Centrists have been taking to social and mainstream media to express their shock and horror at Jeremy Corbyn’s sacking of (now former) Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Smith for public statements about a second Brexit referendum.
Some have gone as far as calling it a ‘Stalinist purge’, while backbencher Chukka Umunna called the sacking ‘extraordinary’ and the ‘usual suspects’ formed a queue to complain to any mainstream media who’d listen.
Of course, it’s neither. Corbyn ally Chris Williamson resigned from his front bench position after criticism over comments about council tax, an issue not within his remit as Fire Minister – even though he was discussing an issue local to his constituency.
The centrists were curiously quiet when a Corbyn ally left the front bench.
The response on social media suggests that the ‘moderate’ complaints have not gone down well. Some pointed out the norms of parliamentary protocol and behaviour:
Others drew attention to centrist silence when Williamson resigned – and the media’s silence on the obvious comparison:
The fact of what a real ‘Stalinist purge’ looks like was not lost on many:
Many pointed to what they thought might be a reason for the comments and their timing:
While the topic of Owen Smith’s Liverpool ice-cream embarrassment was quickly dug out by those who took a lighter but still barbed approach:
Much merriment continues to be had by all. But for any hoping to regain relevance by kicking off a manufactured row, it hasn’t gone well.
As Novara’s Aaron Bastani pointed out, there’s a logical consequence to all this that the relevance-seekers won’t like:
A group of several dozen Labour MPs will try to undermine the party in the run up to the local elections in May. In many ways they are worse than Tories – its why we need forms of re-selection to get rid of them. No alternative i'm afraid.
— Aaron Bastani (@AaronBastani) March 23, 2018
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