The Blog

Contempt for the Labour Right? Too Bloody Right!

If you're a part of the right wing of the Labour Party, look away now. In fact, don't bother, you probably lack the self awareness to even realise it...

If you're a part of the right wing of the Labour Party, look away now. In fact, don't bother, you probably lack the self awareness to even realise it...

The very sudden rise of Jeremy Corbyn within the Labour movement has been well documented. The venomous and sustained enmity directed towards him from right wingers within the Labour Party has received plenty of coverage too. And make no mistake about it, these self absorbed predominantly metropolitan whiners are most definitely on the right of the political spectrum, certainly when it comes to economic and foreign policy.

Masquerading under the guise of 'progressives' and 'social democrats' these odious neo-con and neoliberal apologists very publicly support Labour (in fact, they never shut up about it) as a kind of 'right on' banner under which to posture and spout their free-market, quasi imperialist views with impunity. Dare to even suggest to these sensitive souls that their political outlook has more in common with opinions usually found within the Tory ranks and prepare yourself for a barrage of abuse. Any kind of self analysis is most definitely not a favoured pursuit for these supercilious hipsters. Their red rose comfort blankets are gripped as tightly as ever.

The Labour Party has, of course, always been a broad church and it should continue to be so. A place where Heffer and Callaghan, Benn and Healey resided in prominent positions despite vastly contrasting views. It should be the natural home for those of a left/centre left persuasion. The election of Tony Blair as leader in the mid 90s, following on from the 'reforms' of political pygmy Neil Kinnock, saw a sharp change of direction into centre right territory and beyond.

A line often trotted out by the Labour right is, "yeah, but Blair won 3 elections." Well, the Blair years, after a promising start, were a hopeless let down and, worse than that, have caused lasting damage to the UK. There were very marginal improvements to the lives of ordinary people but they were offset by a catastrophic illegal war (the Blairite ostriches still can't come to terms with its illegality) and a blind eye and deaf ear to shocking financial sector chicanery. Blair and his bunch of insubstantial, vacuous sycophants had a hotline to the rich and powerful but let down an awful lot of people. History will not be kind to Tony Blair and his "Tell em' anything, lets just get into fuckin power" approach to politics.

Part of his legacy has seen the populating of the opposition benches with a motley assortment of no-mark, right of centre MPs, big on style and slick presentation but devoid of anything resembling substance. Likewise, a small, vocal, increasingly poisonous band of similarly minded party members. These members, while rightly pointing out that Corbyn is, as yet, short of answers, seem utterly unable to grasp the fact that there is very little appetite among the British electorate for a return to New Labour 'values' either - whatever the hell these values are actually supposed to be.

I watch with interest as social network debates unfold - mild criticism of Israeli government policy, for instance, all too often sees right wing Labour zealots casually label opponents as anti-Semites. Dare to suggest that British foreign policy, particularly in Iraq, may just possibly have been a factor in creating circumstances in which Islamic extremism could flourish and you're marked down as a terrorist apologist. It seems that hell hath no fury like a revisionist Blairite confronted by fact and logic. Their misplaced superiority knows no bounds.

I've actually got far more respect for the average Tory politician and voter. As much as I'm on a different page to them on most issues politically, there is at least a basic honesty about their leanings. With the Labour right it's all subterfuge.

I have no problem with anyone within the Labour movement who has legitimate concerns over Corbyn's, thus far, rather shapeless leadership style or his policy priorities. Similarly, calls for a degree of policy pragmatism are entirely justified. There has to be a coherent plan to govern and that is still clearly some way off. But, even many of us who have absolutely no desire to live in anything even approaching a doctrinaire socialist society can see that Corbyn's elevation to leader is a hugely important development in British politics if the establishments 'rigged game' is to be challenged in the long term.

What we're witnessing from the Labour right are ongoing examples of staggering petulance and this from a set of people who should never have got within a country mile of that particular movement. Supporting hawkish foreign policies and looking in the other direction in the face of rapacious greed was never what the Labour Party was all about. Corbyn has a strong mandate, it's time he exercised it.