Why is Owen Smith doing this badly?
During the last Labour leadership election, I warned people not to count our Corbyn’s until they’re elected. I hoped he’d win, but was taking nothing for granted. That’s my advice to all Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters this time too.
There’s no room for complacency in politics. Jeremy Corbyn has a lot going for him, but we have powerful enemies too. The 172 MPs are not about to wind down their sabotage campaign, still working hand-in-glove with the CBI member the BBC, and Rupert Murdoch’s SKY News. Owen Jones MPs never tire of working 24–7 to smear Jeremy Corbyn because that’s what all anti-socialist forces want them to do. This doesn’t seem to be working if the polls are anything to go by. But can we really trust the polls anymore? I remain very wary until we see the final results.
Why are the MPs and the editors of BBC, SKY News and Channel4 News doing as badly as all the evidence would suggest? For a start, the anti-socialist bias of these programmes is so outrageous that Labour Party members and supporters have mostly immunised ourselves against them, by boycotting, voting with our remote controls. If we want news nowadays, we don’t waste a lot of time getting it from those discreditted outlets, other than from a few trusted individuals - and every network still employs a few of them: they know who they are.
Polls of the general public don’t really phase Labour members or supporters for a variety of reasons. Polls are held in contempt these days by almost everyone. And to the extent Labour’s polls are pretty dire, they don’t seem to stop Labour winning in the only polls that matter: votes cast in the ballot boxes. And what do we expect? Voters are expressing incredulity at Labour MPs behaving like spoiled brats. This is not a tenable situation, and Labour members need to start passing votes of no-confidence in the ‘Anti-Corbyn’ MPs. Btw, did you notice I avoided the word ‘Blairites’? That’s more convenient, but it seems that’s been prescribed by Big Brother Iain McNicol, who has reduced himself to using perfectly reasonable dictionary terms as a means of stealing people’s votes. Anyone who loses their vote for refering to these MPs in that way will suffer the same fate as those who tried to have the sleeve of the first Sex Pistols LP being banned from the shops. ‘Bollocks’ is legitimate, and bollocks to any Anti-Corbyn dictator who steals votes for referring to the Anti-Corbyns by the word that dare not speak its name.
Labour can’t win an election if 172 MPs stand next time round to tell voters their leader is unfit to be elected Prime Minister. This is a situation that can’t go on. Owen Smith is leading his MPs into a pit of despair from which they’ll find it next to impossible to extricate themselves. Members won’t let this microscopic section of the membership form a ‘party within a party’ at Westminster. If they conspire against the democratically-elected leader, then deselection is merely brought that much closer. In the absence of that, they’ve got time to rehabilitate themselves. But they better use it wisely, and they need to start today.
Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters can’t pretend we can go on as we have been up till now. But that doesn’t mean we should expel Anti-Corbyns. Expulsions are a recipe for disaster. At any rate, indiscriminate expulsions are counterproductive. Why?
Every expelled Labour MP will have been gifted, by us, a get-out-of-jail free card. In such circumstances, how could they be blamed for standing against the official Labour candidate given that they were denied their right to get themselves selected to that position? This is key. The reality is the behavior of the Anti-Corbyns is calculated to get themselves expelled. They are desperate for any excuse to split the anti-Tory vote under first-past-the-post. So do not fall into that trap.
Deselection is a perfectly adequate solution to the problem pose by unrepentant anti-Corbyn MPs who want to get the Tories reelected, according to Newsnight’s Nick Watt even begging her to call a snap election in the hope she’ll win a landslide victory for another five years!
And even deselection can’t be indiscriminate. For a start, this is a matter for the local CLP. No one can impose a pro-Corbyn candidate on any CLP that doesn’t want one. Local democracy matters, and the time’s come for Labour to be reversing old witch hunts, not looking forward to new ones.
Secondly, we need olive branches for MPs who want to avoid deselection, even if we remain suspicious of their commitment to building the party. Backing each and every one of the 172 into a corner isn’t in our interests any more than it is in theirs. If they want to a new start, then let’s try to make that work.
If deselected MPs choose to ignore the decision of their CLP — as they ignored half a million members’ re-electing Jeremy Corbyn (assuming that’s what we do) — then any breakaway party they form will prove stillborn. Where would the money come from? The activists will stay with Corbyn. The members will too. Trade unions formed the Labour Party to give them a voice in parliament, and they’ll not shift to Owen Smith’s new party, if he chooses to join it. Their only source of income would be rich capitalists. However,…
How on earth could rich capitalists find an excuse to fund an Anti-Corbyn Party when they already have the Tories, Lib Dems and UKIP in a world of first-past-the-post? Who’d vote for it? If the 172 MPs split, they’d be at each other’s throats from day one. Their so-called unity is a mirage. They’re the ‘Anyone-But-Corbyn’ smearathon. Remove Jeremy Corbyn as the glue that binds them together and all we have are 172 MPs who all want to be Prime Minister, or become a sycophant massaging the ego of one of about thirty would-be leaders, each of whom would sell their grandmothers to stop any of the others becoming leader. Electorally-damaging civil war would break out of the Anti-Corbyn Party as it emerged from the womb of Corbyn’s Labour Party. And that’s not the end of their problems.
Owen Smith came up with the ingenious idea of shifting to the left in the hope of stealing Jeremy Corbyn’s voter base. But that seems to have backfired. Jeremy mobilises mass rallies. Smith has no one. No one believes his conversion to these policies. And that’s why Rachel Reeves, Tristram Hunt, and the rest of the Anti-Corbyn MPs are keeping their mouths shut. From their point of view the time is not right to tell Owen Smith they won’t tolerate his policies any more than they tolerated Jeremy Corbyn’s. They are gagging themselves because their candidate, Owen Smith, has calculated that he needs to put on a left-wing face to steal members votes. However, not all of them are so happy. What a hostage to fortune it will be if Owen Smith is defeated and he then joins a breakaway party that is lumbered with the policies he ripped off to defeat Jeremy Corbyn? They just haven’t thought this thing through, comrades. It’s like a Monty Python sketch gone horribly, horribly wrong.