19 Days Remaining

Wednesday 29th
posted by Morning Star in Features

The opportunists sticking the knife into Corbyn are shamefully putting their own interests ahead of those of the country, writes HARRY LESLIE SMITH

LIKE the ancient Chinese curse, the days that have followed Brexit have been most interesting and precarious for Britain and for the Labour Party.

Last week’s cataclysmic Brexit vote may have the same repercussions politically as the shot that was heard around the world in June 1914 which killed an Austrian archduke and set Europe in motion for war and revolution that changed the governing landscape of the continent.

So far Britain’s vote to leave the EU has felled a prime minister and set in motion the independence movements in Scotland and calls for reunification of Northern Ireland with the republic to the south.

The stock market has been battered the abused, our credit rating slashed and the pound for a while traded at levels not seen since the 1980s when heartlands were being ravaged by Margaret Thatcher.

Make no mistake, there will be worse days ahead of us now because the Brexit vote won’t reset the globalisation agenda.

It will in fact just make the repercussions for the 99 per cent of Britain much more severe.

It’s not just the economy that has become brutal because of Brexit, our society has been traumatised.

Brexit has shown that the skin of civility in Britain is paper thin because after six years of Tory austerity the nation’s benefits system is running on empty.

The referendum result has emboldened racists who feel they can abuse migrants and bully immigrant communities with an impunity that should disgust and worry us.

Britain hasn’t faced a threat this grave since the dark hours at the start of our war against Hitler and fascism over 70 years ago.

But back then, while evil lurked just on the edge of our shore, the ordinary people were united because Labour was united around its leader and around its mandate to fight the war and deliver a just peace for this nation.

Now, however, Labour is in disarray and plunged into a battle between the democratic will of its members for a leader who represent their voice and the Parliamentary Labour Party which believes its authority supersedes the commonweal.

It is why I denounce the shadow cabinet’s coup against Jeremy Corbyn because I believe that its motivations are mixed with an unhealthy combination of opportunism and ideology.

I will grant there are some in this plot whose actions are based on their idealism and who may have doubts about Corbyn’s leadership capabilities.

But in a time of national crisis, it is not the moment to strike down a democratically elected leader of the opposition. Such actions make a mockery of the very real and threatening crisis Britain faces today because of exit.

Such actions don’t instill the membership, Labour voters or the millions of disaffected British citizens with confidence in the Labour Party to be a political movement that is for real, lasting and profound social change across this nation.

In fact the coup, the confidence vote, the forthcoming leadership race will harden hearts against Labour’s message of a better Britain for all.

It will make many people more suspicious of Labour’s real politics as they will believe Labour doesn’t care to advance the voice of the people over the voice of the Establishment.

Moreover, it will break hearts and sour the enthusiasm of the thousands who joined Labour Party because of Jeremy Corbyn’s message of hope and economic inclusion for each and every one of us in Britain.

What the PLP has done can’t not be undone; it was and is a grave mistake. It may even sunder the party, and the blame for that lies solely with the PLP and not Jeremy Corbyn or his supporters. 

The PLP’s animosity to Corbyn has been blatant, vociferous and unrelenting since his election as leader last September.

We as ordinary Labour supporters, members and fellow travellers can save the Labour Party from itself by supporting Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

But we must do more than that: we must let our MPs, newspapers and social media know that our allegiance is not to the man but his message and for this moment and any other moment in the foreseeable future, Jeremy Corbyn is the only one in Labour will deliver an end to austerity, an end to inequality and an end to the tyranny of tax avoidance, an end to the north being asset-stripped by the south, an end to the people of Britain being driven into the ground to enrich the few at the expense of the many.

We will not allow Jeremy Corbyn’s message to be drowned out by the voices of the privileged that tell us we must wait for equality while they sit and sup at the table of excess paid for by our blood, sweat and tears.

  • Harry Leslie Smith’s book, Harry’s Last Stand, is published by Icon Books.