Friday, October 15, 2021
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Labour’s winter war: To survive, Starmer must crush Corbyn

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COMMUNISM is a weak political force. It is only because of its ascendancy in Russia and China that people think otherwise.  

However, for communism to thrive, the institutions or organisations that would oppose it have to become even weaker than the communists that would dare topple them. Once communism is established, it is almost impossible to remove. It is the necrotising fasciitis of politics. 

That a weakened post-Brown Labour was taken over by communists is borne out by the increasing extremism of their manifestos since 2010, and the talk of ‘transformative’ politics, which is code for a Venezuela-style Marxist revolution from above.  

Labour no longer sought reform but vengeful change, all concealed behind benign utopian phraseology and avuncular presentation.  

However, the collectivist leopard cannot change its spots. And a dogmatic hostility to the USA, hatred of Israel – and, by extension, British Jews – as well as blind support for rogue regimes and terrorism worldwide could not be explained away sufficiently to satisfy level-headed British voters.  

The electoral defeat last December was merely one postponed from June 2017, when Brexit was destabilising British politics and which produced a freak result that paralysed Parliament for 30 months. 

Labour now finds itself led by the most inexperienced politician to become Leader of the Opposition in more than 100 years, who is struggling to gain control of the party. At the same time, Labour also has thousands of party members with communist sympathies who will not give up that control lightly. A fight is inevitable, probably civil war.  

To understand how bad is the challenge facing Sir Keir Starmer and his new team, consider the former chair of the Liverpool Wavertree Constituency Labour Party (CLP), Kevin Bean.  

Bean was the co-signer of a statement with three other local officials protesting that Wavertree’s new MP Paula Barker had suggested in an article in the Jewish Telegraph that her predecessor, Luciana Berger, had been forced out because of personal attacks by CLP members, the protesters insisting that the differences had been ideological rather than ethnic-based.  

The Labour Party acted swiftly and suspended all four signatories. However, Kevin Bean was not the only name Bean used. As one ‘James Harvey’, Bean was a candidate member of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee). 

Here I have to state that this organisation is not to be confused the Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), under whose banners John McDonnell is happy to make speeches while still remaining in the Labour Party, or the Communist Party of Britain, publishers of the Morning Star, for whom Jeremy Corbyn regularly writes while also remaining in the Labour Party. 

Bean managed to get to a quite senior position in a CLP despite making publicly-available videos for years under both of his names, and also being a lecturer in Irish Politics at the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool.  

He was hardly a private figure or man of mystery. Yet it seems the Labour Party did not detect his ploy for quite some time. Bean is just one member out of hundreds of thousands and was quite blatant in his extremism. He has now been expelled.

But you really could not make it up. It is almost like Anthony Blunt turning up to his interview in 1940 for a job at MI5 wearing an NKVD uniform and then singing the Internationale while waiting to be seen. 

It is in this context that the recent comments of Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner should be taken. An edict was sent out from party headquarters forbidding any CLP or other party group from debating or laying down motions relating to Jeremy Corbyn or the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.  

Being good socialists adept at only obeying those rules that suit them, a lot of CLPs rebelled. A Jewish party member felt threatened at a CLP meeting chaired by a Corbynist when a motion of support for Corbyn was debated. The result was that the chairwoman, who also supports the Corbynist Jewish Voice for Labour, was suspended.

What was interesting is that the Labour MP Nadia Whittome, also a Corbynist, supported the suspension. Angela Rayner, commenting on this episode, stated: ‘If I have to suspend thousands and thousands of members, we will do that. Because we cannot and we will not accept an injury to one, because an injury to one is an injury to all.’  

Corbynists protested because these words were uttered at a meeting of the Jewish Labour Movement that was held on a day of ‘solidarity’ with Palestinian Arabs. Other than that, they seemed unfazed. 

Back in February, I wrote that Sir Keir would have to execute a purge to rid his party of the extremists. So far, both sides have been skirmishing over Corbyn’s future in the Labour Party, but this skirmishing seems to be coming to an end, as the main forces will be colliding early in the New Year.  

The first step will be Labour’s official response to the EHRC report about how it will be changing its processes, and how this may affect Corbyn and his fellow travellers. 

It is also reported that members are quitting in their hundreds in protest at the party’s change of direction, such as the abstaining on Parliamentary votes on matters of defence and security where previously it would have opposed.  

However the rationale for resigning en masse is unclear, as surely the Corbyn supporters that we are always told form the majority of party members would be able to prevail under the numerous democratic processes used in the party, unless there is a reason they would not.  

So mass resignations only otherwise seem to deprive the party of membership subscriptions. Labour used to boast it had the largest membership in Western Europe, but this did not seem to be audited or confirmed by a reliable third party and the only evidence for this seems to be the revenue. Apart from making boasts, Labour traditionally refuses to respond to any queries about its membership. 

The battleground seems to be the implementation of the EHRC report, as well as Corbyn’s future in the party. While Sir Keir was elected Labour leader, the reinstatement of Corbyn after a whole 19 days suspension shows the limit of his power, which seems only to rest with the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).  

The remainder is diffused through the National Executive Committee (NEC), Labour’s answer to the Politburo. While the Left celebrated recent elections to the NEC, this seems to have resulted in a reduction of their influence such that when they were about to lose a vote for chairman, the Left elements walked out of a virtual meeting in protest at a procedural change.  

Controlling the NEC, as Sir Keir now seems to do, may mean that the next time Corbyn is suspended – as he surely will be when investigated under a tough new independent system – it will be for much longer, and he may even be expelled. 

Sir Keir’s future in the Labour Party is now inextricably tied to Corbyn’s future. At present Corbyn does not have the Labour whip, which means he cannot stand for re-election as a Labour MP. A court case is pending on the matter.  

If an unrepentant Corbyn is reinstated into the PLP, that will be the end of Sir Keir. If Corbyn is not, then the war is on, especially if Corbyn is expelled. Corbyn has some serious apologising and acknowledging to do, and he has no form on doing this at all without squeezing out a qualification that negates the apology – and Sir Keir will not accept this or he will not look ‘tough enough’. 

Last February I said Sir Keir’s necessary purge would be like Kinnock on speed. This coming February looks like when it will all start. 

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Paul T Horgan
Paul T Horgan works in the IT Sector. He lives in Berkshire.

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