The Corbyn project has days to save itself. Here’s what it needs to do.

The Jeremy Corbyn project, and all it represents, is in turmoil. They say things come in threes, and they have. The project could well be days away from imploding entirely. But it’s not over, yet. Here’s what people need to do. Quickly.

Three setbacks

I tweeted this on Wednesday 27 February:

Some people weren’t happy. So I thought it best to expand on it.

If the “Corbyn project” (in this context I mean him, his values/vision and his supporters both in and out of parliament) had been hit by one setback, then I don’t think there would have been an issue. Two curve balls, and it might have been a middle sized blip. But three and the damage is looking almost irreparable.

This is why.

The Independent Group

Firstly, let’s deal with The Independent Group (TIG). The fracturing of the Labour Party in this manner was always inevitable. To the ‘moderates’, ‘Blairites’, ‘right-wingers’ or whatever your preferred turn-of-phrase is, a Corbyn-led party was never acceptable. So it was a case of ‘when’, not ‘if’.

Now, we have a small but vocal group of ex-Labour and Tory MPs, supported by much of the press and, in part but quietly, by other Labour and opposition politicians. In isolation, the Corbyn project could have managed this.

The Second Referendum

Secondly, we have the giving in to the ‘FBPE’ and ‘People’s Vote’ campaign. I don’t mean this in terms of holding a so-called ‘Second Referendum’. That has always been Labour’s position. I mean in terms of committing to campaign for Remain during such a vote.

This firstly goes against a previous manifesto commitment from Labour. You can argue that the Brexit process has become so fucked that Labour had no choice but to change course. But for me this doesn’t hold water. Not least because after Tory Election Fraud, a third of the UK electorate not voting at all in general elections and people already feeling politicians don’t represent them, by betraying the EU Referendum result Labour has just helped put the final nail in the coffin of the rotting corpse that is UK democracy.

As I pointed out to George Galloway this week, it also reeks of political tightrope walking. Of the top 25 marginal seats in England and Wales, ones Labour need to target in the next general election, 20 of them voted Leave.

But again, even with the TIG formation, Labour’s decision over a Second Referendum wouldn’t have been a complete disaster. It would have been very problematic, but not a catastrophe.

The Chris Williamson issue

Now, we have the suspension of Chris Williamson. Views are extremely divided on this. For example, the Guardian and Novara ‘middle-class-yet-one-of-us-really’ commentators are taking the line that this is the right thing to do, as his behaviour has been problematic for a while. This has been met with anger by some, who see this as a betrayal by them. Wolves. Sheep. False Prophets. Take your pick of Biblical analogies that people might use in reference to them.

Some believe that Williamson is subject to a witch-hunt for hosting a black, Jewish woman at an event organised by a left wing Jewish group – both of who are not the ‘right kind of Jewish person’. Other’s believe he has been misrepresented, as they say the full video of the Momentum Sheffield event where he made certain comments shows.

I couldn’t possibly comment on any of that.

But Williamson is one of Corbyn’s loyalist and closest allies. So his suspension to many appears to be a capitulation by Corbyn in the face of a growing crisis. Now, again in isolation this could be viewed as a move by Corbyn to further show he is acting on the antisemitism we are led to believe is rife in the Labour Party. I’m not a member so I wouldn’t know. But it would have been a move which may or may not have been a wise one.

Now, put all these three events together, and what have you got?

You have the Corbyn project falling apart at the seams. Again, here’s why.

Blow one

Firstly, TIG has removed some of his most vocal critics from the Labour Party. But it has placed them in a position of a fairly sizeable position of power and influence. Backed by some of the media, and offering a left wing alternative in England and Wales unavailable before, there is a clear and present danger from them in any upcoming election. If they had remained in the party, they would have been manageable. But now, they’re rogue. It’s left Corbyn weakened.

Blow two

Secondly, Labour’s Remain Second Referendum position was blatantly a decision removed from Corbyn’s hands. It was instigated by, once again, a group of ‘middle-class-yet-one-of-us-really’ group of MPs – Emily Thronberry and Keir Starmer to name but two – who have publicly bought into the Corbyn project for their own political gain. We’re back to those Biblical analogies, again. They have done this for their own political gain, also – knowing it would destabilise the project. This power-grab has also left Corbyn weakened.

Blow three

Thirdly, the Williamson decision was also forced upon Corbyn. This time it was by the mainstream media, many of his Shadow Cabinet (again, some out for their own political gain) and some of his inner circle. On Twitter, the likes of Owen Jones have come out saying it was the right decision. Electronic Intifada journalist Asa Winstanley is not convinced by his proclamations:

I couldn’t possibly comment.

But once again, this forcing of Corbyn’s hand has left him weakened.

Knock out?

So, all in all, he has suffered a triple blow of sucker-punches in the space of just over a week. Either he and his inner circle have lost self-confidence in what they are doing, or they believe appeasement, whether right or wrong, is the way forward for the movement.

In my opinion? They have made disastrously wrong-footed moves on all accounts.

Corbyn has been left completely undermined, out-of-control of his own party and politically adrift. He has lost control of all three of these situations, all three of which have now critically damaged the project. To think otherwise is delusional.

So, what can be done?

The reality?

This is based on these caveats. I couldn’t possibly say if I agree with them:

  • The TIG is a self-serving bunch of odious shits who need to be exposed as the politically gravy-training bastards they are.
  • A Second Referendum with Remain as an option will only serve to further polarise our already fractured society, alienate many working class people already politically homeless and further embolden the right wing.
  • Williamson’s suspension is antisemitism being used as a political weapon by some people so vehemently opposed to the Corbyn project that there’s no barrel they won’t scrape the bottom of.

If you agree with these statements, then the solution is a complex, yet also simple one.

Rapid collapse

Enough is enough, now. The world, from Trump to Venezuela, from India/Pakistan to the stock markets, from the EU to Sudan and from climate chaos to the genocide of disabled people, is in meltdown. I firmly believe that the corporatist capitalist system we live under is in its death throes. The ravenous opposition to the Corbyn project from the system and its supporters is evidence of this. Not because Corbyn is some ‘Red under the Bed’ communist threat. He’s a democratic socialist for fuck’s sake. But because the project represents a shifting of power into the hands of ordinary people. And that is fucking dangerous for the system and its gatekeepers.

So, if the system is collapsing, then why are we pussyfooting around so much? Moreover, why is the Corbyn project?

To the supporters

Corbyn supporters who understand all of the above: keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t stop. I may not believe Corbyn is the answer, as I’ve always said, but while people are dying in this country he is the best, most immediate solution.

Corbyn supporters who are buying into the ravenous opposition (I see you on my timeline): think about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and what’s influencing you. Step back from yourself and look in, because you’re playing into people’s hands without realising it. Also remember just why you became part of the Corbyn project in the first place.

Corbyn supporters who are acting like this isn’t happening: please stop. It’s not helping anyone.

Allegedly Corbyn-supporting journalists and commentators: I’m not wasting my breath on you.

To Jeremy

Corbyn. Yes, you, Jeremy: stop pussyfooting around.

I know it’s not in your nature to aggressively fight tooth and nail against those who seek to destroy you. You’re a pacifist, therefore by default you’re sadly far too kind and considerate. But this is beyond a joke. You surely must see what’s happening, here. Moreover, you must see why it’s happening. Whether I fully buy into your project or not, I know that you have the system and the establishment gatekeepers on the run. So now is not the time for capitulation.

Stop this. Come out and say what you really think, what you really believe and do it with conviction. You have a third of the country politically homeless. Working class communities lured inadvertently to the right. These people need you – but they need you to be robust. Quite frankly, with many politicians and most of the press hostile to you – what have you got to lose? Many more MPs to TIG. No bad thing – if you stand firmer.

What endeared you to people in the first place was your honest, refreshing style of politics. We need that back again. And, if that means breaking away from the Labour Party machinery, of which parts are now actively working against you, then so be it. I imagine if I did a nationwide show of hands who’d vote for a new, Corbyn-led party over Labour, you’d get a majority. Have a word with the Greens while you’re about it as well, please.

Too many people need you right now. Not least my chronically ill, disabled girlfriend, who was in tears today over the political and social madness that has been unfolding around you.

We don’t need you to capitulate. We need you to be you.

Time is running out Jeremy. So, what’s it going to be?


I no longer write for The Canary (you can read why here). But if you like my writing here, any gifts are gratefully accepted. Thank you.
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  1. Mark Catlin · February 27, 2019

    Reblogged this on Declaration Of Opinion.


    • Matt · February 28, 2019

      What a bunch of waffle posing as ultimatums. Getting to the bottom of nothing. With zero solutions attached. Why bother lol. 🤣🤡


  2. Liz W · February 28, 2019

    I’m not at all surprised that your partner was so upset by yesterday’s events, so was I. It’s almost as if the abusive ME activist card that has, for decades, been so skilfully played on ME patients and their carers and advocates to deny them healthcare and benefits has now been played on the Labour Party under a different guise. With such good people being accused of such hideous things, I ask – could this be the exact same barrel being scraped to the bottom? Could there possibly be common elements to both? JC and what’s left of decent Labour need to wake up, stop faffing about and get back to their core values by exposing how our NHS is treating these patients, and how millions of vulnerable people are in mortal peril from an NHS and welfare system that is being run by the neoliberal elite.

    ‘Liaison psychiatry’ and the ‘medically unexplained symptoms’ strategy are being used to systematically destroy the NHS. Seriously ill people throughout the whole of the NHS are now routinely blocked from physical healthcare services by being labelled with mental illness under their ‘integrated care’/ mind-body claptrap model……all to save tens of billions of pounds and to cut secondary care services to the bone. I suspect that mental health patients are most at risk, followed closely by women and minority groups. This is what the self-centre wants of course – the destruction of the NHS and welfare system and all vestiges of post-war socialism expunged.


    • Margaret atkins · February 28, 2019

      We need Jeremy now more than ever…. what the hell are the evil bas***ds doing to this country


  3. Liz W · February 28, 2019

    On the subject of Europe and a second referendum.

    I didn’t vote in the first referendum. Throughout the debate I sat on the fence, for a long while expecting to be knocked (rather than pulled) off onto one side or the other. Towards the end though I found that it was actually better to be sitting on the fence, things were getting rather nasty. And I hadn’t been given any of the information that I was looking for to make a more reasoned decision, feeling that the corruption of the EU and discriminatory capitalist policy of free-movement* on the one side of the argument was offset by the prospect of Britain ruling itself under its dodgy justice and parliamentary systems with a strong chance of unchecked right-wing policies on the other. *Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for helping out refugees and for sensible exchange of workers and students, and for allowing those already here to remain, but free-movement regards people and their work solely as a commodity, and the most vulnerable will always lose out if companies can choose from a European or global pool of employees. Also, no decent welfare system/framework was constructed by the EU to even partially address this issue.

    So if it comes to a second referendum, I may well not vote. But I weigh up the situation like this. I think most would agree that propaganda abounded in the first referendum. It seems to me that perhaps the biggest distortion of all was for the politicians on both sides to tell the public that the result would be binding, that it wasn’t just advisory. We are now at an impasse, and a second referendum may well be the best or only way forward at some point. But that referendum should ask 2 questions, the second conditional on the outcome of the first:

    Q1 – Do you accept the Government’s Brexit deal? Y/N
    Q2 – IF the country decides NO to the Brexit deal, do you want to remain in the EU OR accept whatever the Government renegotiates under an extension to Article 50?


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