The contest for the leadership of the Labour Party turned out to be quite exciting. The outsider, Jeremy Corbyn (JC), romped home. The gang of three (Burnham, Copper & Kendell) created the “anyone but Corbyn” movement. That didn’t go so well and Burnham broke rank. There was the expected back biting, mud-slinging and insults. The biggest insult, however, was the way we the public, the electorate, were treated by the political establishment and the establishment media. They sought to besmirch the character of a man whom is allegedly insignificant and believed that the Labour membership and public would blindly follow because they are so powerful or we are so stupid or perhaps both.
During the election campaign attempts where made to persuade the voters and the public that the party membership had been infiltrated and consequently the election stopped. Andy Burnham’s team expressed concerns over infiltrations by Conservatives. Labour MP Barry Sheerman concern was that it was coming from “the Socialist Workers Party” and others. The finger had also been pointed at the Far Left, The BNP, Scottish and Welsh nationalists. I am sure that there had been some infiltration. I found it laughable to propose that a significantly large volume of people, from any persuasion, had joined the Labour Party to vote for JC to keep Labour in opposition. The 2020 election is set to be a difficult one for Labour who need to gain at least 106 seats which are geographically distributed across the country and diverse. Infiltration could not explain the overwhelming support. The ridiculousness of the claim is evident from watching a JC rally. Unless the footage is of the infiltrators. In which case they are a pretty convincing and diverse bunch.
Then we had the Labour Grandees including David Milliband and Gordon Brown trying to dictate how the members should vote. Tony Blair said ‘even if you hate me’ the election of JC ‘would take Labour over the cliff edge’. If the tactics in the previous paragraph spoke to politicians thinking that people are gullible, Tony Blair believes the people think he is important. The furthest thing on the minds of the voting members that I know, was voting because they hated Tony Blair. I would suggest that his view was as insignificant to the membership vote as the public’s million march against the Iraq war was to him. Perhaps, somebody should tell him he is not important anymore.
The forward thrust of the Corbyn movement and I must emphasize it was un-coordinated and unplanned, was not halted, but rather it grew. In response the smearing became toxic in order to halt the growing support. JC was branded a racist and an anti-Semite. The basis for these claims is that he is a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Also his proposal of having a two-way arms embargo on Israel. Even taking into account that he had met with terrorists, it is a serious allegation built on sand. Ghandi wrote to Hitler and addressed him as friend, this did not make him a Nazi anymore than it makes JC a racist for meeting with disgruntled people. If we follow the logic against Corbyn, then the Bush family, friends and business partners of the Bin Laden family are? …. JC is known for campaigning for social justice throughout his 40-year political career. Even the Spectator has noted his ‘antipathy towards bigotry seems wholly genuine’. The racist smear was so incredibly weak there must have been a presumption that we have pliable minds and are easily led.
Throughout his campaign, JC has focused on the policies. Central to his ideals is democracy. He is implementing a ‘bottom up’ approach to policy creation and not imposing his ideas as policy. That should remove any barriers from working with him.
Nevertheless, a number of Labour MP’s have refused to work with JC. Jamie Reed has resigned from the shadow frontbench and a number of other shadow cabinet ministers are set to do the same. Their behavior displays a lack of integrity and sends out the message that they disapprove of their party members’ selection. They should not only resign from the shadow frontbench but from Parliament at the next election, if not before. They are not fit for purpose. An MP is not there in a personal capacity but as a representative of the people and the party.
Corbyn’s achievement is remarkable. British political engagement had hit an all time low. The Tories have a mere 12 seat majority and along with Labour and the Lib-Dems have only one seat each in Scotland. Corbyn’s election victory was based on a Labour Party membership that has swollen to 3 times its size since May 2015. They received 168,000 new members, a record number of registrations in one day. He won by 60% of the votes from a membership of around 600,000. His victory has dwarfed even the mandate for Tony Blair in 1994.
We were warned that voting for JC would be a mistake. This is bizarre. Translated, it means, we the people are incapable of electing a leader. Maybe, those who voted for JC should be disenfranchised at the next general election in the interests of national security!
Dianne Abbott correctly identified that ‘The British political class is frozen with fear because the energy behind him has the power to disrupt and to change and transform politics.’ The Establishment will continue to smudge the truth. The Tory attack has been lined up and the theme not surprisingly is national security.
We have been poisoned against immigrants, turned against trade unions, lied to about the 2008 banking crisis and turned against our neighbours and those less fortunate. We are fed propaganda to move us like political pawns. We are now expected to believe that JC is the ‘end of days’. It is strange how a man that is considered unelectable not only wins the leadership contest for the Labour Party but polls as the most popular candidate across party lines. It shows that you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time. It is time for politicians to take note and at last treat the electorate with some respect and not as if we are entirely stupid.