by Rob Marchant
For weeks now, the party’s left has been whispering about a “soft coup”. Ah, the old Soviet tactic, much beloved of today’s Vladimir Putin: confuse things by accusing your opponents of whatever you are up to yourself. Oh, and make them feel under attack, so they close ranks.
There is a coup going on, but it is clearly not the evil Blairites named by John McDonnell.
As revelations about Jon Lansman’s declared strategy for Momentum as an alternative power base to the party itself became public, it seems Monday night’s PLP meeting was converted into something of a showdown.
Corbyn jeered. Watson cheered. The PLP, depressed and muted for months since Corbyn’s re-election, suddenly found its voice.
And it was that same Tom Watson leading the charge – a loyalist clearly adept at unearthing the truth but in this case apparently with a couple of years’ time-lag.
(We should probably gloss over his part the plot to bring down Tony Blair; or the fact that, in the Falkirk selections debacle – in which his own parliamentary office was directly implicated, along with Unite, let us not forget – he helped lead to the change in the electoral system which let in Corbyn in the first place.)
And the revelation was that – hold the front page! – Momentum is actually organising for the takeover/destruction of the Labour Party (delete as applicable), just like Militant before it, in conjunction with that same Unite union. Where were you in 2015, Tom, when it was obvious to everyone? Or in 2013, when Unite were stitching up selections for the hard left?