By Daniel Margrain
Fantastic result. Now the hard work begins to purge the party hierarchy of the pro-war, pro-big business red Tory Blairites. The opinions of a reinvigorated party membership who propelled Corbyn into the spotlight will be respected so long as Corbyn remains leader. I heard Ken Livingston on LBC say that under Corbyn the party will unify and there will be little signs of any attempts to undermine him.
No sooner had Corbyn’s victory based on clear and unambiguous principles been announced, then a Shadow Frontbencher resigned in protest over those principles. This was shortly followed with threats to resign by other “modernising” Frontbencher’s who vowed to do so on the basis that Corbyn refuses to moderate his “extreme” policies.
Of course, not being a friend of Israel, supporting the nationalisation of the railways and utilities, opposing nuclear weapons and war, opposing the growing wealth gap and supporting the need for a massive affordable house building programme that benefits the mass of the population, are all extreme measures, but bailing out bankers that benefits nobody, is not.
How stupid can Corbyn supporters be?
According to the Daily Mail, among those refusing to serve in his team are current shadow chancellor Chris Leslie, shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt, shadow communities secretary Emma Reynolds and shadow defence secretary Vernon Coaker. Others include shadow transport secretary Michael Dugher, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Shabana Mahmood, shadow international development secretary Mary Creagh and shadow Cabinet Office minister Lucy Powell.
I’m sure the Tories will welcome these unscrupulous careerists with open arms. It will be interesting to see how the triangulated Tory-lite views of the vast majority of designer suited robots in the hall where the result was announced who follow to the letter the scripts of their paymasters and who believe nothing whatsoever in the views espoused by their leader, can be reconciled with Corbyn’s own long-standing principled outlook.
It’s precisely these kinds of principles that has resulted in the regurgitation of the official/media meme which criticises Corbyn for voting against his party 500 times. This is represented as disloyalty. The notion that he might have voted against the Tories, while most of his Blairite colleagues, many of whom are war criminals, voted with them, is quietly forgotten.
Never before have I witnessed such a disconnect between the beliefs of the labour hierarchy on the one hand and those of its leader who carries with him the aspirations and hopes of the people who voted for him on the other. This is not the kind of euphemistic and disingenuous understanding of “aspiration” trotted out by Blairites in which neoliberal economic policy allows the super rich to get even richer, but one in which the basis of policy can give rise to the potential for everybody to get where they want without demonizing those who for whatever reason, don’t.
My fear is that the gap between the ideology represented by the elite within the hierarchy of the party and the multitude of its members is so vast that the void is irreconcilable unless the party is purged of this clique. I suspect that something will have to give as the party moves forward but we will see.
As I type this, Corbyn is protesting on a rally about the terrible treatment of refugees created by Cameron and Blair’s wars. Could, you dear reader, have ever imagined any of his predecessors post-Michael Foot doing that?
The idea that a highly principled leader of a party who espouses peace and reconciliation at every given opportunity, can reconcile two diametrically opposing forces seems to me to be a bridge too far. I hope I’m proven wrong.