After June’s General Election, and the rather better showing made by Labour than almost all the polls and pundits had predicted, this blog concluded that the view of Jeremy Corbyn as party leader had to be reassessed, quoting John Maynard Keynes, that greatest of economists, who famously said “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, Sir?” But, sadly, some remained resistant to such actions.
Time to quit while you're not too far behind
One who has remained resistant, to the point of wilfulness in the manner of a stuck record, is the Observer’s Nick Cohen, who has returned from a break in submitting his weekly column to show readers that he is as bitter, wayward and utterly clueless as before - indeed, looking at his latest effort, maybe more so. “What would it take for Labour’s moderates to revolt?” he asks plaintively, before giving the game away.
“Labour’s new leaders and Labour’s new members appear utterly incompatible. On the one hand, we have stone-hearted Leninists, who proved they were no better than establishment apologists for Saudi Arabia when they endorsed the most vicious men and movements on Earth. On the other, idealists who just want peace, love and understanding” he begins, and you know it will be downhill from hereon in. Which comes immediately.
“The kindest explanation is that Labour members don’t know who they are following. Most have read enough of the history of Nazism to grasp what Donald Trump’s flirtations with Britain First and the Ku Klux Klan portend. They do not shudder when they see Corbyn surrounding himself with aides from the Communist party of Britain and the fragments of the Socialist Workers party because they know little or nothing of communism”.
R-i-i-i-i-ght. What Labour put before the electorate in June was a programme that looks mild when compared with what Clement Attlee and his team offered in 1945. Much of what that Government achieved is still, despite the efforts of the party’s opponents, and indeed some of its leading figures, in place. Corbyn and his colleagues offered the electorate nothing that would be out of place in most mature European democracies.
Instead of accepting this, and recalibrating his spite-o-meter, Cohen merely rants on. “As democracy and liberty come under attack, from Poland to the US, the salient point to remember about Leninists who stayed with communism after the fall of the Soviet Union is that they switched from embracing one form of totalitarianism to embracing every form of totalitarianism”. It’s like the Python Communist Quiz, but without the laughs.
There is no attempt to understand the swelling membership, the opinion poll leads despite all the abuse Cohen and his embittered pals have been slinging, or the desperate state in which the Tories increasingly find themselves. No, this is just formulaic abuse. Ed Rooksby has it about right as he Tweets “The Nick Cohen formula - Para 1: Corbyn Leninists Andrew Murray. Para 2: Corbyn Nazis SWP. Para 3: Corbyn Communism Cuba Saddam. Para 4: George Galloway. Para 5: totalitarians authoritarians Corbyn. Para 5: Freestyle mix it up - uuh Mark Fisher? Finished. That'll be £500 please”.
Except that Cohen probably gets bunged rather more for this weapons grade drivel, characterised by lines like “I accept that Labour supporters may be ignorant”. Yeah, right Nick - try looking in the mirror for once. The time of Nick Cohen as a credible pundit was for a time, but not for all time. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.