Saturday, 17 August 2019

Labour Should Insist Its Corbyn or No One

The latest fantasy being peddled by assorted liberals is that if Jeremy Corbyn were to fail to get a majority in parliament to support him as interim Prime Minister, then that would be that, and Labour would then have to put its weight behind some alternative candidate.  Dream on.

As soon as Corbyn came out to say that he and Labour were seeking to bring down the government in a no confidence vote, and that Labour was then committed to forming a caretaker government to stop Brexit, and call a General Election, everything changed.  Prior to that, it was quite conceivable that, if it was the only way to stop a No Deal Brexit, then Labour MP's could get away  with voting for some other candidate, as the head of some such caretaker government.  Many of them, facing the possibility of deselection, might even have considered the option of joining the Liberals, who had momentum behind them, and might, thereby, have offered some prospect of Blair-right MP's retaining their seats, or even a front bench position, as Chuka Umunna has done.  With the potential for 50-100 Remainer Tory MP's, similarly facing deselection, joining them, the prospect for that would have seemed even more attractive.  No longer.

As soon as Corbyn changed tack, all of those calculations went out of the door.  The current Liberal thinking is that Corbyn could not get a majority.  But, if any Labour MP's failed to back Corbyn, they would immediately be vilified by Labour members, and face a storm demanding their deselection.  Were any of them, such as Harriet Harman or Yvette Cooper, to actually respond to the Liberals overtures for them to undermine the Labour Party, and Corbyn as its leader, by allowing themselves to be put forward as an alternative Prime Minister, then even more so would they be marked by Labour members as a Quisling, and demands for their expulsion from the party, let alone deselection would be deafening.

The reality is quite simple, if either Liberals, Independents, Tiggers or Remainer Tories refuse to back Corbyn, they will have to take responsibility for Johnson remaining as Prime Minister, and for a No Deal Brexit going ahead.  Its quite true that Corbyn cannot win such a vote on the basis of Labour's 247 MP's alone.  But, even more so is it true that Ken Clarke representing an unknown, but no doubt, no more than 100 Tory rebels, could not win such a vote without Labour's support.  The Liberals with their pathetic dozen MP's are in no position to dictate to anyone, and the Independents and Tiggers even less so.  If Labour MP's voted for any such alternative candidate, they would also face demands for their deselection, and with the large majority of the Tory Party voting for Johnson, it would not require even that the whole of the Labour MP's voted against any such candidate, to prevent them being elected.

If Corbyn were to lose such a vote, because any of these other groups of MP's failed to vote for him, then there is no reason why Labour, as the largest opposition party, should vote for some alternative candidate, from some other party or grouping that has even less claim to lead such a government.

It would be far better under those conditions, for Labour to stick by its principles, and refuse to give support to such a National Government.  Labour should instead continue to push forward Corbyn as the Prime Minister in waiting, and challenge either the Queen, or the other parties to reject him.  In the meantime, Labour should be doing what it said it would always do under Corbyn, which is to begin to mobilise a large-scale, extra-parliamentary social movement.  That movement should demand that Brexit be stopped, and that Johnson's right-wing Bonpartist government be thrown out.  It should demand that Corbyn be made Prime Minister, in order to call and organise a General Election.

Labour should commit to taking Britain back into the EU, if it wins a General Election, thereby cutting the legs from beneath the Liberals.  Not only is that the principled internationalist position to adopt, but it is the electorally sensible position to take, as Leavers are now in a minority, and the majority for being in the EU grows by the day, purely on the basis of demography.

In the meantime, Labour's rank and file membership should be organising such an extra-parliamentary mobilisation, with demonstrations and rallies in every major town and city, and via motions in trades unions and trades councils, calling for industrial actin up to and including a General Strike to stop a No Deal Brexit, and to prevent Johnson's Bonapartist government from ignoring a no confidence motion or delaying a General Election until after Brexit.

Time is tight, and its is necessary to mobilise now with the greatest expedition and vigour.  No concessions to the Liberals that created this mess in the first place.  Stop Brexit, and mobilise for an internationalist, socialist alternative, now.

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