Video: Watson’s ‘undermining’ backfires as union leaders and Corbyn slap him down and underline party policy

Union leaders across Labour spectrum, as well as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, put Watson in his place – on the irrelevant fringe

Tom Watson’s desperate, illogical attempt to disrupt Labour’s strengthening unity over Brexit and a general election was delivered haltingly and unconvincingly today, with Labour’s notional deputy leader reading from what seemed to be a hastily cobbled-together script to provide the media with fodder for more claims of Labour disunity.

Unfortunately for him, he also triggered a reaction he may not have reckoned with – as union leaders across the spectrum, not only from the left of the movement, slapped him down unambiguously and without ceremony and Jeremy Corbyn, the party’s (twice) overwhelmingly elected leader elegantly put Watson in his place:

Tim Roache, head of the GMB union – which has normally leaned toward the party’s right – said Watson’s intervention was ‘wholly unwelcome’ and threatened to withdraw support from him and potentially even to push for a challenge against him.

CWU’s Dave Ward tweeted that he was interviewed by Sky – footage the broadcaster seems to have quailed from using – and that he had suggested that if Watson is so averse to elections, he should stand down and delay his own.

Len McCluskey, a frequent Watson critic, implied that Watson had crawled out from under a rock to undermine Corbyn – a rock on the outer fringe where nobody cares or is listening to what Watson says.

And Corbyn, maintaining a statesmanlike approach, simply made it clear that Watson’s opinion is not relevant to him or Labour’s policy.

The union leaders made a point of emphasising Corbyn’s status as leader – and that Watson is not – even Keir Starmer, speaking to the TUC, emphasised that Labour will act in government, and therefore not before a general election.

And media coverage made it absolutely clear that the union contempt for Watson’s conduct extended more or less across the board of union leaders at this week’s TUC congress in Brighton.

To put the icing on the cake, Watson’s intervention provided plenty of opportunity for Labour figures – on camera and largely uninterrupted – to repeat Labour’s Brexit and general election positions voters across the country.

Played Tom.

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  1. It’s been a good day unless your TWatson, Dominic Cummings glove puppet or the Queen
    Thinking about investing in a popcorn machine

  2. Should Labour win a GE, I fear that Mr Corbyn will find himself in the same position in which he has just, this week, put Mr Johnson; i.e. he will be trying to negotiate with EU officials who have no incentive to co-operate because they can defer Brexit indefinitely, using the powers conferred on them by Parliament’s latest piece of legislation.
    He will have to give the EU everything it demands as the price of a deal, no matter how costly or unreasonable, because he won’t be able to turn down a deal.
    The Parliamentary Remainers have made it impossible for Johnson to deliver Brexit, and it will be equally impossible for Corbyn to deliver Brexit.

    1. Catherine, I think the EU described JC’s plans as “delightful” or some such.
      They’re even sicker of the Tories than we are (joke) because they’ve seen them clearly in all their post-imperial xenophobic nastiness instead of through the distorting lens of the supine British MSM.

      1. David. Those negotiations were when No Deal was still an option. I don’t understand what incentive there is for the EU to play ball with Corbyn if they know that Labour will offer a Remain option. I do, however, have complete faith in Corbyn as he has read this situation excellently, so far.

      2. Pablored This was the one nagging issue I had with Labour’s position. Why would the EU not simply offer a bad deal so as to secure a Remain vote.

        An answer I saw given by one commentator was this: no matter how good or bad the deal, there is a realistic prospect that the further referendum will be to leave. Therefore it is in the EU’s interests to make the leave option palatable, both for them and for the UK which will have to live with it, and will approach its future relationship with the EU accordingly.

        The more important point for me, which would never wash with any Brexiteer, is that I genuinely believe the EU would approach the negotiations in a spirit of good faith rather than of political game playing. Those who allege the latter are simply revealing their own approach to such a situation and projecting it onto the EU.

    2. I have to say Catherine I am glad that the Parliamentary Remainers have prevented a Johnson Brexit which would be a catastrophic no deal brexit well done them . David is quite right re the EU’s positiveness on the Labour Partys offering on Brexit with it being described as “heavenly” by the then President Juncker.
      I feel that if the EU could vote for Labour it would .

      1. I doubt whether a mythical EU vote will save us. I don’t know who will be eligible for this vote which will lead us to a golden withdrawal and trebles all round. We will never escape and there is no one to blame. From Helium head and his band of redistributionists to Tapeworm in chief, plus the detritus from beneath the slimiest headlines, will amalgamate to ensure that we stay put. God only knows how this is going to finish. I was optimistic about the future but the incessant drip, drip, of hostility is having an effect in my Close. Will there be more wars, more cover-ups and venom disguised as enquiry and will we continue to be shrinking violets. It’s getting late and the Horlicks isn’t working. One poster, on a different subject, suggested that we could do with our own master or mistress of the dark forces but one without red hands. Good luck all, except for the TWs

    3. Catherine – The whole process is, in fact, a farce. Firstly – there is no such thing as a ‘No Deal’ Brexiit. What is actually meant is an unprepared, chaotic exit from the EU which kicks negotiations down the road until after Britain formally leaves the EU.

      The UK is than in the position of scrabbling to retrieve trade agreements it already has. The EU doesn’t want this, any more than the saner portion of the population of this country do. Simply – it’s an even more stupid version of a stupid idea, not a bargaining chip, and a complete waste of time and resources aimed at a US take-over.

      The EU comprises 27 sovereign nations, and it isn’t going to significantly change a complex trading framework just to suit the rattle-thrower that’s decided to jump out of the pram. The disincentive far outweighs any gain from avoiding the inconvenience of a UK strop.

      That said, the EU will be happy for Corbyn to negotiate away the crass stupidities of the Tories, if, ultimately, the Labour Party is trapped into delivering the Tory policy of Brexit. It isn’t the enemy portrayed in Brexit fiction – although I think the stupidity has got to the point where Europe is quite happy to be shot of the village idiot now that the amusing antics have got stale.

      AS to the ‘ Parliamentary Remainers ‘. They actually represent half the nation+.

    4. Forget the bullshit from most of the TU leadership critics of Watson, These overpaid career bureaucrats mostly want to stay in the EU too ! The ghastly bureaucrat , Francis O’Grady, (circa £170,0000 a year , never had a job outside the TUC ) always sounds just like a CBI spokesperson on the EU. Not a socialist bone in her body.

      Jeremy Corbyn, that lifelong (ex-Bennite) socialist who even during his 2015 Leadership campaign said he would “need convincing for us to stay in the neoliberal EU”, is hopelessly trapped in a now middle class, Left Liberal-dominated, Party, which is determined to view the neoliberal EU as a progressive, workers rights-protecting, benevolent, organisation – against all available evidence to the contrary. Even his supposed ‘old Left comrades, McDonnell and Abbott, have stabbed him in the back with their uncritical, now un-nuanced support for Remain. Sadly, that perennial wrecker, Watson, has real traction with a wide section of the membership for his latest “secure remain at all costs ” poison. That his local membership have failed to ‘trigger ballot’ him (in a constituency which voted overwhelmingly to Leave !) is not the mystery Skwawkbox or most posters here think. It just shows that most of them probably agree with his outright Brexit Remain position – and are totally out of touch with their local electorate !

      As is the solidly middle class membership in my own solidly Leave-supporting constituency !

  3. The few snippets of BBC news coverage I saw today didn’t leave me with the impression that they were turning on Watson – on the contrary, seemed like business as usual.
    Hope it was just that I missed the good stuff or wasn’t listening attentively enough 🙈🙉🙊

    1. The problem was you were watching the BBC “News” David,and I know I don’t need to point out to you the distorted picture of events you were getting!

  4. The BBC like to dig the dirt on Corbyn…The only problem being they can’t find anything….Their day will come sooner than they think and an investigation into the BBC and the editors will find a shambolic organisation funded by the Taxpayer to promote blatent tory propaganda and a pathetic excuse for poor quality programmes and amateur journalism….They need to change soon or risk being scrapped Not fit for purpose and overpaid and overstaffed!

    1. It is a win win scenario for the Tories with the BBC.In the short term they have almost complete control of it both managerially and editorially.In the long term,they can look forward to people being so sick of it ,they will support breaking it up,and privatising the profitable parts.Murdoch and his political friends will have achieved their objective.

  5. Why the heck is he still here??
    should of been outed ages ago . .
    what a traitor he’s been . . grr

  6. Off message…The government has anounced plans to award a 1.3 billion contract to Babcock a British firm that will secure skilled workers about 2500 of them employment for some time.Sounds great we desperately need to start producing and manufacturing in the UK….financial and casino economics have had there day.But what’s the contract…yes war ships,and thats so sad to think we are using our skilled workers to produce machines to kill.We are fast becoming a world leader in the war and killing production.We are better than this,and under Labour government we will rebuild our skilled workforce and sell the world somthing better than weapons and warships.So very typical of the Torys destruction and conflicts,..not peace and productivity.SAD

  7. Great to see some semblance of unity against Watson. If only the unions had backed open selection we’d have Watson out by now. They better step up to the plate at conference!

  8. ‘Tim Roache, head of the GMB union – which has normally leaned toward the party’s right – said Watson’s intervention was ‘wholly unwelcome’ and threatened to withdraw support from him and potentially even to push for a challenge against him.’

    Actions speak a thousand words, Mr Roache. That divvy’s heard all sorts of ‘threats’ and none ever seem to be carried out.

    So don’t threaten – JUST DO.

  9. Jonathan Cook’s latest blog is worth a read

    Brexit reveals Corbyn to be the true moderate
    12 September 2019
    If there is an upside to Brexit, it is this: it has made it increasingly hard to present Jeremy Corbyn, contrary to everything the corporate media has been telling us for the past four years, as anything but a political moderate. In truth, he is one of the few moderates left in British – or maybe that should be English – politics right now. The fact that still isn’t obvious to many in Britain is a sign of their – not his – extremism.

  10. Men in wigs. .. Brexit challenge in Ulster.2= 1 for Johnson after their worthinessi chucked the case out.After a lot of mumbling groaning they decided that the case was too political….yes I know but surely brexit is political….but not to the men in wigs?

    1. Joseph OKEEFE at 12:43 pm

      Our (in)famous unwritten constitution has muddled along in a very British way for decades because politicians by and large operated with at least some degree of honour and then Boris ascended to power

  11. It won’t matter in the slightest to Tom Watson that the unions the leader and the members disagree profoundly with him. Getting their support was never the issue. His purpose was to enable the MSM to say we are a divided party and divided parties don’t win elections.
    Tom’s agenda is to undermine Jeremy Corbyn every time and on every issue with the sole objective of preventing a Corbyn led labour government. The more people realise this the less useful Tom will be to those who share his view and they ill drop him like a hot potato

    1. Smartboy 12/09/2019 at 3:03 pm

      It looks like Tom Watson isn’t going to face a trigger ballot. To date 4 of his party branches have voted all with unanimous support for Tom Watson

      1. It is not his CLP I had in mind when I referred to those who share his views.
        Tom and many other members of the PLP have an agenda and it isn’t a Corbyn led Labour government.Some have openly said they will work to get Jeremy out e.g. Tony Blair Peter Mandelson, Margaret Hodge. Others have worked equally hard to oust Jeremy but haven’t been as open about it. Tom is one of them.
        Regarding Tom’s CLP they probably concluded with a General Election on the horizon, now was not the time to deselect Watson ( that,s my opinion too). I think the best way forward is to challenge him for the Deputy leadership post election.

  12. Watson’s still in position as deputy leader though. Imagine what mayhem he could cause during an election.

    No number of petitions will get rid of him. Either a trigger ballot, and that’s not happening, or someone to stand against him.

    In the meantime, Corbyn should demote Watson, put him in the lowest position his role as DL allows. Anything else and he’s being left in place to do the worse damage he can.

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