Article: John Lunch
Of all the words uttered about Labour’s internecine strife – a few words from establishment media pundit Owen Jones illuminated the ongoing class war within the movement perfectly:
…it has become increasingly common in politics to reduce disagreements to bad faith
Wars tend to start from positions of bad faith and two classes are at war right now for control of the Labour Party – the owning class and the membership.
Labour’s owning class are liberally sprinkled with millionaires and millionaire backers. These are the people and the money who successfully took over the Labour Party under Tony Blair and re-moulded it into New Labour, a party of neoliberal apologists, spin doctors and careerist media-friendly robots.
To the owning class The Labour Party is simply a high profile brand and a path towards celebrity and power. To people like Chuka Umunna, Hilary Benn, Margaret Hodge et al (all multi millionaires) outcomes for the electorate are important only insofar as they affect the value of the asset they control – principles and concern for the little people are irrelevant.
The self anointed ‘owners’ of Labour naturally regard the party as tithed to their estates. So it should come as no surprise to see them threatening to sue in the courts to gain control of the brand and its assets.
A group of rebel Labour MPs are planning to split off into a new group and sue the remainder of their old party so they can use its name, it has been reported.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper says “embryonic” plans are being hatched for a “semi-split” in the event Jeremy Corbyn wins this summer’s leadership election again.
The approach would see a legal challenge launched for Labour assets, branding and property.
It should come as no surprise either to see them heading to the high courts to exclude whole sections of the membership from voting though one can only admire the chutzpah of using members money to do it and then stiffing the five members who had challenged them with a bill for £30,000.
What a strange coincidence that the Judge that overturned the initial ruling in favour of the membership previously worked for Tony Blair’s government and defended it in court against calls for an inquiry into the Iraq War, pocketing £500,000 a year for his trouble – this is how the establishment works folks!
It may look extraordinary to some, that Labour party officials should regard their own members as the enemy – but when you understand the entrenched cronyism they are defending it makes perfect sense.
Labour’s owning class has declared an all-out war against its members and is determined that unwelcome flames of democracy are swiftly extinguished and business as usual resumed. New Labour’s propaganda war footing is epitomised in Tom Watson who now briefs the corporate media against the membership on a regular basis – not quite what a Deputy Leader of the party should be doing but all is fair in love and war.
In the quote I opened this article with, Owen Jones scolded Labour members for their cynicism and lack of good cheer towards himself and his friends within the PLP. Perhaps now he may start to understand why people without his privileged level of access and influence don’t trust the owning class within the Labour Party to represent their interests.
The logic of what Labour’s hierarchy are up to is hard to fathom – but then wars for territory are seldom fought from places of logic and reflection.
As I have said recently – I don’t expect Labour’s owning class to retain control of the party and all of their blunderbuss blasts look increasingly like crass acts of infantile rage and spite. At best one has to say that the Red Tories lack situational and self awareness to an astonishing degree – something which Owen Jones to his credit has repeatedly acknowledged.
Corbynism is assailed for having an authoritarian grip on the party, mostly because it wins victories through internal elections and court judgments: ironic, given that Blairism used to be a byword for “control freakery”. Corbyn’s harshest critics claimed superior political nous, judgment and strategy, then launched a disastrously incompetent coup in the midst of a post-Brexit national crisis, deflecting attention from the Tories, sending Labour’s polling position hurtling from poor to calamitous, and provoking almost all-out war between Labour’s membership and the parliamentary party
For the membership who joined the party on the basis that their input was invited, wanted and valued, it must be hurtful and bewildering to find themselves excluded, smeared and under attack. Perhaps the embattled right wing of the party is hopeful that if they treat enough of the new members with enough naked contempt that they will simply go away?
Jeremy Corbyn has energised the membership because he couldn’t be bought by the owning class – and it is he and the grass roots majority who must go on to reclaim the party as a democratic institution for political change.
The sense of entitlement within Labour’s owning class has led them to believe that their positions are a class inferred right and invulnerable to challenge from the membership. Now that the gloves are truly off in the battle for Labour’s soul they may be in for a rude awakening….
… they may yet bitterly rue the day they decided to take their own membership to court to tell them they didn’t belong.
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