Leicester City Council is home to 52 Labour Councillors, none of whom came out to publicly support Jeremy Corbyn during last year’s leadership campaign, and none of whom have come out to support him today.
Loud public support from Labour councillors, MPs and other supporters of the labour movement is exactly what Corbyn needs right now in order to better face down the relentless barrage of attacks from his vocal enemies in the Labour Party, nine of whom are councillors here in Leicester:
- Dawn Alfonso – Fosse ward (Unison member)
- Annette Byrne – Abbey
- Diane Cank – Troon (Unite the Union member)
- Shofiqual Chowdhury – Spinney Hills (Unite the Union and GMB member)
- Ratilal Govind – Evington
- Jean Khote – North Evington
- Rory Palmer – Eyres Monsell (Unite the Union and GMB member)
- Hemant Rae Bhatia – Beaumont Leys (Unite the Union member)
- Vijay Riyait – Abbey
Yesterday, the Leicester Mercury (July 1) took the decision to contribute towards the campaign to oust Corbyn, describing him as a “beleaguered Labour leader”. The Mercury seem to forget they are talking about the leader who was elected with an overwhelming mandate from the Labour Party membership. The largest in British history, in fact.
Over 60,000 people have joined the Labour Party in the past week alone, many of whom are doing so in an attempt to rally behind his socialist policies that challenge the narrative that the poor have to pay the price for a financial crisis caused by elites.
Corbyn remains massively popular, and it is only his pro-business colleagues in the Parliamentary Labour Party who continue to oppose his ideas – something that they have always done, so nothing new there.
The main focus of the recent Mercury article, however, was an uncritical regurgitation of the latest smear against Corbyn in their article titled “Labour’s Corbyn hit by new anti-Semitism row.” This attack represents just the latest in a long run of unfounded smears against Corbyn’s good name. Corbyn is a longstanding and active opponent of racism and anti-Semitism.
Although not mentioned in the Mercury piece, one of the groups leading the latest anti-Semitism charge against Corbyn is the discredited rightwing group known as Jewish Human Rights Watch.
This group will be familiar to many people in Leicester, because over the past year they have been busily attempting to prosecute Leicester City Council in the courts for being anti-Semitic — an unfounded accusation that has just been settled in the Council’s favour after much negative media coverage around this issue in the Mercury. (“Legal victory for Leicester City Council in landmark Israeli goods boycott battle,” June 28, Mercury.)
The attacks on Corbyn’s leadership are hardly likely to stop anytime soon, so Leicester’s Labour councillors and MPs must wake up and publicly rally public support to his defence if they care one iota about rebuilding the labour movement under the leadership of socialists like Corbyn.