The Blog

The Cowardice of the Labour Revolt

In truth, this is no revolt at all. It is now a siege, a war of attrition, a strategy marked by cowardice. Take a look at the two terms...

In truth, this is no revolt at all. It is now a siege, a war of attrition, a strategy marked by cowardice. Take a look at the two terms:

A siege is defined as 1. "the act or process of surrounding and attacking a fortified place in such a way as to isolate it from help and supplies, for the purpose of lessening the resistance of the defenders and thereby making capture possible." And 2. "any prolonged or persistent effort to overcome resistance."

Attrition is the "wearing down or weakening of resistance, especially as a result of continuous pressure or harassment: The enemy surrounded the town and conducted a war of attrition."

If some reports are true, Angela Eagle and other possible contenders are being advised to sit back and wait. Those Labour MPs who wish to see Corbyn go cannot defeat him in a legitimate leadership challenge. Having launched this ill-timed and ill-conceived coup only to discover that Corbyn - together with the majority of Labour members and supporters - intends to stand firm, the plotters can now bring him down only by continuing to act as plotters. They can win only by deploying deeply cynical and anti-democratic tactics - by starving Corbyn of support in the House of Commons. Siege and attrition.

For many members and supporters across the country, the siege of Corbyn has become an act of cruelty against a sincere and dedicated MP with a hugely successful record. More than that, and as the plotters have rightly pointed out themselves, this is not about one man. But nor is it about one PLP cohort. It is about the soul of Labour - its past and future, its animating principles, its present commitment to our public services and to people who have suffered the harsh onslaught of austerity under the Tories.

There are now two options open to the PLP:

1. Do what you should have done from the moment Corbyn won with such a huge mandate. Get behind him, work with him, see the beautiful potential in the most progressive opposition leadership Labour has mounted in decades. Join the members in these efforts - we would welcome your energy, commitment, and experience.

2. If you cannot back down, then push for the earliest possible leadership challenge. Let's get it over with. Please end the war of attrition and start to practice democracy. You have unleashed a terrible crisis in the party at the worst possible moment - it is for you to resolve it as soon as possible. If Corbyn wins again, work with him. Work with us! If you cannot do so, then please leave.

Time to end the siege. And in the spirit of Europe (which to my mind, Corbyn has defended in the most progressive terms), Vive la Commune!