Labour rebels show their true – BLUE – colours

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?

160626 Labour In

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?

160626 EU referendum party breakdown

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.

160626 Mr Benn leaves

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:

160626 Labour vote-loser

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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23 thoughts on “Labour rebels show their true – BLUE – colours

  1. casalealex

    Maybe the constituents of those recalcitrant ‘Labour’ MPs should tell them that they want them to unite together to oust the vile Tories once and for all, or move over x

  2. Michael Broadhurst

    Cameron lost it for the remain side,because he told that many lies during his tenure as PM that nobody believed him any more,

  3. David Woods

    Those that call for Corbyn to stand down, like those who call for the EU referendum to be overturned have proved they have no room for democracy in their politics – as both were voted in by ‘the people’!

  4. Jams OD

    “only the Greens and the Liberal Democrats had a significantly larger proportion of support for remaining in” – and the SNP – funny you missed that.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You call one per cent “a significantly larger proportion of support”?
      Then why were the Scottish nationalists so keen to say the referendum result wasn’t good enough?

      1. Jams OD

        OK, I get it – you are one of these die-hard “hate the SNP” labourites – say no more (unless it is carefully qualified so that you can ignore a party which has reduced yours to a miniscule rump in Scotland). That’ll really boost Labour up here. If you really want to help Labour in Scotland you will try to engage with and co-operate with the SNP, but given that one of your topics is “Falsehoods of the SNP” I won’t hold my breath. It suits me too, as that way we might get rid of the Blairites like Kezia and get some real Socialist opposition started

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        No, I’m not a die-hard SNP-hater, although some of their lies about Labour have rankled. If they used the referendum result to get Scotland out of the UK, I wouldn’t blame them.

      1. Jams OD

        I suspect that by slipping in the word “significant” allowed avoiding mentioning the hated SNP and the fact that they did a little better than Labour. Not really worthy of the author.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        It simply wasn’t a big enough gap to make a fuss about it.
        Do you seriously think one per cent – of varying memberships – is a big difference? Numerically, far more Labour supporters will have voted ‘Remain’ because there are far more Labour supporters than SNP/LD/Green supporters.
        So what – exactly – is your point?

      3. Jams OD

        In the context of this blog, it’s not a very important point – pay no further attention to it.

  5. Anarkysheep

    Discussing Benn’s attempted coup with friends (some of them with doubts about Corbyn) today, most of them have expressed dismay and can’t understand why, with the Tories on the ropes and a possible election on the horizon, Benn and the right-wing have chosen to start a civil war.

    One could be forgiven for believing that this rump of MPs are engaged in project ‘Tory bail out’.

    This may be closer to the truth than one would think. In an interview with The Independent (22 July 2015), Tony Blair inadvertently expressed the psychology of Labour’s right-wing:

    “Let me make my position clear: I wouldn’t want to win on an old-fashioned leftist platform. Even if I thought it was the route to victory, I wouldn’t take it.”

    In a nutshell, the Labour right are so ideologically opposed to a left[ist] platform they would rather lose a general election….

    Reality is if there was another leadership contest Corbyn would win. The only way to prevent that would be to stop him being put on the ballot. In that event, the winner would have won on the basis of a rigged vote. They would have no authority or credibility as leader either in the party or with voters.

    The truth is, if the right wing are successful, there would be a higher probability of Labour losing the next election than if Jeremy Corbyn was leader – but, that rather is the point isn’t it…

  6. Brian

    What a wonderful opportunity for Corbyn to see the back of these closet Tories. Labour can then go forward with the values it’s supporters joined for.

  7. Zippi

    How was the partisan poll conducted? If it was of party members, I can see how the poll might be valid but how else can we tell how accurate that poll is? Are there really that many U.K.I.P. members?
    Another thing to remember is that this referendum was not party political and I think it wrong to expect people to make such a personal decision along party lines; many people have many reasons for voting and a great many of us were so confused, confounded and disillusioned by the campaigns and the debate that they didn’t vote at all.
    As I said, people were not given the right information, or the right kind of information and I lay the blame for that at the feet of our Prime Minister who, after promising the referendum brought the date forward, twice, still without giving us the information that we actually required, said that he would abide by the decision of the electorate and “carry our [our] instruction” yet, he is jumping ship! I’m furious! I’ve never liked him, I didn’t want his government but we all have to live with the result of this referendum so, he should stay and do his duty. A captain does not abandon his ship!
    I am utterly disgusted with those Shadow Cabinet members who have used this as another opportunity to try to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn, instead of doing what they were elected to do. Why is it that so many of our M.P.s choose to serve themselves instead of their constituents? They have been trying to get rid of Mr. Corbyn since before he was even elected leader. They are treating the electorate with contempt, not to mention the party members!
    We don’t have to like the result but you cant please all of the people and whichever way the vote went, a lot of people would be unhappy. We must accept it and get on, not indulge in, or create petty squabbles. I always said that this referendum was too important for people not to know what they were voting for but none of the politicians seems bothered enough to address that, opting for hope that people would settle for better the devil you know. Nobody sold the E.U. to us. It was assumed that “young people” would automatically vote to remain but I know plenty who did not. Young were set against old by the Bremainers, just as E.U. immigrants found themselves in the spotlight of the Brexit campaign. Neither camp has clean hands but to blame Jeremy Corbyn is ridiculous. I was not influenced by anybody; I did my research but the government should have given us this information and it is the government that is at fault.
    As for the result, we can never know what might have been. We know only what is. Complaining because it wasn’t the result that we wanted by launching a petition is hardly democratic. Fewer people voted for the present government than voted to leave the E.U. but I don’t recall any petitions to unseat it. How many of those who have signed said petition are any more clued up about the E.U. than those who voted to leave? I wanted to be sure that when I cast my ballot, I could live with the consequences, whichever way the vote went. I’m not ecstatic about the result but nor am I despondent. It was a choice and we made it. It’s not about winning, or losing, it was about choosing a path. Was I surprised by the result? Of course but it seems that so was the political establishment, which is why it would appear that there is no plan. David Cameron, it seems, did not even entertain the possibility of a leave vote. As it is said, to fail to plan is to plan to fail. It was his responsibility as Prime Minister and now, he wants to quit, after telling us that Brits don’t quit. Is there anybody in politics worth listening to? Of course, this was all Jeremy Corbyn’s fault, possibly the only person in the House with the courage of his convictions! You don’t have to like him but he does what it says on the tin. Politicians of all stripes should hang their heads in shame and those members of the Shadow cabinet… just go and don’t come back.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Hear, hear.
      I think the partisan poll depended on people declaring their loyalties honestly. That’s actually more likely than one might think.

  8. Dez

    Surprised the Chilcott report was not suddenly fast tracked to take full advantage of the current major political EU distraction.

    1. Jams OD

      I also suspect that the mass resignations in the shadow cabinet are connected to the imminent Chilcot report. Most of the resignees seem to be war (Iraq/Syria/Libya) mongers of one kind or another.

  9. hilary772013

    At 65 years young I have NEVER once voted TORY and voted LABOUR once that was in 2015 I have always voted Liberal/ Lib Dems but after they got into bed with the Tories in 2010 I would never vote for them again
    Then along came Jeremy Corbyn both my husband & I joined the Labour Party because of him, as it was refreshing to see an MP with compassion & integrity so we both voted for him in the leadership contest.
    the first few weeks he floundered a little in parliament but that was to be expected then we saw a new way (Jeremy’s) of dealing with political issues at PM QT & beyond, it was different and the way it should be done not the debacle that is the norm in parliament.
    I TRUST Jeremy’s Labour Party and if they oust him Labour can say goodby to us and our fees.

  10. Jams OD

    To get back to the main topic, though. You are absolutely right about the tory rump which have been hiding themselves in the Labour Party. Corbyn will do well to get rid of these entryists and build a Labour Party which is truer to it’s traditional ideals of protecting the poor, disadvantaged and the working classes from the depredations of neo-liberal robbery.

  11. mohandeer

    I have only ever voted Labour once – in 2015 and then, only because I did not want the Tories in. Prior to that in 2010 I voted LibDems just to keep the loathsome Tories out, if Labour still has right wing elements who can and will throw Corbyn out I will not vote for Labour. Corbyn must make a decision on these right wing and Blairite traitors and boot them out of the Party for bringing it into disrepute or risk losing potential votes and the next General Election.
    The people most responsible for the EU referendum result were all those MP’s both sides of the aisle who united in the Brexit camp. Cameron used the offer of a referendum to win votes for his party in 2015 and now faces the consequences, he stole the march of Labour because so many of the electorate wanted out and Labour refused – rightly or wrongly – to give the electorate a voice which was reflected in the Tory victory then. Now we must move on, the people have spoken and in a democracy that is truly important.
    We all have to live with the consequences (Ta so much Dave) but other than Cameron no-one person is responsible, as both sides played fast and loose with the truth.
    I couldn’t have cared less about the “party” position, it was my vote and no-one had the right to demand of me to vote other than my own way(which was remain) and for the right wingers to blame JC is as good an excuse as all lame and irrelevant excuses these poisonous toads will come up with.
    No-one, by the same token, is blameless in this entire fiasco that was the EU referendum because not enough people would be swayed by the “party position” as was right and proper
    It was never a win/lose case, it was never a political football as some tried to make it, it was a choice offered to the masses, the plebs, the electorate across the country. The choice, like it or not has been made and it should not divide the nation any further. We must now live with the consequences and hope for the best.

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