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Sunday, September 13, 2015

A civil war or toys being thrown out of a pram?

My one regret about the Labour leadership contest is that I did not put £100 on Corbyn to win when he was 200-1. The winnings would have paid for my election campaign next year. However, like others I did not at that stage expect the sensational victory that the Islington North MP pulled off yesterday.

Hindsight is not a very practical attribute. If it had been then many Labour MPs would not have given Corbyn their sympathy-nomination at the beginning of this leadership campaign. Certainly, judging by this headline in today's Sunday Times, Labour has now been plunged into a bitter civil war due to the fact that nearly half the shadow cabinet have refused to serve under him.

Their reluctance is understandable. They have clear ideological differences, they are upset that the Labour Party has snubbed their brand of politics, and of course they find it difficult to be loyal to or share collective responsibility with a man for whom the concept is an anathama. Well it has been up to now.

Because if there is one thing worth noting about the left, it is that when they are in charge they expect unquestioning loyalty and discipline, even if they are not prepared to give it in return. The split I am expecting is not from the right or centre of the Labour Party, but from Corbyn's own comrades.

The new Labour leader will at some stage have to compromise. It is inevitable. And let's face it, even if he doesn't we all know that some left wing groups will appear within the Labour Party who feel that they have been slighted in some way or another and will start to accuse Corbyn of selling out. That is when it really gets interesting.

At yesterday's 'Refugees welcome' rally in Swansea's Castle Square, the Socialist Workers were out in force. They were delighted at Corbyn's victory. At last they have a chance to show what the left can do.

It is because of that conviction that so many Labour activists and politicians are now throwing their toys out of the pram. They have made their own bed. They now need to live with it.
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