Yesterday evening, in a meeting that went on for several hours, the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) made a number of decisions that will influence the upcoming leadership election, not all of which were reported or understood at the time. Such is politics and political reporting nowadays. Jeremy Corbyn claimed victory, but while he was celebrating the moment came a twist in the tail.
At first, things did not look good for Corbyn and his followers, as it was decided that the decision on whether he would automatically be allowed on the leadership ballot - in other words, without having to secure nominations from MPs - would be taken not by a show of hands, as was expected, but by secret ballot. There was much muttering on the left. There would be no chance of knowing who had voted which way.
But when the result was revealed, Corbyn had won another victory: his name would automatically go forward without having to get nominations, something that he would have had serious difficulty in doing, given that more than 170 Labour MPs have signed a motion of No Confidence in his leadership. This was the signal for he and his supporters to indulge in a little celebration. They were home and hosed.
Except it wasn’t that simple. First, as ITV political editor Robert Peston explained, “it became clear that the secrecy was pointless, because all the union representatives voted as per the way they had been mandated to do, and in favour of Corbyn. So Corbyn loyalists will know exactly who went against their will”. The idea of heading off the climate of threats and intimidation had not been such a good one.
Then, as Corbyn and his supporters savoured their victory moment, came another, this time unscheduled, vote. He had left the NEC meeting, as had two supportive delegates, and as the vote was not scheduled, there was no mandate for any Trade Union representatives to act upon. This vote was on who should be able to take part in the leadership poll - as in, which party members.
This time, it was not so good for Jezza: all those “registered supporters” who had joined for £3 a go would have to stump up a whole £25, and register within a 48-hour window later this month. Moreover, all members who had joined since the end of January - thought to be overwhelmingly Corbyn-leaning - would be excluded. As Peston observed, “in the final hour the Corbynistas, so cock-a-hoop at their victory, took their eye off the ball”.
So it’s still not clear which way a leadership contest would go, and with Owen Smith talking of joining the fray this morning, it’s equally unclear who will be doing the contesting, as some MPs are talking openly of having just one opponent for Jezza. The only event that looms closer after yesterday’s NEC meeting is a split in the Labour Party that will keep it out of power for the foreseeable future, massive support or not.
Still, there will be all those marches and protests to enjoy, and the warm feeling they give the participants, so that’s all right, then.
All this demonstrates is just how much a gang of wheedling, squirming neoconmen/women is New Labour. Which means they'll be held in even deeper contempt by party members. But whichever way they squirm, if the original voting pattern holds they'll be routed again - which can't come soon enough. Then they can push off and join the Gang of Four in ignominy and failure. Good riddance to them.
Mainstream media of course will be its usual corrupt self, particularly the BBC News department. Last night's Newsnight was fronted by the increasingly weird and moronic Evan Davis who did an appallingly obvious hatchet job on Corbyn and his supporters when he lumped them together with whoever threw a brick at Eagle's constituency office. He even called her constituency officers "those people" after they quite rightly recounted how Eagle had "suddenly changed" during the last month or so.
Then again, Davis is the utter nutjob whose economics education in one "report" last year was limited to saying "London sucks in talent" while completely ignoring how the nation outside the M25 ghetto has been robbed. The guy's a complete Gollum-arsehead.
Meanwhile, media propagandists will of course ignore the the threats and organised shouty-thuggery and lies of lowlives like John Mann and John McTernan. Delightfully, the latter detritus looks like he'll have to go openly tory or spend the rest of his days "explaining" Blair's warmongering mass murders - it couldn't happen to a worse wretch.
But despite the media, despite the spivs and traitors of New Labour, it looks increasingly likely Corbyn will win the leadership election. In which case, given their behaviour, they should resign en masse and leave the party to those who want to restore its founding principles. If they don't, there could be a useful run of de-selections and house cleaning. In fact the other likelihood is that they won't go - because there isn't a one of them with any honour.
There are no depths New Labour will not plumb, no corruption they'll not employ to try to avoid defeat, no lies or propaganda their media will not deploy. But this time party members are ready for them.
Against the odds, for once genuine democracy might just carry the day. After which the real battle begins.
Ah well! All coalitions come to an end sooner or later.
The Tories might not be far behind if the Brexiteers don't manage to get all they want.
Rob, I doubt it. The Tories would happily shut up or kick out their own lunatic fringe - they know it'll just make them more appealing to the MOR and Orange Book crowd.
We could learn a thing or two from them.
Unusually uncritical of the NEC for a Zelo Street column.
To be honest you are starting to get tiresome on this
"Still, there will be all those marches and protests to enjoy, and the warm feeling they give the participants, so that’s all right, then."
Like writing a political column on a webpage, or do you feel that there protests are irrelevant and yours is world changing, I have always enjoyed reading you Tim, but you're comments on people making political protest are becoming patronizing.
Those people are giving up their time, just like you, to support things they passionately believe in, please accord them the respect you would expect to recieve for you're own hard work.
I understand that you have an opinion on Jeremy and those who support him and it is obvious that you share similar ideals to them, so it comes down to a matter of opinion on how to go about achieving those ideals.
Those of us in the Corbyn camp believe we are going about that in the best way, you're sarcasm is misplaced
There is a petition about the membership cut off her
Please sign to show your feelings
>> After which the real battle begins.
Come on then.. paint me a picture of this "battle" - through the deselections and the purges through to a victory for a Corbyn led Labour party at the 2020 general election.
It's a shame for you that JK Rowling seems to have come out against Corbyn because you need someone of her imagination and story telling prowess to craft that particular fantasy.
And if the Labour Party can't be in power, why is it any different from the SWP? In fact if it can't win a General Election what's the point? None of this "comrades unite against blairite new labour" bullcrap matters one iota.
So. Our new PM is filling her cabinet with lots of people we've never heard of.
Any shadow cabinet will be filled with even more of such types.
We've shafted Europe and probably much of the rest of the world too. Well, a third of the electorate have.
So, where is the fighting voice and personality we can all get behind, someone like the early Kinnock.
But sadly, after 50 years, many of us must be feeling "Vote Labour - Why Bother".
The right-wing gets its hegemony, but by the inactivity of others.
I sense a twitchy anal canal.
Whenever I hear someone in the Westminster bubble describing JC has "unelectable" i cannot but think of how "New" Labour became utterly unelectable throughout the whole of Scotland.
All that failure achieved well before JC's remarkable victory in the leadership elections.
A shift in power is occurring. Mainstream media and traditional outlets of power are struggling to understand it.
I am saddened that this blog appears to dismiss it so glibly.
Agree with the comments above and various things stick out : there was a time when the Labour Party treasured it's members but the current PLP are showing complete contempt for them and treating them like 'johnny come latelys".
This has been the most bungled coup in recent political history and the very notion that the Blairite wing think they will somehow invite a softer media if they win is a fantasy. They will be crucified whereas with Corbyn the media cannot get any worse and they may even show some begrudging respect for the way he has defied the whiteanters.
As for those challenging Corbyn for the leader's position, the media attention they are receiving is showing what compete lightweights they are, completely lacking in charisma. They should have remained relatively anonymous but they are making May look like Thatcher on steroids.
Sad to see a pretty good column like Zelo indulging in a win at all costs theme as though principal no longer matters. And this is a battle for the soul of Labour and the hearts and minds of millions of members who will just give up and either vote UKIP or a revitalised Lib Dems or simply not vote.
If Corbyn is rolled the party will go on but it can look forward to another decade in the wilderness and if the Blairites think another Miliband or Benn can save them they are ignoring a dramatic shift that has come with working people.
We should have learned via Brexit that people are very very angry and despite all the endless claims made about why 13 million plus voted that way, millions of Brexiters are there for the taking and the timing is right for a Jeremy Corbyn.
And that is what is so disappointing about this ridiculous coup : the times are RIGHT for Corbyn. Millions of votes are there for the taking as there is a radical shift to the left in the working classes and the poorer middle classes.
Sadly those in their 'ivory towers' who write blogs or newspaper columns no matter how clever they are, are ignoring those at the coal face. When you get Eagle's own constituency telling her to pull her head in it's because they can judge the mood of the electorate far better than their own MP.
Seems new Labour is like a many headed snake that will not die and looks like emulating the Tories- MPs more concerned with keeping their jobs than Labour principals and probably the new natural home for the infamous real estate agents & bookie's runners.
>> I sense a twitchy anal canal.
Ah, I see - ad-hominem...
So I'll ask again - explain to me how Corbyn can go from being 7 points behind the torys now to uniting the party and winning the next general election.
Or is that just not important? And if its not, what is?
I respect principles and standing up for what you believe, but if all you ever get is a party of protest then the torys will continue to do what they already do to Corbyn in parliament - laugh at him and ignore him. If Foot couldn't win in 1983, how will Corbyn win in 2020?
I've always voted Labour but never been a member previously - I'm joining now and will pay that extra registration fee as well to vote in the leadership ballot - we need a serious opposition and Corbyn attending a "cuba solidarity campaign" (you know - that allows only one trade union controlled by the communist party) on the day the country gets a new PM announced isn't it.
"J.K.Rowling"?......Wizards, broomsticks, spells, Hogwarts?....That one you mean?
Still, makes a difference to talking about the cause of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria ey? To say nothing of exposing which New Labour MPs voted for them all, plus "austerity" and theft of wealth in favour of London.
Are there no depths to which New Labour will not sink?
@Anonymous at 9:50.
"Ad hominem" my arse.
According to your line of spurious "argument" the overwhelming majority of party members who voted for Jeremy Corbyn are no different to the SWP. Which of course is a load of coprolite. And a lot worse than "ad hominem" because it's a lying smear as a typical piece of "Look over there."
Not unexpected, though. Same old New Labour bullshit that supported the tories.
Tim, I've been following your blog for years, it's normally good stuff, and often excellent. But the last two lines in this post are puerile, patronising and unworthy of you. I mean, I'm presuming that all of your posts give you a 'warm feeling', but it didn't help you call or influence the last election or the referendum (which I'm afraid your rival Guido got right, very unfortunately) - so don't belittle those unprecedented numbers who are joining a political party to, yes, 'march', but also to post, blog, go to meetings, persuade friends and family, etc etc.
The split is being entirely orchestrated by the right of the party - the latest being that they're backdating the voting cut-off point to include not only members but union affiliates too - even though they've spent 15/20 years alienating the very people they now say that Corbyn can't 'reconnect' with.
Do wonder how many constituencies like mine there are, where Labour no longer appears to have an on-going presence. (And it once was very strong indeed).
No one working as a press officer to fed stuff to the local press. Last time's prospective parliamentary candidate nowhere to be seen since then. You get the picture.
I suppose something will stir when an election is called and the next prospective gets parachuted in for a few weeks quick pavement pounding. A mere 35 minute train commute from central London.
Uphill battle though. The right hasn't been at all quiet over the last few years - and god didn't they smirk and go all triumphalist over the Leave result. Sort of "we lied and you lapped it up" smirk.
Perhaps on this issue I've read Tim's intention wrong.
I support Jeremy Corbyn but I haven't seen Tim's comments as anti-Corbyn at all. To me, he seems merely to point out obvious practical difficulties in the situation, albeit properly diluted with colloquialisms. So what?
Whether I like it or not (and I don't) these difficulties seem obvious. Ignoring them won't help. Facing and fighting them is required. Radical change never comes easily. And restoring fairness in this country will take years, not weeks or months. There is and has been too much immorality and corruption in Parliament for genuine democracy to be achieved quickly.
Like Tim, I thought Corbyn would be defeated quickly and the horrible norm maintained. But that didn't happen. This is encouraging and should be a reason for optimism. Whether Corbyn can deliver is another question. He should at least be given the opportunity to help dispose of the horror that is New Labour.
But perhaps I've read the blog wrongly. Only Tim can clarify. Maybe it's time for him to say if he supports Corbyn or not?
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