On the face of it, it looked bad.
“Labour MPs tore into Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit strategy at a party meeting on Monday night,” according to The Guardian.
The same report went on to say: “The parliamentary Labour party (PLP) meeting came amid anger about how Corbyn’s office had handled harassment complaints against two senior Labour figures, as well as an investigation into Labour antisemitism by the equalities watchdog.”
But it turns out this is nothing more than hyperbole from the paper that misrepresented Labour’s new commitment that every UK citizen should have a chance to succeed as “Corbyn to drop social mobility”.
In fact, it was reasonable for MPs to want to re-examine Labour’s Brexit policy after large falls in voter share at the European Parliament election and the Peterborough by-election.
Reading between the lines, the regrettable aspect of the report is that it shows no willingness on the party of Jeremy Corbyn’s critics to accept that they are at least partly responsible for the confusion over Labour’s position.
MPs – and indeed shadow cabinet members – who know a divided party cannot win elections went into the most recent campaigns spouting any old nonsense that came into their heads, rather than the official party line.
Where were their apologies?
This ties in with Mr Corbyn’s plea for MPs not to publicly attack party staff or shadow cabinet members, which was knocked by Lloyd Russell-Moyle at the meeting, to his shame.
Let us be clear: MPs pleading for the right to attack other Labour members is a demand for rights that rank-and-file party members don’t have.
The reason This Writer was expelled from Labour wasn’t the false charges of anti-Semitism that were made about me – it was the fact that I had discussed in public the failures of the party machine to correctly address the issue – even though these were matters of public knowledge and it was my job as a journalist to report on them.
(From this it should be clear that the party’s National Constitutional Committee was demanding that Labour-supporting journalists must show a bias towards the party that conflicts with their duty to report facts. This would, of course, prevent any honourable journalist from being a party member or supporting it. Perhaps NCC boss Maggie Cosins didn’t think of that.)
It was clear that, as a rank-and-file Labour member, I was expelled for discussing internal party issues in public – but that is exactly the privilege Mr Russell-Moyle was demanding at Monday’s meeting.
That is not acceptable. There must be a single rule for all party members, no matter how high in the party hierarchy they have risen.
Steering this back to Brexit, it is clear that – had MPs honoured the obligation to support party policy, rather than criticise it or contradict it – Labour could have won a far larger voter share.
And Labour’s policy really isn’t that hard to understand.
As long as we have a Conservative government that is determined to honour what is now widely accepted as a fatally-flawed plebiscite (consider the recent Swiss decision to invalidate a referendum result after it was decided voters had received false information), Brexit is going to happen.
Labour’s policy is to limit the amount of harm this will cause to the general public.
This policy is to be carried out initially by the measures available to the party in Parliament, as laid out by Mr Corbyn many times in the past.
It would also be carried out in policies which address the effect that Brexit would have on the lives of UK citizens – tackling the so-called “burning injustices” that Theresa May said she would solve, back in 2016, about which she then did exactly nothing.
It’s actually a winning combination, if only the party blabbermouths would shut up and think for a moment.
Of course, the real solution to Tory Brexit is a general election and a Labour government, but that is a dream as long as the same party blabbermouths continue to preach division. And they will.
As for the issues around harassment and anti-Semitism: If complaints have been made, then these matters are under investigation and it is not only inappropriate but itself a disciplinary matter if MPs discuss them in public.
So the words allegedly said by Jess Phillips to Jeremy Corbyn – “If you abuse women in the Labour party and they’re a friend of yours, they get away with it” – should result in her suspension from the party while her own transgression is investigated, as it seems she is attempting trial-by-media.
But of course, the Labour leadership won’t take any such action, because there really is a two-tier system in place and Ms Phillips is on the level that need fear no disciplinary action, no matter what she does.
This is the matter for concern – not the whinges of a few out-of-order MPs.
Mr Corbyn has been told about it. Labour general secretary Jennie Formby has been told. So have leading members of the NCC.
The general public see that.
And perhaps that hypocritical double-standard is what will keep Labour out of office, more than anything else.