Crank Labour is disintegrating before our eyes. Tuesday’s NEC meeting will be critical in ensuring it doesn’t recover

by Rob Marchant

As Keir Starmer puts in two commendable first performances at PMQs, so the upper echelons of the Corbynite house of cards, thankfully, continue to collapse.

The Crank Labour caucus has largely reverted to type in an overt way: one wild fringe in a Zoom conference a couple of weeks back claimed that Labour is institutionally racist against black members, in order to muddy the waters as much as possible against the anti-Semitism accusations and, clumsily, to try and discredit the EHRC before it reports on Labour.

And that Zoom conference was nothing to a second one, a few days later, peddling a similar victim-narrative and where MPs Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy were snapped rubbing shoulders with a veritable Who’s Who of left anti-Semites, such as Tony Greenstein and Jackie Walker (h/t: Lee Harpin).

It is no longer, it seems, necessary to keep up pretences of common sense or decency.

Corbyn himself has also had an uneasy return to the backbenches: not only has he decided that he is too important to observe lockdown but, like an ageing rock star unable to grasp that the crowds are getting much smaller than they used to be, cannot quite get used to the new status quo. No longer hampered by sharp-eyed media advisers keeping him under control, he posts strange videos of himself, not observing lockdown: half of it him standing in the rain actual silence, the other half a shuffling, mostly inaudible tribute to frontline staff.

Politically he, too, has reverted to type: he is now happy to associate once again with the assorted freaks and anti-Semites at Stop the War (remember them? The supposedly anti-war gang who had no problem whatsoever with Assad killing about half a million of his own people in Syria, many with chemical weapons). And now again happy to sign up without reservation to 1980s-style statements on “class war”.

And then there is the infamous Formby “report” into anti-Semitism. A few weeks on, it doesn’t really look so credible, does it? As veteran Corbyn-watcher, Alan Johnson, notes, far from exonerating the Corbyn leadership, it is actually a tacit admission of guilt.

The icing on this cake, of course, is a report from the Jewish Chronicle that the EHRC is now seriously thinking of using it as evidence in its report into Labour anti-Semitism – in the exact opposite sense to that for which it was intentioned.

In other words, the report that was cobbled together by a couple of Corbynite back-roomers to try and rebut the anti-Semitism charges may just have ended up reinforcing them, as indeed the party’s own lawyers had feared it might.

Cut back to Starmer, doing a great job in Parliament. However, his main strategic challenge, should it need to be spelled out, is not Parliament or even holding Johnson to account, important though these things are.

If he ever wants to win an election, he has to sort out his party – undoubtedly the no.1 job for any leader in a situation like the present one. As it once was for Kinnock.

He is making progress, that is certain. And how much longer can the more thoughtful members on the party’s left continue to see these cranks as comrades, you ask?  Well, a little longer, it seems.

The Corbynite leadership is gone, its General Secretary gone, its staffers will soon be all but gone. But it still has the loyalty of some of the NEC and a good chunk of the party.

The first NEC meeting next Tuesday, about which everyone is keeping very quiet but which you can be sure is triggering frantic backroom manoeuvres, presents two opportunities.

First, to put down the attempted rearguard coup by Corbynites to install a sympathetic General Secretary and get someone sensible in, preferably one who has some clue about running elections, unlike the last. And second, to ensure NEC elections do take place this summer and are not deferred until next year.

The first is a pre-requisite to Starmer’s main objective, sorting out the party. Last week’s extension of the GS election timetable was a good step towards winning that battle, after the outgoing regime had attempted to impose a stupidly short, two-week timetable, one imagines to facilitate a stitch-up. There are also rumours of trying to change the voting system to Single Transferable Vote at that same NEC.

The second is also important, and will likely set back progress in various areas a year if put on the long finger – Starmer will continue to be dependent on tricky union votes if the 9 CLP seats are not all occupied by moderates, and those unions will want to exact their pound of flesh.

So we are back to dull-but-vital party machinations, which even the Parliamentary lobby barely understands, and of which it is difficult to say how they will pan out. Perhaps both will be lost, or perhaps they are already lost.

Either way, Tuesday’s NEC is shaping up to be one of the most decisive for years. A good performance in Parliament is helpful, but it is not enough, not even close. It is reviving the party which is the sine qua non.

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

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16 Responses to “Crank Labour is disintegrating before our eyes. Tuesday’s NEC meeting will be critical in ensuring it doesn’t recover”

  1. anosrep says:

    “Crank Labour” left the party last year to form Tinge UK.

  2. John P Reid says:

    A year ago Labour got to the stage where it was posting links to things By James Obrien and led by donkeys that was factually incorrect regarding Brexit
    , it was so hypocritical for momentum to tell members to F@@k off join the Tories , to have ignored complaints from those bullied out, despite when the members sent messages to region were ignored , And yet didn’t want to hear a word about the way labour was losing the Red wall  and The NEC got The party in debt yet we’ve had, or had money from unions but gave it away in Jez Fest
    when the mishandling was brought up by Jo Baxter at conference she was heckled by the trots , we warmed them it could could lose us seats but we were told to shut up, well the trots brought it in themselves
    If the members had no problems the inaccurate comments on what was our
    Brexit policy views when they put it on the Labours website page, so be it, yet when they were factually incorrect and bias yet the trots were quick enough to tell us members to shut up when we said it would be our worse ever defeat Yet the times We wanted them were ignored
    Bit they’ve lost the working class vote and it’s unlikely the party can have any more contact with the working class if they don’t accept the truth and listen to how they’ve destroyed the party

    because they’ll never accept the facts about putting incorrect bias stuff was dismissed when it applies to others who daid we should have revealed the grooming gang scandal or the anti semitism
    Then it was seen right for them not to speak but they were happy not to listen to those who said a 2nd referendum would be a disaster ,Incidently spiked is left wing and guido is a news outlet,

    As the trots got away with not accepting criticism as they prevented people from said I can’t responding to the inncorrect comments our on their site, as they blocked, everyone

  3. John P Reid says:

    but when members put up facts about labour would miss the working class if we had another referendum with remain in the ballot paper, it was ignored as the idea the working class would vote Tory was ignored as it doesn’t apply to thinking they would t vote labour and no one wanted to get them express the truth
    They’d walk and vote Tory

  4. Dave Roberts says:

    There is an unfortunate illusion among Labour’s sensible members that the war is over now that Starmer has been elected Party Leader. There has to be a purge of the parties structures and branches as well as membership and maybe some MPs will have to have the Whip withdrawn. In the latter category I nominate Limehouse and Poplar MP Apsana Begum who jumped a long social housing list to get a prime riverside flat when she was already adequately housed and Ilford MP Sam Tarry who had the nomination for him arranged by Jon Lansman when false allegations of sexual harassment were made against an Asian front runner which were later dropped.

  5. A.Mouse says:

    On the day of the next General Election when Labour realise the knighted North London multi £millionaire human rights lawyer who advocated Remain is more toxic to the working class than Corbyn will be perhaps when Labour finally start listening.

    I doubt it personally. The loss of Scotland, the North & Midlands and soon South Wales seems to have done nothing to change the nonsense from the party that is obsessed with climate change and open borders in the times of global pandemics and food banks.

    Labour doesn’t deserve to exist since it represents only a bunch of middle class student types and the wealthy and not those it was formed to act for.

  6. Tafia says:

    Well said John P Reid.

    Starmer does well at PMQs at he moment because the situation suits him – he can stand at the Despatch box and ramble to his hearts content largelyundisturbed. Once Parliament sits properly again after summer, he is going tohaveto put up withall the jeering, mocking, and the constant interruptions every couple of sentences – everything he doesn’t like.

    The Polling this weekend showing a decline in support for government handling doesn’t show the full picture. ‘Drilling Down’ shows that’s what’s actually happend is the range of choices has changed. Up until a week ago there were two choices – you were either:-

    A.) For the lockdown (the government and opposition position)
    B.) Against it.

    A straight ‘Binary Choice’. Both of these choices no longer exist – they have been replaced by three new choices:-

    A.) Johnsons rate of easing lockdown (the 5 point plan)
    B.) A slower rate.
    C.) A faster rate.

    Although B & C combined are bigger than A, B & C have absolutely nothing in common with each other, are nearer A than each other, and neither is as big as A on it’s own. And anyone who disagrees with A, also disagrees with one of B or C. And there in is the elephant trap. Should Starmer disagree with A, then he MUST support either B or C and automatically is against the majority of the public. For example, if he supports B, he’s not just against A but A & C. So he’s trapped in a position of criticising but not supporting a choice – which is never a good place to be.

  7. Fascinates me when people like Rob call Jews anti-Semites. Seems like they can do it with no embarrassment.

  8. John P Reid says:

    keir ought to Get Yvette Cooper in the front bench,she’s right on Freedom of movement and Carmine flint in the lords on the snob issues

  9. John P Rieid says:

    Danny Speoght

    You are getting lesbians being accused homophobia because they don’t want to have sex with men who wears dresses with penises who also called themselves lesbians, no different to what you say, when they don’t want to have lesbian sex with a man and are called both trans phobic and a homophobe

  10. Anne says:

    Johnson again did badly at PMQ – he looked untidy and kept looking around for support, but, of course, does not have the unruly Tory backbenchers shouting and behaving badly. Patel, Home Secretary, also had another bad week – she really is an embarrassment – Teresa May was right on the point of sacking her. I liked Amber Rudd, but then again all the good Tories have left.
    I would have put Yvette Cooper back into Shadow HS- I thought she did a good job.

  11. anosrep says:

    Anne – that would be the Yvette Cooper who this week refused to vote against the Tories’ racist immigration bill.

  12. John P Reid says:

    Anosrep that would be those unskilled EU migrants who are mainly white , which prevented us from having more commonwealth migrants who aren’t

    By the way I take it’, you’ll be accepting fully the EHRC inquiry finding labour institutionslly anti Semitic
    And the grooming gang inquiry finding labour covered up the gangs as they figured these ehite girls being raped by Muslims are only daughters of Gammons afterall

  13. John P Reid says:

    Judging. BY what Yvette did today, maybe you’d like to retract that

  14. Anne says:

    Now then Dom – what have you been up too? Travelling from London to Durham with you and your wife having symptoms of Covoid. You must have a very good bladder if you or your wife did not require a comfort break on your way- so it’s ok to infect toilets.
    What about your parents – it’s ok to infect them and anyone else you came into contact with – did any of these contacts require hospitalisation? Most of us have followed government advise and stayed at home – in some circumstances at great cost. What is even worse is that you don’t seem to recognise that you have done anything wrong – thought you were supposed to be clever – brains seem to be in your backside.

  15. Vern says:

    Labour are undoing what little gain they had gotten with Starmer. The party is now being exposed for double standards by criticising Cummings and doing nothing about MP’s such as Tahir Ali….The public are not daft, they know that the country is in the grip of an unprecedented pandemic and they can see that they are doing their best to plan a way through it. The Left appear to have no answers, no solutions and just more meaningless angry political grandstanding. Its pathetic really.

  16. John P Reid says:

    It’s a shame conference has been cancelled because ,neil Kinnock becoming leader in 1983 said AT that conference just remember that terrible feeling you got on June the 9th, never ever again because the party defeat after the 2019 general election was that moment ,but it won’t accept it

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