The Labour Party requires stronger leadership and strength comes in numbers. Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership requires a Deputy leader and General Secretary working in the interests of the party and it requires PLP leadership to emerge to ensure that that happens.
Labour’s Inescapable Elephant In The Room
The biggest problem currently facing the Labour party is that a small clique within the party have been allowed to define the internal narrative through their actions. I have previously discussed how Labour is currently, roughly, split into three.
- The leadership, the majority of CLPs, the overwhelming majority of the membership, the unions, and a minority of the PLP.
- The majority of the PLP, some of the membership.
- A handful of the PLP, the Labour Party Deputy and General Secretary, a gerrymandered representation on the NEC and within the Compliance Unit, a minority of gerrymandered CLPs, lobbyist groups like Progress and smaller wannabe lobbyists, some wealthy ‘donors’ (most of whom actually back the other main parties as well to hedge their bets and to try and ensure they are buying a broad range of political, regardless of the party flag they sail under), and a tiny minority of the membership (including entryists encouraged to join to affect various elections). A group I, rather unaffectionately, have referred to previously as parasites.
Since 2007 this third group have been bedding itself into positions of power and influence within the structures of Labour, have orchestrated the dissent within Labour against the past three leaderships, and have undermined Labour’s electability. This group have split the party into two;
- Labour can either concede to the interests of the wealthy ‘donors’ of the ‘parasites’ or
- it can act as a democratic political party and pursue a democratic mandate, in which case, the third group have pledged to continue to undermine Labour’s electability.
By allowing this third group to define Labour’s narrative, the repercussions dominate associated politics like the current Unite Union leadership election and impacts on everything from policy choice to public perception of the party. Labour’s politics have become viewed as pro or anti Corbyn when, in reality, they are either:
- pro a return to the politics in the interests of wealthy donors or
- pro democratic politics in the interests of the electorate.
When Labour members like me say that it’s not about Corbyn as leader, it really isn’t about Corbyn as leader.
PLP Leadership Has To Emerge To Stop The Rot
Because all of the people involved are adults they are responsible for their own actions or, as in the case of Labour’s PLP, inaction. The PLP are the only group within Labour that can work to bring the undermining voices under control because only the PLP can take back control of such offices as the Deputy Leader or General Secretary. Only the PLP can influence the Compliance Unit or confront the gerrymandering of the NEC. The PLP cannot remove the leadership but they can choose to act to protect Labour as a democratic political party. The PLP need effective leadership from within, PLP leadership has been severely lacking.
God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
the courage to change the things we can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Labour stand at an impasse and in the shadow of the very real possibility of an early general election. The Labour membership will not accept a return to Labour acting in the interests of wealthy donors, a situation that would mirror Tory ‘brexit’ Britain. The ‘parasites’ will not stop undermining Labour’s electability unless they are able to control the party and act for their benefactors. The PLP just want to win their way into government to put an end to the Tories disastrous and ruinous ‘governing’ of Britain which, conveniently, is also the leadership’s position. The answer seems crystal clear.
Labour needs PLP leadership to emerge to shore up Labour’s democracy by ousting those who are currently facilitating the ‘parasites’ and retaking control of the Compliance Unit and NEC. Once that is done, Labour can deal with the parasites, isolate/quarantine them.
Labour has a party leadership but that leadership does not stop at Corbyn and his team. The PLP are also a layer of leadership, one that is currently lacking credibility or direction and only the PLP can fix that. Figures getting a grip of the PLP leadership would not be a challenge to the party leadership. Labour is in the middle of a transformation of how it is led, the fears of people like Watson that Labour is moving towards greater democratic control should not be shared by more progressive minds. Watson may be fighting the battles of the old Right-centric Unions but Labour needs to progress beyond the neolithic period and into the 21st Century.