by Stuart Littlewood, Scotland
[ Editor’s Note: Stuart Littlewood gives us an excellent review of Corbyn’s immolation of the Labor party, a slow motion train wreck that had a lot of time to self correct itself but could not.
Part of the problem, an old one, was due to politicians believing their own bullshit; and second, not paying attention to the flashing neon sign saying that “the b.s. is not working”.
We have similar craziness in the United States with its Democratic Party that can not see any conflict that it will not support; plus its subservience to an Israeli Lobby, even after the Dems receive most of the Jewish liberal support.
The only good thing for Americans is that Johnson is going to finish Brexit, as we are tired of it; like the British will be tired of Trump if he wins another term. The term “political circus” comes to mind… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published … December 24, 2029 –
Labour lost 59 seats in the General Election, handing Boris Johnson’s government a comfortable majority to do what needs to be done (and never mind the collateral damage). Dislodged MPs are furious and so are many of the party’s activists.
Corbyn was the unwitting architect of his own defeat. He blamed Brexit even though many of his MPs had resorted to every Parliamentary trick to block or frustrate Brexit during the 3 years following the referendum when that important time should have been used to intensively prepare for separation from the EU.
They foolishly put their personal agenda ahead of the public’s wish and paid the price. Many of Labour’s ‘Red Wall’ strongholds in the Midlands and North, which had voted to leave the EU, took revenge on their obstructive MPs.
Corbyn sat on the fence on the issue, which may have been the correct thing to do when the referendum asked ordinary people to decide, not Parliament or the political parties. MPs should simply have worked towards implementing the referendum result. But his ‘neutrality’ was taken as cowardice in the heated controversy fanned by the media.
Nor was his 103-page election manifesto all that clever. It was far too long and made far too many fanciful and unaffordable promises such as this one: “Within a decade we will reduce average full-time weekly working hours to 32 across the economy, with no loss of pay, funded by productivity increases.”
It was an impressive document containing useful and long overdue policies, including the re-nationalisation of energy and water, but it was hardly the right platform for fighting this particular election where the screw-up over Brexit was the dominant issue.
The Conservatives’ manifesto was shorter, simpler at only 59 pages and presented in a gung-ho tone that voters evidently found appealing after Westminster’s endless dithering and mind-numbing obstructiveness.
The bright side for Labour is that such a humiliating defeat has disposed of a number of their pain-in-the-ass MPs.
History repeats itself
When Corbyn was in trouble three and a half years ago some people were already blaming the torrent of allegations against Labour of anti-Semitism and the leadership’s gutless response to those allegations.
Others knew that Labour had barely laid a glove on the Conservatives and the party needed to understand that it’s there to do a job – that is, holding the government to account not squabbling among themselves.
The Mirror said Labour was “going nowhere fast”. And as far as party activists and backbenchers were concerned the lack of real progress wasn’t good enough.
Corbyn’s enemies – chiefly the Blairite/Brownite leftovers who had failed the nation and were jealous of his spectacular rise to take the leadership – were gleeful at having weakened and perhaps mortally wounded their foe. And they have been thumping him ever since. But at what cost to the party?
It seemed to me then that Corbyn had two choices. He could stick it out for the time being in a party at odds with itself but would face a head-on clash with the troublemakers eventually. And to stamp his authority he couldn’t just sidestep the anti-Semitism fiasco.
It wasn’t just a little local difficulty; it had to be seen for what it really was – part of an organised campaign across Europe and the US to silence the debate on Israel’s criminal behaviour, to strangle the struggle for Palestinian rights and to increase Zionist influence over our political and democratic processes.
Any fightback by Corbyn would need to begin with refusing to accept the Israel lobby’s definition of the situation. He needed to re-frame the issue to reflect the truth, then go on the attack. He never did so.
And I was saying, back then, that Corbyn must act swiftly on genuine complaints of anti-Semitism but reject the trumped up ones. Outside interference from professional moaners like the Board of Deputies of British Jews should not be tolerated. And the best response would be to give them the BDS treatment – ignoring and refusing to engage. Blood and feathers would fly, but so be it.
The British Labour Party is not a flagpole of the Knesset or a pissing post for their attack dogs. On the contrary it was time to question Labour’s Friends of Israel about their shameless support for the rogue state and its racist leaders and their links to the land-grabbing Zionist Project.
There should be no place in a socialist organisation, or in public life at all, for people who cannot bring themselves to condemn a regime that behaves so viciously towards its neighbours and shows no remorse. What does aligning with Israel really say about such people?
Corbyn’s abject surrender to Israel lobby pressure has been a shaming setback for the whole Palestine justice movement of which he was a prominent member during his years as a backbencher.
His other choice, I ventured to suggest, was to leave Labour, take his army of supporters with him and let the party stew in its own juice. There was still time to build a new, clean, fit-for-purpose political party and get it established before the next general election. At least Corbyn could then be true to himself.
But of course he wouldn’t do such a thing. He is a product of Old Labour. It is his crutch, his comfort zone. He cannot leave or adapt.
Not much has changed between then and now. Corbyn’s enemies are still trying to bring him down and this time they’ll succeed if he hangs on. The party is, and has been for some time, dysfunctional, a thing of the past and quite unsuited to the 21st century.
Even its name is inappropriate, and off-putting. By all means honour the old icons but they were products of their time and are of little interest in the real world today. Worse still, the Labour Party is now soiled beyond decent repair.
Corbyn is that rare thing: a decent man swimming in Westminster’s pissant swamp. To show how far his detractors are willing to lie Michael Gove, warming up the audience just before Boris Johnson’s victory speech last week, viciously attacked Corbyn saying his defeat ended Jewish people’s concerns that they would “have a prime minister who trafficked in anti-Jewish rhetoric and embraced anti-Jewish terrorists”.
Gove has described himself as “a proud Zionist” since he was a boy. He is a Conservative Friend of Israel, believes BDS is anti-Semitic and that Israel is “free, democratic, liberal and western”.
This deluded pipsqueak is Johnson’s lieutenant. And Johnson, as the Jerusalem Post reminds us, calls himself “a passionate Zionist”. It is not clear what role Gove will have in the new Johnson administration but he will be at the centre. Rumour has it that he could be given the trade job, in which case Israel can expect to do very nicely out of it.
The Queen’s Speech, which sets out the Government’s programme, included a promise to crack down on foreign spies. Many will be wondering if this includes Israeli spies remembering how Shai Masot, an employee of the Israeli embassy and almost certainly a Mossad agent, in late 2016 was caught red-handed on camera plotting with Israel lobby stooges to “take down” senior government figures including Boris Johnson’s deputy at the Foreign Office, Sir Alan Duncan.
Masot was working under the Israeli ambassador, none other than Israel’s odious propaganda dirty tricks chief Mark Regev. Johnson dismissed the Shai Masot affair, saying: “The UK has a strong relationship with Israel and we consider the matter closed.” And who exposed this scandal? Not Britain’s own security services and press but an Al Jazeera undercover team. Regev is still here and up to no good.
Readers will remember that Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, in an unprecedented intervention in the middle of the election campaign, wrote a letter in The Times suggesting the Labour leader was unfit for office and called for people to “vote with their conscience” in view of the anti-Semitism row.
Baroness Jenny Tonge, in a Facebook post, commented: “The Chief Rabbi must be dancing in the street. The pro-Israel lobby won our General Election by lying about Jeremy Corbyn.”
Whereupon 88 peers from the House of Lords signed a letter to The Telegraph demanding that Baroness Jenny make an unqualified apology for her remarks which they called “both shameful and in clear contravention of Britain’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism”.
But knowing what we know about Mirvis and the Israel lobby it is they who should be apologising to all of us.
20 December 2019
After working on jet fighters in the RAF Stuart became an industrial marketing specialist with manufacturing companies and consultancy firms. He also “indulged himself” as a newspaper columnist. In politics, he served as a Cambridgeshire county councillor and member of the Police Authority. Now retired he campaigns on various issues and contributes to several online news & opinion sites. An Associate of the Royal Photographic Society, he has produced two photo-documentary books which can be read online at Radiofreepalestine.org.uk and Paperturn-view.com