On the incongruous situation the Labour Party is cultivating before the party conference season.
I screamed in agony when I read John McDonnell’s schoolmaster retort to Chuka Umunna on Saturday. Sitting at my desk, I began to have a semi-existential crisis over the incongruous situation the Labour Party was cultivating.
The Corbyn People’s party has been maligned by the media and attacked from all sides over its political position ever since the leader campaigned for the leadership. Jeremy Corbyn’s power has come through his policies and appeal to the disgruntled victims of austerity Britain. I’ve stated my previous support for Corbyn came through his ability to empower young people and oppose injustice. But with deselections, votes of no confidence, and a seemingly silent leader – Labour is in serious trouble both electorally and existentially.
The best opportunity the party has to heal divisions is with the upcoming party conference later this month in Liverpool. It’s an open forum for the party to discuss policy and the goals of their movement with members of their party and without potential criticism from outside activists. The main speeches by Labour movement leaders will be particularly inspiring. Jeremy Corbyn🗳️ and John McDonnell🗳️ must use this opportunity to speak out publicly against the internal conflicts that have been flushed from Labour’s drainage.
The position of both Corbyn and McDonnell has undoubtedly turned into an almost messianic devotion to their principles. The Momentum group is likely to sidekick the leadership at any turn, but their image has been somewhat paramilitary to some media sources. The leadership has a lot to talk about, not just internal struggles. The Conservative Party are the target for any justified campaign, but with the recent disputes it seems that any political ideology outside of Corbyn’s Labour is ripe for abuse and misrepresentation. Certainly, there is a strong socialist element to the party’s manifesto pledges. But the people shouting about ‘odious Blairites’ and ‘Red Tory’ factions should respect the fundamental principle of modern socialism – equality.
Brexit is on everyone’s lips, and fierce and filthy Remainers (including myself) are waiting for a positive sign that Labour will back a People’s Vote. Labour’s backing would certainly win over potential voters, but it would also rebuild any broken links with the moderate party members. But there are certainly doubts over whether Corbyn’s strong anti-EU principles will override any attempt for a People’s Vote.
The last year has been spent mulling over Labour’s ‘will they won’t they’ policy on Brexit. Of course, Labour means more than just a political party. It is a social movement of people from all creeds and doctrines dedicated to a equality-based society. The evidence is now overwhelming that Brexit will not benefit that principle, due to the economic and cultural damage of the policy. Brexit’s ideological framework is the love child of New Right politics and nationalism. I don’t think Labour would want to associate itself with any of the doctrines of Brexit’s shady elite.
If the light shines through the clouds, party conference season could be a turning point. Much like the 1945 Yalta conference, it would shape a peace for both the party and the public. Supporting a People’s Vote would strengthen internal pressure against Brexit and would signify to European negotiators that Britain is not happy. The potential benefits from this move would be enormous, if a People’s Vote cancelled Brexit. Indeed, the Conservative Party would be hit by a fatal blow of confidence and political power. The internal healing process would re-establish the trust and principles of Labour.
If black clouds form and the rain pours, Labour could be in for a bumpy few years. If internal conflicts are not addressed, party members would be alienated on both sides of the debate. The crevasse in the party would turn into a deep canyon where many have fallen into. A dysfunctional leadership would undoubtedly alienate the public and news media, which Corbyn is already feeling pressure from. Like Potsdam in late 1945, much suspicion and derision would be self-evident, and would lead to further battles in the future. Supporting Brexit would not only damage Corbyn’s party, but the country he hopes to lead.
Party conferences are usually very hyped affairs for the media to gaggle over. I am sure this year’s conference season is likely to be erratic and unstable, for all parties are under much more scrutiny than ever before. Every message by Labour and the Conservatives will have long-lasting consequences. If all breaks down and Parliament submits to its current stagnant state, the potential loss in trust from the public and internationally will be severe.🔷
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(This is an original piece, first published by the author in PoliticsMeansPolitics.com)