It was the saboteurs in the Labour Party who delivered Corbyn’s Labour back to its blue faction. Now they will finish the job with Sir (soon-to-be Lord) Kier Starmer. One thing they must surely be examining is how to redress the balance of power that resides in the membership. An Ed Miliband experiment that went disastrously wrong, and had the media, the internal and external establishment, seriously threatened. It’s not difficult to imagine a chastened Ed Miliband, now back in the shadow cabinet, saying how this was an awful mistake and how glad he is to have the opportunity to correct the error of his ways.
So the blue face of Labour swings into action invigorated by the end of the Corbyn era . Not hard for them to get into the swing of things as they have always controlled Labour HQ, even when not in office, as the recent LGLU report into antisemitism has shown. Well, you might ask, how could they have derailed the elected leadership while not actually in office? Simple, their apparatchiks were in senior posts controlling the electoral campaigns and managing Labour’s HQ, a fortunate happenstance for these opportunists, a gift from Labour’s fair-minded employment practices, which they lost no time in exploiting to the full, starving the elected membership and its democratically elected leadership of information resources and electoral data, but it went further, much further, they used every sly reversal trick in the book to make the sitting left wing of Labour’s broad church look as ineffectual as possible. Their best was sticking to Corbyn’s administration, of which they were an insidious part, false charges of antisemitism, and then leaking carefully selected bits of their own complaints procedures to the press weakening Labour’s effectiveness as an opposition and in elections.
Given that most of the bigotry originated from their own culture, as evinced from hundreds of emails and WhatsApp messages, this was no mean feat. They used mysogeny, slander, bullying and other forms of maliciousness, interspersed with cruelty and a total lack of empathy bordering on the psychopathic: in one now renown instance, sending the BBC’s Michael Crick to hound Diane Abbott because she had been found crying in a toilet and this would add to her miseries (who else, eh? but the blue-hearted in Labour).
Despicable as these tactics were, especially in a party which is supposed to be above such nastiness , these questionable antics and malicious slanders worked, but not before in 2017 Labour had come to within a hair’s whisker of electoral triumph, wiping the glib smiles off many in Labour, not least blue Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, who when the exit poll came in that under Jeremy Corbyn Labour had reversed Theresa May’s majority, thus entrenching his father’s electoral defeats, he was captured on TV dismayed and confounded.
But times have indeed changed, and blue Labour is almost back in control, so that even Len McClusky, Unite’s General Secretary, and former staunch ally of JC, writing in a recent article comes somewhat short of where he should in condemning Labour’s pathetic response to its own internal backlog of complaints and malfeasance. No-one, not even Len McClusky can be too careful as Labour shifts towards Sir Keir Starmer who has made unity the mainstay of his leadership.
With Sir Keir Starmer as leader, the blues in Labour have achieved after all their intrigues a not-quite-day-of-being-back-in-the-driver’s seat. The trouble is the Labour membership, who first need to be safely locked away in the labour juggernaut boot, fortuitously helped by the lockdown as CPLs can’t effectively organise or propose motions.
What will blue Labour do? First, they have to sit on the report that under any circumstances can’t be allowed to be proliferated. Step in the GMB union who have already come to their rescue, trying to have it quashed on the grounds that it names some of their members, bringing both them and the union into disrepute. Then they will try to single out the key voices in red labour. Slowly bringing them on-side with reasonable, sugar-coated offers, while sidelining any that don’t bite their bait hard, isolating them as fringe lunatics, fanatics or ‘trots’ (whatever that ubiquitous tabloid single syllable word actually means).
To do this, they will use their considerable reach and financial muscle, which go well beyond membership fees. The Labour party run in this way – corporate-sponsored Labour – moves inexorably towards its real blue intent, not as a mass party, but as a cynical institution of cross-networked and vested interests in a wider political and established institutional order.
Labour’s blue insiders play a nice little game, but we have discovered who they really are from the report into their internal workings, their undemocratic intentions – no matter the electoral cost! – and the schoolboy machinations to which they are prepared to stoop. And find ourselves right back in the full-blown toxicity and head-scratching days, post Gordon Brown’s humiliation, and election defeat to David Cameron and the Lib-Dems, when the shackled Ed Miliband rose to ignominy and further electoral failure. Those instantly disposable days of a media-muted Labour: in thrall to soundbite culture, one-liners and media gimmicks, served in small square blocks of diced pink protein, the barely palatable, carefully vetted and approved, cellophane shrink-wrapped morsels, shipped by Labour’s intense marketing machine to the masses for consumption and excretion.
To take on this cabal of schemers, the Labour membership must learn to use its teeth. To chomp through the brittle bones of blue Labour and spit them out. The next NEC election offers just such an opportunity.