The SKWAWKBOX was delighted with the announcement by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s team of a planned ‘relaunch’ in the new year, casting Corbyn ‘as a left-wing populist’ to tap on the massive flux of anti-Establishment sentiment.
Except, of course, that Corbyn already occupies that position – authentic, insurgent and refusing to conform to aims and behaviours the Establishment approves.
But the idea is a good one and if it results in a drive to steamroll and, where needed, to bypass the blockage by editors and even by the Labour ‘machine’ and get the message out to the country, fantastic.
Of course, there are others in the Labour party just as authentic – but as malcontents, plotters and underminers eager to return to the Establishment-approved status quo.
Step forward Tom Watson. As indeed he did, within hours, to speaking to media to attempt to pour scorn and water on the idea:
The BBC article makes a somewhat surprising attribution to Watson:
Tom Watson said leaders always needed to win more people around, but he had not heard of any change of approach and Mr Corbyn was on a pretty “high trajectory” already.
Right. So why are your Labour First and Progress pals constantly blaming Corbyn for poor polling while constantly undermining him and preventing anyone hearing about his ambitious policies and key speeches, Tom – without comment or hindrance from you?
Corbyn’s problem is that Watson’s position as deputy leader is an elected one, so it’s not within Corbyn’s power to sack him – and Watson knows he’d be slaughtered if he stood again, as the same people who gave Corbyn a bigger-than-ever mandate in September would not touch Watson with a barge-pole now.
Corbyn does have one option, though – and it would fall into the ‘nuclear option’ category, as – to my knowledge – it has never been done before.
He could ‘withdraw the whip’.
Here’s what the Parliament website says about withdrawing the whip:
[if the whip is withdrawn from an MP or Lord it] means that the Member is effectively expelled from their party (but keeps their seat) and must sit as an independent until the whip is restored.
An MP who is no longer in the Labour party cannot be deputy leader of the Labour party. So a vacancy would be created and a new election to fill the position would be forced.
I describe this as a ‘nuclear option’ because some members of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) would certainly try to defend Watson. But this would merely be to bring Watson’s ‘Project Anaconda’ and the ‘moderate’ faction’s ‘silent coup’ out into the open – and it would be far better than allowing them to continue to leech vitality and credibility from Corbyn’s leadership and the movement it has inspired.
In other words, better to ‘rip off the bandaid’ than to allow it to cover the festering wound that is Labour’s right-wing Parliamentary/bureaucratic faction.
And with the solid, decent – and preferably female – MP that would be voted in to replace Watson, the party would have a united leadership far better placed to face down, smack down and take down those who have not stopped and simply will not stop undermining the party they claim to love and support until they achieve Corbyn’s fall, even if it means throwing the next election to do it.
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