Jeremy Corbyn has been a Labour MP since 1983 so he is well aware of the names of his all too numerous political enemies within the Parliamentary Labour Party (for more on earlier loyalty list nonsense see “Labour and the Enemy Within”). His Blairite enemies of course make no secret of their opposition to Corbyn’s principled socialism and have regularly briefed the rightwing press against him, or have even published their own articles for anti-worker rags like the Daily Mail.
So the latest ‘revelations’ that Corbyn aides had produced a list of some of the recent hostile comments that have been publicly made by 13 Labour MPs is hardly news. As the leader of the Labour Party, Corbyn should be kept informed about what people are saying about him, whether it is positive, negative, or slanderous – and Corbyn was rightly angered that this latest politically insignificant briefing was accidentally made public.
Nevertheless, rightwing Labour MPs like John Woodcock are always willing to jump on any opportunity to smear the good name of Corbyn in the tabloid press. So this morning we all awoke to the displeasing sight of yet another Labour MP attacking socialism in the pages of the Daily Mail. This seems to be a proud tradition of Labour rightwingers, perhaps best exemplified by the long line of bullying tirades against Corbynbullying tirades against Corbyn that Labour MP Simon Danczuk has published in the Daily Mail. Although here it is noteworthy that Mr Danczuk does not make it onto the recent list of hostile MPs as it only deals with recent abusive comments that have been made against Corbyn.
Incensed by Corbyn’s bullying for have the gall to keep track of all the abusive remarks that his fellow Labour MPs have made against him, John Woodcock begins today’s Mail on Sunday article by explaining that “Corbyn’s regime” had published “a hit list of so-called ‘abusive’ MPs” and has “knowingly enabled a culture in which intolerance and abuse of fellow members has become the depressing norm.”
Mr Woodcock then goes on to equate Corbyn’s “attempts to intimidate critics and suppress dissent” as being akin to Stalinism, with his own good-Blairite-self speculating that he might have to undergo “early Soviet-style re-education for my thought crimes against Corbynism.” (This Stalinist theme was taken up by former Blairite-turned Tory ‘journalist’, Dan Hodges, later in the Mail on Sunday in an article titled “Corbyn’s gulag archipelago.”)
The use of a briefing report about the abusive comments made by fellow Labour MPs in public, as Mr Woodcock explains is apparently “an age-old tactic practised by authoritarian regimes the world over: in fractious times, attempt to unite people in common hatred of an ‘enemy within’.” He adds:
“The swivel-eyed nature of the list of 13 and the fatuous and, in many cases, inaccurate examples it cites has prompted a number of my colleagues to consider suing Mr Corbyn for defamation.”
But despite the regularity of such attacks upon Corbyn and his supporters, Corbyn continues to offer places on a future Shadow Cabinet to even his most vehement critics within the Labour movement. Corbyn noted in response to the recent misreporting on the so-called “hit list” debacle…
“I’m very keen on providing olive branches and indeed a number of olive branches have been offered to me; and as a practical start to this I am growing an olive branch, an olive tree in fact, on the balcony of my office.”
This is a mistake. The Blairites are on the warpath and olive branches simply will not do. The future of the Labour Party and working-class democracy is at stake and democratic accountability must be an immediate priority within the party, and this begins with not rewarding Labour MPs who openly attack their own leader! (For more on this read the Socialist Party’s latest editorial: “Labour Party needs democratic structures and socialist policies.”)