After all these months, it’s pleasant to wake up to the political suicide of the true-blue, right-wing, anti-Corbyn faction in the Labour Party.
They’re quitting because they reckon Jeremy Corbyn will ignore the result of a vote of ‘no confidence’ tabled by Margaret Hodge and Ann Coffey (rightly; it can only be advisory and he has the vast majority of the party’s membership supporting him). They are supporting Ms Hodge and Ms Coffey’s claim that he ran a “lacklustre” ‘Remain’ campaign in the run-up to the EU referendum.
But who was actually in charge of Labour’s ‘Remain’ campaign? Alan Johnson.
And what happened when Mr Johnson asked Jeremy Corbyn to step in and help?
For clarity, I don’t personally have information that Mr Benn was a leader of ‘Labour In’.
We can see that, after Mr Corbyn’s intervention, Labour supporters voted in favour of remaining in the EU by large majorities. But how do they compare with the other parties’ supporters?
As you can see, only the Greens and the Liberal Democrats had a significantly larger proportion of support for remaining in – and those parties all have far fewer members and supporters.
Claims that Mr Corbyn failed to drum up Labour support for remaining in the EU are groundless.
And let us not forget that there was also an organised ‘Labour Leave’ campaign. led by Eurosceptic Labour MPs Kate Hoey, Graham Stringer, Kelvin Hopkins, and Roger Godsiff – all of whom have stayed remarkably quiet since the resignations began.
So let’s discuss those resignations.
They were triggered after Mr Corbyn unceremoniously sacked Hilary Benn from his job as Shadow Foreign Secretary. Mr Benn had been plotting a coup against Mr Corbyn, contacting fellow MPs and saying he would ask the Labour leader to stand down if he could drum up enough support.
The coup didn’t happen. Corbyn heard about it, phoned Benn and sacked him on the spot.
That left Benn’s supporters with no real alternative but to resign. Mr Corbyn probably knew their names already so their days in the Shadow Cabinet may already have been numbered (I don’t know this for certain but it is reasonable to suggest this is the case).
First out was Heidi Alexander, who stated in her resignation letter, “Those who will be hit hardest by the economic shock associated with the vote to leave the EU need a strong opposition… I do not believe you have the capacity to shape the answers the country is demanding,” without even the slightest acknowledgement that it was the rebellion she had joined that was weakening the party.
After Ms Alexander, the resignations have been coming thick and fast, from Gloria De Piero, Ian Murray, Lucy Powell, Kerry McCarthy, Lilian Greenwood and Seema Mulhotra.
Ben Bradshaw and Wes Streeting have been cheerleading from the sidelines.
Mr Murray, a Blairite, is Labour’s only MP in Scotland. His resignation puts Mr Corbyn in the humiliating position of having to choose a shadow Scotland secretary from England or Wales. Bearing in mind that he is a Blairite, we can conclude that this is exactly why he has made this move.
Highlighting Labour’s two victories in Edinburgh in the local elections last month, he said: “We’re able to do that because we speak to the entire electorate, not just people who agree with us.”
Perhaps somebody should remind him that his beloved New Labour, under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, lost nearly four million votes between 1997 and 2010. Ah, here’s former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen:
So we’ve got Blairites screaming that Corbyn didn’t get the vote out for ‘Remain’ when he did, and that Corbyn isn’t electable when they weren’t.
Who benefits from all this?
The Conservative Party.
Consider this: Without Corbyn as leader, most of Labour’s membership will quit and the party will be unelectable – as I tweeted to Hilary Benn. Many members of my own Labour branch have already told me they will leave if Corbyn is ousted.
The Blairites do not have any potential leaders among them; none of them represent Labour values better than Mr Corbyn and it seems unlikely that they even know what those values are.
So the high-visibility actions of this tiny minority of the Labour Party are hiding the agonies the Tories are currently suffering, and making the Conservatives look like the better choice in any future election – such as the ‘snap’ poll predicted for October.
They are trying to condemn us to yet another five years of Conservative control.
Why would Labour MPs consider this?
In fact, considering the effect their rebellion has had on the news media today (June 26), it may clearly be argued that they have brought the Labour Party into disrepute and should be suspended forthwith until such time as their actions may be investigated and they may be expelled in disgrace.
The plan was to return Labour to the right-wing principles of Tony Blair, amid the rise of far-right views in England following the referendum. That isn’t going to happen because Labour’s membership rejects such behaviour. We find it loathsome and so should our MPs.
The fact that Bradshaw, Streeting, Alexander, Murray and the rest don’t speaks volumes about why they should leave the party.
And there’s another aspect to all this…
It seems Mr Corbyn has been preparing to accuse Tony Blair of war crimes, after the Chilcot report is published early next month.
Is it beyond the realm of possibility that these Blair-loving toadies are moving to protect their icon?
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