Socialist Worker

Labour MPs plot to push Jeremy Corbyn into compromise

by Judith Orr
Issue No. 2472

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn (Pic: Global Justice Now)


Jeremy Corbyn faced mutiny from the right in the Labour Party, including shadow cabinet members, in his first week as leader.

His election even led to the threat of mutiny from a serving army general. 

He warned of Corbyn making “plans to emasculate the armed forces”. He said this could lead to “mass resignations at all levels” and “the very real prospect of an event which would effectively be a mutiny”.

But some of Corbyn’s most vocal critics have come from the Labour establishment, which is going all out to wreck his leadership.

Up to half of Labour’s shadow cabinet members are threatening to vote to bomb Syria in defiance of Corbyn’s commitment to oppose intervention. 

Shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn joined in the attacks. He boasted that Labour would not advocate leaving Nato claiming, “It has been a cornerstone of our security.”

He also snubbed Corbyn’s policy on getting rid of Trident saying, “My view is that we need to maintain an independent nuclear deterrent.”

Labour candidate for London mayor Sadiq Khan used the Daily Mail newspaper to attack Corbyn.

Khan accused him of giving Labour an “anti-Jewish” image because of his support for Arab struggles in the Middle East.

He also “wouldn’t dismiss” the possibility of Corbyn’s leadership leading to “violent unrest” because it would keep Labour out of office. 

Corbyn and his chancellor John McDonnell are caught by their desire to maintain unity at the top of the Labour Party.

Hostile

The MPs they are trying to placate are publicly hostile and want to scupper the left.

And within days of his victory Corbyn signalled retreat over his position on membership of the European Union (EU) to hold the shadow cabinet together.

He wrote in the Financial Times newspaper, “Labour is clear that we should remain in the EU. But we would want to see reform.” 

McDonnell apologised for supporting the IRA and for joking that he would kill Margaret Thatcher. 

He also indicated that Corbyn might sing the national anthem in the future.

Although John Prescott has pointed out that as deputy prime minister to Tony Blair he never sang the national anthem. 

Compromises, whether symbolic or significant, will not satisfy Corbyn’s enemies. They will just want more. 

Corbyn won a thumping victory and claims that he is unelectable don’t stand up. Some 52 percent say they are “more interested in politics” since he was elected.

But the establishment wants to make him unelectable, so the smears will continue (see page 6). 

Thousands of people attended Corbyn’s rallies and joined Labour to see a different sort of politics. 

They will be horrified by the scale of the attacks on him. 

But the right won’t be pushed back unless all those who want an alternative to austerity and war are mobilised where they are strong. 

That means in every workplace and on the streets.


Sign statement in solidarity

Trade union leaders have backed a statement to defend Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-austerity policies and his mandate to lead the Labour Party.

The statement was launched by campaign group Unite the Resistance and had been signed by 2,000 people as Socialist Worker went to press.

Trade union leaders who have signed the statement. include Mark Serwotka of the PCS, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey and Unison general secretary Dave Prentis.

NUT general secretary Christine Blower has also signed the statement along with Matt Wrack of the FBU and Dave Ward of the CWU.

The statement says, “The overwhelming election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party is a hugely welcome development for everyone who opposes austerity, racism and war.

“We call on all those both inside and outside the Labour Party who support the 

pro-union, anti-austerity, anti-racist and anti-war policies that Jeremy Corbyn has put forward to stand up to any attempts to undermine his democratic right to lead the Labour Party and the programme he has supported.”

Add your name to the statement at bit.ly/1MED3g9 and go to uniteresist.org for more information

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