The hysterical railing against the possibility of Jeremy Corbyn being voted in as Labour leader is now embarrassingly over the top. Blair has become the voice of doom, seeking to ramp up fear among the Labour rank and file. According to him, if we vote in Corbyn, “it won’t be a defeat” at the next election but “will mean rout, possibly annihilation”.
The Guardian front page manages to juxtapose Blair’s mad rantings about precipices and destruction with photos of a world in flames (actually a fire at a Chinese port).
The Telegraph, of course, has also jumped on the bandwagon with the Blair ‘story’ as its headline and added a quote from Jack Straw attacking “the hard-Left candidate’s (sic) ‘economic illiteracy’”.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail has decided to launch an attack from another angle with its “exclusive” story supposedly revealing Corbyn’s “‘long-standing links’ with notorious Holocaust denier and his ‘anti-Semitic’ organization” (note that even in its own headline the DM has to use quotation marks for these bogus claims).
And, given that Corbyn’s ‘rivals’ are the three callow automatons, Burnham, Cooper and Kendall – who represent the very worse aspects of New Labour – even Blair’s ex-spin doctor, Alistair Campbell, is hard pressed to make a choice and can come up with nothing better than “anyone but Corbyn”.
And what of these other contenders?
Really you’d think the Labour Party would be thrilled with all the new members and the energy they are bringing to the contest. 21,000 people joined the party shortly after the election, appalled that the Tories had won, but the BBC tells us numbers have since leapt up to reach “299,755 [full members], with a further 121,295 people paying £3 to become registered supporters and 189,703 joining up through their trade union”.
Alas, there hasn’t been much of a welcome for them.
According to Channel 4 News, the three muppets have written a joint letter of complaint about “the integrity” of the leadership process. Apparently alarmed by its democratic bent, they find it “unreasonable” for an election to be taking place “without the provision of a full list of voters” – which they won’t get for another five whole days.
It’s unedifying (but hardly surprising) to find those supporting the candidate lagging way behind in fourth place being the most vociferous. Simon Danczuk, Labour MP for Rochdale who nominated Kendall, made the incredible claim that up to a third of the new supporters who signed up in his own constituency should not be voting and that the election probably isn’t “tenable” because of “horror stories from around the country in terms of entryism”.
However, the BBC reports this issue is being dealt with and “about 1,200 people have been banned from voting in Labour’s leadership contest because they support rival parties”. The Beeb also points out that the “sheer scale of the surge” in membership “and the relatively small numbers of people … in fringe left wing parties suggest entryism fears may be overblown”.
The purge itself may be overzealous, in fact, with it sometimes being hard to know why someone has been struck off the list. Anti-Blairite “comedian and writer Mark Steel”, for example, tells The Independent he has been barred despite his only other memberships being Crystal Palace and a snooker club.
Returning to real Labour values after the Blairite coup
In response to Blair’s article, a spokesman for the Corbyn campaign very sensibly said: “We are keeping our campaign positive and remain focused on our policies that offer the sound economic choice of investment and growth, not the politically driven agenda of austerity and cuts preventing economic recovery.”
As Michael Meacher, a Labour former minister, says, “The Blairite coup of the mid-1990s hijacked the party to the Tory ideology of ‘leave it all to the markets and let the state get out of the way’”. In fact, he points out, Thatcher claimed that ‘New Labour’ was her greatest triumph.
Corbyn is not only refreshing, he has set out policies that fit the times and needs of the majority and puts them forward in a straightforward manner that will surely cause Cameron problems at PMQs.
Can Corbyn and his camp sustain the surge of hope and optimism he has brought to the leadership race in these past few weeks? Or will Blair et al. succeed in scaring Party activists into sticking with the despair of austerity under Burnham, Cooper or Kendall?
We ladies are standing firm for the policies we agree with. Will you?