasn’t said he’s a pacifist,so it’s not the military intervention he has a problem with

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      No, when he voted against 90 day detention, he voted against 90 day detention. It is important not to mistake voting over an issue with supporting another political party.
      The SNP likes to present this false argument over Labour’s attitude to Scotland, so we’re familiar with it.

  8. Nick

    anyone trying to get involved in Syria is a fool as Russia leads in this area.

    if you wont a war with Russia/Syria however then go right ahead

    the uk are not the world police nor are we a police state as much as David Cameron and co would like us to be

    the only way you can deal with Syria is for the likes of Jeremy corbyn in peace talks with those involved

    the firing at random of millions of rounds of missiles could never work it didn’t work in Iraq or in Libya as both presidents were killed by there own people as that is normally the case

    the killings of innocent people in war torn countries by the likes of the uk and the usa are the norm and as we can all see from history a complete failure with more wars ahead lined up with a different set of terrorists groups in the frame to go after

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      It says everything you need to know about the Graun‘s current slant, yes. Nothing whatsoever about Labour.

      1. Florence

        Can “we” continue to trust a “newspaper” that has to “use” so many “qualifying” “air-quote” indicators?

        The readership of the Graun is getting almighty *fed up with the rightward drift. First the BBC now the Graun, is there any remaining MSM source that has no stain up on it? (the Indy support for Cameron in the GE disqualifies it, until it proves to have a real change in editorial stance.)

        * euphemism to avoid bad language.

  9. Ram K Padmanaban

    @Florence it is sad about BBC, in the last couple of days there have been worryingly biased reports from BBC about the Israel missile attack on Palestine homes and the Turkey suicide bombing.

    @Mike Sivier – I think I found why Graun has turned against Corbyn. I was watching this old video of Galloway https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8c8tixhkvW4

    He seem to suggest that the Graun is very close friends with some British Jews who are Pro-Israelis, who demanded Corbyn to denounce Hamas publicly after he got elected as leader of the Labour party. Maybe that is it.

  10. Ulysses

    Looks like we all need to get behind Kerry Ann Mendoza (Scriptonite) and her new Canary news project?

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