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Monday, February 01, 2016

Scathing attack by former Labour Minister on Jeremy Corbyn

Today's Telegraph contains the most scathing attack yet by a former Labour Minister on the new opposition leader, in which he suggests that Jeremy Corbyn is more interested in furthering the interests of minority causes than in uniting the Labour Party behind him.

Tom Harris writes that every time the Jeremy Corbyn talks about the Falklands, or Trident, or trade union legislation, or places inverted commas around the word “terrorism”, he nails another dozen nails into the coffin lid of his party. However, he genuinely believes what he says:

We’re often told (implausibly, in my opinion) that today’s young people are just as enthusiastic about politics as their elders – they’re just more interested in single issues like climate change and anti-capitalist protest than they are in party politics. That sounds eerily close to where Corbyn stands. He needed the Labour Party label in order to get him elected to Parliament in 1983 and re-elected seven times since then. But he is not a tribal politician; he has no emotional loyalty to the Labour Party. Such loyalty would encourage him to mellow his spoken opinions, to search for compromises, to promote the Labour Party at all levels in the understanding that you can’t always get what you want, but half a loaf is better than no loaf at all.

Instead he impresses those who voted for him in last year’s leadership election (and no one else) by verbalising every far-Left opinion he has ever held. He doesn’t (he claims) dissemble, he doesn’t prevaricate. He tries to convince himself and those around him that voters will support him because he is honest and principled, even if they’re not impressed by his actual views.

Mr. Harris suggests that Corbyn is far more comfortable dealing with Labour’s opponents on the Left than he is with the party itself. These include the Socialist Party (formerly Militant), the Socialist Workers Party, who set up and control Stop The War, and the Green Party, where the influence of Marxists with precious little to do since the Wall came down a quarter of a century ago have made their influence felt:

He shares with those allies a contempt for the “betrayal” of previous Labour governments: Blair, Wilson, Callaghan – even Attlee approved the UK nuclear deterrent – they were all guilty of betraying the Left. Why would true socialists offer such governments their support?

Labour moderates still hoping for a future in the party should remember that Labour’s opponents are not exclusively on the Right. Cameron doesn’t need to conspire to control the Labour Party. The same end is achieved when the cabal with influence over the leader is led by the leader himself.

The question is of course whether Her Majesty's Official Opposition can work as an rainbow-causes insurgency. Jeremy Corbyn clearly thinks it can. Only time will tell whether he or Tom Harris is correct.
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