I’m not going to link to the video itself but the Guardian article that accompanies it. I don’t know if Jones’ YouTube videos are ‘monetised’ (paying a per view payment to Jones or the Guardian) so will leave it up to you whether you choose to potentially financially support his message but there is a link in the Guardian article if you want to watch it.
I’ll start by saying that I have defended Jones’ Labour position in the past, I don’t know if that frustrates some people who have seen him as the ‘enemy’ for some time, have seen him as a ‘turncoat’, but I have attempted to avoid attacking him in favour of attacking his viewpoints. I don’t plan on being any different in this article.
Jones addresses the issue that is the ironclad reason to support the current Labour leadership; the threat of the ‘New Labour’ ‘wreckers’ retaking control of the party, selling the party out to their wealthy patrons and returning Labour to the failed social neoliberalism experiment that brought down Labour in 2010 and which the public turned away from in increasing numbers from 1997. For Jones, keeping Corbyn’s leadership is potentially delaying the inevitable:
‘You can either have a Mandelson ‘Labour’ party now or you can have it after an election defeat in 2020.’ It’s a new spin on the old ‘argument’ peddled for some time. I’ll concede, it’s a clever spin. But it misses a view basic points. Labour could well lose the next general election but a large part of the blame for that will reside with Labour’s ‘wreckers’, not Corbyn’s leadership.
This assumes that Labour’s current support will abandon it in the face of an election defeat. Firstly, that is not a given, Labour’s current membership are well aware of those acting against it from within, why would they relinquish control of the party even after an election defeat? Jones is correct in how a defeat will be spun against socially just policies but it will most vocally be spun like that by Labour’s own ‘wreckers’.
For me, Jones fails by not going nearly far enough in allotting blame for Labour’s standings on the ‘Mandelson’ cadre but he does sort of acknowledge it. What Jones doesn’t acknowledge, which I presume he must know, is that Labour’s ‘Right’ will never compromise, will never stop undermining the party and that will be true whether Corbyn steps down or continues, if they do not have the controlling interest in the party. I sat through the Progress conference in 2016 and heard their commitment to continue attacking the party from within. Depressing, more so when they have so little to offer the party that is actually progressive or positive. The politics of Labour’s Progress MPs does not include the ‘policies that Corbyn supporters rightly champion’. Let us not forget that the state of Labour preCorbyn:
That is the Labour party that those who support the current leadership will not concede control of Labour’s politics to and they demonstrated with Owen Smith’s disgusting campaign last year that they have no room for compromise in their ideology and no way to fight positively for what they believe.
What Jones doesn’t acknowledge is that Corbyn’s opponents were not the Tories, they were MPs within Labour. It may have been a “Tory” narrative but it was one generated and spread by Labour’s ‘Right’, and the actual Tories have been happy to sit back while Labour rips itself apart.
Jones talks about what comes next for Labour:
The ‘existential crisis’ that is referred to in the link is precisely the one of ‘wreckers’ versus the party as it currently is (though not framed that way, of course). And I have to agree with Jones, it is up to the leadership to have a strategy to deal with the issues Labour faces. The ‘mandelites’ are committed to destroying Labour if they can’t have the keys, they will not pipe down, they will not compromise, they will not stop briefing against the party and, frankly, why should they? Just because their actions are destroying the party, salting the earth for Labour’s electoral chances, and discrediting Britain’s desperately needed opposition it is not a reason for them to give up on their aspirations to one day wield the sword or Righteousness to a vainglorious victory across the ashes of what was once Labour. They won’t stop, so it is up to the leadership to put them out of Labour’s misery.
I think the current leadership are attempting to do it but they are being subtle when their opponents are crude and in everyone’s face and immediate. The leadership need to get hold of the rulebook and make it work for them and excise Labour of those doing it harm. Don’t be subtle about it, deselect MPs, ban MPs from associating with the likes of Progress and their spinoffs, kick people like Mandelson out of the party. Clean house. I don’t know why Jones doesn’t say it. Jones thinks that a midway candidate can be found who can appease Labour’s current support base and the ‘wreckers’, he’s wrong. The ‘wreckers’ have already gone through two not Blair leaders and they will just carry on as they are until they get Blair 2. And that’s fair enough as well. It isn’t up to them to stop destroying Labour, it’s up to the leadership to isolate and neutralise them.
The public want it too. Not that the public care two hoots who is in charge of Labour or who the ‘wreckers’ are but they will respect a leadership that is in charge and acting to take control of its party for the benefit of them, the public. I have said previously that:
And I still hold to that. If Corbyn steps down as leader and Labour’s ‘wreckers’ are still in positions to attack Labour from within then he has failed. Labour’s membership have put Labour’s ‘meddlesomes’ on the outside, it is time the door was not just shut on them but locked tight. There should be no way back for those who have been attacking the party from within and the public should be clear on who these people are so that when they crop up mithering the public will know why. They had no place in Labour and were expelled for undermining it. If, after Labour’s house has been cleaned, it fails to win the next general election then the membership should have the conversation with its leadership about the best way forward.
As for Owen Jones, I was all set to apologise for defending him in the past and admit he may just be part of the ‘soft coup’ but his musings on Labour’s position aren’t far off the mark. He’s wrong if he thinks a compromise leadership candidate can be found that will ever satisfy the ‘mandelbots’, they’re not in the business of compromise, but he is correct in saying the current leadership need to take charge of the party. Sometimes being in charge requires disciplining those who have crossed the line and when I talk about the leadership I include Tom Watson and Iain McNicol in that group. If Watson and McNicol are not up for getting the party pulling in the same direction and getting rid of those pulling against the leadership then they need to be replaced by people who can do their jobs properly.