Bullying is unacceptable - but beware MPs who claim every attempt to hold them accountable is intimidation
THE spectacular Big Meeting at the weekend was a testament to the strength and solidarity of our class.
Some 200,000 people massed in Durham to celebrate our culture and what we can achieve when we act together. Miners’ leaders Dave Hopper and Dave Guy, sadly no longer with us, would have been overjoyed at the sight but perhaps not surprised — not only because of their hard work over many years previously but because they recognised the strength of socialist ideas to bring us together in the fight for a better future for us and our children.
Those huge crowds in north-east England at the weekend are also a reflection of the immense and growing support for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party leadership.
But, now that we are safely away from the election and Labour’s prediction-busting performance, the drumbeat of hostility to the left is gathering strength and pace.
Kick-starting this is supposedly one member of Luciana Berger’s constituency party saying that she should “get on board” with the overwhelmingly popular Labour leadership.
In reports, the rest of the quote has been ignored: “She will now have to sit round the table with us the next time she wants to vote for bombing in Syria or to pass a no-confidence motion in the leader of the party — she will have to be answerable to us.”
This is, to say the least, an odd thing to get worked up about. It is almost as if the content of this quote is not the real motivation behind the vitriol it has supposedly provoked.
Where is the controversy in an officer of Berger’s CLP saying that an MP should reflect the views of those who select them?
Obviously this taps into another concern for those on the Labour right — the fear that constituency parties with their exploding memberships might have a say on who goes to Westminster.
While some recalcitrant MPs may genuinely believe that they are too brilliant to answer to a bunch of plebs, the majority must see that they must cling on to their positions until they are able to oust the socialist leader of the party.
Recent days have shown what happens when members are divorced from decision-making, with the disgusting spectacle of Labour-controlled Haringey Council handing over £2 billion in public assets to profit-hungry developers over the absolute condemnation of local members.
This kind of attitude, of excluding members’ voices, is what gave rise to the most hideous acts of the New Labour government.
We are seeing a return to the pre-election demonisation of the left by Labour rightwingers who are given an enthusiastic welcome in the corporate press. Hence the spectacle of Yvette Cooper defending BBC reporter Laura Kuenssberg, who notoriously fabricated the “shoot-to-kill” interview with Jeremy Corbyn.
Cooper also says she is disgusted by left-wing protesters who carried a placard showing Theresa May’s head on a spike. She says the request of Berger is “utterly shameful.”
We can perhaps judge the truth in these statements by the fact that Cooper presumably finds no shame in the actual violence of the Iraq and Libya wars, which she supported and which have killed hundreds of thousands of people.
As before, the Labour right will use whatever slurs they can lay their hands on against Jeremy Corbyn and those who support him, no matter how fictitious. It is important that we do not cede any ground to them, and instead press on with the vital task of strengthening democracy in the Labour Party.