Friday, 4 December 2015

Corbyn's Labour Party Momentum Rolls On

Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party not only won the Oldham West by-election, but in the process annihilated the opposition. That is not just the UKIP opposition in Oldham, but also the Blair-right opposition within the PLP, and the Tory media opposition, which for months has been telling us that support for Labour was cratering. Even up to yesterday, the Tory media were telling us that UKIP might win the seat, or that even if Labour won, it would be with a tiny majority. In fact, the majority of 10,000 represented an increased share of the vote for Labour.

The Tories, actually saw their share of the vote fall from 19% in the General Election in May, to just 9%, leaving them in a poor third place. That could be because, the media had been advising them that UKIP might win, and that a tactical vote by Tories for UKIP could ensure it. In that case, UKIP's showing was even more abysmal. It demonstrates what we have always known that UKIP are a threat to the Tories not to Labour, however much the media may want to play up their potential for taking working-class votes.

The win, and swing to Labour from UKIP is an indication of the fact that traditional Labour voters now see a Labour Party under Corbyn that is returning to its traditional values. Corbyn and McDonnell's clear stance over Tax Credits, and austerity was a big part of that in Oldham. Their opposition to the bombing in Syria, also undoubtedly played a part, as opinion polls now show that despite all of the media propaganda, a majority of people have turned against Cameron and Benn's War. Had the PLP lined up behind party policy, and behind Corbyn on that too, rather than the Blair-rights, and soft lefts linking up with Cameron, in an attempt to undermine Corbyn, then Labour's message, and performance might have been better still. That Labour performed so well, despite the efforts of the Blair-rights to cause division, and undermine Corbyn, despite the unprecendented, bullying and intimidation by the Tory media of Corbyn and his supporters in recent months, is a testament to how well Labour can do in the future, if it consolidates around Corbyn, and deals with the Blair-right splitters, plotters and factionalists.

That those same Blair-rights and soft-lefts, now complain about bullying and so on, is a bit rich. Firstly, for the last thirty years it has been the left that was bullied and intimidated by those elements in the party, who used their usurped control over the party machine, to undermine democracy within the party, to close down branches that challenged them, that selected candidates not to their choosing, and which expelled tens of thousands of activists. They sat back whilst the most vile attacks were made on Peter Tatchell, as Labour's candidate in 1983.

Now, they insist not only that Corbyn denounce such attacks,by party members, which he quite rightly has already done, but that he somehow prevents others from being nasty on social media! The truth is that most of the abuse of MP's on Twitter and other social media is from trolls who have nothing to do with the Labour Party, nothing to do with Momentum, and nothing to do with any group on the left either!

According to the latest report, 5 Internet trolls are being prosecuted every day – not the same five I hasten to add. It rather makes you wonder whether any of the MP's are actually familiar with that social media, at all, because if they were they would know that such abuse is quite common, not just to them, but to everyone who uses social media. It is the form of entertainment of quiet a sizeable number of pretty sad people, who have nothing better to do, than find their entertainment sitting in their bedroom, abusing other people, and trying to provoke flame wars.

The fact is that anyone who really was serious about doing real physical harm to some particular individual would not advertise the fact over the Internet, because the police can trace who such individuals are. That is why so many trolls themselves are getting prosecuted. A look at those that have been prosecuted for making threats, suggests that you would have to be very easily scared to take any threat of violence from them seriously!

Perhaps its once again an indication of just how removed from the real world, MP's have become. On the other hand, perhaps it is just a case of being prepared to accept such threats at face value, because it plays into a wider narrative of MP's being “bullied” by party members, whose bullying amounts to nothing more than that their MP have to justify their actions in voting against party policy. In fact, if the reports of various MP's are to be believed, the resort in the past of government whips to actual physical force has not been anything unusual.

The fact is that the Blair-rights have lost the battle, and now they are looking for anything to hang their complaints on, just as Farage ridiculously complained about the postal votes in Oldham West. The Blair-rights, with the support of their Tory co-thinkers, thought that the vote on Syria would undermine Corbyn. It didn't, they thought that they could all rally around Benn as the Prince across the water, bigged up by the Tory media, just waiting for a terrible result in Oldham that they could use to argue that Corbyn must go, and Benn must lead a Jacobite Rebellion to return the party to its rightful owners. That plan too is in tatters.

The argument that Labour always loses support, and can never win from the Left, is a fallacy, a myth constructed by the Tory media, and the Blair-rights. Labour in 1945, in 1964, 1966, and 1974 was much to the left of what it is now, even under Corbyn, and yet it won. It was much further to the right in 2010, under brown, and it lost, and it had been losing millions of votes under Blair and Brown, from 1997 onwards. When Foot became leader in 1980, Labour's standing in the polls went up – to a high of 56% - not down. It was only the splitting of the vote, by the desertion of the Gang of Four, and creation of the SDP, that caused labour's standing to drop, and then only temporarily.

The lesson to Corbyn and McDonnell is clear. Keep up the good work, clear policies against the old consensus are popular and working. But, that needs to be the watchword on other aspects of policy, which formed the basis of Jeremy's success in the leadership contest. Stop apologising for taking principled positions against the Monarchy, against the role of British Imperialism in Ireland, and so on. But, also stop making concessions to the Blair-rights and soft lefts, who will stab you in the back at the earliest opportunity. "Beware the Ides of March", for Benn is an Honourable Man.

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