Pissing About in the Labour Party: Why the Reign of Blairite Navel-Gazers Needs to be Stopped

At a recent meeting of socialists and Labour movement activists, a poignant observation was made that politicians should “stop pissing about in the Labour Party and instead do their own thing by standing apart from the Labour Party.”

I agree. If elected Labour Party representatives are not prepared to adhere to the type of principled socialism embodied in their doubly-elected leader, Jeremy Corbyn, they should stop pissing around. Maybe such Blairite day-dreamers might consider standing as independents without the electoral benefit derived from Labour’s red rosette.

I say all this because at this point in history the need for principled socialists is a matter of some urgency, no matter how difficult the path to socialism may seem.

Corbyn, for instance, has dedicated his life in the Labour Party to speaking truth to power whatever the personal costs, which throughout the Blair years meant continually challenging New Labour’s capitalist political trajectory.

Nevertheless, despite the relentless bullying and constant threat of the impending termination of his parliamentary career, Corbyn always strived to do the right thing, in public by helping lead the anti-war movement, and in parliament by opposing his party’s and the Tories attacks on the working-class.

With Corbyn having surprised everyone with his sudden ascent to power, the tables have been partially turned on the Blairites. Although it remains true that the vast majority of Labour MPs and local councillors still remain vehemently opposed to pretty much everything that Corbyn stands for.

To take a local example: here in Leicester, 52 of the Council’s 54 available ward seats are occupied by Labour Party councillors, but, to this date, it remains something of a secret as to which of these councillors support Corbyn. Many of these councillors, including the City Mayor and his deputy, have put in on the public record that they think Corbyn should resign — but what about the rest of them?

With an explicitly anti-Corbyn City Mayor — and the lack of democracy that comes with the Mayoral system — it is easy to understand why any councillors holding similar political beliefs to Corbyn might be a little reticent to speak out openly. We have to remember that such councillors are in a minority and might not have been as prepared to risk losing their political position to raise socialist opposition to the local Labour Group prior to Corbyn’s election in 2015.

Now however that Corbyn has been elected, any potential Labour supporters should find the strength within themselves to overcome their previous fears so they can stand in solidarity with their leader. More importantly they need to utilise their positions of influence responsibly to act in solidarity with the majority of the party membership, by providing clear and visible support for Corbyn’s progressive socialist ideas.

Socialist councillors who back Corbyn would still be in danger of being forced out of the Labour Group by the City Mayor and his Blairite supporters. But too much is at stake for such councillors to remain silent for fear of losing their jobs. Now is their chance to shine, or alternatively to retire.

For most councillors this current opportunity to speak out in defence of decent socialist policies is the first time that they can do so safe in the knowledge that the membership of the party has given an overwhelming mandate to support Corbyn’s policies (twice). So it seems fair and proportionate to surmise that councillors who feel unable to publicly support Corbyn are probably not the type of person that can be trusted to act in the best interests of the working-class.

blair-navel-gazing

Bluntly put, if a Labour Government came to power next year, or in the near future, with the current batch of navel-gazing Labour MPs and councillors intact, then it is quite clear that Corbyn’s leadership would be undermined at every-turn by his fellow elected Labour representatives. This is why a coordinated call for the mandatory reselection of all Labour MPs and councillors is so critical.

We all face annual appraisals in our working lives to confirm that we are doing our jobs adequately, so why shouldn’t elected Labour politicians so we can check they are doing their jobs for their constituents? When they have proven we can trust them, then maybe we won’t demand appraisals quite so often.

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