Jeremy Corbyn survives party coup


Jeremy Corbyn became the leader of the British Labour Party largely because of the support of rank and file members. But in order to get on that ballot, he had to meet a threshold among the MPs in parliament and despite their lack of enthusiasm for a socialist, they deigned to include him among the candidates on the ballot as a sop to party left wingers that they were not being completely marginalized. The party establishment were blindsided by the degree of rank and file support for Corbyn that resulted in him becoming elected to the leadership.

Ever since then, they have tried to undermine his authority and the Brexit vote gave them the chance to try and remove him. They moved a no-confidence vote which he lost by a resounding 172-40 among the MPs, but he refused to step down. Then Angela Eagle said that she was challenging him for the leadership spot and this set in motion another battle and the anti-Corbyn bloc attempted what amounted to a coup. They said that in order to be eligible to stand for leadership, a candidate had to have at least 20% of the Labour members of the British and European parliament, around 50 in total, which Corbyn would have had a tough time meeting.

But the question was whether the party rules required that minimum only in the event of a leadership vacancy or if an incumbent was automatically on the ballot. Corbyn and his supporters said that the rules said that he should be automatically included but the establishment demanded that this question be put to a ballot of the National Executive Committee. They also demanded that the ballot be a secret one out of fear that party members would punish those who voted against Corbyn.

They succeeded in getting a secret ballot but were thwarted in their effort to keep Corbyn out because the final vote was 18-14 in favor of his automatic inclusion. Here we see a triumphant Corbyn addressing the public just after the vote.

The establishment was also alarmed by the post-Brexit surge in party membership by about 130,000 following the no-confidence motion on Corbyn because they feared that most were Corbyn supporters rallying to his side. They succeeded at the last minute in instituting a new rule that said that only those who had been members for at least six months could vote unless they paid a much higher fee of £25, something that the Corbyn bloc vowed to challenge.

Even by Labour’s recent history of giving shambles a good name, today’s meeting of the ruling NEC takes the biscuit.

Because at the end of the meeting, after a couple of pro-Corbyn members had left, and Corbyn himself had gone, a vote was taken on a motion not on the agenda, to exclude from the leadership vote anyone who joined the party in the past six months. So the 130,000 who signed up since Brexit, most of whom are thought to be Corbyn supporters, will be unable to vote.

Now whatever you think of Corbyn, this looks and smells like gerrymandering by his opponents.
Corbyn will definitely attempt to get the vote over-turned. And he may resort to the law, since Labour’s website made clear that membership bought a vote.

As for those who joined since January, they will be revolting.

That said, if anyone wants to take part in the election, they now have two days to pay £25 and become a registered supporter.

Which is the first example of the much feared post-Brexit inflation, since till today it cost just £3 to be such a voting supporter.

Isn’t it interesting how the Labour Party MPs are so afraid of the party members whom they claim to represent?

Meanwhile, Robert Mackey suggests that Rupert Murdoch may have played a role in nudging Andrea Leadsom to quit the race for the Conservative Party leadership, handing the role to Theresa May.

When Gove then failed to secure enough support from his fellow lawmakers to be one of the two nominees in the final stage of the leadership election, however — and May made a clear statement that she would oversee a complete withdrawal from the EU, pledging that “Brexit means Brexit” — it seems clear that the editors of Murdoch’s papers, like most Conservative MPs, came to see Leadsom as a loose cannon better removed from the race.

Apparently Murdoch, who was an influential backer of the odious Tony Blair and played a significant role in elevating his role in British politics, apparently feels he has much more clout in an isolated Britain than one in the EU, saying “When I go into Downing Street they do what I say. When I go to Brussels they take no notice.” (My emphasis-MS)

We have reached a point where the oligarchy does not even bother to hide their control of politicians.

Comments

  1. Smokey says

    The Labour Party MPs represent the Labour Party, and to hell with the party members. Like any big well-established political party, the most important thing is its own survival as a political party.

    When a collection of individuals are numerous enough, it takes on a life of its own. Like the human body, made up of cells, but clearly more alive than just a cluster of cells.

  2. John Morales says

    Smokey, sure. It’s a phenomenon known as the iron law of oligarchy.

    (cf. also Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy)

    Like the human body, made up of cells, but clearly more alive than just a cluster of cells.

    Nonsense. A different hierarchy of life, sure — but that’s like saying a beehive is more alive than the individual bees.

    (A bad metaphor)

  3. sonofrojblake says

    the Labour Party MPs are so afraid of the party members whom they claim to represent?

    The Labour Party MPs are not supposed to represent party members, don’t claim to, and that’s the entire point here. Labour Party MPs (like all MPs) are supposed to represent their constituents, including the ones who didn’t vote Labour. As the official Opposition, they’re supposed to hold the government to account and, ideally, attempt to displace them.

    Corbyn has strong support among what used to be called the Loony Left, that tiny minority (in the national context) of yoghurt-knitting nutters for whom the Guardian is too right-wing. Those class warriors are mainly concerned with ideological purity and absolute adherence to all their principles at all costs. They are, demonstrably, entirely uninterested in actual power. They prefer (as the worst of the Left usually do) to stand on the sidelines and shout about what they’d do if they were in charge, wilfully avoiding any action that would put them in danger of actually being put in charge.

    Meanwhile, the worst political crisis in this country for over half a century has been precipitated by the Tories basically on the whim of Cameron in order to shut up the troublesome Eurosceptic tendency in the Conservative party. And what have Labour managed to do with this sitter? Held the government to account? Looked like an effective opposition? No – they’ve taken to stabbing each other in the back, and their “leader”, whose hypocritical and wishy-washy pretence as support for the Remain campaign made him look like the shallow opportunist his supporters criticise everyone else for being has presided over the worst time for the party since the early 80s. On the opposite benches, the Tories have looked like grownups by comparison – professional, restrained and businesslike, getting on with the difficult work of leading while Labour argue about rules and literally lob bricks and death threats.

    I’ve voted Labour all my life. I never thought I’d change. But the performance of the party this last two or three months, combined with the ousting of that old Etonian git from No. 10 in favour of a mostly-state-educated vicar’s daughter who actually seems to have thought about things and changed her mind, specifically on gay rights, makes me think that in 2020 I will for the first time not put my cross in the Labour box. I can’t honestly believe Corbyn will still be there then, but right now I wouldn’t bet against it. The left in Britain is dead for a decade at least, and it’s mainly Corbyn’s fault. I am so bloody depressed.

  4. Nick Gotts says

    sonofrojblake@3

    Corbyn has strong support among what used to be called the Loony Left, that tiny minority (in the national context) of yoghurt-knitting nutters for whom the Guardian is too right-wing.

    It’s very telling that you have to resort to this kind of silly, cliched Daily Telegraph nonsense. Corbyn, for all his faults, has at least challenged the neoliberal ideology which has been used – in the UK and most of the rest of the world – to justify the vast increase in economic inequality seen in nearly every country over the past four decades, and the idiocy of preparing to spend vast sums on a weapons system that at best is entirely useless. And, unlike most of his Labour opponents in Parliament, had the sense and courage to vote aginst the illegal, immoral and disastrous invasion of Iraq.

    And what have Labour managed to do with this sitter? Held the government to account? Looked like an effective opposition? No – they’ve taken to stabbing each other in the back…

    I agree that Corbyn’s opponents launching their coup at the very point when the country was in crisis and the Tories were in disarray was unforgiveable. It’s true such an attempt was inevitable at some point, and a split in the party likely, because the one-person, one-vote electoral system pushed though by the right during Miliband’s leadership, led to a result that the Parliamentary party could not stomach – but that it was done when the Tories were at their weakest and most divided since 2010 is an utter disgrace.

    On the opposite benches, the Tories have looked like grownups by comparison – professional, restrained and businesslike

    Seriously? It immediately became obvious that neither Cameron and his cronies, nor the leading Brexiters, had any plan at all for what to do in the event of a vote to leave the EU – even though the polls had been telling them this was a very real possibility. Then Gove pulled the rug out from under Johnson, launched his own leadership bid which was clearly doomed from the start, May was elected by default as a “safe pair of hands” – and promptly trolled the world by making Boris “Obama moved Churchill’s bust because he’s got a hereditary grudge against the British Empire” Johnson Foreign Minister, and the corrupt Liam Fox Minister for International Trade.

    I’ve voted Labour all my life. I never thought I’d change. But the performance of the party this last two or three months, combined with the ousting of that old Etonian git from No. 10 in favour of a mostly-state-educated vicar’s daughter who actually seems to have thought about things and changed her mind, specifically on gay rights, makes me think that in 2020 I will for the first time not put my cross in the Labour box.

    But now you’re in the process of realising you’re a Tory. Can’t say I’m in the least surprised, and I’m sure you’ll be a lot happier once the process is complete and you can admit it to yourself.

  5. sonofrojblake says

    I said “by comparison”.
    And no, I’m not a Tory. If I get the chance, I’ll vote Green. If not, possibly Lib Dem. Never Tory, ever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *