Jeremy Corbyn will not spark defections from the Labour Party - just a civil war
In his article on Monday 14th September, John Rentoul demonstrated his acute disappointment, pique and frustration that his preference gained little support in the Labour party leadership contest.
Today his article, in another thinly veiled criticism of Jeremy Corbyn, argues that the election of Corbyn will not spark defections from the Labour Party, just a civil war. Rentoul goes on to state that “Left-winger's internal opponents do not want to abandon ship for the Lib Dems, but they do want their party back”, conveniently ignoring the simple truism, that in fact the party “belongs” to its members, and not an elitist clique within the Parliamentary Labour Party. Rentoul may well rue the day when Blair was consigned to history, but he and the “usual suspects” should bear in mind that Jeremy Corbyn polled 60% of the votes in the ballot and since last Saturday over 50,000 new members have joined the Labour party. Should this internal “civil war” as Rentoul describes it, actually result in “unnamed” sources from within the Labour and anonymous figures inside the PLP, “getting their party back” again as Rentoul describes it, there would be no second coming for Tony Blair, although Milliband major may be watching events closely.
That is the problem. It would be a return to the same old policies from the same old people who, with a few exceptions like minimum wage and child benefits, have done nothing for working people and their families or the sick or the disabled or pensioners in this country through successive Labour governments for decades. It would be a return to "top down" politics where "policies", many of which neither the membership of the party or just as importantly the public, agree with or support (that is why we lost two successive election). It would be a return to the "divine right" of the Parliamentary Labour Party of career politicians to sit in their Westminster bubble enjoying the privileges of "the Club" and essentially ignore the party members, except of course when they are taken out of the box at election times and expected to perform miracles to get the Labour party candidate elected. It would be a return to party policy being essentially the same policy as the Conservatives, but just wrapped in a different coloured wrapper and presented in a different shaped box. It would be a return to the response from people on many doorsteps around the country that "You are all the same when you get elected". A devastating comment, all the more devastating because they are completely right and the party worker at their door has no response to the criticism.
I have no desire or inclination to rerun to the "good old days" of the PLP dominance over every aspect of the party and their “we are right and you must do as we say” attitude. There is nothing they can offer except further humiliation for the Labour party, and the certainty of continuing electoral defeat.