Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Is the Corbyn "bubble" bursting

By Source, Fair use.

The world of politics faced a huge shake-up when the Labour Party opened it's door to the "Three pounders" during it's leadership election. The misguided MP's who nominated Jeremy Corbyn to "allow" for a a different point of view debated found themselves besieged by thousands of left-wingers coming our of the woodwork, joining up and for the first time allowing the really hard-left take over the party.

Membership of the Labour Party soared. Almost the entire far left sans the remains of Militant & the Socialist Workers Party joined up. Ken Loache's short-lived Left Unity project that had previously been the focus of the comrades attention collapsed.

And it is the collapse of Left Unity that in small part provides a glimpse of the process that appears to be taking place on the ground inside the Labour Party. Left Unity was launched with the group attracting thousands of "likes" on Face book, but when established membership barely reached 2,000 and attendance at conferences despite their streaming live on the Internet  got smaller and smaller as time went by and the factions competed with each other over minutiae that most "normal" people frankly just couldn't be arsed with.

Today it seems to have disappeared, even the uber-sectarian Weekly Worker doesn't take any notice any more. Those comrades have buggered off to support  the Labour Party Marxists, a front for the tiny Communist Party (CPGB) sect that had already been established in Labour. Well at least in Hammersmith, that well known centre of revolution just down the road.

Six months down the road a question was raised on one of the unofficial Labour supporting groups on Face book about the levels of actual participation of the new intake. Now from anecdotal evidence from those I know who are long term activists in the Labour Party there hasn't been much of a showing of the new members and those that have are not the most willing to get involved in the nitty gritty of the real hard work that has to be carried out by any party, let alone Labour if it is to win elections.

Momentum made a big fan-fare about sending it's supporters to a by-election, but the general feedback is that the new breed are not turning up to meetings or leafleting and whilst it's easy to send in three quid whilst surfing the Internet this is not turning into the level of activity that Momentum had hoped for.

Sure they've got every tiny tin pot Trot outfit on their side, but on the whole their meetings are dominated by all the tired old types that have always infested such events. The Times reported the presence of one Chris Ford, an individual who in one past incarnation had led a split in the anarcho-syndicalist trade union the International Workers of the World, the IWW or "wobblies" as they commonly referred to. Ford set up his own IWW(GB) union with himself as head honcho which seems to have disappeared.

On to new climes, just like so many.

Then we've seen the Gerry Downing affair hit the headlines and all sorts of anti-Zionist behaviour interpreted by many as anti-Semitism discredit not just the left, but embarrass the Labour Party. The latest instance was reported by the Jewish Chronicle:

A veteran Jewish Labour MP has been targeted by activists who are “hell-bent” on attacking her at meetings of her constituency party.

The orchestrated campaign against Louise Ellman, MP for Liverpool Riverside, from within her own local branch has created an “intimidating and hostile” atmosphere for Jewish members, a councillor said this week.

The verbal attacks have taken place during the past two months at constituency meetings at which Mrs Ellman was present.

A small group of hard-left activists have attended the sessions to attack her, repeatedly asking questions about her position on Israel.

The JC understands that on at least three occasions, antisemitic remarks were made.

But most importantly the difficulties being experienced by the hard-left in taking control of Labour is down to the fact that "keyboard activism" (i.e. "likes" and £3 subs) are not substitutes for real, committed members. In the long term, these individuals are likely to remain not only "inactive" but slowly drift away.

The problem for their opponents (and for the Party itself) is that thousands of "ordinary" and more moderate members have left. More are getting disillusioned every day as the party's civil war. 

The Labour Party is not pushing ahead, despite the Tories obvious unpopularity, internal strife and the sheer incompetence of Osbourne's grossly unfair budget.

Scotland remains with the SNP, with Labour trailing badly the future remains bleak when the party really should be making ground in the face of the Tory crisis. 

It isn't because the left is blinkered and only interested in taking control of Labour regardless of the consequences. Ideology first. The workers will flock to the new cause they think and yet the indications are that Corbyn has only galvanised already existing support rather than gaining ground from those who actually need to be won over to win an election.

The reason? Their inability to recognise the reality of politics. The need for a broad church, negotiation and compromise.

The Corbyn "bubble" is about to burst. The worry is whether it will be too late to prevent exactly what the rest of us fear from another Tory government.

That failure will once again lay at the feet of the left. 

1983 again? No it may be even worse.

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