Britain cannot afford a revised ‘New Labour’: Britain needs opposition, not appeasement of the interests of a wealthy minority.
There’s a narrative. If Labour replace Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, Labour can present a united front to the British public. Labour can sweep away the damage currently being inflicted upon it by it’s cadre of Mandelson minions and start afresh with a new face at the helm. And, crucially, with all those policies of Corbyn’s leadership still intact. Labour doesn’t need Corbyn in charge, you (the membership) can have all of his policies and march into government. Mandelson’s cadre tell their PLP colleagues, either directly or through their continued action, that they have the resources to besiege Labour for as long as it takes and are have the means and are quite prepared to bring down the walls around their ears in the process. Labour have been given an ultimatum, Corbyn’s leadership goes or we reduce Labour to rubble.
That is what the British public are up against.
Before Corbyn’s leadership, Labour supported the Tories with their Austerity. Labour supported the Tories’ targeting of the disabled and vulnerable through benefit cuts and their sanctions regime. Labour supported the Tories’ war mongering; just as they had supported Tony Blair’s. Labour supported the Tories’ exposure of the Education budget to privateers and their creeping privatisation of Education. Labour were cheerleaders for every violation the Tories conducted because Labour were afraid to stand against them for fear of appearing weak on the economy, weak on social spending, weak on defence, weak on ‘business’. Labour had become festooned with cowards who hid behind words like ‘pragmatism’.
Labour replaced politicians with lobbyists, handing out safe seats to backroom staff that had shown ‘loyalty’ to those who had sold the party to the interests of the egos of wealthy patrons. It was no accident that Gordon Brown was hung out to dry for the 2010 election, it was no accident that Labour did not refute the lies from the Tories about Labour’s responsibility for the economic crash in 2007 that pathed the way for Labour’s defeat in 2015. The same people behind the losing campaigns in 2010 and 2015 have been among the strongest voices against Corbyn’s leadership.
A narrative that the media and Labour’s usurpers want to stick is that Corbyn’s leadership are responsible for ‘brexit’. They want the public to blame Corbyn for not winning the Remain argument and they want to blame Corbyn for the triggering of Article 50; just as the economic crash in 2007 became the responsibility of Gordon Brown. Just as Labour did not fight the lies about 2007, there are those in Labour not fighting the lies about ‘brexit’, it is no coincidence.
If we return to the original narrative in this article, that the Labour membership can have all their beloved policies and government, if only they will abandon Corbyn’s leadership, I will say this. The first thing to go the day after the current Labour leadership are replaced will be the membership vote on the leadership. The party and its MPs will be instantly quarantined from the influence of the membership. After that, Labour will revisit the era of New Labour. Labour might offer a manifesto that looks a little like the policies of the current leadership and it may well attract broad support from the electorate, which may get Labour elected into power, but New Labour Revisited will return to type in government and there will be little to separate how Labour will behave in government from how the Tories are.
That will be the choice Britain is left with.
A Tory government that acts in the interests of a minority of wealthy individuals or a ‘Labour’ government that acts in the interests of a minority of wealthy individuals. Neither group have the imagination to imagine any other way to govern. Both believe that the ‘markets’ are king. Both groups are parasites, not nation builders.
The British public need to begin to understand that Labour under Corbyn’s leadership is not about Jeremy Corbyn but about having a genuine opposition. It’s not just about having policies but about the intent to implement those policies. Instead of people thinking it’s ‘funny’ that Jeremy Corbyn won’t stand down, maybe people should engage some critical thinking and ask why. People should ask why 100,000s of people, just like them, support the change at the top of the Labour party and are committed in their support to it. Maybe people should ask why the small group of people agitating from within Labour against the leadership garner so little support within the party that they cannot find a contender among their number who can openly challenge the leadership. Labour have a number of MPs who are never seemingly off the TV or radio or in the papers undermining the leadership but none of them will stand against it. Why?
What about Labour? Labour are faced with a coterie who are prepared and resourced to maintain attacks on the party, chipping away at its foundation. What can Labour do? Isolating the MPs involved should be the first order of business. The party should ensure that all MPs can face the judgement of their CLPs. The party’s democracy should be a means by which it can protect itself, gerrymandering of it last year was proof that that is not the case. If Labour’s Union partners can provide assistance in shoring up Labour’s structures then that should happen. Labour needs to be more robust against internal attacks and people power from the Unions may be able to help in utilising Labour’s current structures and rules.
Labour should do all these things for its own continued existence as a democratic party but it should also do them from its commitment to represent the British public. Labour’s membership were crucial to Labour’s victory in the recent Stoke by-election and their support of the current leadership gives power to its elbow.