Courage or supplication. Whither now Labour?

by Robert Williams

If you are reading this and Jeremey Corbyn is still leader of the Labour party, then the party has barely started in its collapse.

After Labour’s worst defeat since 1935, in which they lost 60 seats and gained one, seats went Tory that had never previously been anything but Labour since they were created, they lost 2 million votes.

All this against the worst government of any sort in British history, which has been in power for the last nine years, and with Boris Johnson as leader, described thus by the redoubtable Chris Grey “Even if it were not for Brexit, the prospect of a country run by a compulsive liar whose fake bonhomie scarcely conceals a priapic, vicious, moral void would be a woeful one.”.

This was a historic defeat at a time of national crisis, and we are all set to suffer the consequences, which will be dire. There are no upsides of “Brexit certainty” apart from the absolute certainty that we will be worse off and with fewer rights and opportunities.

So we are in deep, deep trouble as a country. We have a new government that will not bring us together but which will make the divisions much, much worse. And we have no functioning opposition worthy of the name.

Corbyn and his team are promising to spend the next three months “reflecting” on the results. That will mean, for a start, Jeremy Corbyn facing Boris Johnson at PMQs for the next three months. Labour MPs – the ones that survived – will have to sit in grim purgatory listening to the man who led them to defeat waffle on about what a nasty country we are, or austerity, or anything, actually, as Johnson swats him away time and time again. How can any of them face that weekly humiliation?

Even David Cameron had the decency to resign after his referendum debacle. Corbyn has no such honour. In fact, his refusal to quit is about party domination. His reputation in utter shreds, he doesn’t care. This “kind and honourable man” is intent solely on keeping the rancid purity and sterile opposition in place.

So how can Labour MPs pretend to be serious politicians in a serious party when they will be shown as neither, week after week after week? How can they pretend to go through with the farce of an investigation into “what went wrong”, led by the man and his team who caused the calamity to happen?

How can they allow themselves to be led along a timetable organised by the Corbyn cult, with the sole aim of securing a successor who is equally inept, incompetent, politically toxic and ideologically fossilised?

The short answer is that it will be cowardice and betrayal on a scale even greater than we have seen already. It will be tribal loyalty to a party they have no control over and, if the Corbyn cult succeed, will cease to exist in a few months, or years at most.

All Labour MPs from what I will call the “sane” wing of the party have a duty to their party and to the country, as a matter of extreme urgency, to force Corbyn and the entire Shallow Cabinet and team of advisors and flunkies out of their roles immediately.

They must be ruthless and stand up to the shrill voices blaming everyone else – the media, the “moderates”, not supporting Brexit, “Blairites” for what is their failure alone. If Corbyn does not go, they must walk away together.

Not incidentally, they should have walked away with Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes and the other MPs who found the courage to leave. That they did not is one of those Sliding Doors moments that will define us for years to come.

The urgency is that we have the most right wing government in British history, determined to re make the country in their own image – authoritarian, intolerant,  insular, populists. They have a majority of seats, but not votes. They have a media that cheer leads and will not scrutinise.

They are also about to discover, as many of us already know, that Brexit will be an unmitigated disaster with no upsides. And without an opposition to fight them, to scrutinise and call out every lie, the government will put the blame on the EU, immigrants and any Remainers who are vocal in calling out the lies and delusions.

If you thought the last four years were a terrible, unceasing nightmare, the next few years will be far, far worse. We have to have a credible opposition or all hope will, indeed, be lost.

Robert Williams works in communications

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23 Responses to “Courage or supplication. Whither now Labour?”

  1. Alf says:

    Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes and the other MPs who found the courage to leave all lost their seats. Because they are centrists!

    Also, I was reminded today that Keir Starmer was a chicken coup plotter. I had forgotten that. Don’t vote for him.

  2. John P Reid says:

    I love Ava Vidal and Ash sarker putting up who they’re backing for labour leader,
    Neither are labour members neither have any intention of joining or paying the £3
    Still if they back another no hoper it’s a good that they see labour lose in 2024

  3. anon says:

    What an absolute perversion of truth this is.

    I absolutely hold no candle for Jeremy Corbyn, but what was he left with ?

    The Blair/Brown government introduced a minimum wage: a low bar that every multi-national, multi-million pound profit-making company came down to.
    Those low wages were bailed out using tax payers’ money through the tax credit system.

    To compound the problems caused by low wages, Labour then opened the floodgates to cheap labour:

    John Reid: “The Treasury insisted on having a free flow of labour because they thought that brought down the cost of labour,”

    Added to by one Andrew Burnham: “It (immigration) has made life harder for people in our poorest communities, where wages have been undercut and job security lost.”

    I began my working life with the backing of a Labour Party devoted to doing the best for me – backed up by trades unions fighting for my rights: we now have a Labour Party that is willing to replace me with people enticed from their families in poorer countries, and a Labour Party that is quite willing to let the Brussels crooks be the arbiters of what ‘rights’ I may or may not have.

    I’ve gone from a young man with the Labour Party fighting for our people to now being a persona non grata; a ‘nationalist’, ‘populist’, or – the new kid on the block – a ‘nativist’.
    Where is this “sane” section of Labour: the sane section of the Labour Party in power treated the UK’s working class people like dirt: why should they now condemn the Tories for doing the same?

    Contributors to Labour Uncut still have their fingers in their ears.

    BTW – I was one of a long line of people who were stood outside Parliament and begging the people inside for a vote on the Lisbon Treaty: the usually-gobby Mike Gapes slithered by, looking through the corner of his eye at people he had no intention of speaking to, and even had a complete contempt for.
    Good riddance to all those named.

  4. John P Reid says:

    Jess Philips like Morrisey ,is my New Hero
    , I can’t stand Morriseys music , but the fact he pi@ses off so many of the Guardian elite student left in the Labour Party is his strength , Its the same As Jess Philips I can’t take her serious as A politician
    But the fact the identity politics lot dislike her, makes her cool, irony of irony she’s just as all for identity politics as they are

  5. Richard MacKinnon says:

    Up until I read, “If Corbyn does not go, they (Labour MPs) must walk away together.” I thought this article was an accurate and incisive piece. I might disagree with small details as in “Corbyn and his team are promising to spend the next three months……………”. I find it more helpful to see this present struggle for power within the BLP as ‘McCluskey and his team…………..’ Im not sure Corbyn has much of a say any longer, inside the bunker.
    Why do I take issue with the author at this point with this statement? I think it is niaive of Robert William’s to think that there is any chance that Labour’s remaining MPs are going to walk away enmasse, now, after surviving the blitz. They have just won a 5 year contract of employment. They will not risk that.
    There are other ways to force McCluskey, Milne, Murphy, Corbyn and all the other hangers on out.
    Ridicule in the case of Corbyn. Jeremy does not like being made a fool of and if he wont go then subject him to it Unrelenting. Derision. Its all that he deserves. The ideological pure dont like it when they are laughed at.
    In the case of McCluskey and his entourage, cut the ties. Banish him. Voters dont understand his power and influence. He is scary to ordinary people. If it means Labour has to find a new funding model then do it. If the new Labour leader is serious about winning in 5 years time then they have to put an ocean between The Party and malignant influence of Len McCluskey.

  6. John p Reid says:

    Literally Rebecca Long baileys team, have started smear campaigns against Jess Philips and Lisa nandy calling them supporters of the terrorist state israel and anti strand
    Despite they’re both very pro Palestine , Nandy supports self identifying and Philips protested against the Muslim parents who wanted their kids not taught about trans gender at Birmingham schools

    It’s says in the spectator that of nandy it Philips teams criticise these false accusations long baskets team will sue them
    Momentum/ Milne Mclusky will stop at no depths to prevent anyone but ELB from becoming leader
    Are these slurs really what they think will win it for RLB?

  7. John p Reid says:

    Again I’d actually have Angela Rayner than Starmer for leader but the Trots are smearing anyone who doesn’t want Corbyn preferred choice

  8. John P Reid says:

    Actually the quote “blue labour are referring to the north voting Tory, as the working class ‘implies blue labour think the working class are white’ As the Multi ethnic working class in London still voted labour” comment from Corbynistas is them assuming there’s no Black working class northerners who voted tory for the first time

  9. steve says:

    Face up to it, the Party’s over.

    Starmer, Alistair Campbell and co. with their ‘Peoples’ Vote’ nonsense are the architects of Labour’s defeat.

    They thought they knew better than the electorate.

    And now delusional Blairites will be expecting a return to the glory day’s of ’97 at the next general election.

    But it ain’t going to happen.

    No more careers for Blairites, no more handsomely rewarded stipends for ‘communication consultants’, no more parachutes for Labour Students graduates.

    It’s over.

    Get used to it.

  10. Vern says:

    Who on earth is the “redoubtable” Chris Grey?

  11. John p Reid says:

    People won’t like to accept it but the last half of this interview are the policies labour need

  12. John p Reid says:

    Steve has a point I think labour will just be the city of Newcastle, Liverpool Manchester and London

    The Tories will double in size then 15 years from now Split into A south West Luberal Cameron party and a Ester Mcvey Blue collar Conservative party
    Then by 2055 they will be the 2 new parties in Britain

    And labour will be a middle age student protest ground longer a political party
    As predicted in the road to Wigan peer

    Check this out

  13. John P Reid says:

    The race to be in charge of Rebecca long baileys campaign has seen a argument between the Stalinism’s and the trotskyites Splitters !

  14. Tafia says:

    Labour needs to understand that the centre of British politics moved rightwards under Thatcher and has stayed there ever since – and it isn’t coming back. The centre of British politics is somewgere in the Johnson camp. Centre-Left across the whole spectrum would be a slightly softer Blairism. That is reality – adapt to it or perish.

    People are far more aspirational now. Ordinary workers want to get on, buy houses and new cars and admire those that are doing so. (And at this point a little note to Labour – nurses are not poor outside the south-east so constantly banging-on about their pay is NOT going to win you votes north of Watford). In most of the UK nurses, police, fire, ambulance, the armed forces, teachers etc are regarded as good jobs, secure, with a decent pension scheme. We even have a joke round here – in London nurses use foodbanks, here they are BTL landlords).

    Labour will not win from the Left. The current centre of Labour is regarded as far Left by the broad electorate, the Left of Labour as raving loonies.

    Labour needs someone of the ilk of Flint, Jarvis, Cooper or Burnham – and they in turn need the ability and power to select their own manifesto without interference by the BEC, the membership or Lansman’s revolutionary vanguard.

    They need someone like Blair (who was excellent as PM other than the lie that led to war) and they need to politics of New Labour and until the membership accept that then they will continue to lose.

    PS – that ridiculous voting right is still in effect. It’s £2.50 to join for unwaged, with no checks, and full voting rights. I only know because it’s doing the rounds on facebook and I know people who have joined in the last couple of days, so that they can vote for Rebecca Wrong Daily (who is a fraud and blagger incidentally and nowhere near as working class as she makes out) and thus ensure Labour remains unelectable.

  15. Tafia says:

    John P Reid – As the Multi ethnic working class in London still voted labour” comment from Corbynistas is them assuming there’s no Black working class northerners who voted tory for the first time

    Indeed. I maintain close links with people in Oldham and Heywood and in all those seats ( Oldham East, Oldham West, Heywood, Ashton-U-L ) large amounts of asian Muslims switched from Labour/Lib Dem to Tory for the first time ever. Labour took a battering across Oldham with Debbie Abrahams now in a marginal and publicly far less cocky than she was and the smile truly wiped off Jim ‘the mouth’ McMahon’s face, and Angela Rayner given a massive wake-up-call and with Heywood going blue for the first time ever. All due to Labour leavers and the asian muslim block vote, and a lesser extent the hindu vote as well, openly and very publicly switching to the blue of Tory and even Brexit Party.

    And of bigger concern to Labour, what the experience of Scotland shows is that once a core voter switches, they find it far far easier to do the same again and party loyalty vanishes.

  16. steve says:

    “no upsides of “Brexit certainty” ”

    Those are the words of the politically bankrupt and would serve well as an epitaph for centrists.

    As if the EU is the high-point of political achievement.

    Ask people how the world could be made a better place – only the Blairite Westminster elite will included ‘EU’ in their reply.

  17. Anne says:

    Robert, I agree with a lot you have written but not it all. I believe Chucka made a mistake – a miscalculation- in leaving the Labour Party, but I understand why. If I am honest many sensible people did say that Corbyn’s leadership would end in tears but I tried to believe it would work out. I have to say I was shocked at the scale of the result of the election.
    I do think that people were fed up with Brexit and the slogan ‘get Brexit done’ did have an impact. Tonight’s news never mentioned Brexit once. However, we do know in reality that Brexit is only just beginning – we still need to keep focused on this. I still believe that Kier Starmer is the right person for leader – he has all the qualifications required for the job. Not totally decided on deputy – but of the people whose names are in the frame – possibly Angela Raynor.

  18. steve says:

    @John p Reid Go back to the Blairite solution with a marketised NHS and the neoliberalism of the the EU? Nah, don’t think so.

    It really is odd how the centrist cult refuses to accept the reality identified and acted upon by the electorate.

    This clip accurately sums-up the attitude of Labour’s centrists:

  19. Ian says:

    Anyone who genuinely wants to think about the challenges facing Labour should listen to this:

  20. JoHn p Reid says:

    Steve, Brave of your to call the momentum Corbynite Remain left of Paul mason centrists

    This is the problem
    People old under 35 in the party thought there was new labour Gordon Brown saying British jobs for British workers, Ed milibands control migration mugs
    Then the left re wrote history that a Corbyn was the only person in the Labour Party in the 80’s at the GLC who was against Aparthied and section 28
    So despite new labour and a Corbynites being
    Both middle class London liberal guardian remainers into identity politics
    Half of the Labour Party who were socially conservative brexit working class and blue I’ll at
    Were not recognised by the party as existing
    And when they did exist
    Corbynites said they were blairites and prejudice for being into quotes like British jobs did British workers
    Not realising that they didn’t rate free broadband cheaper train fares if it was nationalised,it not have to pay university fees as their kids didn’t want to go to university anyway
    And didn’t want their areas desecrated with demographic changes

    Even now they call Jess Philips q blairite though she quit the party over Iraq
    And Lisa nandy a tiey though she’s to the left of Ed Miliband

  21. John P Reid says:

    Got to the stage where if someone doesn’t Agree with Corbyn, they were a blairite and now if anyone who doesn’t agree with the momentum view “Corbyn won the argument”
    They’re a blue labour lexiter ,I just read that labour future are called that despite backing corbyn andy slaughter and Palestine

  22. John Stockport says:

    I would encourage anyone to subscribe to Tim Pool and Timcast channels on YT.

    Tim is a centre-left US democrat that is in despair of the democrats.

    It’s over. Brexit is happening and the left have failed spectacularly as a national political force for the 20s.

    There’ll be a realignment eventually – perhaps Lab blending with a new political force. Apart from that, unless you understand why people rejected free movement and want more control over their lives and how the Conservatives are extending their appeal I’d stick to doing a `Rosie Barnes` and start devoting time to gardening.

    No good tackling issues if you can’t work with the new paradigm.

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