Tuesday 4 August 2015

Jeremy Corbyn: The more they attack him, the stronger he becomes

One of the most pivotal moments of the General Election in 2015 came when Ed Miliband made the utterly bizarre assertion during the leaders' debate that he'd rather see the Tories form the next government than try to form a progressive alliance with the SNP.

If he thought that taking such a viscerally anti-SNP stance was going to help Scottish Labour avoid a catastrophic defeat, he was utterly wrong (they lost 40 of their 41 seats to the SNP), and if he thought that such a stance would play well with the English electorate, he was wrong again because it simply reinforced the right-wing media narrative that the SNP are far too evil and dangerous to be allowed any authority in Westminster, which massively bolstered the Tory election campaign. It's inconceivable that taking such a visible anti-progressive stance attracted anyone to the Labour Party, and in all likelihood it drove hundreds of thousands of progressive people away.

The sad thing is that many in the Labour Party don't seem to have learned any lessons whatever from their defeat. In fact Tony Blair even repeated Miliband's absurd stance when he said he'd prefer the Tories to win in 2020 than see a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn.

Another thing that so many Labour Party politicians have utterly failed to understand is that offering a watered down version of Tory ideological austerity cost them dear too. I mean how many people other than die-hard Labour Party tribalists could have been enthused by the policy of promoting exactly the same failing pseudo-economic ideology as the Tories, just not quite as nasty about it?

The fact that so many Labour Party politicians are incapable of understanding where they went wrong is abundantly clear from the way that so many of them have queued up to slag off Jeremy Corbyn, and provide the Tories and the right-wing press with a huge supply of ammunition should he actually win the contest (which seems likely given that he's the only one who isn't bitterly slagging off his opponents and sticking instead to clearly explaining his policies and offering a message of party unity).

It's absolutely clear from the terrified rambling of so many right-wing Labour Party politicians that they really rather would see the Tories win in 2020 than be part of a government led by Jeremy Corbyn.

Here are just some of the most egregious examples of these kinds of self-destructive attacks on one of their own MPs.

Liz Kendall (Labour leadership candidate): "[A Jeremy Corbyn win] would be disastrous for the party and disastrous for the country and we would be out of power for a generation" - Not only has she attacked the potential future leader of her party as unelectable, she's also stated that she wouldn't serve in his cabinet.

Yvette Cooper (Labour leadership candidate): "[If Jeremy Corbyn wins] we will be condemning our world to a Tory future."  - Yvette Cooper predicts a win for the Tories if Jeremy Corbyn is elected Labour leader and she too has declared that she wouldn't serve in his cabinet.

Andy Burnham (Labour leadership candidate): "[If Jeremy Corbyn wins] there's a real risk that the party could split." - The bizarre thing about this claim is that just a few days after talking up the prospect of the Labour Party disintegrating if Corbyn wins, Burnham then tried to rephrase his own fearmongering rhetoric about the future of the party as an accusation against Jeremy Corbyn's supporters! To his credit though, he's the only one of Corbyn's rivals not to have ruled out serving in the cabinet should Corbyn win.

Tony Blair (Former Labour Party leader, alleged war criminal): "Let me be absolutely clear: I wouldn't want to win on an old-fashioned leftist platform. Even if I thought it was the route to victory, I wouldn't take it." - An explicit admission that he would rather see the Tories win in 2020 than a Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn. If this isn't evidence that Tony Blair is an enemy of the Labour movement, I don't know what is.

Chuka Umunna (the kind of toxic self-serving careerist that has completely infested Westminster politics): Accused the Labour Party of  "petulance" and"screaming at the electorate" then went on to arrogantly presuppose the intentions of the electorate by describing Corbyn's policies as "not a politics that can win". As I said at the time, if anyone is guilty of petulance it's clearly Chuka Umunna as he throws his toys out of his pram as he sees his career prospects dwindle by the day (unless he crosses the floor to join the Tories of course). Another one to rule themself out of serving in a Corbyn led Labour cabinet.

Jack Straw (Corrupt "cash for access" guy and Blair's biggest cheerleader for the invasion and occupation of Iraq): "Overall his policies are not policies that can conceivably win an election." -  Yet another arrogant presupposition of what the electorate might or might not want. Who knows what the political landscape will look like in 2020? Jack Straw may consider himself a great futurologist, but given how he utterly failed to predict the sectarian violence culminating in the rise of ISIS that came about as a result of the invasion and occupation of Iraq that he pushed for so vehemently, I'll be taking his futurological predictions with a massive heap of salt.

Chris Leslie (Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and the guy who helped formulate Ed Miliband's woeful austerity-lite economic policy and then took over as Shadow Chancellor after Ed Balls lost his seat) - decided to launch a furious attack on Jeremy Corbyn's economic policy of using quantitative easing to fund infrastructure investment and public services, instead of using it to prop up the insolvent financial sector and enrich the wealthiest people in society (as was the case with the £375 billion in QE that's already been done). Chris Leslie's argument that investing in infrastructure and services is bad because it would cause inflation is laughable, as is his petulant decision to say that he'd refuse to serve as a minister in a Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn.

John Woodcock (Labour MP and Liz Kendall supporter): "If you want to have a debate, it is absolutely essential that if you don’t agree with the ideas that he’s putting forward then you say why and you say why they wouldn’t work and why your alternative is better" - This is a quite extraordinary assertion from the MP for Barrow and Furness in defence of his decision to publicly attack Jeremy Corbyn's economic policies. It's extraordinary because it shows that he understands the importance of not accepting your opponents proposition, yet in January 2015 John Woodcock actually voted in favour of the continuation of George Osborne's socially and economically destructive ideological austerity agenda. This shows that John Woodcock clearly considers George Osborne more of an ally than Jeremy Corbyn when it comes to economic matters. Maybe he should just cross the floor and join the conservatives?

John McTernan (The electoral strategist who oversaw Labour losing 40 of their 41 Scottish MPs): This guy should be an absolute laughing stock after overseeing the most catastrophic collapse in support in UK political history, yet the mainstream press tend to treat him as some kind of sage expert on Labour Party politics (presumably because he comes out with the furious anti-Corbyn bile they want him to). Not only is McTernan so delusional that he thinks Labour can actually win in 2020 with his prescription of even more Blairite Tory-lite rubbish that has lost two consecutive General Elections and completely annihilated the traditional Labour heartland of Scotland (because the SNP outflanked them on the left with a clear anti-Tory anti-austerity narrative), he also thinks it's acceptable to go around publicly declaring people "morons" for supporting Jeremy Corbyn (as if mental health based slurs are an acceptable form of political discourse).

Kezia Dugdale (The favourite to take the poisoned chalice of leading Scottish Labour into another catastrophic defeat in the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections): Yet another Labour politician to presuppose what the electorate want by declaring Jeremy Corbyn would be unelectable and leave Labour "carping from the sidelines". Not only is this kind of attack on a potential future leader of the Labour Party really counter-productive, it's also an illustration of how crazily out of touch the Scottish Labour Party are with their own electorate. One of the most oft repeated messages I've heard from people on the Scottish left is that Jeremy Corbyn is Labour's only hope of trying to win back some of the 300,000+ supporters they've lost over the last five years. Her comments would also carry more weight if she hadn't been such an appallingly ineffective deputy leader of Scottish Labour, and not had her own "carping from the sidelines" embarrassingly torn to shreds by Nicola Sturgeon so often in the Scottish parliament.

If only they attacked the Tories with such gusto

It is astonishing to see so many Labour politicians launching such visceral attacks on one of their own. Where was this passion in the last five years? Why didn't these people attack the malice and incompetence of the Tory led coalition government with such determination.

The only answer seems to be that these people are ideologically much closer to the likes of David Cameron, Iain Duncan Smith, George Osborne, Michael Gove and Theresa May, than they are to Jeremy Corbyn and the huge number of grass roots Labour supporters who are backing his campaign to become the next Labour Party leader.

The fact that so many of these people have said they would refuse to participate as ministers in a Corbyn government is a good thing. Yet another reason for people to get behind Jeremy Corbyn's leadership bis is that his Labour front bench would definitely not feature people like Liz Kendall (the most right-wing labour leadership candidate ever), Yvette Cooper (horribly tainted by her association with Blairism, her pompous fool of a husband and the bizarre expenses scams they concocted together), Chuka Umunna (the living embodiment of the self-serving career politician) and Chris Leslie (one of the guys who helped devise Ed Miliband's inept election losing "austerity-lite" policy).

David Cameron's useful idiots

The Daily Mirror columnist Kevin Maguire referred to the Labour Party politicians making these attacks as "David Cameron's useful idiots" and he's absolutely right. Every piece of fearmongering rhetoric about Corbyn now will be ammunition for the Tories to use against him for the next five years should he actually win. Instead of confronting Corbyn with arguments about why their favoured candidate might be better, they've gone for the kind of feamongering muck-raking political attacks that can only harm the Labour Party in the long-run.

It's easy to imagine Darth Blair saying "your powers are weak old man", to which Obi Wan Corbyn replies "You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine".

Corbyn the anti-politician

There is a case to be made that attacks on Corbyn from despised and discredited individuals like Tony Blair, Ed Balls and Jack Straw actually come across as ringing endorsements in the ears of millions of people who are utterly sick of the unprincipled, expenses scamming, cash-for-access offering, self-serving careerist class of politician who have come to completely dominate Westminster politics.

It seems likely that the more of these despised people who come out of the woodwork to condemn Jeremy Corbyn's brand of conviction politics, the more everyday people are going to see him as the anti-politician who is going to ride in and rescue us from the self-serving careerists who have ruined politics with their greed and self-interest.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.

Austerity is a con
Labour vs the Lib-Dems in the strategic ineptitude stakes
The Blairite attacks on Jeremy Corbyn
George Osborne has created more debt than every Labour government in history combined
How Ed Balls' austerity-lite agenda ruined Labour's election chances
Anti-austerity = Epic Win / Austerity-lite = Massive Fail
How the Lib-Dems were just as compassionless as the Tories
Margaret Thatcher's toxic neoliberal legacies

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