Paul Mason’s article on why the Blairites aren’t supporting Owen Smith makes a few chilling predictions for the future.
As a victim of unfounded allegations of anti-Semitism and, more recently misogyny, This Writer can certainly agree that these attacks are taking place, and that it doesn’t seem to matter that they do not stand up to argument.
One presumes the Blairites will rely on the weight of right-wing media support and the power of emotion to carry them through – because there’s no way of reasoning with them at all.
The fact that the Court of Appeal judges took seriously Labour HQ’s fears of “entryism”, when they OK-d the retrospective disenfrachisement of 130k Labour members, tells you where this is going.
The whole “violence, anti-semitism, misogyny and Trotskyism” scare is designed to end up as the small print of an Appeal Court — or Supreme Court — judgment, once Bagheot’s plan [outlined in The Economist] is put into action.
That, if you are mystified, is why they are pushing it so assiduously; why when one scare dies out they promote another, no matter how ludicrous or unfounded. And why — apart from the victim narrative — senior Blairite politicians are saying nothing political in public, appearing nowhere alongside Smith, and suppressing the very real criticisms they have in private of Owen’s dire hustings performance, and his Jeremy-Lite left socialism.
In all this, Smith and his backers have a choice to make. Are they going to be the willing accomplices of the real coup, which lies ahead?
His campaign is foundering… But it is having one tangible effect: to tank Labour in the polls. A whole new genre of polling has been invented designed to show that Labour voters prefer the Theresa May to Corbyn. Soon, on the basis of these polls, some obliging person in Labour HQ will draw up a list of seats Labour expects to lose in the next election. Then the list will be leaked.
The “bad polling narrative” is important for what the right is planning next. If we turn the Bagheot plan into a timeline it goes like this. On 22 August the voting starts. By 5 September when parliament returns for two weeks it will be clear Smith has no chance of winning. There is one final opportunity for Labour rebels to try and destroy Corbyn using parliamentary sabotage. We will see the same humiliation and bullying techniques they’ve deployed, from the back benches — with comrade Owen smiling his approval from beside the Speaker’s chair, never joining in of course, and “deploring intimidation”.
Once that fails, the next phase will begin just before the 24 September special conference. This will be the phase of splits, legal actions, High Court rulings and attempts at the physical seizure of the party’s assets. That’s what these ominous one-page websites of Saving Labour and Labour Tomorrow are preparations for.
It won’t be led by Owen Smith. Like Angela Eagle before him, he will be squeezed out like a tube of toothpaste and discarded.
[The Blairites] do not intend to be in the same party as Jeremy Corbyn’s 300,000+ supporters come Christmas and they are deeply relaxed about whether Owen Smith and his mates will come along for the ride.
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