Why the Anti-Corbyn Brigade Are Desperate To Airbrush The Coup From History (And Why We Mustn’t Let Them).

I’m writing this in not so sunny Lanzarote where I’m on my hols. Thanks to today’s heavy rain and my growing preoccupation with the two impending by-elections, I jeopardised the new relaxed me by tuning into Daily Politics at 12. Today’s special guest was ‘disillusioned Corbynite’ Owen Jones. As per usual I found myself nodding in agreement over most of his observations, especially in regard to the scapegoating of immigrants, but then came the inevitable bash Corbyn slot.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not averse to critisism of Jeremy’s leadership when it’s fair and takes all factors for the present polling into account. But what I heard today was not fair. There was the usual broad brushstroke critiques over poor messaging etc, which few of us would disagree with, but yet again there was no mention of the coup.

So why this failure to mention the devastating impact of the coup? There can only be one reason for it, and it’s the same reason every pro-establishment figure and anti-Corbyn politico is desperately trying to airbrush the coup from Labour Party history. If there had been no damaging coup and second leadership contest in a year, the present polling could be laid at Corbyn’s door and the PLP would remain relatively blameless. So the anti-Corbyn brigade either fail to mention it, or try to shame Corbyn supporters for refusing to play along. ‘You’re not still using that old excuse’ they’ll say disparagingly.

Hmm…OLD….five months old you mean. Yes – just five months ago our party members were forced to elect Jeremy Corbyn for a second time in a year; three months after a well orchestrated and long anticipated (first speculated upon even before Corbyn won in 2015) coup, in which 172 Labour MPs voted no confidence in their relatively new leader. Please can someone explain how this improved Labour’s standing in the polls?


We saw the effect of it almost immediately. The first polls after the coup had us nosediving to depths that will take us years, not just months to surface from. Couple the coup with new leadership for the Tories, a post Brexit bounce, and divisions within Labour over Brexit, and the mountain we had to climb just grew steeper and steeper. But it started with the coup. Labour were one point ahead of the Tories in last May’s local elections. Now the Tories are soaring ahead and what’s so tragic is that our own MPs gave them a big leg up to put them there.


When people question the logic of ‘blaming’ the coup for Labour’s present woes I always share this analogy. Imagine a new Headteacher is appointed to a failing secondary school to shake things up. Having catastrophically failed it’s last two Ofsted inspections the teachers should welcome the change. A few do, but the majority are set in their ways and immediately resent this new appointment, particularly when they were hoping one of their own would get the job. Despite the Head making some positive changes that benefit the pupils, this resentment leads to plots and then to a walk out in a display of no confidence.

What impact does this have on the school’s standing in the eyes of ordinary members of the public? Some parents sympathise with the new Head and what he’s trying to achieve, but take their children out of the school because they can see he has not got the backing of his staff. Some sympathise with the staff, but take their children out of the school because they can see they don’t approve of the Head. It’s a lose lose situation. No one would be surprised if such a situation led to a loss of most of the pupils and even the school’s eventual closure. Even if it managed to limp on, its reputation as a school in disarray would linger for years, if not decades. So why are people surprised that such a public and poisonous coup cost us millions of votes?

Well they’re not. The plotters and anti-Corbyn brigade are not in the least surprised. This is all working out swimmingly. Have a coup, force a leadership contest, and then even if you lose, you’ve kneecapped the leader until the best he can do is hobble toward the finishing line on crutches. It’s a good plan. It should work. With Corbyn badly damaged and the coup airbrushed from history, the ground is nicely laid for Corbyn to fail. Except there is one thing the plotters failed to factor into their clever calculations…….us.

We won’t let them conveniently airbrush the coup from history. The left made that mistake before when we let the establishment airbrush from history the devastating impact the SDP splitters had on Foot’s leadership. We let them set the ‘blame the left’ narrative and have paid for it ever since. But that was before the days of social media. Now we have a medium by which we can communicate with each other and repeatedly challenge the myths the establishment try to set into stone. We know the PLP wanted Corbyn gone from pre-day one. We know some who claimed to support him from the start only got on board when the going was good, and are happy to jump ship when the sea gets rough. These are the weathercocks so aptly scorned by the late great Tony Benn. We only need sign posts from now on. We need rocks not marshmallows. And yes, we even need critics, but only fair ones, prepared to tell the whole story.


Corbyn is badly damaged and he can only limp it’s true, but he has time to heal. We need to ensure he is given that time. The kneecappers, who are waiting in the wings praying they’ve done enough damage to have cost us both Copeland and Stoke this week, must never be allowed to benefit from their violent political assault on both our leader, our party and democracy.

If the worse comes to the worse, we will lift Corbyn up on our shoulders and carry him over that finishing line.

by Chelley Ryan @chelleryn99



  1. Martyn Wood-Bevan · February 21, 2017

    A very thoughtful contribution from Chelley who hits the nail on the head about the Coup. It was an utterly foolish action which failed miserably in its aims and severely damaged the whole Labour Party in the eyes of the electorate. That 170 MPs could ruin the Labour movement for 600,000 members is shameful and has certainly had an impact which may still continue for a period. The MSM are unhelpful enough – the fact that the party has been happy to fester such a negative image of its leader may turn out to be electoral suicide unless it sorts itself out.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. syzygysue · February 21, 2017

    Excellent Chelley – well said. Someone pointed out the other day, that if a lot of former Labour voters are put off by the coup, the media and rest of the anti-Corbyn brigade, and become ‘Don’t Knows’, the % Conservative vote in the opinion polls will apparently and automatically increase. I should say that if there was ever a time, to make ordinary not-very-interested-in-politics voters unsure about Labour and Corbyn, it was the last 18m. Then we have the bare-faced cheek of the anti-Corbyn brigade in blaming JC for the polling!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Kay Jenkinson · February 21, 2017

    Good article Chelley, I believe your spot on regarding the coup. Let’s hope we can get plenty of delegates from the left to the conference in September.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. M grimble (grr) · February 21, 2017

    Very good article, I would add to your analogy of the school head that in addition to the plotting of the coup post the first election. He was widely mocked for even having the audacity to even run in the contest, So imagine before the school head was selected that the other 3 candidates also running, who already had far higher name recognition, had in unison all declared you a fruit cake and said your ideas were “beyond the pale”. This extended to the MSM west minister bubble.

    They rolled out every so called big beast to stop him and failed and why did they fail?. Because not a single one of them apart from Jeremy had the backbone do anything other than abstain on a vote about Welfare changes now condemn by the UN.

    Liked by 2 people

    • chelleryn · February 21, 2017

      Excellent extention to the analogy. Thanks.


  5. eddiewelch101 · February 21, 2017

    Well said! I like your school analogy, however I also think there are darker motives lying behind his most powerful critics. Corbyn’s been in the House a very long time and must know an awful lot about what’s gone on in the past. Hasn’t he openly declared his wish to see Blair in court for war crimes? I, too, watched Owen Jones today and the BBC’s despicable board showing the bookies odds on Corbyn’s replacement – deliberately trying to give the impression that there’s a vacancy drip – drip – drip. I used to like Owen, and he made some good comments, but I hate people who jump horses in mid-stream. I fear that the young man has been drinking from the LibDem teat of Polly Toynbee for too long.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jack · February 22, 2017

    I have no time for Donald Trump but I suspect many of his enemies have a sneaking admiration for the fearless way he calls out the media when he perceives they are attacking him unjustly (even though most of the time they are correct!).

    We are extremely lucky in the Labour Party to have someone with such honesty and integrity as Jeremy Corbyn but it is no use hoping that the wreckers will see the error of their ways and pipe down, they won’t – because they have their own agenda. Likewise the media also have their own agenda and are doing their damnedest to unseat Jeremy. It’s about time therefore we started fighting back by confronting the media at every opportunity with confidence and courage. By ‘we’ I mean anyone from the Labour leadership who appears on a public platform and has a chance to speak to voters directly via the television. How else are we going to dispel the negative stories put out by the S*n and the Mail, let alone the BBC, if it is not by speaking to people en mass directly?

    I was at a Labour Party function recently and put the same point to one of our ‘policy advisers’ his reply was we’ve had to put up with a negative press and media for years, as though it was just one of those things and we can’t do much about it. That sort of defeatism is disgraceful and if it is indicative of the thinking among some at the top of the Party we have to change it quickly and get intelligent people in the media department who are willing to trade punches with the traitors, wreckers and media adversaries.

    Liked by 1 person

    • chelleryn · February 22, 2017

      Awesome comment! Completely agree. We have nothing to lose in calling them out, and everything to gain.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Helen Oakes · February 22, 2017

    I agree – left as they are, much of the media sneers at Corbyn and makes anti-Labour comments as a matter of course. So many people believe newspapers and ‘the BBC’ and appear to be able to lie, apparently with impunity. So. go get ’em!!


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