It was like a scene from the Living Dead, with the Blairite zombies out in full force over the weekend calling on Corbyn to resign. The mummified remains of Lord Kinnock – who lost two general elections – joined up with Ed Miliband, the previous Labour leader who failed to win an election, to demand that Corbyn stand down…in order to make Labour “electable”! Of all the cheek - our greatest failures offering advice to Labour on how to win an election!
Kinnock asserted that “there has been a significant shift away from Jeremy”, stating that Corbyn “should reconsider his position” on the grounds that “members across the country, including newly-joined people, have got deep residual doubts about the possibility of him leading the party to election victory.” But Kinnock’s claims are not backed up by a single shred of evidence. Indeed, the latest YouGov polling figures show that 65% of Labour members who have joined since the 2015 general election believe that Corbyn is doing well as Labour leader and should not step down.
The spectre of Blairism
Tony Blair is fearful of adding his voice, given his unpopularity. His electoral victories were won not because of Blair, but despite him. A monkey could have won the 1997 election, after 18 years of Toryism. The following elections under Blair saw Labour haemorrhage five million voters. The only reason why Blair won was the fact that the Tories, the nasty party, were unelectable.
If Blair joined Cameron and the rest of the Establishment in calling for Corbyn to resign, it would be the kiss of death for any challenger. So please, Tony: add your voice!
The membership is sick and tired of Blair and Blairism, the watered down Toryism that Labour voters were forced to swallow for lack of any alternative. Hundreds of thousands of members left the Labour Party under Blair’s reign in disgust over his programme of war and privatisation. Membership figures halved as a result of Blairism, and have only now returned to their pre-Blair numbers (of over 450,000) thanks to the enthusiasm generated by Corbyn’s leadership. And yet the Blairites hypocritically accuse Corbyn of being “uninspiring”, “incompetent”, “unelectable”, and “lacking leadership qualities”!
Now with Corbyn showing courage to stay on as Labour leader, despite the crescendo of opposition from these enemies of the working class, the Blairites are in a fix. Angela Eagle is threatening to stand, but has pulled back temporarily "to allow Corbyn to resign". In reality, she and the Blairites who are backing her are fearful of defeat. These so-called "democrats" fear an election - that is why they want to force him out. But they have failed.
In the background, behind closed doors, plots are being hatched. At the centre of this intriguing is Tom Watson, the deputy leader. Barry Gardiner, a member of the shadow cabinet who didn't support Jeremy in the last leadership election, went on the TV over the weekend to argue for a rotten compromise of a "third way" involving Corbyn going.
Unfortunately, the trade union leaders are also involved in this game of thrones. While Len McCluskey of Unite the Union appeared on TV to correctly support Jeremy, he then went on to talk of a "negotiated settlement", stating that, “the trade unions can broker a peace” to “bring people together”. Such rhetoric smells of a sell-out.
We are extremely suspicious of what kind of deals the union leaders broker. The Unite general secretary said they were “professional negotiators”. This is correct: they seek to reach compromises with the employers all the time. Unfortunately, such settlements hardly ever end up in the workers favour. Their attempts to negotiate with the Blairites can end the same way if we are not careful.
The trade union leaders are very good at stealing defeat from the jaws of victory. It is in their nature to compromise and preside over a defeat, which is then dressed up as a "good deal".
We say no to rotten deals behind the backs of the members! Any so-called "unity" candidate that is put forward in place of Corbyn will be a Trojan horse, designed to hand control back to the Blairites with their Tory-lite programme. There can be no compromise with these careerist back-stabbers now. Let the right wing put up a candidate against Jeremy. Then we will fight it out and let the rank-and-file democratically decide.
Defend Corbyn! Fight for Socialism!
We can defeat the Blairites and their candidate. This will force a split some – such as Lord Prescott, the former Labour deputy leader under Blair – have warned. Of course it will. This is inevitable.
In reality there are two mutually irreconcilable Labour parties: the Corbyn supporting grassroots; and the Blairite PLP and their acolytes. These cannot coexist. At root, these reflect class differences: those who represent the interests of the working class and those who stand up for the ruling class.
We need a Labour Party that genuinely represents the working class. This is more necessary now, in this epoch of capitalist crisis, than ever.
Corbyn must stand firm. We will stand firm. Only in this way can we offer a real fight against the Tories and their broken system. Let the right wing go and set up their new SDP.
We want a Labour Party committed to socialism. This is the only way forward.