Labour Party

Responses to the Corbyn challenge

There have been some unedifying responses to Corbyn’s startling poll lead from both wings of Labour.

Many were (understandably) indignant when the CWU referred to Blairites as a virus in the party.

However Labour centrists have themsleves come out with some pretty insulting comments about Corbyn’s supporters – as Paul Bernal points out here, calling people stupid probably isn’t the best way to get them to reconsider their choice.

I wouldn’t vote for Corbyn if he was my local Labour PPC, and I’m certainly not voting for him to lead the party, but I don’t think it’s fair to describe those who think differently as ‘entryists’ – the meaning of the word, like ‘troll’, seems to have expanded to mean ‘someone I don’t agree with’. Phil BC discusses this issue here:

They cannot conceive how anyone would join Labour of their own volition to support a candidate without some plot or shadowy clique behind the scenes manipulating things.

(Similar accusations of entryism have, of course, been made against Progress.  )

Those on the centre left are responding to the Corbyn challenge in different ways.

Dan Hodges has quixotically rejoined the Labour Party in order to vote for Corbyn.  Only by learning through bitter experience how appalling a lurch to the left would be, Hodges argues, will Labour come back to its senses.

By contrast Luke Akehurst urges members to vote anyone-but-Corbyn – but takes a measured view of the situation, and is sceptical about charges of entryism.

On the other side of the Labour spectrum, Andy Newman is also pretty measured.

It is of course wrong to describe Kendall as a “Tory”, and the jibes about “Blairite Taliban” were ill-advised. The party is a broad church, and the strand of liberalism which Kendall represents has a long tradition within the party. As I have written before, it is wrong to compare Blairism with Conservatism.

Although I certainly don’t think – to quote the title of Newman’s post – that ‘democracy requires Jeremy Corbyn to win’, I don’t find John McTernan’s response to the situation a helpful one:

‘I can’t see any case for letting him have two minutes in office, let alone two years in office because I think the damage that will be done to the Labour party in that period makes it incredibly hard to recover … ‘Yeah but who cares about the grassroots?

If a Corbyn leadership would be disastrous for Labour’s chances, a coup which went against the democratic decision of many of its supporters and members would be equally destructive.

Finally, here is perhaps the most bizarre discussion of Corbyn I’ve read so far.

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