Why is Labour’s right-wing making such a fuss when there’s nothing wrong at all?

John McDonnell: It seems there's nothing in his plans that should raise objections from Labour's right-wing.

John McDonnell: It seems there’s nothing in his plans that should raise objections from Labour’s right-wing.

The apparent rebellion against Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour Party is doomed to failure, according to Simon Wren-Lewis on his Mainly Macro blog.

He reckons the clashes between Labour members that are currently being highlighted by the Tory press are caused by a minority of members he kindly describes as being Social Democrats, against the wishes of most of their colleagues of the same political persuasion, who want compromise because there is no time to create a candidate who can win an election.

The chances of replacing Corbyn before the election and still winning it appear incredibly slim. A successor to Corbyn has to emerge who can both appear to share the spirit and strategy that led Corbyn to victory, but at the same time is capable of uniting the parliamentary party behind them. They need to have time to establish a personality and media acumen that can enable them to get away with standing against a Labour leader and still win over enough of his original supporters to win a leadership contest. All this, and still have time to unite the party enough to win the next election.

An attempted coup would inevitably split the Labour Party, rather than uniting it, because it would ignore the reality demonstrated by the leadership election, of what the party’s members want from their leaders.

Given the leadership election result, those on the right would lose in any battle to control the party. If that happened, the lessons of the past (which this group draw freely upon when arguing that the current situation is doomed to fail at the polls) suggest that a split would be disastrous in the short term, and those that split to the right would eventually fail.

However attempting to openly sabotage the current leadership is also in danger of being counterproductive, as it allows the leadership to use this as an excellent excuse for any failure at the polls.

Party members will be rightly appalled that at a time when the mistakes of the current government were becoming increasing apparent others seemed more concerned with overturning their leadership vote.

The harsh reality, which some Labour MPs seem unable to accept, is that if their pessimism about Corbyn’s chances in the polls is correct, the next election is almost certainly lost.

Take note of the “if” that I have highlighted in the last sentence. It is by no means a certainty. And in any case, it seems the ‘social democrats’ (or Blairites, moderates, intolerants, right-wingers… they are picking up nicknames faster than they are gaining any ground) haven’t got a leg to stand on because the policies of the ‘socialist’ leadership are more or less in line with theirs in any case:

The programme that will be hammered out between the leadership and its MPs over the next year or so will be pretty social democratic. There is little in John McDonnell’s latest speech that is socialist rather than social democratic. For the great majority of Labour MPs, their best strategy for winning back the party is to be patient and let Corbyn fail on his own terms without their help.

Charming. And this from a man with a position on John McDonnell’s economic advisory committee.

There’s no way of knowing that Corbyn will fail, of course. He was elected with a very strong mandate and increasing numbers of people decide to support him every day.

The clever part of Professor Wren-Lewis’s advice is that it takes this into account; if Corbyn’s critics leave him alone, he will either fail on his own terms – in which case they get what they want and a new leader will be elected, or he will win – in which case they get what they want: A Labour government.

All this backstabbing and bitching will only make them unpopular.

Source: mainly macro: Is this really social democracy versus socialism?

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9 thoughts on “Why is Labour’s right-wing making such a fuss when there’s nothing wrong at all?

  1. Joan Edington

    I definitely agree Mike. You have often criticised the SNP for their over-control of the party, and occasionally I would agree with that too, but there has to be somewhere in between that and the childish, and often vicious, sniping that is going on in Labour.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Except one of their principles is that they should do everything possible to win power in 2020 – even if it runs against their principles!
      Confused?

  2. mrmarcpc

    They’re sore losers, they wanted one of their right wing cronies in but they got Corbyn instead, now they’re pissing and moaning it, time they were removed from the party, a purge is so needed in Labour!

    1. Michael Broadhurst

      i agree with the above comments,a purge of all the Tory lites in the party is
      desperately needed.

  3. mohandeer

    “All this backstabbing and bitching will only make them unpopular.”
    Will? For many people, the vicious bitching against Corbyn has shown them for what they really are, petty minded, power envious, grubby and grabbing right wingers who truly believe that the Labour Party is merely a title they can inherit rather than a party with “pesky” nuisance membership. Unless Corbyn can lose quite a few of them, and if he has to “compromise” his beliefs too far to win their allegiance and restore unity, then the Labour Party will be a lot of MP’s with few followers. The reason why PR is so important – because the millions who want JC’s kind of Social Unity and Parity will mass to his banner. Even many Tories (I have some in my own community) like what JC is advocating and respect his dignity and poise, with or without his cardigan.

  4. Jackie Cairns

    I feel sorry for JC, He puts the best policies forward, has been right on a lot of things. Even the iraq war. and they still vilify him. It’s bad that the Tory friggin dimwits do it, But imagine how it is when your own side is doing it. They haven’t even given him a chance.He’s only been there 7 weeks and has made the Tories back foot on a few things already.Imagine how good he will be 12 months down the line. I have seen plenty of Tory voters asking can they join a group because they are disheartened what the tories have been doing. The blairites are listening to what the papers spout, instead of what JC actually says.

  5. Vasco Pereira

    To be honest, the last thing that the PLP right wingers want is a Jeremy Corbyn led Labour Government. They would rather have a Tory Government for 5 more years because they can then claim that any shift to the left is to leave the party as unelectable. Furthermore, they can let the Tories be the ones having the opprobrium of implementing unpopular austerity led policies which Labour can then leave untouched if it wins in 2025 under a right wing ticket. That is why they can’t let “Corbyn fail without their help”. A Corbyn led victory come 2020 would mean that another nail in the coffin for the power aspirations of the PLP right wingers.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Of course, Labour was unelectable under a right-wing Labour leadership, so all these people would be saying is that Labour is unelectable. Is that smart thinking?
      You may be right about policies of austerity, also.
      It all adds up to lead right-thinking (as opposed to right-wing) people into considering whether these right-wing Labour MPs deserve to keep their jobs after (or indeed, up to) the next election, considering the evidence that they are working against their own party and in the interests of the Conservatives.

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