The Blairite coup against Jeremy Corbyn has sorely misjudged the public mood. The economy is in free fall and the rampant racism unleashed by the Leave campaign makes the "No blacks, dogs and Irish" signs of the 60's seem welcoming. Vigilante bigots now roam our streets attacking "foreigners", issuing unofficial deportation orders demanding, "We want our country back".
The first parliamentary debate I attended ten years ago was on the Darfur genocide. I took my place in the press gallery just as the then secretary of state for International Development, Hilary Benn, stood up. His opening words served as my first lesson in political chicanery, "I am delighted to see such a full house". There were 6 people present, including himself.
After wards, I asked John Bercow (my then MP and Darfur ally) why Benn had implied there was a full house. He said, "One word Tess. Hansard" (the official public record). Since then I've never taken what a politician says at face value.
The architects of the Corbyn coup, including Benn, defend their treachery by claiming that, if Corbyn couldn't convince Labour voters to Remain, then he can't win a general election. But, Corbyn delivered a 2/3 Labour majority for the Remain camp, something Margaret Hodge, who tabled the motion of no confidence against Corbyn, ironically couldn't achieve. Her constituents voted to Leave.
The truth is that the coup wasn't staged because Blairites don't think Jeremy Corbyn could win the next election. It was because they fear he could. A Corbyn win would be an unequivocal endorsement of his progressive Labour and yet another outright rejection of Blair's right wing New Labour/Thatcherite agenda.
As chair of the Labour In campaign, Alan Johnson's line up of pale, male and stale spokespeople failed to inspire. Women, young people and ethnic minorities hardly got a look in. Producing the toxic trio though (Blair, Brown and Campbell), was the final nail in the coffin. I know people who voted Leave out of protest at being pontificated at by "The war mongering Bliar". The idea that the men who presided over the financial crash would boost trust and credibility to the Remain camp signals the extent to which Alan Johnson, like his Blairite plotters, is in denial about the incendiary legacy of New Labour.
The Blairites went up against Corbyn nine months ago. He won the leadership with a landslide victory. The membership rejected their right wing austerity agenda, which lost Labour the last election. They rejected the "Tory light" candidates, who failed to vote against Tory welfare reforms last July, which proposed abolishing legally binding child poverty targets, cutting child tax credits and Employment Allowance, as well as housing benefit for young people.
Among the 10 thousand people that flooded parliament square on Monday to show Corbyn their support, were junior doctors. They weren't there to mourn the resignation of Shadow Health Secretary, Heidi Alexander, who refused to stand by them on the picket lines. They were there to reciprocate the unequivocal support Corbyn showed them during their months of bullying by Jeremy Hunt.
New Labour supported the Con-Dem's Health and Social Care Act, which sanctioned the privatisation of the NHS. Heidi Alexander had the opportunity to reverse elements of that by backing Caroline Lucas' NHS reinstatement Bill, but she declined to do so. At a time when the NHS is under constant attack, Alexander lacked the conviction to fight for it.
One of the few people on the political landscape that people trust, whose integrity we cling to as we drown in a quagmire of Brexit fallout, has been stabbed in the back. The brutality of the attack has fuelled the contagion of hate and makes the Tories look like teddy bears.
When all Labour's guns should be pointing at the industrial incompetence of the Tory wreckers, the Blairites are plotting to oust their own leader. Someone even they agree, is an honourable, decent man. They want to replace him with a Teflon Tony or a PR Dave. Media darlings they may be, but arguably two of the worst Prime Ministers in this country's history. If ever there was a time for principled leaders, like Jeremy Corbyn, it's now.