What’s happened over the last few days proves the Labour Party’s crisis that’s been simmering away on the back boiler is picking up speed. Jeremy Corbyn’s enemies succeeded in locking out 600,000 witnesses. They launched their orgy of psychological warfare behind closed doors. But they made sure every Tory excuse for a journalist got to hear every single word of abuse the screamed at Jeremy Corbyn.
A critical turning point has been crossed. Some kind of split is on the cards before too long. That is a fact. Momentum’s supporters do themselves no favours by pretending we can’t see it coming. Of course we can. Everyone can. The question now posed for the left is how we can ensure this inevitable parting of ways takes place under the most favourable terms for all genuine anti-Tory forces.
The new pro-Corbyn formation – Momentum – has to play a key role in creating the democratic channels for debating strategy, tactics, principles, everything. And it has no alternative but to concede that it will be debating all these questions in the glare of Bob Lambert-type Special Branch undercover cop flash-lights. Manoeuvres in smoke-filled rooms by plotters is best dismissed as part of the prehistory of our socialist movement.
The PLP – or a significant section of it – is preparing to split, to set up a new SDP-type party. That is what they’ll do unless they can topple Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott, John McDonnell – and even loyalists like Tom Watson who disagree with Corbyn on very many issues – doing so quite legitimately.
What differentiates Tom Watson from pretty much all the rest of the non-Corbyn wing of the Shadow Cabinet is he respects mandates. Tom Watson is also not afraid of democratic debate. He has earned the respect of everyone. And we will listen with keen interest to everything he’s got to say.
The Blairites, on the other hand, are the exact opposite of crusading MPs like Tom Watson. They are wretched cowards, as all bullies are. They are also – thank god – (at least for the time being) hopelessly divided amongst themselves. What that means is they can’t retake Labour painlessly because they know the membership wouldn’t let them. A second leadership election would lead to an even greater victory for Jeremy Corbyn, and utter humiliation for Tony Blair’s fan club.
That’s why the traitors are clearly intent on provoking their own expulsion. That’s why Jeremy Corbyn should not expel these self-obsessed prima donnas. The leader of the Labour Party shouldn’t even call for any individual MP’s deselection. That is an action that would prove entirely counter-productive. Local Labour Party members need to decide for themselves which, if any, sitting MP is nothing more than another Tory waste of space.
However, Blairites regulars on the Daily Politics, Newsnight, Channel Four News etc know that the 60% and rising membership of the Labour Party that supports Jeremy Corbyn have had more than enough of them.
Blairites who couldn’t scrape together five percent of the vote of Labour members in the case of their preferred candidate and less than a fifth for their ‘compromise’ candidates are either unwilling or unable to adjust to democracy. Their days are numbered. They know it. So Simon Danczuk, John Mann, Ben Bradshaw – and god-knows how many other MPs – have decided they ain’t going quietly. They want to trash the Labour Party before they are evicted for being what they are: a gang of unruly military dictatorship-cheerleading Tory squatters.