OK, I’m coming out of my political depression now; and wondering whether something positive could be made of this terrible thing that’s happening to the Labour Party. If Philip Cassell, commenting on my last blog, is right, it could just be a simple ruse to force Corbyn to resign, to be replaced by someone more ‘electable’. This is unlikely to be one of the Seven, who will be marked for life by their ‘treachery’, and for that reason I agree with Philip that it can’t be seen as a ‘career’ move – unless a very stupid one. None of the ‘Maleficent Seven’ (like it?) appears any more ‘electable’ than Jeremy; most of them are very dull people, virtually unheard of before now, and with nothing but clichés to say for themselves at their press conference yesterday. (John Field’s comment on my last blog is on the ball here.)
So, a new leader would have to come from outside their circle. He or she would need to be someone who goes along with Corbyn’s policies, but doesn’t have his baggage: serial disloyalty to the party, being embarrassingly right about most foreign issues in the past, talking to terrorists, lack of respect for Her Maj, daring to support the Palestinians, shabby dressing, the allotment. There are suitable candidates for the succession. I imagine that the two I suggested in my last blog are beyond the pale for most Labour members; but others have been making a very good public impression by negotiating the Brexit quicksands calmly and intelligently. These include Emily Thornberry, Keir Starmer, Barry Gardiner and John McDonnell – if he’s not seen as too close to Corbyn. (My vote would go to Emily, but partly because she’s a woman, and could show us that women can be leaders in our political world without de-sexing them.) I’d trust – well, half trust – any of them to carry on Jeremy’s good work. On the other hand, I don’t trust the Labour Party membership to see things in this way; which is why Corbyn would need to resign voluntarily first, and anoint one or some of these as his possible successors. We’ll see. It would be unfair on Jeremy, whom I greatly admire (partly because he looks and thinks like me); but at least Labour would escape some of the vitriol heaped on it by the Press if he were to go. He then would go down in history not as a failure, but as the John the Baptist of New-New Labour, preparing the way for the coming of the Lord. And my original prediction, or suggestion, or hope (https://bernardjporter.com/2016/07/12/keep-corbyn-for-now/), would have come to pass. Glory be.
I still think we need to know where the Seven’s financial backing comes from – which their registering in a notorious tax haven won’t make easy. Also, the part played in all this – if any – by Israel; of which Scott Newton tells us (below) two of the seven are ‘Friends’. Just a suspicion; but probably enough for me to be suspected as an ‘anti-semite’ by the likes of Luciana Berger, who gave Labour anti-semitism as her main reason for joining the mutiny. You might not like ‘conspiracy theories’; but if yesterday’s rebellion wasn’t a conspiracy in itself, what was it?
The defectors seem to be backed by wealthy donors, and eventually they might reveal their sources, the property developer David Gerrard has been mentioned as he has donated to Umunna in the past. Another difference with the SDP who relied largely on member subscriptions. The next leader could be Angela Rayner (second favourite behind Starmer with gamblers at present.)
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According to the Labour Friends of Israel website (http://www.lfi.org.uk/) the entire Gang of Seven with the exception of Ann Coffey and Gavin Shuker are listed as Parliamentary supporters of LFI. Earlier today Ruth George (Labour MP for High Peak) had the temerity to suggest that the state of Israel might be offering support to the defectors. She has since seen the error of her views and apologised. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-47296591
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