An extract from the Sunday Times in which anti-Corbyn MPs allegedly refer to Corbyn supporters as “faith based followers” who are “off the page nuts” because we look upon Corbyn as a “Christ-like figure” is doing the rounds on social media, and I’d like to share my thoughts about it.
Firstly, any MP who made these remarks should have the courage of their convictions and put their name to them. Not to do so is weak and cowardly. Though I can understand why they wouldn’t want to, and I’m not talking about fear of reprisals from Corbyn’s backers. These remarks say a lot more about the MPs who made them than they do about Corbyn’s supporters, and they should be ashamed of themselves for making them, or even thinking them. Of course a journalist may have made it up, except we all know anti-Corbyn MPs hold us in contempt so I am going to give the journalist the benefit of the doubt and treat it as truth. And staying on the subject of truths, any MP who dismisses our movement as a cult, with Corbyn as a Christ-like figure at its head, is either blind to some fundamental truths, in denial over their own failings or both. So let me have a stab at enlightening them.
The moment the right wing of the party hijacked the leadership campaign after we lost the last General Election, was the moment socialists in the party said ‘enough is enough.’ A petition was created (see screenshot below) by ordinary Labour members, of whom I was one, calling for an anti-austerity candidate to stand in the leadership contest.
We were not calling for Corbyn, or anyone specific to stand. We were not looking for a ‘Christ’ to follow. We were simply in despair over the leadership candidates on offer; none of whom were prepared to stand up to cruel and needless Tory austerity.
Jeremy Corbyn just happened to be the MP who answered our call. The fact Corbyn supporters admire him for his integrity, principles and honesty, does not make him our Christ or us his devoted disciples.
The truth is we have had no reason to turn against Jeremy. This first year of leadership has been incredibly trying and stressful – largely due to those who have resented Corbyn’s leadership from day one – and Jeremy has borne that stress with dignity and determination which makes us admire him more. His response to the coup has made it clear where his loyalties lie, which has cemented the loyalty we feel toward him. We are very aware he is human and has, and will make mistakes, but he has changed the direction of the party and put intense pressure on the Tories which has led to U-Turn after U-Turn. That was the leadership we were crying out for and Jeremy has delivered. He has set the weather rather than following it. Labour is now a signpost rather than a weathercock.
And we have had electoral successes. In this first year of Corbyn’s leadership, we won every by-election we contested, every mayoralty, and our vote share in the local elections increased by 8% from the General Election. In tandem with these successes our polling figures were on the ascendancy.
These MPs need to be honest with themselves. It’s not us with the cult like obsession over Corbyn. They are the ones with the obsession; an obsession which is wholly negative in nature. It seems no matter how well we do as an opposition under Corbyn, they want to see Corbyn and our movement destroyed. It is not his purported unelectablity that drives them; quite the opposite. They are terrified we can win a GE under Jeremy. Consequently they engage in sabotage every chance they get. That’s why these MPs have been trashing Jeremy and his leadership on a loop for the past year. And their sabotage has paid off. We have fallen so far behind in the polls since their coup, the Snowden we had to scale has become a truly daunting Everest. The damage may never be repaired and it may even cost us the next General Election. Yet they have the audacity to blame Corbyn for our current dire polling.
Unfortunately for them we are not the glazed eyes cultist nutters they like to paint us as, and we see through their transparent schemes and plots.
We blame them for the damage done to our electoral chances and rightfully so. We will not reward their sabotage by turning on Corbyn and booting him out.
What we will do is stand up for Corbyn’s leadership because right now, it’s the only thing that’s stopping politics from returning to the homogenous, uninspiring mush of just over a year ago.