Those who stay, decide. Labour’s left membership must stay and roll up its sleeves for the fight for the direction of the party – the right is already making its move
Labour’s membership surged by around five thousand on the day after the general election.
This may be a show of determination by supporters to help see the party through the leadership transition and the fight to undo the massive damage caused by the centrist-driven decision to back a new referendum instead of the party sticking to its 2017 commitment to a Labour leave deal to respect the 2016 referendum result.
But it may also be the first sign of a centrist attempt to pack members into the party in readiness for the leadership contest – probably to back the right-wing hope Jess Phillips.
Ms Phillips gave a remarkable but entirely unsurprising interview on Friday in which she strongly indicated she is planning a bid for the Labour leadership – and then proceeded to show why some locals nickname her ‘Mimi‘, by launching into an exposition of how great the public thinks she is:
Phillips does not only want to win the leadership. She made clear she wants to rebuild the party in her image – and made a thinly-veiled threat that this would involve a wholesale clear-out of left people from the party’s key structures.
This show of ego and arrogance coincides with the news that the Labour right hopes to recruit 100,000 new Labour members to secure the leadership – probably for Jess Phillips:
At the same time, Labour members grieving the election result and the coming end of Jeremy Corbyn’s tenure as leader are in danger of leaving the party – comments on social media along the lines of ‘when Jeremy goes, I go’ are not hard to find.
And while all this is going on, either the Tories or the Labour right have been busy setting up fake leadership-bid accounts on social media to try to divide the left on the issue of who it should back.
The message for Labour’s huge left majority is simple: you need to stay in the party and in the majority. And don’t just stay – recruit your friends, too.
It is, of course, not the first time that the Labour right has threatened to recruit 100,000 members for its cause – the same was said during Corbyn’s second leadership battle.
That failed completely and Corbyn increased his majority. But a new left candidate has still to be identified and the media are pushing at every opportunity the outright lie that Thursday’s result was a public reject of the policies the public loved in 2017. Every Labour member who leaves in grief at the success of lies and smears in ending Corbyn’s leadership therefore lowers the bar for the right to drag Labour back into Tory-lite territory as they have been desperate to do since 2015.
And that will deprive the country of a genuine choice at the next election that millions so desperately need – and will need even more by then.
The old political saying applies: decisions are made by those who turn up. Except that in this case the decision will be made by those who stay in.
Stay in Labour to secure its direction and its heart. And bring a friend.
Corbyn may be stepping down, but the battle – the struggle – goes on.
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