Labour’s long overdue spring clean or a much needed reckoning?
It appears that some ‘senior’ Labour figures are getting concerned now that, when Corbyn’s leadership receives a second mandate, there will be some major house clearing within Labour. In my opinion, they’re right to be afraid.
Post Brexit for Labour should have been a time of strengthening Labour’s position to run in any snap general election that was called and to otherwise build towards a strong campaign for 2020. The “plotters” in the party had other ideas and derailed Labour at the very moment when it could have been shoring up its credentials to lead this country out of the doldrums that have afflicted it since 2010.
What has followed has been shameful. If the timing was insanity, the methods of the “plotters” has been nothing short of disgraceful and has dragged public opinion of Labour into the gutter. That one small sect within Labour has been allowed to fester for so long and accrue such disproportionate influence is squarely the blame of failed NEC leadership, impotent oversight by Labour’s “senior” figures and the party’s General Secretary. This is the mess that Corbyn’s leadership inherited back in September and it is clear what a titanic struggle it must have been for Corbyn’s leadership to try and tackle it.
For a long time, the EU has been a thorn in the Tories’ side; an issue over which the party was seemingly forever at loggerheads. UKIP’s transcendence, and Tory fears that they would dilute their vote in 2015, forced Cameron to promise the EU Referendum. The referendum gifted the anti-EU insurgents within the Tory party what they always wanted and then they won and it exposed their party for the flaccid, empty, politically void carbuncle that they had long since become. The insurgents forced everyone to let them have control but had nothing to offer once they had it. The emperor was bare cheek naked and that is precisely what the “coup” has exposed the “plotters” within Labour to be; incompetent, out of touch with political reality, and out of touch with the party that they ‘belong’ to (not a party that belongs to them).
It is clear that it is not just that Labour has an affliction of people whose sense of entitlement far outstrips their capabilities, the “coup” has exposed the fact that Labour has structures that can be exploited by those with ill intent to gerrymander the party’s democracy. All of that will have to change. People need to be moved on, for sure, but it will be key to take the time to access where the structural faults lie, so that we don’t see a repeat of the exploitation that occurred at the NEC meeting that saw 130,000 members denied their democratic freedoms within the party when motions were passed after the meeting was effectively over. Likewise, the exploits to bar members from voting in the leadership election even after they have paid an additional £25. A democratic party’s democracy should not so easily be corrupted by malcontents.
Why the need for such reforms, why the need to move people on from Labour? Threats that actions will continue to disrupt Labour, even if Corbyn’s leadership receives a second mandate, have already been made. Threats that MPs will refuse to work with Labour’s leadership, CLPs, and membership have already been made. Threats that MPs will leave the party, try and take other MPs with them, and to even attempt to take party assets with them have already been made. Action is required to protect the Labour party from such an insidious malevolence that is clearly set to disrupt and corrupt the party wherever it can, at a time when Labour is becoming the largest democratic social party in Europe.