There seems to be an odd feeling among certain folk in the labour party that the party somehow needs saving from Jeremy Corbyn. Bizarrely they claim that he has no support amongst the membership – apart from a few hard left usurpers- and none amongst the electorate.
The labour party is a democratic socialist party, and as such there are clear rules regarding leadership challenges. Unlike the tory party, labour MPs don’t need to put a motion of no confidence in, they just need signatures of 20% of the parliamentary party to ignite a leadership bit. The takeover that is underway could, if the aforementioned claims are true, have been achieved easily, in a nice, friendly, grown up fashion by presenting the 50 signatures and taking a vote to the members, who apparently don’t support him anyway, and winning the election. Easy.
This isn’t, however, what the PLP decided to do. Ten months after he won the leadership, much to the distain of the PLP who had their own candidates, we have seen the implementation of a long planned coup. A couple that the telegraph reported would happen months ago. They reported what would happen and when, yet we are still expected to believe this was all a reaction to Mr Corbyns appearances in the referendum campaign. A campaign in which he made more appearances than anyone except Cameron and Boris, and a campaign in which he managed to convinced 2/3rds of labour voters to vote remain.
The favourite to mount a leadership challenge is Angela Eagle, who cried on TV as she quit her shadow cabinet role in the wake of the resignations giving them as part of the reason. Only the website “angela4leader” had been registered before the resignations started. It just doesn’t add up.
It looks like the coup may have been started and aborted before, around the time of the Syria debate. Reports suggest it was aborted after he Oldham by-election which was won with an increased majority. Local elections were a success and other by elections have also seen increased labour majorities. These success come as he is chastised as “unelectable” by the coup and by the mainstream press.
I believe that those responsible have chosen to go down the humiliation route, rather than the democratic challenge route, because they didn’t think they could convince the majority of members to their way of thinking. I feel they believe he would have walked the members vote. What does that say about their electability? How are we supposed to trust them to deliver a majority in parliament of they can’t convince a majority of their own members? They have, in fact, made it much harder for themselves. I, and many others, may have been persuaded to back some of those involved in a democratic challenge, but not now. I couldn’t back someone for leader who is willing to try and humiliate someone in this way. On top of the potential members they have lost, we have seen 60000 new members this week,and I imagine a lot of them have joined to support the leader. Although the right wing media, in particular the mail and the telegraph, did run stories urging their readers to song up too.
There is a massive irony at play here. Those involved in terms coup are claiming Corbyn unelectable but don’t seem to think they can beat him in a leadership election. They are claiming he isn’t tough enough on the tories, yet he has scored victory after victory and right now, while they are weakest it is the coup itself that has taken the heat off them and given them a free ride. They claim that Corbyn is splitting the party, but all he is doing is the job he was elected to do, he has even offered those responsible a way back from this and has stated repeatedly that he will happily go if they beat him in a leadership election.
I wish they’d stop their humiliation and either put up a candidate, or take the offer to work behind the leader in a united labour party offering a real alternative to conservative politics.