Back in the day, John Major would have simply referred to them as “Bastards” but I suspect that Jeremy Corbyn who has yet to complete his first three months in the role of Labour Party Leader wouldn’t wish to appear so dismissive of his colleagues, just yet. However, sooner or later and it appears that it will be a lot sooner than expected, several heads in the Parliamentary Labour Party are going to have to roll. The simmering revolt against Corbyn’s leadership has finally reached boiling point with the debate over whether to follow PM David Cameron’s lead and bomb ISIS in Syria. It appears that, Cameron wants to join in the wholesale destruction of a Middle East Country whilst simultaneously washing his hands of the imminent refugee crisis this will create. Sounds fair? That depends on whether you prefer to be led by a brilliant Actor/Manager PM like Cameron, or Tony Blair before him, or whether you might want to question the Government’s overall strategy beyond the knee-jerk reaction that understandably, follows an event such as the recent attacks in Paris. Of course, everyone including Jeremy Corbyn wants to see ISIS destroyed but how we do that is another matter. Cameron argues that the bombing campaign will make Britain a safer place. However, I suspect Rod Liddle writing in The Sunday Times today [29 Nov] was not being entirely serious when he said that to keep Britain safe, we would be better off bombing Luton but I understand where he is coming from.
The problem with trying to engage an army such as ISIS in combat is that they are not an army, they are simply terrorists. They might appear to be an army because they wear something resembling a uniform and they have lots of weapons, many of which came from the former Yugoslavia, Russia and The West. And just as terrorism has been fuelled by arms dealers all around the world in pursuit of profit, ISIS are just another customer. Now, of course, when you are on the receiving end of a military style bombardment, then ISIS undoubtedly becomes an invading army and must be repelled. However, when its’ sympathisers are launching sporadic attacks on innocent civilians, sometimes using themselves as human bombs, they are terrorists consumed by hate but unfortunately, terrorist cells are much harder to detect than large gatherings of uniformed men waving assault rifles and driving tanks.
Our Homeland-styled protection services are aware of individuals in the UK who are radicalising young men and women in their efforts to support ISIS in Syria and to carry out terrorist attacks in Europe. The problem is that we don’t know exactly how many British Muslims have been radicalised or whether the reports we hear of tens of thousands is just ISIS propaganda. A lot of their UK born supporters may simply be disaffected young people but feeling disenfranchised doesn’t give you the right to kill another human being. Cameron is absolutely right when he states that what happened in Paris just a fortnight ago could easily take place here in Britain and it doesn’t have to be in the capital, it could occur in any large city. However, that being the case, surely we should be beefing up our home security rather than sending jets to Syria. Perhaps, as we are now supposedly on high alert against a potential terrorist attack, those ground troops who will not be deployed in Syria could be used in our own country to help safeguard the public. I have visited many other European countries whilst they have been “under threat” and found the presence of armed soldiers in public places working alongside the police to be quite reassuring and see no reason why most Brits wouldn’t feel the same way. The same goes for airport security, I don’t mind how long it takes for passengers to be checked-in, as long as it keeps us safe but look at what happened in Egypt recently with the Russian Airliner? It was a member of the luggage handling team that, allegedly, planted a bomb on the plane which claimed 224 innocent lives.
The reports of an almighty war raging within the Labour Party ranks are nothing compared to what is happening in Syria but it clearly delights the largely, right-wing UK press to feature it prominently almost every day of the week. What the press fails to discuss however, are the reasonable points that Corbyn raises, such as the ones voiced last week when he asked the PM to further clarify his plans for the bombing campaign. I’ve read Jeremy’s questions and they make good sense, an opinion shared by many commentators and members of all political parties. A journalist who I respect very much, Simon Jenkins, said this “In the shambolic attic that is Corbyn’s political brain, sanity on military intervention shines.” Now there’s a backhanded compliment for you however, Jenkins goes on to say that ” Corbyn’s colleagues know he is right and should back him. With luck, that might stop Cameron from charging into yet another foolish foreign adventure simply to look good”. Point taken.
Jeremy’s colleagues however, don’t wish him to be right on anything. They would sooner he threw in the towel and buggered-off to Islington or wherever it is that the local people see him as the embodiment of everything an elected member of parliament should be. However, it seems that that particular feeling is shared throughout the land judging by the huge numbers of new members who have joined Labour since Jeremy was elected leader. Nevertheless, parochial barriers still persist. For example, I was out canvassing recently and a lovely, older lady stopped me to say that whilst I was very smart, she couldn’t accept Corbyn because he was “Scruffy” which she thought was disrespectful. When I suggested that she give Jeremy a chance bearing in mind that he has only been in the job a few months and probably hasn’t had much time to go clothes shopping, she did appear to soften. And to his credit, Jeremy did look very smart when he appeared on the Andrew Marr show today.
It will take more than a new wardrobe however, to convince his critics that Corbyn is fit to be the leader of any party, let alone the one which saw almost two thirds of its’ members vote for him. I find this totally unacceptable in a supposedly, Democratic State and whilst, I did have reservations about some of the people that Jeremy brought into his inner circle, I accepted the fact that he was left with very choice after so many colleagues turned their backs towards him. Shame on them. I am not the only Labour Party member to feel let down by Ed Milliband’s decision to resign and it would be very easy to say, to hell with it, enough is enough! However, unlike Ed and many other MPs who go into politics knowing that whoever is in government, they will always be better off than the rest of us, I’m prepared to stick with a party that is led by someone who understands exactly how much of a difference politics can make to the lives of ordinary people.
Ed Milliband didn’t lose the election for Labour, the party would have lost regardless of who was leading it once the Scottish votes were in. However, we can’t have leaders who can’t cope with coming second. Heaven help us if we all gave up whenever we failed to get what we wanted and what kind of message does that send out to our children? Jeremy Corbyn, on the other hand, has endured three months of the most hostile abuse imaginable, most of it consisting of false accusations, suppositions and total nonsense and still remains calm. There is clearly something Zen-like about the way Jeremy conducts himself however, he is going to have to take the gloves off soon, not that I expect to see him punching anybody – that’s John Prescott’s job! I did warn Jeremy in an earlier blog about Tom Watson, so let’s hope that the deputy leader does the right thing and resigns along with all of those other so-called socialists within the Labour Party who cannot be trusted. However, a leading Labour Party activist confided in me yesterday that if the rebels in the party get their way next week and Jeremy is forced to resign, then the party is finished. It’s very hard to imagine that a political party which rose from a decent socialist movement led by a man determined to create a fairer society will disappear under the leadership of his modern day equivalent. However, that’s where we stand at the moment and nothing short of a miracle or a convincing win in Oldham this Thursday is going to change things.