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Excl: Labour MPs mock Watson leadership bid as ‘Umm Qasr’ strategy

Quip mocks non-existent chance of success and Watson’s support for illegal Iraq war
Tom Watson

Labour MPs have told the SKWAWKBOX that they understand that the party’s deputy leader Tom Watson is preparing a challenge to leader Jeremy Corbyn – and that they have coined an unflattering phrase to describe its chances of success: his “‘Umm Qasr’ strategy“.

The quip is also a jibe at Watson’s consistent support for the Iraq war described as illegal by then-UN general secretary Kofi Annan.

During the 2003 conflict, a column of fourteen Iraqi tanks emerged from Basra, just as western forces prepared an assault on the nearby port town of Umm Qasr. The resulting destruction of the ill-fated convoy led one British army participant to describe it in terms of a one-sided football match:

There were 14 of ours and 14 of theirs. The final score was 14 nil.

Diane Abbott

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott spoke to a public meeting on Wednesday about the expectation of Labour insiders of a fresh leadership challenge this summer, though it’s not recorded whether she mentioned the withering epithet:

Tom Watson was contacted for comment but did not respond.


If Watson does decide to pursue his ‘Umm Qasr strategy’, he will not find it difficult to obtain the nominations he needs. As the SKWAWKBOX reported last February, a number of left MPs eager to see the back of him have said they will ‘lend’ him their nominations to ensure a contest could be put to a vote by members and affiliates.

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  1. Put him up against Chris Williamson for the deputy leadership and we will see how much support the Watson traitor has amongst the membership…

  2. I hope Diane Abbott is wrong about another leadership challenge this summer. Its not that I am worried Jeremy won’t win any challenge – he will. I just feel the total despair of ground hog day.
    When I think of the amount of time and effort that would be put in to the challenge instead of using all our resources to obtain a Socialist anti austerity government after the next General Election I could weep.
    But I say one thing – many of us are just about getting over the last coup fiasco and are starting to be able to get past the disgusting behaviour of those involved in the chicken coup but there will be no forgiveness if there is any recurrence.
    The PLP have got to understand that actions have consequences. Any orchestrated resignations, complaints of “break ins” , infantile references to phone calls to dads etc will be remembered when it comes to selecting candidates for election next time round.

    1. ” I just feel the total despair of ground hog day”

      I think that’s a perceptive view, Smartboy.

      I’ve often expressed my frustration here at the amount of time wasted in repetitive condemnation of the usual suspects which, once the point has been made, simply becomes a diversion therapy rather than a strategy or political debate.

      The whole thrust of the scam war has been to distract from the fundamental issues – currently the fact that a blatantly incompetent egotist is walking into the post of Prime Minister without a real election.

      We all know that the PLP and the NEC is currently in disarray – but the idea that everything will be all right on the night after some reselection battles and a defeated leadership challenge is naive. It will mark a further successful strategy in hobbling the Party in its role of opposition.

    2. I think that is Tapeworms plan. Distract, defame, destroy. He has no interest in a GE victory but would love to be the leader of a party come what may. The membership need to think originally about these people and how to defeat them. I find it hard to believe why the TWs ever joined. Regards.

  3. is it a ploy to distract from selections or in some cases deselection? so members will be concentrating on re-electing Jeremy he can’t really think he would win nah something else going on here surely

  4. We need to democratise our party rules asap .. We the membership are paying litteraly for the infantile behaviour of the few elites against the many.The garbage needs to be put out and the house cleaned

  5. I find the phrase “Umm Qasr strategy” highly distasteful – very uncharacteristic of SKWAWKBOX. Involvement of British forces in the shame of the Iraq War is not something that should be condoned in any way, which includes jingoistic reference to “successful” actions

    1. Yes, for a moment I thought it was just me that had been taken aback by the nature of the comment – to be expected from some in parliament of course, but not from SkwawkB.

  6. I live in east London,spend a lot of time in the Sunderland area and have just come back from a few days in South Wales,all Labour heartlands. I visit a lot of pubs and when the conversation turns to politics men who are traditional Labour voters express doubts about Mr Corbyn not about anti Semitism (never mentioned), links to terrorism (but it does come up)or not being prepared to push the nuclear button(surprisingly the anti war thing goes down well). The big criticism is “he doesn’t say anything ” and when questioned this seems to mean he accepts insults and criticism from colleagues and tries to appease and not fight back. This is seen as weakness not a strength.I realise that is Mr Corbyns nature but given his passivity he is still portrayed by critics as a bully I feel a more assertive approach would be hugely beneficial.He could,for example of publicly rebuked Watson for his attacks on Ms Formby,he could remind MPs like Hodge and Streeting of their responsibilities. I realise my “research”is hardly scientific and others may have had totally different experiences but it is hard as a Labour member for fifty years to be told to come out fighting when your leader doesn’t seem to be doing so.

    1. By coincidence Jim I am from Sunderland but I have spent years living in London. I still have lots of contacts up there and I couldn’t agree with you more. I know that JC wanted a “new kind of politics” and that’s all very admirable but its not working. At the moment the opposition and media are subjecting him to one of the most intensive hate campaigns that I have ever seen a politician suffer in this country. He needs to beef up his response to the ridiculous allegations that are made against him or else he risks looking ineffective or of not having an answer to them (which I know is not the case).

      In a less highly charged political atmosphere his more civilised approach to politics probably would have been welcomed but sadly now is not the time.We don’t have to descend to the level of using the disgusting tactics that are being used against us but we do have to start saying “Enough is enough” and start cracking down on disloyal party members especially those who join in with the name calling etc.

    2. In any one single person we will never find all the characteristics that we want. Corbyn should do only what Corbyn is comfortable doing and is good at – not pretend that he can be good at something else. But the most important point here is where are the others outside the leading duo? The Left has been far too dependent upon just two people so that when they are compromised by the posts they hold, there is too few others doing what they have been doing for decades.

      1. We need to see a concerted effort by the Shadow Cabinet to not only support Jeremy but stand firm against the narrative being put out by Watson and his cronies. The Shadow Cabinet should have spoken as one voice against Watson’s attack on Jennie Formby. That and that alone would have sent a message to Watson, his followers and the MSM that they would not stand for his bullying. Waiting…

    3. Jim – I think you’ve made some interesting observations about reactions to Corbyn. How much could be altered by a different approach, and how much is inevitably shaped by the unprecedented nature of the campaign against him is a matter of debate.

      What has become clear over time is he hasn’t succeeded in one key leadership role – that of building a strong team with disparate but complimentary strengths (look to Attlee). Again – how much that is an inevitable result of the history of a fragmented PLP and a contradictory NEC is, again, a matter of debate. Certainly, too many shadow cabinet members have proved extremely flaky when push comes to shove.

      One thing is for sure – the Lobby can’t be controlled. Reaction to it, the processes and the mechanisms can.

  7. Who exactly told you to ‘come out fighting’ Jim. Sounds like complete B/S to me, just like the rest of your post.

    PS No conversations with women then about politics?!

    1. Oh dear Allan got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning did we? You’re a real “Mr Angry” today.

      1. Since when is calling out B/S tantamount to anger Albert!

      2. Jim, so who told you to come out fighting? Was it just you personally that THEY – whoever they ARE – said it to, or was it directed at ALL JC supporting members and, if so, WHO said it? Or did you just make it up so that you could make, and dissemble, a negative criticism about Jeremy, in effect accusing him of hypocrisy, albeit quite subtly?

        Anyway, and just by coincidence of course, Albert just happens to be from Sunderland, and he still has lots of contacts up there (no family or friends up there then?), and it just so happens that he couldn’t agree with Jim more. And how very fortuitous that Albert just happened to be up at such an early hour to give his backing and support to Jim – and reinforce what Jim said in effect – in criticising JC.

        PS And I should just point out that my initial response to Jim’s post was PRIOR to Albert’s back-up post of Jim’s B/S, but I didn’t submit it as a ‘Reply’, although I obviously meant to.

      3. Your paranoid delusions are becoming a bore, Allan.

        Neither of them said anything remotely critical of JC.And if you reckon posting at all hours of the day and night is indicative of shady motives, then you’re one of the biggest hypocrites on here.

        Just because someone else (Albert) also thought you were being a at bit of a knob at roughly the same time, doesn’t mean the two are the same person

        Try getting some sleep or your fevered accusations of trollery may rebound back onto you!

    2. Thanks for that,”come out fighting”,” is a term I have used to convey the message of kicking back against Tory austerity and media lies things we are regularly exhorted to do whilst out canvassing and I believe Ms Pidcock used similar language at the gala this weekend. Is your other comment suggesting women find Mr Corbyns approach more attractive,in which case my wife would disagree with you or just a nasty dig at someone you have never met? Disagree by all means but no need to be unpleasant.

      1. Jim l felt you made a good point well and makes the position of frustration with the limp fightback from our loyal mps and the lack of visible colleagues standing by him in great numbers in solidarity shaming for all of us!.The same frustration we all feel as they do in the heartlands.Corbyn is not perfect as felicity pointed out,but he’s the best we have got.We can rebuild the party under corbyn.The strength of our party is the size and passion visible in our membership,all down to The Corbyn Effect.

      2. Oh, I see you posted whilst I was putting a post together. Anyway, I’m not going to play your games Jim, except to say that I don’t believe a word of your B/S, and it is more than evident that your objective – along with your mate Albert – is to stir up bad feeling towards Jeremy amongst his supporters on skwawkbox. Oh, right, and you’re exhorted to come out fighting whilst out canvassing are you! Yeah, yeah, yeah! Just more B/S!

        Such a clever little propagandist adding hypocrisy to appeasement.

      3. And there IS no problem according to timfrom and Fibro (in another thread), as the general public have seen through the smears all along, in which case there’s absolutely no need for Jeremy to come out fighting against the lies and falsehoods, because no one believes them anyway.

        Isn’t that right tim?

      4. In my town which has quite a small population 96K which is very Conservative on the whole, no they don’t care about racism, any racism sadly, this isn’t the case elsewhere of course. What I said Allan was during conversations one person brought it up. I’d really like to think people would vote ethically but they don’t see Brexit Party for example. So where I live no anti Semitism whether it exists and in what numbers in the Labour party I don’t see being an issue here or many other places

      5. No. I’m just disappointed he hasn’t put his foot down MUCH sooner. He’s given his detractors far too much ground. Sound familiar?

        Now go and have a lie down, you deranged idiot.

      6. And here’s an even better example Joseph – ie an explicit repudiation by the Labour Party. I’m refering to the LP response to the Panorama hatchet job AND the letters that then followed, first by some high profile members of the Jewish community, and then by a hundred-plus Labour peers, both condemning the ‘attack’ on former LP staff who appeared in the program, both of which were faithfully reported by the MSM of course. None of the signatories had any concerns about the doctored email, or the fact that one of the people who appeared in the program lied about someone asking him if he was from Israel (when in fact they just asked him which branch of the LP was he in), or the fact that most of the people who appeared in the program held positions in the Jewish Labour Movement, but THAT’S beside the point.

        And the point IS of course, that this is what happens when anyone fights back against the lies and disinformation and smears – ie the plotters just double down. And it happens EVERY time, and TWICE now with Pete Willsman, for example, and I can’t help wondering why various people on SB keep criticising JC for appeasing the smearers when it’s been crystal clear for a long time what happens when people DO ‘come out fighting’.

      7. Allan you’ve got it right, it can be frustrating that there isn’t continued rebuttal from the LOTO and other MP’s but they have said it’s basically rubbish saying the same thing over and over achieves nothing just gives the right wingers the platform to keep repeating the lies regardless.
        Personally it shows just how strong Jeremy et al are, I wouldn’t have the strength to sit back and take it, I’m peed of at being labeled an anti Semite along with my fellow party members that I know and family who are no such thing, I wish there was someway we could do something within the party rules

      8. The Baroness Hayter sacking is all over the MSM today of course, and here’s how the Sun spun it (I haven’t checked out the Daily Mail or the Express as of yet, but no doubt they spun it in similar mode):

        ONE RULE FOR THEM Jeremy Corbyn SACKS frontbencher for ‘comparing Labour to Nazis’ – but won’t kick out racists who do the same with Jews

        PS So it isn’t even comparing ISRAEL to the Nazis – ie Nazi Germany – but now it’s comparing JEWS to Nazis! As I keep saying, when the Establishment’s propaganda is faithfully dissembled by the MSM, it’s a no-win situation.

      9. Allan Howard :

        ” I can’t help wondering why various people on SB keep criticising JC for appeasing the smearers when it’s been crystal clear for a long time what happens when people DO ‘come out fighting’.”

        The criticisms on this aspect are not much directed at Corbyn.

        They are directed particularly at the NEC, and flow from a ‘strategy’ of placation that has been evidenced in the expulsion of a number of members who are clearly not ‘antisemitic’ and the adoption of the IHRA ‘definiton + examples’.

        Whatever else, this placatory strategy has bombed spectacularly. Thus the criticism.

        On the other hand, we have seen relatively little in terms of consistent and robust rebuttal from Party spokespersons. It’s worth a try given the abject failure of (dishonest) apology.

      10. And here’s Margaret Hodge, in true Goebbels fashion, repeating the Big Lies of the smearers at every opportunity (re Chris Williamson etc):

        Dame Margaret told MailOnline: ‘It’s a complete travesty of what was said and it confirms the only way the leader can act on anti-Semitism is to shoot the messenger bringing an uncomfortable message about his response to the crisis facing Labour, which is outrageous.

        ‘I just wish Chris Williamson or Peter Willsman or indeed our candidate in the Peterborough by-election (labour MP Lisa Forbes) had been dealt with as promptly and as severely as they should have been for their blatant anti-Semitism.’

      11. Oh, I see Richard, so the several hundred comments (minimum!) and several dozen articles I’ve read during the course of the past couple of years or so in which somebody said precisely THAT were just in my imagination then!

      12. Back in April in a Sky News interview, and widely reported in the MSM, Jess Phillips claimed that the police were investigating a Labour Party member who had threatened to kill her. Funny how that’s THREE months now, and we’ve heard no more about it (in the media), and no-one has been charged etc. Is it possible that she made the whole thing up, and no-one threatened to kill her, and there was no police investigation. Surely not!

  8. I don’t think he sleeps much, hence the paranoid accusations and name-calling. Well it’s a full-time job he’s given himself

    He suspects others here of having agendas where they don’t exist. Ignore.

    1. Timfrom.. I think we are all pushing for a.Corbyn Labour government and we are all entitled to vent frustration ,even Allan Howard,and I know that this week has become a matter of contention and real anger at the injustice of all the allegations against us and Corbyn.I am too old to change and I believe we can only respond and fight back.,I don’t do surrender and from what I see neither do the bulk of the largest party in Europe,We are the democratic socialist Labour party ,the clue is in the name.

  9. Surely this is made up? Even Watson cannot be that deluded?

    There is not the slightest possibility that he would come close to winning. What other reason could he do it for? To claim that the membership supports anti-Semitism because it chose Corbyn?

    The truth of the matter is that his career as a frontbencher will end soon and he will be lucky if he is not dumped by his CLP too. Is this his last attempt to hole the party below the water before leaving?

    1. I agree that this is a last attempt to hole the party below the water before leaving.

      I don’t think Watson thinks he could win but it would justify the negative press about about a divided party and the disloyalty of the usual suspects. It’s a now or never scorched earth policy because of deselections and the possibility of an imminent GE. It would also leave the LP without a leader during a challenge and I imagine that has implications for funding. Watson leads the LP’s ‘better dead than red section’ of the PLP… and we are now locked well into the next coup (if the first one ever stopped).

  10. So the Zionists want to put Tom Watson, their Leader, in charge of the Labour Party to complete their take over. We now have conclusive proof – thanks Panorama, that they control the machinery of the Party and are now going for a clean sweep.

    If they think for one second that the membership who are now more informed about their tactics will allow it, they are mental.

    In fact the the exact opposite should happen. The entire Zionist cabal, including Watson, the JLM and the LFI should be slung out of the Party, not just for attempting to bring it into disrepute but for an attack on British democracy to enable the racist State of Israel to continue its persecution of the Palestinians.

    1. Tom Watson ‘leader’ of the Zionists? He wishes!
      I was in a country many years ago where a woman would sit at the door of the public toilets handing out sheets of toilet paper for a few pence. That is where Watson stands in the Zionist hierarchy.

      1. Ceredig, tell me which Zionist in the Labour Party holds a higher position than Watson?

  11. It’s now time to reinstate all those such as Jackie Walker, Ken Livingston, Tony Greenstein, Mark Wadsworth, Chris Williamson and others who knew precisely what was happening in the Labour Party but who, because of the Zionists in control, were expelled or suspended.

    We owe those members a massive appology. They, unlike the sheep who were fooled by the Zionists, had their eyes and ears open but were kicked in the guts by cowards for their efforts.

    1. Jack T…..You have brought up a very serious point effectively loosing our best fighters for the Labour party to a kangaroo court of biased individuals.They never stood a chance,and all defence casually brushed aside…..We need to get them all back Galloway and Hatton included.We need scrappers…….not pussycats!

  12. Watson would lose but it might do two things:

    1) Scupper Labour’s chances in an election through infighting. Which would then lead to an even civil war. Thus the Labour right would in effect be backing Johnson.

    2) Provide a reason to walk out with MPs and lords. Let’s say Watson gets a quarter of the vote, he and his media friends would spin it as a party 3/4 full of anti-semites and so need to form a new one.

    Should have been sacked from his post for lying about Jenny Formby.

    1. ”Let’s say Watson gets a quarter of the vote, he and his media friends would spin it as a party 3/4 full of anti-semites and so need to form a new one.”

      That’d make the lot of them a bigger bunch of liars and the MSM even less credible than they already are (I guess it IS possible) if they labelled circa 375k people as ‘antisemitic’.

  13. One word: Bollocks.

    Why? Because watson won’t even put himself up for re-election as deputy.

    Watson knows his card’s marked, his days are numbered; that’s why he’s flinging shit all over the place like the frustrated primate he is.

    1. PS meant to add:

      Any challenge WON’T come from watson, but watch out for thornberry or starmer… I’ve NEVER trusted them and NEVER would.

      1. Watch out for McDonnel. The Guardian and the rest of the MSM have punctiliously avoided criticising him for antisemitism. Has he promised to throw the Palestinians under a bus in return for silence from the Zionists?Remember, Corbyn has the unshakeable support of the membership, the only way he can be removed is if he decides to resign.
        Who is the only person on the planet who could whisper in his ear ‘look mate, you know I love you, but you’ve become a liability’ and sound convincing?
        Yes, I know, I’m paranoid. But just because you’re paranoid……..

  14. Tom has two chances of winning Jeremy Corbyn in a Leadership challenge. No chance, and a Dogs Chance :). Quit while you can Tom (Tit) You are making a bigger spectacle of yourself than you ever did before.He’d have a better chance of winning if he asked the question: Do you think I should resign. That would be the 1st time he ever got 100% in anything useful.

  15. the more time goes on the more I’m convinced the only way to deal with the Labour right is to democratically remove them from the party no matter how often they scream Broad Church!

  16. One clear thing that emerges from the above comments is the failure of the Party to take a consistently clear line in combatting and rebutting the lies that have been promulgated by the right in alliance with the Israel Lobby. This is of more significance than the Watson issue per se.

  17. yes to defending ourselves, no to JC putting on the gloves
    Even if you are from Sunderland, lads and lasses on here need to stick together like shit to a blanket
    fightback has started and party has a shed load of ammunition to fire
    have £5 on JC next PM with Paddy Power, 66/1
    Government just lost brexit vote, which effectively tells Boris he does not command the support of the house
    good luck

  18. ”have £5 on JC next PM with Paddy Power, 66/1”

    Wow!! Can’t believe that!? That’s an absolutely KNOCKIN’ price!! Worth a fiver of anyone’s dough!!

    Doug has spoken, folks. Nearest Paddy Power to me’s in Liverpool city centre, I’ll be lumping on next time I’m there!

    1. usual financial health warnings apply, if your a gambler the only thing you can control is your losses
      i could also be full of shit
      either way need successful VONC next week,

      1. Doug,

        You had me right up until “i could also be full of shit”.

        Still worth a lump, though!

      2. ‘ i could also be ful of shit….’

        But your name’s Doug, not tom, boris or donald.

  19. The staff in the big Labour offices numbers hundreds of people, mostly recruited during the Blair years when FOI was almost compulsory. It is a huge problem for the Labour Party administration to cope with now.

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