How does this stupid attack on Tom Watson help Corbyn?

by Kevin Meagher

Of all the miscues, own goals and careless steps onto garden rakes in recent Labour Party history, last night’s Twitter campaign under the hashtag #ResignWatson is the most senseless and ludicrous so far.

What’s the message? Well, it’s pretty unequivocal: Tom Watson should resign for warning in an interview with The Observer, that there is an urgent need to address the anti-Semitism row engulfing Labour in order to ever win a general election, ‘or disappear into a vortex of eternal shame and embarrassment.’

His critics – the trolls and fruitcakes of social media – logically believe that a) Labour should not address the problem or that b) There is no problem to address.

Clearly, both points are delusional. What’s more, Jeremy Corbyn thinks there’s a problem with anti-Semitism that needs fixing.

‘People who dish out antisemitic poison need to understand: you do not do it in my name. You are not my supporters and have no place in our movement,’ he wrote in The Guardian as recently as last Friday.

Surely all Watson has done is echo Corbyn?

Yes, the party risks being scarred by the taint of anti-Semitism after months of agonising coverage – courtesy of a Jew-hating lunatic fringe that has attached itself to the party – and something needs doing about it.

This has culminated in two former Labour ministers – both with deep ties to the Jewish community – facing disciplinary action for giving vent to their frustrations about the weakness of dealing with the problem that Jeremy Corbyn fully accepts exists. Indeed, Watson’s remedy is modest enough:

‘I think it is very important that we all work to de-escalate this disagreement,’ Watson said ‘and I think it starts with dropping the investigations into Margaret Hodge and Ian Austin.’

‘Ah, but Tom’s not really talking about anti-Semitism – he’s making a coded attack on Jeremy,’ goes for what passes as a thought process on the hard left.

Surely the smart move from those Corbynistas who felt Watson was in some way being disloyal would have been to chide him for stating the bleeding obvious?

Instead, we get a high-profile, well-organised campaign to undermine the party’s Deputy Leader.

Exactly how does any of this help Jeremy Corbyn?

At the very least, it’s externalises tensions at the top of the party, forcing him to denounce the campaign to undermine his deputy in his very next interview. If he doesn’t, then, by implication, he associates himself with the attack. And on the story goes: Labour splits and anti-Semitism.

It’s a lose-lose scenario borne of the essential fact that so many of the people who hitch their wagon to Jeremy Corbyn just don’t care whether Labour ever wins an election again.

What’s particularly irksome, though, is that those closest to him show not an ounce of judgement in stopping this madness.

Personally, I thought Corbyn did himself some good with his Guardian piece. At least it was an attempt – or so it seemed – to act as a firebreak in this wretched run of coverage for the party.

Alas not.

My previous post was about the need for the Labour Leader to show us in word and deed that he is committed to co-existence rather than conflict, otherwise the party’s best days are truly behind it.

As we begin another week in the life of the party, resolutely not talking about jobs and housing, it’s a question he needs to answer with even more urgency.

Kevin Meagher is the associate editor of Uncut

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12 Responses to “How does this stupid attack on Tom Watson help Corbyn?”

  1. Richard MacKinnon says:

    ‘vortex of eternal shame’
    That is the language of the desperate.
    I sense the tide is now turning.

  2. John P Reid says:

    Three of the people I got kicked out the Labour Party for anti semitism are the ones calling for Watson to go

  3. paul barker says:

    I still think that Labour Centrists dont fully grasp the size of the gulf between them & the Current Leadership. They dont think like you or want the same things. Splitting Labour is part of their plan & how you respond is really not that important to them. They win either way.

  4. Tom Smith says:

    As a long standing supporter of the Labour party it is with great sadness I watch the party of equality tearing its apart over something which is totally alien to moat supporters. I feel this whole episode shows how unfit to lead a party Jeremey Corbyn is when faced with difficult problems he seems like a rabbit caught in the headlights.
    There is no doubt he is a fantastic campaigner who can galvanise support but he has no idea how to organise an effective opposition. I suggest he reads Bim Pimlotts biography of Harold Wilson to see how a leader in opposition works every day to a change of government. This is not about policies of left or right its about competency to do the job and I think he has shown himself to be pretty incompetent as a leader.

  5. anosrep says:

    It doesn’t. And I say that as a ‘Corbynista’. Sadly some on the left mistake our movement for a cult, consider any criticism of Corbyn unforgivable and consider defending Corbyn more important than defending Jews (though, that said, there are also some on the right of the party who care more about attacking Corbyn than attacking antisemitism).

  6. Tafia says:

    Interesting how the Margaret Hodge thing has developed today.

    It now means that either Hodge is deliberately lying or the Labour Chief Whip is.

  7. Vern says:

    It’s all a bit repetitive now isn’t it. And in very simple terms this was not evident and certainly not tolerated until The Magic Grandad took over the party. When you lurch left or right you will invariably find the undesirables who have been kept at arms length for the good of the party.
    I will say it once more – there must have been a very good reason why Corbyn was kept “back of house” for 30 years.
    If this is the new Messiah of politics we have good reason to be bloody disappointed.
    Well Jeremy, it would appear that it is you that doesn’t speak for the decent folk who support the Labour Party.

  8. efcdons says:

    The “row” can not be addressed because it isn’t meant to be addressable. The whole thing is clearly part of the ongoing campaign to undermine Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party. There is nothing Corbyn could do to mollify his critics. Well, except stand down I suppose.

    The coverage in the media is not due to some natural occurrence like gravity. It has been the result of choices by PLP members to keep the issue in the public eye with the media gatekeepers providing the venue.

    Compare, for example, the instances of high level tory MP Islamophobia. That hasn’t created a “row” because the party isn’t making it into an issue, trolling the internet for random tory supporters Islamophobic posts, and then writing editorials about how “everyone knows” the tories have a problem with Islamophobia.

    The whole thing is so blatantly obvious. Seeing Hodge and Austin shaking with self righteous anger is just infuriating. It is so over the top.

    In the US there was an attempt to create the same sort of “row” around Bernie Sanders. But because he didn’t win the nomination and he is Jewish, the charges of anti-semitism were ineffectual and not really pushed to the same level they are being pushed against Corbyn. Though there was plenty of similar “guilt by association” smears, trying to tie Sanders to some activist or another who ever said something vaguely critical of the current Israeli government.

  9. Anne says:

    I agree with a lot that is in this article. JC demonstrates poor leadership skills – he sees to react to events rather than lead. We have the worst Tory government in modern times while Labour does not seem to be making any headway. We are heading for a no deal Brexit and the absolute chaos that will cause. It is also said that some in the shadow cabinet are not up to their jobs – if we had able people in some of these prominent positions we could work around JCs failings.

  10. John P Reid says:


    Imagine if David Miliband had Returned. in 2015 become leader said “Ed Miliband was wrong to denounce New Labour”,

    then lost a Election in 2017 & David said “I lost as the public still didn’t like Ed in 2015”, with David miliband, thinking non unionized middle class voters were the way to win elections.

    I’d still be as much against that New New labour, as I would be Momentum ,both ignore those who aspire but don’t want to forget their WC routes, and also ignore the WC who they can’t understand the culture, both are centralized globalsits, difference is Blairites aren’t ignoring anti semitism

  11. Vern says:

    The party’s best hope is to begin preparing Andy Burnham who will have gained the necessary statesmanship from his tenure as Mayor of Manchester. After Brexit we will need to focus on people again and this is Labour’s strength.

    Thankfully, people have now woken up to the fact that The Magic Grandad is a phoney. Even Anne! Only Joking.

  12. I guess Tom figures this deputy leadership is a job for life. Hopefully we can get some rule changes in the near future to stop all this nonsense. If Tom has the following he can stand again.

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