THERE will be numerous Labour Party members, at least the sane ones, who will have been kicking themselves in the last few weeks, especially if they were amongst the ‘moderate’ MPs who nominated Jeremy Corbyn for the 2015 leadership contest in a ridiculous socialistic interpretation of the concept of equality. It is now blindingly obvious that if any of the other three 2015 contenders had been elected, it is probable that he or she would now be a ‘caretaker’ Prime Minister as Remainers from diverse parties herd like wildebeest to form a Government of National Unity (GNU). Labour would also not have experienced the defections it has, and a whole load of Labour politicians with experience of government would not be in self-imposed exile on the back benches.
Jeremy Corbyn is the obstacle to the formation of a Labour-dominated pro-Remain coalition, despite the favourable Parliamentary arithmetic. Any other politician in Corbyn’s position would have quit months, if not years, ago. There is no point in Corbyn relying on the mandate of hundreds of thousands of entryists when he has no mandate from his MPs and no support from other opposition parties. No sane party leader, not even the annoying person in charge of the SNP, wants to be The One Who Let Corbyn Into Number Ten as their party would face oblivion at the next General Election.
There must be only a few people at the top of the Labour Party who do not realise that Corbyn is political poison. Those who do are finding it hard to hide it. The split in the Labour Party has been so blatant for so long that it is no longer worthy of media comment as a novel concept. The battle lines have been drawn for some time, but there are now only a few raids across an otherwise quiet no-man’s-land.
There is talk that, should Labour find itself enduring its second run of four successive General Election defeats, Corbyn would step down. This is absurd. Corbyn comes from the Stalinist wing of the Labour Party. It is noteworthy that while Neil Kinnock was assiduous in expelling Trotskyites from Labour, he kept the Stalinists in place. This is probably because the Stalinists in Labour were, oddly, not as aggressive as the Trotskyites. Given the antipathy between Stalinists and Trotskyites, it is possible that the Stalinists actually assisted Kinnock in his purge. But Stalinists, like their spiritual leader, never voluntarily quit office. They either have to be purged by their fellow-travellers or be physically incapable. It does not help that Labour’s rule-book was drafted terribly, requiring cases heard at the High Court to be properly unravelled. Labour’s rules are also routinely ignored, as the official response to the party’s structural anti-Semitism demonstrates.
Corbyn will hold on to office for as long as he is physically able to do so. This probably explains why there has been a rather coy propaganda campaign showing Corbyn in rude health. It recalls Mao swimming in the Yangtze River in 1966 to demonstrate the end of his marginalisation after the catastrophe of the still-misnamed genocidal ‘Great Leap Forward’.
So all the talk of a post-Corbyn leader is premature. Corbyn’s brand of socialist politics includes incumbency for life, not least because Corbyn is the glue of his project for Labour and it cannot help but fall apart without him in the top spot. Any successor who retained the same ‘politburo’ of Milne, Murphy, and Murray père et fille, with McCluskey as puppetmaster, would just be regarded as a pawn of this central committee and would have no credibility as a leader in their own right. But without Corbyn’s politburo, factionalism within the post-Corbynites cabal will emerge. After already splitting their party in the name of purity, they will split amongst themselves, weakening the whole project. It’s what socialists do. Corbyn has to remain in the saddle, even if he has to be bound there like Charlton Heston in the final scene of El Cid. The difference is that a politically immobile El Corbyn will not scatter his opponents.
So Corbyn is here to stay, and with Corbyn unelectable in Parliament, it is likely he will also be so in the country, assuming we have a free and fair election. It is to be hoped this is not an assumption too far. But, given the shameful conduct of the Electoral Commission, that is also uncertain. Predictions of Labour losing the next General Election are premature, especially if that election does not incorporate voter identification and a proper reform of the postal voting system.