The ‘Labour Coup’ against Jeremy Corbyn – in an ugly little nutshell

How the 'coup' was revealed: Corbyn's sacking of Hilary Benn on Sunday [Image: The Canary].

How the ‘coup’ was revealed: Corbyn’s sacking of Hilary Benn on Sunday [Image: The Canary].

Say what you like about Diane Abbott (and This Writer has, often), when she’s fighting somebody’s corner she really shines.

Her article in today’s Guardian puts the so-called ‘Labour Coup’ against Jeremy Corbyn into an ugly little nutshell, detailing the ugly little conspiracy for all to see.

It has nothing to do with the referendum result, she tells us – that was just a pretext. And a poor pretext it was. It is stupid to attack a man for failing to get out the vote for a particular cause when he had more success than anybody else – as Corbyn did.

The ‘no confidence’ vote was hurried, contrived, and unconstitutional. It had no force other than to pressure Jeremy Corbyn into quitting. This is organised bullying on a scale we would not tolerate anywhere else, but apparently it is quite all right in Jeremy Corbyn’s case.

Are the UK’s media saying this country despises bullying tactics – except when the victim is somebody the Establishment doesn’t like? If so, then all the lobby correspondents who have joined in with this harassment of the Labour leader had better pack their bags. That’s no kind of journalism.

And the ‘no confidence’ vote had to be staged this way, we find, because it needed to happen too quickly for constituency Labour parties to be able to instruct their MPs regarding the will of the membership.

“They were terrified that their members might actually find out how they voted,” writes Ms Abbott. Now why should any representative of the people be worried about that, unless they knew they were going against the people’s will?

One person we know went against the will of their constituents is Angela Eagle.

She was expressly instructed not to quit her Shadow Cabinet job, not to oppose Jeremy Corbyn and not to undermine him in the ‘no confidence’ vote.

She did none of these things. It seems likely there are 171 other Labour MPs who would have received the same instructions, if they had only bothered to ask.

And now Ms Eagle is a front-runner to challenge Mr Corbyn for the leadership!

If anything shows what this fiasco has been about, it is Ms Eagle’s behaviour. Those behind the ‘Labour Coup’ aren’t just rebelling against a leader they despise; they are rebelling against the party members who put them where they are.

They are saying that the members don’t matter; democracy doesn’t matter. They’ll do what they like – including turning Labour back into the pale imitation of the Tory party it had become before Jeremy Corbyn came along to bring some sense back into our politics.

This isn’t about Jeremy Corbyn. It is a battle for the soul of the Labour Party.

That’s why he must not resign.

That’s why the members must be allowed to judge him – and his detractors.

Because Labour’s membership is sovereign and ultimate power rests with them.

Anybody who doesn’t like that is free to leave at any time.

Instead of putting their energies into fighting the Tories, colleagues have been concentrating on orchestrating waves of MPs – whom no one has ever heard of – into resigning from jobs that nobody knew they had.

Colleagues could have been providing leadership against the resurgent racism that so many of their constituents are terrified by.

Instead Labour MPs have spent time in huddles with their fellow inhabitants of the Westminster bubble, lobby correspondents. These journalists, supposed political experts, did not see the Jeremy Corbyn phenomenon coming last summer and have never supported him. Accordingly they are now using their columns to tell him to walk away.

Colleagues have contrived a “vote of no confidence” that has absolutely no basis in the rule book. There was no notice. It was tabled on Monday and the vote held the following day. No institution would run an important ballot in this way. And it was a secret ballot.

All this was necessary because some Labour MPs expressly did not want any time to consult with ordinary party members. On the contrary they were terrified that their members might actually find out how they voted. Hence the haste and the secrecy.

But the climax of all this was Monday’s parliamentary Labour party (PLP) meeting. MP after MP got up to attack Jeremy Corbyn in the most contemptuous terms possible, pausing only to text their abuse to journalists waiting outside. A non-Corbynista MP told me afterwards that he had never seen anything so horrible and he had felt himself reduced to tears. Nobody talked about Jeremy Corbyn’s politics. There was only one intention: to break him as a man.

This attempt to hound Jeremy Corbyn out of the leadership has been planned for months and was entirely outside the rules. Blaming him for the Brexit vote was just a pretext. The truth is that Jeremy travelled thousands of miles mobilising Labour voters. Nearly two-thirds of Labour voted to remain.

If David Cameron had been able to persuade a similar proportion of his Tories to vote for remain, we would still be in the EU. But colleagues went for lynch mob tactics because they didn’t actually want a leadership election with Jeremy on the ballot. Their fear is that he will win. Which brings us to the heart of the matter.

This is not the PLP versus Jeremy Corbyn; this is the PLP versus the membership. It is the inhabitants of the Westminster bubble versus the ordinary men and women who make up the party in the country.

Source: This is not Labour MPs vs Corbyn. They’re at war with party members | Diane Abbott | Opinion | The Guardian


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17 thoughts on “The ‘Labour Coup’ against Jeremy Corbyn – in an ugly little nutshell

  1. Nick

    Jeremy Corbyn needs to fight his corner so that at a general election it will be down to the voting public to determine his future

    they can vote for a labour goverment with a decent set of principals or they can vote for Boris Johnson who has no principals

    to me it’s very clear on the path in which decent members of the public will take but as iv’e often said and in which corbyn knows only to well there are a lot of people in society today that are not decent’ just selfish and inward looking

    if the public voted for Johnson at a general election ‘then and only then would we know for sure that’s this country for most people would be a sad place to live and the labour party would have to start again from scratch with all labour mp’s having to stand down and to get reelected by there constituency

    if the public are selfish and inward looking then there would be no point in having a labour party’ as to keep knocking your head on a brick wall would be pointless as you only have to see what happened to the liberal party ?

  2. Neilth

    I am despairing of the idiocy that seems to have inflicted itself on the Labour Party recently. All this self abuse in the PLP despite what the membership wants, weakening the party and making us a laughing stock in the country and leaving open goals for CaMoron. And now Jane Hutt gives chair of the Climate change committee in the Welsh Assembly to UKIP. Who would think that giving such an important role to a climate change denier was a good idea.

    Welsh Government has developed an international reputation as sector leaders in tackling climate change and with our wellbeing and future generations agendas. We throw all that into the dustbin through this one crass decision.

    The kipper who gets the job is Mark Reckless who has said that climate change is not the result of human activity but this is the excuse used to increase taxes. These idiots will do everything they can to sabotage Welsh Assembly’s reputation as they are opposed to its very existence. I understand that under the stupid rules devised to give some illusion of proportional representation then their numbers mean they should have a committee chair but this is as stupid as giving say economy to the Tories. Oh wait, they did that too.

  3. John

    Two observations to make: it is worrying that two further shadow cabinet MPs have resigned (Pat Glass and someone else), and they were only appointed two days ago? – it does leave me wondering “who’s next”?
    Also, C4news reports that there has been a meeting of the trade unions today apparently, and if they say he’s got to go, they are reckoning that it might just be the end for him. Yet we’re also categorically told he’s got no intention of resigning, and his name WILL be on the ballot paper.
    As for Eagle – what a joke! She must be living on another planet, if she thinks she’s got even a cat-in-hell’s chance!

  4. autismandate

    Its crazy you couldn’t make it up if you tried. Corbyn elected by party members. Corbyn gets media boycott. Westminster Labour boycotts Corbyn
    The Coup ers are the irresponsible ones destroying the Labour party. Their hypocrisy is so barefaced its embarrassing. They should unite behind their elected leader.

  5. Rik

    Well said Mike
    It’s sickening that these creatures should turn on JC like this and a vote of no confidence against him….
    I watched PMQ’s today and true to form Dodgey Dave ridiculed him…
    PS I think they should ban mobile phones at work
    Thank You

  6. Harry

    A blog I read recently put forward the hypothesis that, following Mr Corbyns condemnation of the War on Iraq, and his correct view that that those who colluded to make that atrocity possible should be prosecuted as war criminals; Those Labour MP’s responsible by voting for the invasion of Iraq: And let us not forget that the Chilcot enquiry is due soon, are running scared and are likely desparate to regain control of the party.

  7. Nikki Williams

    What is with the change in the Site Layout please?

    So they say that JC is like an Advertising Standards Gold Standard – Fair, Decent, Honest and True but has not got the ooomph to win over voters to Labour. Maybe, but who steps forward to the ‘plate’ but someone with about as much life in them as a 2 week old lettuce leaf – Angela Eagle. Who? you ask – they would have been better choosing the third Eagle sibling, Eddie ! Indeed, I can see the Sun and Mail captions at the next GE – superimposing Ange’s face on Eddie’s body and saying she is as capable of winning the GE as Eddie was of winning Gold at the Olympics.

    That is of course if she makes it onto the Ballot Paper in her Parliamentary Constituency for the GE. What if her Labour Party Branch decide to deselect her – I know how crap it must have been for Nick Clegg to lose his seat at the GE 2015 but Ange might be the first ‘Leader’ of a political party to be kicked out by her own party as opposed to the electorate!

    Keep up the Good Work, Mike – we need your contributions more than ever now.

    1. John

      I think WordPress must have had some kind of update Nikki, because with some pages I’ve been getting a new layout and with others, I haven’t. I’ve also had problems with blank pages, but that might just be my laptop doing that. I’ve even had a few cases of “Error in establishing database connection” whenever I’ve clicked on a blog, but that one might not be down to an update.

  8. yarmouthboy

    If they do succeed in toppling Mr Corbyn, do they expect any genuine Labour supporter to vote for them in any coming Leadership election? So long as Jeremy can take this level of abuse from his so called “comrades” I would urge him to stay and await the outcome of any Leadership vote. If he feels that his health is being threatened by these bullying tactics then he should step aside. But in doing so he should make a statement shaming those who did the bullying – for posterity, so that when Labour fails to get elected they will have to find someone else to blame.

    1. John

      Obviously, we’ll just have to see what happens, but if Newsnight was anything to go by (not sure how I ended up watching it), Nick Watt? was making it sound like JC was on the verge of resigning (due to Ed Milliband). However, journalists do do a good job of being quite melodramatic about some things.
      Personally, from what I’ve seen recently of JC and JM, I can’t see him resigning, because he knows that if he does that, thats it!
      I did wonder if he might try and do some kind of ‘deal’ with Eagle and Watson etc, but I can’t see that one either, because quite simply, he should know full well that he simply can’t trust them!
      JC comes across as very principled and very determined, and along with the fact that they knew this was coming, he seems to be just taking it in his stride.
      The only problem he’s got is, the lack of MPs, because most of them have resigned.
      I saw an interesting tweet the other day from John McTernan, saying something about strategic patience or whatever, and had a good laugh. I wish I’d got a screenshot of it!

  9. David Woods

    I was under the impression bullying in the workplace was illegal!
    It is for us ‘normal folk’, we would be sacked and out the door for far less – they are the ones who passed the law, make them also live by it!

  10. Gillian Kalter

    Excellent piece! It has struck me in the last few days how organised bullying and humiliation of other human beings has become so acceptable in the UK. The PM always gives a fine example (not!) that insulting others is OK. Anyone who behaves like that or condones it is truly revolting. Looking forward to Chilcot report for the sake of those who died and to see the discomfort of at least some of those responsible.

  11. Keith Jackson

    The PLP just dont seem to get it do they, people want change, they dont want the same old, same old. The PLP have not only let the Tories frame the network for debate but they have in a lot of cases gone along with it. They keep saying the 9m voters are more important then the membership as if none of those 9m voters support JC, they keep saying we have to listen to voters, but a lot of those voters have been swayed by huge parts of the media, again this is buying into the Tory narrative. All we want is for the people to matter more rather than the big corporations etc. I am just a layman who understands little of the finer points of politics, but this is how I see it right now regards Labour.

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