Dear hard left: you broke it, you own it.

by Rob Marchant

After such a defeat, there has been extraordinarily little soul-searching by the Corbynite left, in case we should have expected any.

To go by some of the comments by frontbenchers and their media outriders, it is apparently the people who have erred, not the Labour party, rather recalling Brecht’s poem about “dissolving the people and electing another one”.

Even now, there still seems a question mark over exactly when Corbyn will go, even if it is abundantly clear he must.

No Labour leader has ever survived two election defeats, let alone the worst defeat in the best part of a century and, for afters, likely censure by an anti-racism watchdog in a matter of weeks’ time.

But own it the Corbynite leadership must, because barely anyone else was even at the table (we might make an exception for Keir Starmer, but the point is probably somewhat moot).

All Corbyn supporters in the party are not hard left, of course. There have always been three distinct groups: them; the influx of bright-eyed idealists who thought Corbyn nice and were too young to know his history or Labour’s; and the soft left of throughout the party’s history, decent people who did not care to dig too deeply into the views of a man who, like Miliband before him, made all the right noises.

The young idealists, one imagines, will drift away again at some point, once they realise that the party is now genuinely riddled with cranks and racists. Many of the soft left may well stay, perhaps slightly chastened.

But it is the long-time Trots, tankies and Stalinists who are still there at the top, running the show. This is evident fact, rather than the smears they constantly , and those of us who have been around for a while knew them long before they came to run the party. Apart from the parliamentary duo of Corbyn and McDonnell, we have the four Ms: Milne, Murray, McCluskey, Murphy. All people who seriously revere a 20th century regime which killed quite a lot more people than Hitler.

These people represent the cancer which needs to be removed from any positions of power in the party if it is to survive.

Once upon a time, the party used to understand this. Like liberty, as the American founding fathers wrote, the price of electability is eternal vigilance. Against extremists.

Ed Miliband thought it was time to relax this fuddy-duddy vigilance thing, following the “control-freak” New Labour years and, through his term as leader, they started to trickle back through into the membership. And, of course, the £3 membership changes let in a flood of these old-fashioned tankies. It is this group which will now have to be ruthlessly removed if the party is ever going to survive.

Some, as the dust settles, are still trying the “big tent – One Labour – period of healing” approach. That we ought to all look for common ground and evolve together into something better.

Nope. It ain’t gonna fly. Not now, not ever. You cannot save anything from this disaster: destroy and rebuild is the only way.

You can take some of the more reflective people from the other two groups with you into a renewed party. You cannot take the hard left, because they do not want to change, ever. They will fight you to the death.

The only way to get them out is to do what Neil Kinnock and Joyce Gould did, pick them off group by group, council by council, member by member. It is hard and thankless work but it must be done. No other remedy is possible. Momentum must not be allowed to run a rival conference and a rival, cuckoo-like power structure.

The Labour Party now has a matter of months to get itself a proper leader and head back towards sanity. Another fool or knave for a leader will result in the party’s demise.

If you think this sounds extreme, think about this: strange as it may seem, in the recent months of self-inflicted disaster, the party has just had the luckiest of escapes. If Jo Swinson’s Lib Dems had been anywhere as sharp as Labour were in the twenties and thirties, when the Liberals were in trouble, they would have hit the tipping point and switched places with Labour, just as Labour did to them back then.

But 2019 Labour will not be so lucky a second time. Activists and particularly moderate MPs, many of whom have been keeping their heads down the last few years, now have a frighteningly short time to act decisively against the far left, while they are still on the back foot. Local party organisations and the NEC must be released from the grip of the Corbynites and it needs to start now.

And yes, we’re talking about you. You people broke this party, now you own the defeat. Not to put too fine a point on it, it is time for you, your leaders and all your tankie mates to pack your bags and get out of this party. The grown-ups want it back.

Rob Marchant is an activist and former Labour party manager who blogs at The Centre Left

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12 Responses to “Dear hard left: you broke it, you own it.”

  1. Alf says:

    We need to go back to being “tougher on welfare than the Tories”. We also need to be Remain/Revoke on Brexit. We need to grin a bit more. A little bit of dog-whistle immigrant bashing would be a good idea too. Northern heartlands? We’d sweep to power!

  2. Carol says:

    Somewhere down the line I think you need Andy Burnham as leader. I can think of nobody else who would have broad appeal. And he is gaining experience in Manchester of actually running something. Not yet – maybe in a year or so.

  3. Tafia says:

    Corbyn is a male appendage yes, and Brexit or no Brexit he would only ever lead you to defeat. But what has destroyed you up North and here across North Wales is Starmer, Thornberry, Benn, Cooper and others continually trying to destroy Brexit.

    You utter utter idiots. And if you end up with any of that ‘Gang of Four’ running the show when Corbyn scarpers, I’ll go straight down the Bookies and put fifty quid on the Tories getting over 400 at the next outing.

    You now need somehow to find a leader that :-

    a. Accepts Brexit
    b. Took no part in Peoples Vote, trying to overturn etc, etc etc
    c. Is not and never has been a Corbynite
    d. Does not come from a ‘metro’ seat.

    Quite where you are going to get one from i have no idea. But if you think Starmer, Thornberry et al or any of the younger names being mentioned – Rayner, Becky Wrong-Daily, Burgon etc are an answer then you need your heads banging. Nandy you might just – just, get away with.

    You need to drop the identity politics bollocks, the drivel of diversity, all the gender nonsense – your core blue collar vote thinks it’s rubbish – not because you haven’t made the case, they are sick to death of you ‘making the case’, but because it’s total and utter politically correct rubbish and regarded by your blue collar core as the ramblings of students cock-wombles, intellectual marxist tossers and a metropolitan elite.

    Put some sort of caretaker set-up in place, very quickly either retire an MP or two from a seat outside a city, preferably from north of Watford or here in Wales, or quickly ‘butter-up’ BoJo to get a couple of MPs enobled to create the vacancies that way, and get Flint, Jarvis,Burnham and give them a free handover policies, removing union block votes etc etc. If you don’t, you are going to be destroyed next time ifyou don’t destroy yourselves in the meantime.

    Your defeat is far far worse than you realise I suspect. Ashcroft post-election polling and analysis (doesn’t hangaround does he), reveals that somewhere between 20% and 30% of your total vote this time out was ‘tactical’ and not yours. BoJo got the second highest General Election vote ever and more than Labour has ever got ever.

    Next time out, the boundary review will be in place. There will be fewer seats in Wales and Scotland, and the seats made roughly the same size population-wise which seriously hampers Labour. Almost certainly, some sort of pictoral acceptable ID requirement will be brought in to be shown at the polling station or connected for a postal vote (driving licence, passport etc) – it’s already in place in Northern Ireland and has been for years.

    Personally, I think you are stupid. I think you’ll pick a leader (probably Starmer) that will lead you to another catastrophic result and my 50 quid bet will be safe as houses.

    And remeber, it’s not about winning arguments, costed manifestos (what sort of nerd reads or believes them anyway?). It’s about a simple message thatsomeone sweeping floors or stacking shelves can understand in 30 seconds, and it’s about a simple slogan and banging it over and over again. Let’s get BREXIT done.

    Parliament resumes this week. BoJo cann send 70 MPs straight on holiday on a whim and still have a comfortable majority. BUT BREXIT WILL HAPPEN. We will leave in 6 weeks time. What are Labour’s post-Brexit policies? You haven’t got any is what.

    You have been beaten so badly that you no longer have any influence over anything in Parliament and may as well not bother turning up. You havebeen reduced to sitting on the sidelines.

    I can’t wait for the first PMQsof this term if Corbyn is still leader. BoJo will gut him.


    This is Great Britain. We are the greatest nation on earth. We are nobodys equals, we are better than all. We love our flag, we love our country, we love our national anthem. We are proud of our history and culture and ashamed of none of it and don’t apologise for any of it. We love our Queen, we love our flag (and we want to see more of it), we love our Armed Forces and our ‘blue lights’ and we love our nuclear weapons. We are tolerant of incomers on the condition that they understand they are guests and if they wish to remain then they become like us, but if they won’t integrate, then they aren’t welcome. If they commit crimes involving sex, violence, drugs, drink-driving or theft from the person then they are thrown out, no ifs, no buts. And any of our internal scummers that go around robbing, raping, beating and drug dealing we want jailing, for longer, with far stricter prisons. We don’t want people wandering in and out of this country at their leisure.

    But we, the blue collar working class from north of Watford, want no more of your middle class metro politically correct, tree-hugging diversity embracing nonsense. And if you don’t take that on board, then you don’t serve any use to us anymore so please just whither away quietly.


  4. roger ball says:

    No Alf Labour need to get back to reasonable ideas and policies that the average person can trust and believe in rather than the ‘sixth form’ brand of politics we’ve had under Corbyn & Momentum of the last few years.

  5. Now let’s see how many right wing moderates have been expelled under the Corbyn leadership. Any guesses?

    Oh well, not worry as with Rob’s advice the right will expel enough members to show us how to do it next time. Funny how that ‘broad church’ seems to move in one direction only.

  6. steve says:

    At last, the voice of common sense.

    Well done, Rob.

    Yes, they’re worse than Hitler – let’s dissolve them!

    As for the electorate, well, they clearly got it wrong over the EU vote – so let’s dissolve them also.

    If that proves a little awkward, how about we bring in Tony Blair’s friends from Saudi Arabia and Egypt – I’m sure they’ll offer good advice on how to deal with democracy!

    And let’s get Alistair Campbell back in at the double. Just think – we can have his New European newspaper as our Pravda!

    And with our Pravda (colour supplement featuring Tony Blair ‘at home’ soon, I hope!) we can rally the Peoples’ Vote movement – transforming it into the ‘Momentum’ behind a new, sensible, pro-business, pro-EU party.

    Let’s go, Rob. Forward!

  7. Anne says:

    Andy Burnham is a successful mayor of Greater Manchester – he certainly has the qualifications of leadership – not sure about the legalities regarding his being eligible however, or if he has even expressed an interest.

  8. Bob says:

    Tafia has said it all and why Labour lost biggly.

  9. ExLabour says:


    Well said sir take a bow. Unfortunately the Corbynistas don’t give a flying F**k about our opinions, they prefer the ” purity” of their argument.

  10. Dave Roberts says:

    Tafia as usual has summed it all up, nothing more to say.

  11. christopher seeger says:

    Tafia for PM. The only sense I’ve read about the Labour Party for years.

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