The utter capitulation of Corbyn’s Labour

My cousin Sue has been a Labour member for thirty years, and is deeply enough involved in the party and its campaigning to have given speeches at the annual conference and appeared as a disability advocate on the BBC.

In the wake of Labour’s three-line whip mandating MPs to vote for Theresa May’s hard-Brexit bill irrespective of whether any of their amendments were accepted (they weren’t), Sue tweeted “There’s only ever 1 question for me. Is today the day I let stupid idiot humans beat an ideal?”. At which point I went off on one and posted a series of tweets in response. I reproduce them below, lightly edited.


WARNING. This will be boring to many people, and infuriating to others. It surely exposes my political naivety. Yes, a case can be made that I should just get over it. Don’t read on if you don’t want to.

The problem comes when they [the stupid idiot humans who beat an ideal] are the very humans who are meant to stand for that ideal.

To be honest, I expect Conservatives to be venal and short-termist. But because I never expected anything better of them I never felt betrayed by Cameron, Osborne, May, etc. — just disgusted by them. They did what they said they would do. Like the guy in the political ad.:


My problem with Labour is that they were supposed to be the opposite of that. That is the whole point of them. To be hurt by someone you expect to hurt you: nasty, but OK. But to be kicked in teeth by someone you trusted? that is pain.

And if that is true for Labour in general, it goes double for Corbyn’s Labour, when we all believed he was the Great Rebel. My friend wrote a series of superb pieces on why it’s worth supporting Corbyn, which at the time I wholly agreed with. The fact that it is he, of all people, who has deliberately and repeatedly taken a dump on us, over and over, is intolerable.

I registered as a Labour supporter to vote for Corbyn the first time he was up to become party leader. Andrew actually joined the party to vote the second time. I nearly did the same, because Corbyn alone out of all the options looked like a man of principle and integrity.

But now we clearly see that he’s not. Whatever he used to be, he’s now just another opportunist pursuing “electability”. Which, by the way, is also terrible strategy, as you can’t get elected by posing as a Slightly Less Competent Tory.

So a pox on Jeremy Corbyn. A pox on him and the horse he rode in on, and all his contemptible blow-with-the-wind Tories-in-red-ties party.

Transmission ends. I am done with them.


9 responses to “The utter capitulation of Corbyn’s Labour

  1. naivety -> naïvete

    (Or you could even add a hat to the final é, but that isn’t very English.)

  2. I mean, I *could* consider that he feels like his line is mandated by the slim margin of the marginally democratic and thoroughly unbinding brexit referendum (seriously, an up/down vote on a constitutional issue is vastly more daft than I can articulate), but even in the face of the small majority of Brexit voters, shouldn’t our leaders be the grownups? The ones who can analyze the big picture bacause they have information that we mortals don’t necessarialy have and lead accordingly?

    He’s become a follower.

  3. owentt: thanks for that. Dictionaries say that “naivety” is OK but admit your variant is more elegant. If only typing accents wasn’t such an adventure.

    wallfoo, I think you nailed it. The whole attraction of Corbyn was that he looked like the leader that would bring Labour around to stand for specific, established principles rather than chasing wherever the votes happened to be that week. When your leader becomes a follower, all is lost. You might just as well cut out the middle man and defect to whoever he’s following.

  4. ï isn’t that hard to type – HTML entities are much easier than trying to manipulate your keyboard to work.

  5. Well, there’s interesting. OK, then ï isn’t that hard to type.

  6. In the US, we have a similar situation with the Republicans openly and unabashedly evil, and the Democrats supposedly the good guys, except when they aren’t. The Democratic party slogan, cynics say, is “Slightly less evil”.

  7. andrewrilstone

    Point of information: I rejoined the Labour Party five minutes after Jeremy Corbyn had been elected leader, because I am a socialist. As a socialist I couldn’t support Labour under the Warmonger, and had said for a long time that they would have to positively demonstrate that they were no longer the Warmonger’s party before I would support or vote for them again. The fact that I got to vote in the second of Jeremy’s three leadership campaigns was incidental.

    I agree that the Brexit thing has been handled badly, although I think that Jeremy was in a no-win situation given the cards that he’s been dealt. (This also appears to be the opinion of Clive Lewis.) As I said in the article you link to, Jeremy Corbyn is not the best possible standard bearer for the left, but he is the best one currently on offer. It should be noted that his three most likely successors — Chuka Umana, Andy Burnham, and Steven Kinnock — all buy into the “referendum was really a vote against immigration” theory and two of them are prepared to adopt the rhetoric of the far right to talk about it.

    Nothing has changed for me since I wrote the article, I’m afraid. If the Stalinists manage to oust Jeremy, there will be no socialist voice, even in opposition, in parliament again in my lifetime. I wish Jeremy was doing a better job as leader; I wish his party were more prepared to help him to a good job.

  8. Would you not concede, Andrew, that in terms of the policies that most socialists care about — properly funding universal health-care, welcoming refugees and other legitimate immigrants, redistributing wealth sufficiently that everyone has enough to live on — the Lib Dems are presently more on the money than Labour?

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