Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is making his position clear, as the UK political scene quietens down for Christmas: Grassroots members are not out of line; his Parliamentary opponents are a minority; and it’s time for Labour to come together.
It’s a good message: Togetherness at Christmas.
The message, delivered in a Sunday Times interview, makes it clear that he won’t tolerate any criticism of grassroots members who have expressed dissatisfaction with dissenting MPs.
Those Parliamentarians are upset because their decisions – to attack Corbyn in the press, to support the Conservative Party over air strikes in Syria – have been roundly condemned by the party at large. They seem to think their choices should be above criticism.
Corbyn is telling them, “No”.
They aren’t above criticism; they do need to consider the repercussions of their actions among the wider Labour Party and their own constituencies in particular.
Conversely, they shouldn’t need to fear deselection at this time – as he has already said. This is probably more than he can promise. Labour members have long memories and will be making notes in the run-up to the next round of selections.
But then, Corbyn is asking the rebels in his Parliamentary party to come back into the fold; accept the new order and contribute their talents toward it. If they don’t, he may change his mind.
The BBC, of course, Tory mouthpiece that it is, has concentrated on Angela Eagle’s apparent failure to show support for the Labour leader. It’s a complete non-story that does nothing other than reinforce the fact that the BBC newsgathering staff must be purged of pro-Tory political bias.
Asked if he expected to lead the party in the 2020 general election campaign, Mr Corbyn said: “Absolutely. I’m not going anywhere.”
He urged MPs to recognise the support that swept him to to the leadership and dismissed suggestions his supporters were attempting to intimidate his opponents.
“They should recognise that I was elected with a very large mandate from a very wide variety of people from all parts of the movement,” he told the newspaper.
“There is no imposition of any mob. What there is is a development of participatory democracy. The parliamentary party is a part of the party, a very important part, but it is not the totality of the Labour party.”
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