I’ve had so many discussions recently about the current ongoing attempt by the PLP to depose its democratically and constitutionally elected leader that it’s becoming difficult to remember who said what, when and where. But in one of those conversations, by applying the kind of perverse logic that has been the main prop of this entire coup, someone suggested that Mr Corbyn should stand down for the sake of the party and we could have another bash at reforming the party when a more suitable left-wing candidate is available.
Besides disregarding as all of his detractors do that it is the plotters within the Labour Party (I don’t need to name them here, we all know who they are) who have chosen to ferment this crisis at this time; it also ignores the reality that his presence as the Leader of the Opposition is a minor miracle that only came about as a consequence of a series of entirely unpredictable events that you can be absolutely certain that the people on the right of the party who’ve been in charge of Labour since 1994 would never allow to happen again if they manage to regain control now.
Jeremy Corbyn’s election last September was an almost unimaginable miracle that happened in spite of the fact that it had seemed about as likely as Leicester winning the Premier League when he was first nominated! The fact is that it only happened because it was so incredibly unlikely that a few Labour MPs – some of them entirely cynically – nominated him in an attempt to create the impression that the party was something other than Tory lite – he was the token lefty in the list.
What they hadn’t allowed for was that there were many old alienated Labour supporters just like me who resented the fact that Tony Blair (along with Alistair Campbell and Peter Mandelson) had hijacked their party after John Smith died and they combined with a whole horde of young people who had recognised that the politics they’d grown up with were entirely perverse. So we all joined the Labour Party in our masses and voted for him in our hundreds of thousands (interestingly this miracle has almost been mirrored by the bizarre set of circumstances put in motion over twenty years ago by a ridiculous racist with a trilby and pint that has resulted in the UK voting to leave the EU!).
I wasn’t surprised by the relentless media onslaught he faced from the moment he was elected (actually it started as soon as it began to look possible that he might win) but although the great unwashed are pretty much talked down to and patronised by the media and the political classes (something that Farage tapped into very effectively) an increasing number of them couldn’t help noticing that the people who had been doing the most to mess up their lives over the last thirty-odd years were exactly the same people who were rounding on this man, which seemed to suggest that he might not be all bad.
And when Jeremy moved around the country speaking to meetings that were always absolutely rammed with enthusiastic, engaged people – many of whom had given up on politics years ago – who listened while he explained that Austerity was a political choice, that the government had opted to spend around a trillion and a half on bailing out the banks and quantitive easing (i.e. giving money to the banks that caused the mess in the first place) rather than using it to invest in infrastructure projects like hospitals, housing, schools and railways (and all the other things that the racists in the OUT campaign blamed the lack of on immigrants) and as the people at those meetings weren’t anywhere near as stupid as the elite think they are, they quickly recognised that he could just prove to be the possibility of a better future that they had despaired of ever seeing.
The Establishment has thrown everything that it could find, make up, fabricate or exaggerate at Jeremy over the last nine months and he has steadfastly stuck to his task of holding the Tory government to account for its policies and fought and defeated them whenever he could. But when this thoroughly well-rehearsed and long planned PLP coup kicked off it all moved up another level until the shouts, screams, cries and pleas of ‘RESIGN!’ have become deafening – but in spite of all that he is still hanging in there.
I believe that it is essential that he is still the Leader of HM’s official Opposition when the Chilcot Enquiry is published (this Thursday) because if he is he will have an opportunity to stand at the despatch box and officially denounce anyone that the report condemns and, if the evidence justifies it, demand their arrest for War Crimes.
But make no mistake, if we allow him to be bullied into stepping down without an election and handing control of the PLP back to the plotters and the backstabbers on the right, there is less than zero chance that any of us will ever see anyone whose politics even come remotely close to Jeremy’s, anywhere near this nation’s levers of power again.