A tweet this morning sums up perfectly the state of the Labour Party, a description of an imaginary conversation between the former Labour Party MP Luciana Berger, as she faced unprecedented levels of anti-Semitic abuse and indeed needed police protection when attending last year’s Labour Party conference for fear of her personal safety. Here it is:
Berger: Can you please stop being so antisemitic
Berger: Look, I’m going to have to leave, please just stop
Berger: Okay this is your last chance, please stop or I’ll have to go, I really don’t want to
Labour: OMG TRAITOR!!
And that’s exactly what happened. The day after seven MPs announced their departure from the Labour Party, the attack dogs of the hard left have piled in to attack them. Mike Gapes, it transpires, voted in favour of the Iraq war in order to end the rule of a genocidal maniac. Angela Smith’s husband has some interests in a privatised water company. And so it went on. In recent weeks, the comrades made it clear that there was no need for anyone to leave Labour. Now they have gone, they are splitters, traitors. This is what happens when the hard left gets its hands on power.
“Why don’t you fuck off and join the Tories?” say some. “You’re only a short step away from the Conservative Party. You should never have been in Labour in the first place.” Because, you see, if you do not worship at the altar of Jeremy Corbyn, you are a Tory. That Corbyn is far from an intellectual heavyweight, has achieved almost nothing in his political life and is the worst leader in the party’s history; none of that matters to the true believers. You are either with him or against.
Think how this plays out with regular voters, the vast majority of whom are not members of any political party. Granted many of them are instinctive Labour or Tory voters (other parties are available). However, there is a significant block of people who are either non-aligned or can be persuaded to vote on the basis of the issues of the day. That was how Tony Blair won in 1997, 2001 and 2005, by making an offer to the swing voter. New Labour demonstrated how Labour could win and then make Britain a better and more equal place. The attitude of Corbyn, his puppet-masters and his cult following demand only purity and rubbish those they deem to be the enemy, often by the most insidious methods. This is precisely what is happening with the seven ex Labour MPs today. Swing voters, who are considering to whom they should lend their vote, will not be encouraged by the shrill intolerance of the comrades.
I know what it is like to suffer the slings and arrows by way of abuse from the hard left in a lifetime of activity in the Labour Party and in the labour movement. I know how they operate the machinery of power and ensure they can never be challenged, let alone be defeated. I even had to switch off ‘comments’ in this website because of the abuse some of my posts attracted, notably when I supported – as I still do – Tony Blair. Five years into this website, I was not personally upset but such was the abuse I rather did not want to inflict that abuse on readers. I know how Militant tendency controlled Tony Benn’s old constituency party in Bristol East and decided who would be ‘elected’. I know all about the PCS union where machine politics has destroyed all opposition to the ruling hard left cabal, where the two factions vying for power enjoy politics that make Corbyn look like Iain Duncan Smith. This, I repeat, is how the hard left works. There can be no broad church in a party under the control of Stalinists and Trotskyists. When they say “Fuck off and join the Tories”, they mean it. If Clement Attlee came along today, the comrades would tell him exactly that.
I doubt now that Labour can be saved. On the day Luciana Berger finally said goodbye to Labour, the party re-admitted Derek Hatton, the then deputy leader of Liverpool Council who in 1985 hired taxis to “scuttle round a city handing out redundancy notices to its own workers” as part of a political stunt. It no longer includes members who hold unpleasant anti-Semitic views, it is run by them. A party led by people who actively supported the IRA, regard the murderers of Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends’, laid wreaths in respect of people who castrated and murdered Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, took money to broadcast for Iranian state TV, a country which literally hangs gay people from cranes.
I cannot be in the same political party as Derek Hatton, Chris Williamson, Seumas Milne and Chauncey Gardiner himself, Jeremy Corbyn. So, I am not going to be in the same party. I am not going to “Fuck off and join the Tories”, as you might suggest, because I never would, yet here’s the thing. By encouraging Labour’s march to the far left extremes of British politics, it is you, Corbyn’s cult following and your fellow travellers, who are helping to sustain Theresa May’s breathtakingly incompetent government and enabling the Tories to win, post Brexit, when May will be unceremoniously dumped.
You can pretend, if you like, that Labour has not become a party where anti-Semitism has thrived under an inept leader who has all but actively encouraged it in a miserable lifetime of fringe protest politics. You can slur, abuse and slander people who stand up to the hard left. You can support Corbynistas who want nothing but political purity. You can do all these things. However, don’t expect to win a general election. You hate those nasty Tories who are tearing the country apart but just remember by your actions you will ensure they remain in power. It’s your fault, comrades.