Monday 27 June 2016

How Corbyn could use the Blairite coup attempt to his advantage

The most predictable consequence of Brexit of all was a pack of right-wing Blairites using it as an excuse to launch a coup attempt against Jeremy Corbyn. They had been waiting for such an opportunity since the day he was elected leader. They hate him because he's not party of the cosy Westminster consensus that has enforced right-wing economic dogma continuously since 1979.

The fruitcake fringe of the Tory party did a great job of convincing an under-informed electorate that the EU was to blame for most of society's ills, but in reality it's been the hard-right economic dogma favoured by the Tories, the Orange Book Liberal Democrats and all of the Blairites parachuted into the Labour Party since Tony Blair and Gordon Brown switched it from being a socialist party to a Rupert Murdoch approved Thatcherite one.

Jeremy Corbyn is a huge problem for the Blairites because he represents a threat to their cosy neoliberal consensus with the Tories, that has seen once proud British industries and communities all over the UK reduced to ruins. Jeremy Corbyn thinks things should be done differently, and that politicians actually have a duty to listen to and to serve the people who elect them.

After Brexit was announced 11 shadow cabinet members resigned in the hope of provoking a coup against Jeremy Corbyn's leadership. If you listen to their drivel Jeremy Corbyn is to blame for Brexit, which is a ridiculous accusation, especially coming from someone like Gloria De Piero, whose actual job was to engage with young voters and encourage voter registration. The estimated turnout amongst 18-24 year olds at the referendum was just 36% 64%*. De Piero clearly failed in her job of getting young people to register and vote in the referendum, but somehow she expects people to believe that it's Corbyn's fault.

The evidence is clear, Corbyn convinced two thirds of Labour supporters to vote remain, despite the Labour Leave campaign using a massive stack of Tory cash to undermine his efforts. To deliver a decent chunk of the vote when he was being undermined by a bunch of Tory party shills within the Labour Party working to undermine him is quite remarkable. If anyone in Labour is to blame for Brexit it's clearly the ones who took massive piles of cash from a bunch of rabidly right-wing Tories in order to promote Brexit to Labour Party supporters.

This attempted coup attempt is a ludicrous position to take when the Labour Party could have unified with the simple message that Brexit was the the fault of the Tories.

It would have been an easy message to sell. It's David Cameron's fault for agreeing to gamble the entire future of the UK in order to gain a bit of party political advantage at the 2015 General Election, and it's the fault of the hard-right headbanger fringe of the Tory party who brazenly lied to the public in order to get what they wanted (like the double lie that EU membership cost £350 million a week, and that the right-wing Tories would invest all of that money in the socialist NHS).

Instead of adopting a unified message that the Tories were to blame, they decided, at this critical moment, to turn the attention away from the instability and bitter infighting within the Tory party by seeking to destabilise and usurp their own democratically elected party leader!

Jeremy Corbyn has remained defiant against this strategically suicidal coup attempt saying that "those who want to change Labour’s leadership will have to stand in a democratic election, in which I will be a candidate".

Corbyn knows that the Parliamentary Labour Party is stuffed to the gunnels with right-wingers who are closer in ideology to the Tories than they are to him, or the vast majority of the Labour Party membership. These Labour Party right-wingers have constantly sought to undermine him at every stage by focusing their criticisms on his leadership rather than the outrageous behaviour of the Tory party, but a coup attempt against him could actually be just the thing he needs to solidify his position as the democratically elected leader of the Labour Party.

If the Blairites put forward a candidate to oppose him, Corbyn should stand on a policy of mandatory re-selection for all Labour Party MPs. He can position himself as the anti-establishment revolutionary who wants to put an end to career politicians using Labour seats as a lifetime ticket to the Westminster establishment club. Corbyn's proposition should be that if Labour MPs don't serve the interests of the people who elected them, the people who elected them can replace them with someone who will.

The Blairites would obviously have to oppose such a policy, because it would be represent an existential threat to their political careers. But in taking a stance against Corbyn's "power to the people" policy would force whichever usurper the Blairites put forward into to position of having to repeatedly argue for the interests of the status quo and the interests of Labour Party MPs and against the interests of the party membership.

If Corbyn plays his cards right he could not only reinforce his democratic mandate as Labour Party leader with another vast endorsement from the Labour Party grass roots, he could also put in motion the necessary clearing out of Blairite detritus from the party.

As long as the Parliamentary Labour Party is stuffed full of right-wing politicians who are closer in ideology to the Tories they are supposed to oppose than to the Labour Party membership they are supposed to represent, the party can never put forward a truly progressive political agenda. However if Corbyn sets himself up as the anti-establishment "people's champion" fending off a vicious backstabbing attack from a bunch of bitter Westminster insiders, he can win a huge second mandate, not just to continue leading the party, but to set about clearing out those right-wing Labour MPs who still remain determined to obstruct the adoption of progressive, democratic, left-wing political strategy that is fit for the 21st Century.

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* = The 36% figure was widely circulated, but soon revealed to be a figure plucked out of nowhere by Rupert Murdoch's Sky TV. 

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