The increasingly strident chorus of senior Labour Party politicians denouncing Jeremy Corbyn is saddening.
The possibility that you might not like the result is a consequence of democracy but, in this case, it seems Cooper, Kendall, Burnham et al can’t accept it. They not only question Jeremy Corbyn’s political soundness but also that of his supporters: if you vote for him you are voting to destroy the Labour Party. They and others have also besmirched those who are joining the party as supporters or full members, in the thousands, as “non-Labour infiltrators” bent on wrecking the party. We are told they are challenging whether these new members support Labour’s “core values”. Well, forgive me, but for the last number of years we haven’t really known what they are. Isn’t it just possible that a good number of these ‘new’ members are, in fact, former members and supporters coming back to a Labour party after years of disillusionment?
Corbyn’s detractors don’t seem tbe able to understand that these new members may have been energised by the prospect of, for the first time in a generation, having someone for whom they would vote. They don’t seem to be able to recognise that one reason why Labour Party supporters leached away to other parties, or abstained (and in Scotland resulted in their electoral wipeout at the hands of the SNP) is because many traditional Labour supporters had been alienated by the way the Labour Party had turned its back on traditional left values in pursuit of power: New Labour had become New Tory or New Liberal Democrat. I would go so far as to say that if the Labour Party had been able to offer a more radical agenda to Scotland’s electorate than Ed Milliband’s, they would not have lost so many seats to the SNP. There might have been a different national result, there might even have been a Labour government right now.
Now we have the unedifying sight of a New Labour establishment (and their mentors including Mandelson, Campbell, Tony Blair and now Brown) frightened by the possible consequences of democracy! They all say that Corbyn would make Labour unelectable, but Brown and then Milliband seem to have been unelectable too. What they really fear is not the electoral destruction of Labour at the next election but the dismantling of THEIR version of the Labour party. Well, tough. They’ve made the voting processes “one man, one vote” and it’s not THEIR party but their members’ party. If, as a result of Jeremy Corbyn being made leader, the Labour Party spends some years in opposition, so be it. At least it will be a principled opposition rather than a bunch of more-or-less similar politicians running round the Westminster ‘playground’ after the ball and shouting “go on, lets us have a go”. I didn’t come down with the last shower of rain and I don’t like being patronised: I’ll decide on who I’ll vote for, and why, thanks Messrs Brown, Blair and Mandelson.