Tuesday 25 May 2021

Never Gonna Give You Up

Obsessions are unhealthy things. The crushing of a horizon to a single point of focus, one infinitesimally small to outsiders looking in but for one person's internal life the be all and end all. It exerts an irresistible gravitational pull that locks them into a permanent orbit. Occasionally, it might suck them in to the point of no return. Whatever, once the fixation is established everything else is overdetermined. There is no escape, no line of flight away. Every point of contact with the outside world weighs heavy with their chosen burden.

Who in the political firmament do we see caught in the well of obsession? Readers might have caught Lisa Nandy sounding off about Jeremy Corbyn on LBC. You'd think the chair of Labour Friends of Palestine might have other pressing concerns at the moment, but no. The former Labour leader should apologise to the Jewish community for Labour's persistent difficulties with antisemitism. Ignoring his past self-flagellations on this very issue, it's interesting how Nandy has nothing to say about the times Labour Party employees sat on anti-semitism complaints to exacerbate the crisis. And neither has anyone else on the Labour right who were very concerned about this issue either. Very strange.

Then we have Neil Coyle. Evidently Keir Starmer is doing such an effective job at holding the Tories to account that Neil thinks he can spend his time pursuing Jeremy Corbyn over his declaration of interests, claiming support for legal costs from Unite were not properly filed. Whether every dot and comma has been correctly placed remains to be seen, but for Coyle it's proving easier for him to take on his own side than take the Tories to task. I mean, researching what the government do, asking tough questions in the chamber, making the case for an alternative government. It's all so much hard work.

Perhaps the most ridiculous were comments from Sharon Hodgson, who decided to say Jeremy Corbyn must come clean about whether he's had his Covid jabs or not. While people should get vaccinated, it's up to them whether they disclose it or not. If Hodgson is really, really concerned about who has and hasn't had their shots, as a leading opposition MP wouldn't her amateur health sleuthing be better directed at reluctant MPs on the other side of the Commons? After all, that's who the anti-vaxxers, face mask conspiracists, and Covid denialists are politically closest to.

Three cases of residual anti-Corbynism. Three cases where Labour MPs chose to keep the right's vendetta against Corbyn going. Three cases of an obsession the so-called grown ups in the room cannot shake. Nor will they ever. Their kind will be summoning the phantasm of Corbyn for decades after he's gone, not because of who he was but for what - to them - he represented. Forget their self-interested talk about winning elections and having a programme the electorate will respond to. They themselves spent the best part of the last six years scotching that particular myth. To them Corbyn was a joke until the very moment the floodgates opened and the mass member surge almost fatally threatened the only power they truly care about: their control of the Labour Party.

Exorcising Corbyn and using every opportunity to damn him to their seven hells is more than an expression of their collective trauma, it's an outburst of fear. They dread anything like 2015 happening again, and want to prevent it, even of the party has to be put to the sword. But because they don't understand politics, that even some Tories have a better grasp about what's going on, all they can do is continually aim their barbs against the former Labour leader and push their campaign of petty harassment.

Does this look like a party serious about government to you?

Image Credit


dermot said...

A party serious about government? Absolutely yes.

A Tory one.

McIntosh said...

I think a problem people like Coyle and Jes Phillips and Wes Streeting face is how to deal with the loss of attention. With Corbyn as leader they needed a secretary to deal with their invitations on to Newsnight, Peston, Andrew Neil and to write articles for the Mail and Express. They began to believe in their greatness as political analysts and see themselves as the authentic voice of the voter able to articulate their commonsense.
Corbyn goes and the invitation dry up. Surely they were not just used. They cannot just be ordinary looking people with no particular authority or insights. Why not try their greatest hits - Corbyn and anti-semitism. Maybe they will get a tour round the studios again and be seen again as characters with sharp turns of phrase. Glory and pride can then return and ambition be rekindled.

Blissex said...

«To them Corbyn was a joke until the very moment the floodgates opened and the mass member surge almost fatally threatened the only power they truly care about: their control of the Labour Party.»

Some of them may be indeed committed to their benefices in the still large Labour patronage system, but I think that most are simply going along with the "party line" to protect their careers, to prove their zeal; but most importantly for the leaders of the campaign against Corbyn my guess is that he fatally threatened what they really care about: thatcherism as the only options for voters, the "There Is No Alternative" commandment given by M. Thatcher and by Tony Blair himself, my usual quote:

Tony Blair says he wouldn’t want a left-wing Labour party to win an election.

For the thatcherites the Conservatives and the LibDems are respected fellow thatcherites with which they have a difference of primarily managerial approach and secondarily as to the intensity and timing of thatcherite policies, with the "trots" of the Labour wing of New Labour the difference is one of fundamental goals, with the latter being a potential threat the the continuation of the "Thatcher revolution". P. Mandelson relatedly stated long ago:

Globalisation punishes hard any country that tries to run its economy by ignoring the realities of the market or prudent public finances. In this strictly narrow sense, and in the urgent need to remove rigidities and incorporate flexibility in capital, product and labour markets, we are all Thatcherites now."

JedB said...

I am dismayed at how the labour party has struggled after Corbyn was evicted. I have considered resigning, but that's what they new regime seem to want, so I won't. Still voting for trasformational politics, not helping the nay sayers. Gradually disengaged unfortunately.