Centrists and a handful of left-wingers put remaining in the EU above respecting Labour’s working-class base. They must own the consequences instead of trying to exploit the rotten fruit of their actions
As results unfold, the Labour right has achieved what it has been working for since 2015 – huge damage to the party in a general election.
The crocodile tears being shed for the millions of lives that will be destroyed and even lost under a renewed Tory government cannot hide the right’s glee that it thinks it has a new opportunity to dislodge the real Labour movement and regain its control of the party.
Because make no mistake: the Labour right pushed Labour toward a new referendum specifically in order to engineer the kind of damage the party is seeing tonight.
The SKWAWKBOX, along with many others of the working-class left, have warned for years that the centrists’ desperation for Labour to ‘go full remain’ or commit to a referendum was not because of some sentimental attachment to the EU. Instead it was exactly because they knew that such disrespect for the working-class leave vote that dominated in two thirds of Labour’s seats would seriously damage the party in its working-class heartlands.
And the fruition of that plan is being seen in the results in many working-class towns tonight.
Misery for millions a centrist price worth paying
The terrible consequences for ordinary people of the centrist plan have been embraced all along as a small price to pay for the laughably-termed ‘moderates’ to ‘get their party back’ – as a message sent by one of them to the SKWAWKBOX just before the general election was confirmed demonstrates:
‘It’s all gonna be worth it.’
Tell that to the millions of children in desperate poverty tonight.
Tell it to the disabled people who have said they are so desperate tonight that they think their lives are coming to an end.
Tell that to the millions who will continue to be forced to turn to foodbanks to be able to eat and who will lose their homes because the Tories’ Universal Credit horror will not be scrapped by a Labour government but continued under a Tory one.
But typically of the right-wingers, the very instant that their push toward remain has borne its rotten fruit, they are washing their hands of responsibility for the consequences they have created – and are blaming those same consequences on the left, even though they engineered them.
It is absolutely clear to anyone who looks with honesty at the results developing tonight that it is the party’s move away from its 2017 commitment to honour the referendum result that has led to them.
But even though Sky News and the BBC have spent the whole election campaign calling it ‘the Brexit election’, they are now helping the centrists to claim that the results are about Corbyn – and not about Brexit after all.
The dishonesty among the right-wingers and their media friends is vast – but entirely unsurprising.
A bigger goal
But their real goal is bigger than toppling Corbyn. Their attack moved instantly onto Labour’s policies – ‘hard left’, according to them, even though they are merely normal centre-left policies in Scandinavia and Labour’s spending would have been on a par with countries like Germany.
The centrists don’t just want Corbyn gone. They want ‘their’ party back – and the Establishment wants the end of the threat to its interests that a real Labour Party represents.
So, according to the unholy alliance of ‘Labour’ right and Establishment media, after saying for six weeks that the election was all about Brexit, suddenly the result is a rejection by the public of Labour’s plans to invest and renationalise – policies that we know, because they have repeatedly told us – that the public loves.
So the claim is that Labour’s leader and its policies have been to blame for tonight’s results.
It’s bullshit. Of course it is.
The same leader and broadly the same policies in 2017 saw Labour gain its biggest increase in votes since 1945.
The difference between 2017 and now boils down to a single issue: in 2017 Labour pledged to honour the 2016 referendum result – and in 2019 it did not.
Centrist guilt – mostly
And that change is – almost entirely – because of the so-called ‘moderates’.
Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry, Tom Watson and others in the parliamentary Labour Party – together with ‘left’ commentators like Paul Mason – theirs and others like them are the heads that should hang in shame tonight. John McDonnell must also shoulder his share of the blame.
They were the vectors for the right-wing push to drive a wedge between Labour and the working-class ‘Labour leave’ towns – and they were warned of the consequences.
By the SKWAWKBOX, by a host of working-class Labour activists. By MPs like Ian Lavery, Laura Smith, Grahame Morris, by union leaders like Len McCluskey – and by Corbyn aides like Karie Murphy and others.
An unforgivable crime
Instead of being heard as they tried to stand up for working-class communities, these people whose finger we now know was on the pulse of the working class were attacked – dismissed as ‘cranks’, with calls for their sacking and machinations to sideline them.
By ignoring those authentic working-class voices, the remain-pushers committed the unforgivable sin of opening a door for liars like Johnson to claim he was on the side of working-class people – and of democracy.
It is a lie, of course – Johnson despises the working class – but if the parliamentary remainers and those supporting them had not pushed Labour away from its base, the lie would never have been believed.
That is the issue – and that is the crime.
Not Corbyn and not the policies – 2017 proves that. The fact that the damage is overwhelmingly in what were ‘Labour leave’ seats proves it – again, exactly as the centrists were warned that it would.
Any blame Corbyn bears for tonight’s results lies in his allowing the Starmers, Thornberrys and Watsons to influence party policy against the interests of the working class and to separate him from his closest and most trustworthy aides who were trying to defend those interests.
The task ahead
The Labour right has already started its long-prepared plan to regain control of the Labour Party by blaming the left for tonight’s losses. They engineered those losses, but they have no shame about ignoring that for their planned and entirely dishonest narrative.
For the sake of the party and for the sake of the country, the left must do five things:
- refuse to concede a millimetre to that narrative
- make absolutely sure that those who engineered disaster in order to exploit it are never allowed within a mile of power or influence within the party again
- refuse to allow the right to dishearten them into leaving the party – because that is essential to ensure that the right cannot seize back the party in which they do not belong
- regroup and reorganise to make sure that the party returns to its authentic working-class roots – Momentum is not the vehicle for that task
- ensure that the membership organises its candidates – and its votes for those candidates – to maintain control of the National Executive Committee and that left leaders are elected to all positions
It will be a long, tough and bloody fight. There is no room – there never has been – for the ‘nicer, kinder politics’ that has allowed the right to use every dirty trick without facing the consequences.
But every member of the party who knows that this country needs a real Labour Party must roll up their sleeves, grit their teeth and get it done.
To fail will be to allow the Blairites to do to Labour outside London what they did to it in Scotland.
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