Dear Mr and Mrs PLP
I’m sorry to be writing this letter about your children’s poor behaviour. I’ve put it off for some time now, hoping they would see the error of their ways, but on Wednesday it reached a new low, which means I cannot leave you in ignorance any longer.
Before I start I want to reassure you that most of your 232 children are well behaved. They quietly get on with their work for the betterment of their constituents. Some are even a credit to you. However there are some who, well for lack of a better word, are engaging in bullying.
This ugly side to their characters came out when I appointed a new leader to the party. He’s a quiet, sincere and modest character called Jeremy Corbyn. I felt he’d make a good leader because I’d noticed how, over the past several decades, the PLP had drifted into an ideological vacuum. This made them vulnerable to negative influences, such as a thirst for power for powers sake, a lack of care over rising inequality, and yes, greed. It was a tragic thing to behold. Whilst at first they achieved great success, over a more prolonged period of time people in the outside world grew ever more repelled by this vacuum for fear of being sucked into it themselves. Five million people to be precise. And the membership of the party became nothing more than a husk. In contrast, since appointing Jeremy as leader – a man of strong principles and values – people are flocking to join our party again.
Unfortunately however, those of your children who had been most affected by this long period in the ideological wilderness, coupled with a significant period in power, have turned on Jeremy with a spite that is quite disturbing to behold.
At first I was the one who came under fire for appointing him as leader. I’ve been called a trot, a moron, deluded and mad. The more passive aggressive types told me I was suffering emotional spasms. One of your children’s mentors even suggested I get a heart transplant. But whatever they threw at me, it was like water off a ducks back. I had absolutely no doubts about appointing Jeremy, and if anything, the more they protested, the more sure I became.
However, now they are turning on Jeremy himself. They tell anyone with an ear to listen (and due to their years of ideological drift, they have plenty of friends in the right wing media), that Jeremy is going to destroy the party, make it unelectable; and using more colourful language, put it in the shit. Of course none of this is true. If anything is going to make the party unelectable, it will be your children’s unerring hostility toward Jeremy; brazenly displayed for the entire country to behold.
To understand how much they despise Jeremy you should have seen their faces when our party passed its first electoral test with Jeremy as leader. I honestly thought some of them had downed a pint of vinegar laced with rusty nails. Of course they found ways to attribute this win to anyone or anything other than Jeremy himself, but their bitterness over the result was plain for anyone to see. Such a shame because it was a wonderful victory; one we should all have been celebrating together.
Now I come to the incident on Wednesday, which quite frankly made me blanch with shame on your children’s behalf. I say on their behalf because sadly, I don’t think they feel any shame on their own account. If anything I would suggest they are feeling quite proud of themselves. After the incident I imagine they clapped each other on the back and congratulated themselves, when instead they should have been sitting in darkness, looking long and hard into their souls, and reflecting on what they had done. Let me explain why I take this view.
Most Wednesday’s Jeremy has to attend something called Prime Ministers Question time. This is a key event where Jeremy tries to hold the leader of the opposition party to account with just six questions. It’s a time when the PLP can demonstrate strong support for their leader through a rousing collective cheer when they’re called to stand. Except this has not been the case since Jeremy was elected. I wouldn’t go quite as far as saying its a tumble weed moment, but it’s not far off. This subdued response sends a subtle as a brick message to the opposition, and the country as a whole, which is, ‘we do not support this man.’
Despite this, Jeremy usually does extremely well. He is clear, concise and effective; and most important of all, sincere. That’s because he’s the type of person who pays scant regard to his own discomfort, and focuses on the people who need him to ask these questions; those who are being so damaged by this present Tory government. He is there for them, not himself. Still, it can’t be good for him to have his own party throw him to the wolves like this every week. He is after all, only human.
Now we come to Wednesday. This Wednesday the Prime Minister could not attend PMQs, which meant his stand in, George Osbourne, took his place. On the Labour side, Angela Eagle did the same for Jeremy. Some of your children decided this was an opportunity not to be missed. An opportunity to tell the Tories, their media friends, and the country as a whole, how much they despise having Jeremy as leader. How did they do this? Well as soon as the speaker of the house called upon Angela to stand, they exploded into life; cheering like there was no tomorrow. The contrast between the receptions they give Jeremy and this, couldn’t have been more stark. Every little joke or quip Angela made was greeted with bursts of laughter befitting a 1960’s American sitcom. I thought some of them might burst a blood vessel such was the effort put into their guffaws. If Jeremy ever makes a quip – and he’s made a few good ones – the effort is directed the other way, in their effort not to laugh, or even raise a smile if possible. Unsurprisingly Angela grew in confidence, and by the end she looked positively puffed up.
Did Angela Eagle give a good performance at PMQs? Yes she did. Would it have been as good against a backdrop of near silence with at least sixty plus sets of angry eyes burning into her back? I’m not convinced, but we will never get the chance to find out.
I’ve been trying to think of an analogy to help you appreciate the difference between Jeremy’s experience of PMQs and that of Angela’s, and the best I can come up with is a football analogy. Picture England walking out to play in a foreign stadium where almost all the fans are willing them to lose. That is PMQs for Jeremy. Now picture England walking out to play in the World Cup Final at Wembley, where the vast majority of fans are rooting for them. That was PMQs for Angela.
Of course the media were predictably more than obliging in their reports of this as a ‘huge success for Angela Eagle at PMQs’. They are sadly complicit in your children’s bullying of Jeremy. They also despise the fact he’s a man with strong principle.
I expect you are balking at my use of the word bullying. I understand that. It’s a strong word and I assure you I do not use it lightly, but I genuinely can’t think what else to call it. Wednesday was a clear case of orchestrated bullying. It doesn’t matter that Jeremy wasn’t in the room at the time. He was watching it somewhere, and the contrast between the support he usually receives from your children and the support they gave Angela, would not have been lost on him. They were trying to shame Jeremy. ‘Look’ they were saying, ‘look how much more we like Angela than you.’ But what they really did was shame themselves with their spiteful churlish behaviour.
May I suggest you get them to write five hundred lines. Something like ‘picking on Jeremy is mean and wrong.’ I’m afraid to say I don’t think it will have much effect as they seem hell bent on destroying Jeremy using any means at their disposal, but we must try.
Labour Party Members