Friday 30 October 2020

Corbyn. Bear-traps. 100% Predictable.

Ordinarily, conspiracy theories are to be avoided like the plague.  But when you know for certain that factions (roughly speaking, the Marxist Labour Left and the Starmerists) are on large-scale maneouvres, it's much more reasonable to attempt to fathom what's happening.  Having now seen 36 hours of Labour Party mayhem being conducted in public, I think we can piece this together quite easily.  

1.  Both sides had a lot of time to prepare

Publication of the EHRC report has been in everyone's grid for many months, and always had the potential to be a pivotal event.  We know Starmer and his people think in these terms, witness how superbly well-prepared they were on the very instant GE 2019 was seen to be lost (several days before polling, maybe more).  Likewise, Team Corbyn has never disbanded and will have been just as seized with the potential of EHRC day.

2.  Both sides have a big agenda

We've been surmising that Corbyn may have trashed the entire Labour brand: polling data and a sense of history probably reinforces this to Starmer in spades.  From the very start he has been looking for opportunities to make it obvious that he is the anti-Corb: but that's just a part of it.  Additionally, he wants to expunge the Left from the Party: no mean ambition, given the left's tenacity and how much the last six years has rallied them within the Labour Party itself, with (at one point) tremendous morale and impetus (not to say momentum ...).  

On the other side, being the narcissist (© Elby-t-B 2020) he is, Corbyn is extremely keen to self-justify and exculpate.  But it's far more than that.  Much of the Left that still absolutely, religiously dotes on him, see him as their rallying point.  (Frankly, like Christ, Mohammed and Wittgenstein he'll still be that, long after he's gone.)  They want his named cleared so that he can continue as the grit in their oyster until their pearl reaches critical mass.

Both sides want to use the Report, the pivotal 'predictable moment' of 2020, to further these aims.  How could they not? 

3.  The EHRC gave both sides (some) advance notice

Lots, for Starmer: and he knows how to use it.  Maybe a lot less for Corbyn - a disadvantage, for sure: but his people are quick-studies and would have mastered it very quickly indeed.  Both teams were absolutely primed and ready for the media from 10:00 Thursday onwards.  They'd certainly be getting all the airtime they wanted. 

4.  Corbyn is totally predictable ...

5.  ... ergo, a sucker for bear-traps

Cummings is the one that has deployed this to most dramatic effect, to date, in the run-up to GE2019.  But now Team Starmer has, too.

6.  The Report contained a bear-trap!

And here it is: 

Article 10 will protect Labour Party members who, for example, make legitimate criticisms of the Israeli government, or express their opinions on internal Party matters, such as the scale of antisemitism within the Party, based on their own experience and within the law. 

Team Starmer must immediately have recognised that Team Corbyn would highlight this to him, and that he'd not be able to resist using it as a shield from behind which he could make the extremely, studiedly point remarks he did.  And here's where the mind-games start.  Would Team Corbyn let their man make such a blatant provocation on Day Zero?  Many on the Corbyn-supporting Left have expressed surprise and dismay that he would do such an insensitive, tactically naive thing.  

But that's after he's had his legs chopped off.  Would they have been equally dismayed in vaccuo?  I suspect not.  Rather, I believe Team Corbyn thought they were being tactically adroit, and were looking for the maximum defensible provocation to perpetrate on Day Zero, in order to set the platform-for-comeback as far above the level of abject apology as possible.  With the Article 10 paragraph in hand - plus the EHRC's diktat that the LOTO should play no part in cases of individual party discipline, they assumed they were bullet-proof, from behind the cover of the EHRC report itself.  They'd already been told the EHRC was not calling for his head on a pike and nor, it seemed from their 'negotiations' with Team Starmer, would the boss.  Could their man possibly be disciplined?  What, being an ordinary Party member, would be the charge against him?  Starmer could dismiss a member of his ShadCab; but the Party couldn't discipline an ordinary member sheltering behind Art 10.  They felt they were staying just about on the safe side of the line. 

Corbyn himself would be champing at the bit, up for anything they were willing to let him say.  

And so, into the bear-trap he threw himself. 

7.  Team Starmer predicted this to a fine degree of accuracy

... at very least, as one of the possibilities.  (Who knows, they may even have fed the Article 10 stuff to the EHRC ...)  They know their man!  Who in the Labour Party doesn't? 

The trap snaps shut.

8.  Immediately, everyone sees what must happen next

Corbyn was lured into issuing a mortal insult (as hastily defined by Starmer).  In a practised move Starmer took off his gauntlet, slapped Corbyn swiftly across the mug with it and threw it on the floor, reaching at once for the duelling pistols.  Corbyn's seconds rush in, fearing that there is no way to avoid a fatal showdown.  "It's not an insult", they shriek, "he's just a very silly boy!   Where's your sense of proportion?  Resort to brute force isn't how lawyers settle disputes!"  And they hope Starmer will think better of what he's done, or notice that his pistol may not be terribly reliable. 

 9.  And indeed it must 

Starmer has a machine that does his bidding - rather willingly, since they are all on the same mission.  They couldn't but avail themself of the bear-trap, not least because it pivots around a blatant, incendiary provocation.  They'll seek to finish Corbyn off, and dare the Left to follow him out of the door.  

*   *   *   *   *

Is the outcome wholly predictable?  No more so than any duel, really - and Starmer's pistol does seem a bit suspect if Corbyn were to litigate.  I said that the Left is hoping this will all go away.  More than hope, though: they're desperate, because there's a massive downside, namely that Corbyn sets up a new party.  Much as they've toyed with that idea for months, they've always come down on the side of Stay and Fight.  They know their history, when it comes to breakaway parties in the UK.



UPDATE:  after early exchanges on the Today prog on Friday, when Starmer showed his fangs again, Team Corbyn are being studiously emollient.  Clearly coordinated.  "We're backing off, now Starmer must back off" - an attempt to get away with the provocation.  One key will be what they can get their man Corbyn to say.  It'll need to be abject in the extreme, positively and personally humiliating - indeed, probably scripted by the other side.  If he's as obdurate as he's been throughout the whole five-year anti-semitism saga, he won't retract.  And if Starmer remembers his history - the failure to make Saddam Hussein personally abase himself before Norman Schwarzkopf - he will only accept something ingeniously destructive for the morale of the Left.    

UPDATE 2:  we always knew the press read C@W ... Elby's verdict of a day or so back, now retailed by Rarely-original Rawnsley in the Observer 

Mr Corbyn’s vanity simply will not allow him to accept responsibility. Many things have been said about his character over the years, but one thing has not been said enough: he is a narcissist.



Anonymous said...

O, poor old Wittgenstein!

Don Cox said...

I hope an off topic comment can be excused. This article by Iranian exile journalist Amir Taheri presents a summary of Trump's accomplishments, which do look quite substantial. It's a very different picture from that given by the BBC etc.

Don Cox

Nick Drew said...

Don, I am sure we will be writing abt Trump in the coming days

dearieme said...

"Article 10 will protect Labour Party members who, for example, make legitimate criticisms of the Israeli government": who gets to decide which criticisms are legitimate?

jim said...

I think this will play out in three phases. First some some sniping from Corbyn et al then a crushing of Corbyn's support base and then a run up to 2024 (ish) election.

Corbyn may try to stir it up over Article 10, may even try litigation. But the writing is on the wall, Corbyn is likely seen as last year's man who led the party into defeat. I suspect moves to say 'don't bother Corby, you are only doing more damage'. To be followed by the pushing out of the worst Corbynites and the damping down of any fires thus caused.

The days of Lenin caps, banners and mass meetings in car parks are long gone. A move toward German style negotiation would be wiser, but not in fashion right now.

Then we come to 2024 (ish). UK oppositions never win elections, instead the incumbents lose elections. The Tories will have enough trouble on their hands with the aftermath of Covid and Brexit. Add to that any mis steps by Dominic and friends and any (non)changes to UK planning rules and (non)regrowth of industry.

Both very tricky. What is the point of voting for Tory councils when they have no power to block housing estates, what else are they for, electorally speaking? Which leaves Dominic in a fix, he dare not loosen up planning rules for fear of losing elections.

But there is an advantage for Starmer. Jobs and houses will still be on the agenda. Promises of thousands and thousands of (council?) houses for the young should play well. Some yin to the Tory's yang. Dominic may even have paved the way. Whichever direction leaves the Tories vulnerable.

andrew said...

Tories are not doing too well atm because of
repeated incompetance: not listening to experts when they say they will
and barefaced hypocrisy: being for subsidies for their lunches but against subsidising feeding children. Oh, and cummings.

But it is not the end.

Starmers femce sitting allows him to point out that we did not vote to turn the country into a lorry park in the south and a prison camp in the north and all of us much poorer come the next GE.

On the other hand _IF_ it all goes a bit wrong in europe the cons can say 'there but for the grace of us goes the country'.

Not betting on the cons atm

Elby the Beserk said...

Goood stuff Nick - backed up by this article at Conservative Woman,

I do agree that Starmer is no fool. I don't, nevertheless, see him as having anything to excite the floating voter. We shall see

dearieme said...

It strikes me that the parsimonious explanation for Corbyn is that he's spent his career in the pay of the CIA.

It is, however, unlikely, because he's never shown the least spark of intelligence of the sort a secret agent might accidentally reveal.

andrew said...

Just as all boris had to be was not corbyn
All starmer has to be is not boris

Boris knows that for the rest of his life when someone looks at him they will think cv19. If (unlikely) he is judged competant he is still going to lose as who wants to be reminded of a painful experience.

dearieme said...

Boris won't be PM at the next election.

It'll be post-Brexit Boris exit.

Anonymous said...

@andrew - he's never going to be judged competent, he wasn't really expected to be.

It's quite odd, no European nation has had a "good" covid response, and whilst we don't seem to actually be at the bottom of any particular metric, we do seem to be the near the bottom of most, if not all, of them, which tells a tale of the journey the UK has taken over the last few decades.

Post-PM, his actions will be explained away in the way they generally are where Boris is concerned. If Blair came equipped with a teflon coating, etched away through time, Boris comes with a reality distortion field that may dim with events, but inevitably flares up again. The failings will have been someone else's, blame the backbench for bullying him, or the scientists bamboozling him... He's cultivated an image where people want him to lead, but not be in charge. A persona portmanteau of Churchill and Zaphod Beeblebrox.

As for the next election, I doubt Boris will be PM, and I doubt Labour will win. They'll whittle down the majority, but Starmer is a less awkward Miliband, and the personality void and tendency to talk down to will do for him.

E-K said...

I'm more interested in seeing the dodgy dossier that was presented to Al Johnson.

I've got to eat.

I SHALL be voting Marxist if that's what it takes.

Elby the Beserk said...

On the matter of Narcissists (clinical - Trump is a "narcissist" only because of his braggadocio. Corbyn IS a clinical Narcissist), this fellow, Sam Vaknin, is that rare beast, the Narcissist with self-awareness. His website is an old school mess, but full of jewels should you ever need to arm yourself against such as he.

Anonymous said...

@ Vankin - how does one person sit on so many editorial boards!?!

E-K said...

A fail to see how Trump is a narcissist. He's got the top job in the world !

(Or is that Xi now ???)