Saturday 21 November 2020

Corbyn's Big Provocation Revisisted

Three weeks ago I surmised how Corbyn had arrived at being suspended from the Labour Party.   The saga has progressed very nicely.  But if leftie-watching is not your favoured spectator sport, then click off now ...

The thesis was, on EHRC day (identified months in advance to be a pivotal moment) his people wanted to make a maximal provocation that was still defensible within the terms of the game, in order to set the baseline for Corbynite recovery within the Labour Party as far away from humiliating abasement as possible.  The provocation took the form of a blatant non-apology (which is in any case Corbyn's style) coupled with a factional message, designed to slip neatly inside an EHRC let-out clause.  It didn't quite work as hoped, because Starmer's people, knowing their man, had seen it coming a mile off and set a bear trap for him, into which he duly fell.  Somewhat aghast at his suspension, his team immediately moved into tactical withdrawal, planning to negotiate / cajole / bully their way quietly out of it.  My concluding suggestion was, this would need to include the most self-abasing, unequivocal apology from Corbs**, abject to the point of severely demoralising his own faction.

What's happened since?  By way of a displacement activity, Corbynite outriders spent their time banging on about due process: but the real action was clearly behind the scenes, with McCluskey evidently feeling a deal was available, and that a modest apology would work the trick.  Meantime the Party hierarchy had (a) come down hard and heavy on Labour members having the temerity to pass motions about the affair in their covens; (b) been a bit taken aback by the due-process criticism and set up a review panel - which, hilariously, reinstated Corbyn!  His outriders declared victory; out came the apology, modest in the extreme; McCluskey reckoned he'd pulled it off.   

Starmer, however, reacted fairly immediately (some say, because the Jewish lobby forced his hand) by removing the Labour Parliamentary whip, supported loyally in public (however unhappily and disingenuously) by senior Shadow Cabinet members.  Cue uproar, because this particular turn of events, essentially PLP-based and no longer a Party matter per se, has left Party members feeling completely free to pass condemnatory motions until they are blue in the face.  And so the weekend begins: what will the Sunday papers make of it all?

I say the Sundays, because right now, aside from the letters page the Graun has nothing whatsoever about it dated later than Thursday evening!  Boy, that tells us something.  So, for an 'authoritative' leftist view, I recommend (again, only for afficianados) a few minutes watching Novara media's account.  

Their explanation is, in a sense, an inversion of mine.  Novara reckons the provocation is Starmer's! - on behalf of the neo-liberal establishment, the BBC and the dark powers, naturally - but I think we can accept that as just the flipside of the coin I have been presenting.  Summarising their account (see particularly from 12:50 mins in): 

The neo-lib establishment is appalled by a particular development.  Prior to Corbyn's becoming leader of a mainstream political party, 'revolutionary' stirrings had been confined to broadly ineffectual extra-parliamentary movements like Occupy.  With Corbyn's accession and his near-miss in GE2017, there was the clear possibility that a genuinely leftwing government might be achieved.  Since the very notion of this must be expunged from everyone's consciousness, Starmer (the chosen agent of the neo-libs, carefully installed in the leadership) must find a means - any means - to expel Corbyn and his followers.  They are using the EHRC as an opportunity, and confecting a provocation to facilitate his eviction; and with him, the left.  Nothing else matters to Starmer in 2020 because he has 4 years to build towards an electoral pitch.     

Aside from the silly conspiracy-theory aspects I don't find this in any way contradictory to my earlier version.  Both sides in the Labout Party view the stakes as extremely high - viz, the potential leftist capture of the Labour Party and ultimately government - with EHRC a pivotal moment, being exploited ruthlessly.  It's a pure win-lose arm-wrestle, no holds barred.

Where does it go from here?  The Novara types reckon (hope?) Starmer has really screwed up tactically, potentially precipitating a leftist-driven uprising within Labour.  The total silence of the Grauniad, and what they identify (surely correctly) as a very Starmer-friendly treatment of all this by the Beeb, is all of a piece.  But they must also fear that Graun + Beeb + almost all of the PLP is actually quite a dead weight on their hopes.  Lurking in the background is always the fear (for them) of a breakaway new leftist party: so they'll hope that passing incendiary motions at the grassroots level is sport enough for their followers.   

Meanwhile, Covid and Brexit march on, and Boris has stolen their Green Industrial Revolution ... but what do they care?  Too young to bother about Covid; half of them Lexiteers anyway; climate crisis, what climate crisis?  Fratricide is much more fun.    



**  Amusingly, Gordon Brown has said pretty much the same 

PS - for the record, this gives an informed insight into the hanky-panky: what a shower. 

PPS - and this; and this; and thisIt's all about wording; humiliation vs not grovelling 


Don Cox said...

There once were two cats of Kilkenny,
Each thought there was one cat too many,
So they fought and they fit,
And they scratched and they bit,
Till, excepting their nails
And the tips of their tails,
Instead of two cats, there weren't any.

Don Cox

lilith said...

It is all a grand distraction from BoJo's new political identity: TransMiliband. Good read, Nick :)

Timbo614 said...

What I'd like to know is what Corbyn's faction have against Starmer?
Is he too well educated? Too posh? I mean, they get a leader who at least looks the part and talks the part and follows fundamentally the same ideology and they try to tear him down because he's not extreme enough?

Extremes do not win elections that was shown and in no uncertain terms last time out. They should demonstrate that they are returning to supporting the working men & women even without the powerful unions that used to help them along. Start getting to grips with the basic unfairness of the "gig" economy. Fight against zero hours with no protection, no guarantees etc. etc. That goal mouth is wide open especially during the Covi-19 aftermath that is certainly coming.
As a capitalist at heart and very much in favour of "you make your own luck" and opportunities there is still room in a civilised country for looking out for those who are just not capable of it and who simply never get the opportunity. Capitalism can solve that problem by employing the less ambitious/adventurous but as we are well aware they can also be taken advantage of. A different type of "union" might also help, less militancy more compromise/arbitration.
Some balance is required in a socialist party if they want to have any chance next time out. They don't have to embrace capitalism but they do have accept it as a fact of life, control it and try to use it to further the socialist ideals by turning it to their own advantage.

Just a few thoughts ;)

Elby the Beserk said...

Splitters, or ... those who do not learn...

So dumb the left is now that it is doomed to repeat it's entanglement with the Hard Left, decade after decade after decade.


dearieme said...

I want to see the utter destruction of the Labour Party and a return to Whigs vs Tories.

Admittedly someone would have to start a Tory party.

Don Cox said...

Starmer wants to win an election. Corbyn wants to capture a revolution, as Lenin, Khomeini and others have done.

For Marxists (and Islamists), working within the constitution is a betrayal. This is the difference between Socialism and Marxism.

Don Cox

Anonymous said...

Dont tell John McDonnell that working within the constitution is betrayal for a Marxist: its his whole brand.