Whatever the motivations of the anti-Corbyn plotters – and I’m sure that many of them are sincere in their commitment to the party welfare, what they did and what they are doing has been a disaster.
If those who genuinely believed that the only way forward was a new leader, the timing was abominable, if their motives were sincere, the organisation of the coup was appalling. If they thought that they were doing the best for the party, they have completely mis-read the mood of the vast majority of Labour supporters.
People love to point to our terrible poll ratings as proof that Jeremy Corbyn is an insufficiently effective leader, but they only really indicate that so much shit is hitting so many fans, some is bound to stick.
And it’s pointless: Jeremy will win, the right wingers will sulk (and plot again? Dear God, I hope not) and we will be so far behind in the polls by that point that the Tory’s will be distant dot on the horizon. And for what? The opportunity to prove to critics that Labour cannot be trusted with a piss up in a brewery.
And how do we row back from this? Some people who I used to respect and admire are writing the most preposterous nonsense about people like me, and of course, some Corbyn supporters have said equally horrible things about people who don’t support their position.
We have aired all our dirty laundry in public, and if the voters now believe that all the Labour party are misogynists, anti-semites, Trots, plotters and incompetents, we’ve only got ourselves to blame. The man in the street will most probably have an abiding impression that the Labour party would rather hate each other, than work together against the Tories, and they won’t care who started it and who had the most pragmatism or the least principles.
But we have seen a huge upswing in people motivated to do politics – and ok, a hundred people at a rally doesn’t mean that we have 11 million extra votes, but it does mean that we have a 100 people willing to go doorstepping and make our case. You sneer that all these new supporters are middle class or students or not from the Labour heartlands, but not too long ago you said we had to take our message to the non-voters, the well-to-do and the south of England – ta dah!
We have tons of potential positive energy out there and we’ve always known what our politics should be – the NHS, a decent social security system, fair income and wealth distribution, a great education for all, nationalised utilities and transport etc etc. Give our members a manifesto they can be excited and passionate about, have the courage to air your own ideals and convictions and fight the Tories for governance of this country.
But we need to do this as a party that’s organised, tolerant and most of all united. It’s time to start building bridges.