Jeremy’s Last Stand? Don’t Bet On It, Not Yet

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“Turkeys Voting for Christmas” was the taunt thrown at Labour MPs yesterday (Weds 19 April 2017) as they voted to call an early General Election.

Possibly, but the Christmas present most of them were voting for was the end of “the Corbyn problem”.

Most of them know full-well the opinion polls maybe be out by a few percent either way, and in a tight race that matters a lot (cf GE2015 or the US Presidential election) but this is not a tight race.

Most Labour MPs know they are going to lose, the only issue is by how much.

The antics of Corbynistas like Dianne Abbott who bizarrely claimed recently that “most of Labour’s support is down to Jeremy” cannot obscure the reality of Labour trailing behind the Conservatives by 20 points or Corbyn trailing Theresa May by around 35 points.

But many Labour MPs breathed a sigh of relief when Mrs May announced an early election because they expect Labour’s forthcoming drubbing at the polls to mark the end of “Corbynism”.

But as today’s report in The Independent shows, this may be misplaced ‘optimism’ (if that’s the right word in this context?). It fundamentally misunderstands ‘the project’ of Jeremy Corbyn and his allies.

IT IS THE STRUGGLE THAT MATTERS

Corbyn is a disciple of Tony Benn, who never tired of preaching that real change in Britain does not come about through Parliament and elections but through mass movements – on the streets and in the workplaces.

The ‘Parliamentary struggle’ was at best a adjunct to these mass mobilisations and political ‘cultural revolutions’ and at worst (cf New Labour) could become a distraction and diversion from the ‘real’ struggle.

Corbyn and co welcome the General Election not as a chance to win power, but as yet another chance to campaign for their socialist ideas. That is why after the 1983 Election defeat Tony Benn claimed it was a “victory for socialism” because over 8 million people had ‘voted for socialism’ (ignoring the fact 20m voted against – for the Tories or Alliance).

As ‘The Independent’ report suggests Corbyn will stay on as leader until his succession is guaranteed for another hard-Left candidate. Labour’s MPs may be decimated but the Corbynite membership will remain, almost guaranteeing a smooth ‘succession’. Corbyn may be gone by the end of the year, but ‘Corbynism’ will remain a problem for Labour.

3 thoughts on “Jeremy’s Last Stand? Don’t Bet On It, Not Yet

  1. Given you highlighted an independent article in this biased account of Labour’s situation, perhaps you would like to highlight another independent article:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-corbyn-s-policy-blitz-poll-supported-by-majority-of-british-public-a7685016.html

    Apparently Corbyn’s ideas are popular. So the press now need to decide whether Corbyn is the problem or his ideas, or both. But given that evidence exists that Corbyn’s policies are popular, including the above polling, it would be reasonable to argue that if Corbyn is a problem, it is the personality, rather than the policies. So, lets say Labour lose on June 8th. Corbyn remains leader long enough to secure democracy in the Labour party, and as a consequence Labour finds a new champion for those popular ideas, and this champion has more appeal with the wider electorate. What’s the problem? Unless of course, it is not Corbyn you have a problem with, but the ideas he represents. If that is true, why not write about his policies rather than his presentation, his style and infighting in the party. For the last 2 years the press have made Corbyn a proxy debate for socialism in the party. They’ve targeted the man rather than the policies because Corbyn is easier to beat down. Now you want to switch the debate right at the end to a debate about socialism – and if Labour loses it’s now because of those policies. The Labour members won’t fall for this trick. It is imperative that the democratic socialist party offers socialist policies, which counter the right wing economic policies that have dominated for the last 40 years. Furthermore, you would expect that this time it really will be 5 years until the next GE, and the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament elections were last year. Corbyn can afford to remain leader after a defeat, even a crushing one, as there really is nowt to gain from switching leaders right after June 8th.

  2. Are policies such as increasing tax levels on those earning over £70K or setting up a National investment Bank hard left?

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