Mark Steel in The Independent
Well, that was a highly successful three-month campaign to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn. There’s nothing like spending all summer on a project that proves worthwhile and repays the effort.
If Angela Eagle and Owen Smith were generals in a medieval army, they would report back to their commander: “We fired incessantly for three months and have brought such damage to our opponent’s army they now have 100,000 more soldiers than when we started, sir. And I’m not sure how, but although we’re fighting in Belgium, we seem to have given them Wales.”
Corbyn should ask them to do it every year; by 2025 he’d be crowned King of Europe.
Even more impressive was the way the plotters all agreed, after the result, that “this shows the lessons Jeremy needs to learn, and he has to reach out”.
Next they’ll ask Owen Smith to fight Tyson Fury, and as Owen is dragged away by paramedics, Stephen Kinnock will announce: “This shows the lessons Tyson has to learn. From now on he needs to look more skinny and wear glasses and reach out if he knows what’s good for him”.
This is an exciting development in democracy, that the side who won the least number of votes decides what the lessons are that have to be learned. Maybe this is how the anti-Corbyn section of Labour hopes to govern after a general election. They’ll say to the Tories: “As you won a majority of 190, you have to learn to reach out and fill your cabinet with me and my mates”.
Even so, the plotters made an important point: that Corbyn must reach out to those who already tried to unite the party by calling him a moronic pitiful unelectable pile of steaming goat sick for the last year.
Instead of being divisive, as he was last time by offering them jobs in the shadow Cabinet from which they resigned, he should let them pick their own jobs, and if they don’t fancy doing them one day, let them bring in games.
All the plotters agreed on the need for unity, and many of them displayed that straight away by not turning up to Corbyn’s speech. But Corbyn himself ruined the unity by turning up to it himself, rather than uniting with his colleagues by saying he couldn’t be bothered to say anything so he was popping down the pub.
Some MPs will soon resume their commitment to unity by insisting Corbyn is hopeless, on every TV station, one by one through the news channels, the cartoon channels and the GOD channels. Then on a porn channel, John Mann will knock on a door to say: “Hope you’ll be voting Labour in the council by-election”. But a woman in rubber will reply: “I certainly won’t be voting for you”, so he’ll say: “I suppose that’s because we’ve been very, very bad and chosen an unelectable leader”, then lay down and scream: “We’ve been so irresponsible by saying we’ll renationalise the Royal Mail!” while getting thrashed on the arse with an egg whisk.
Others will prove their loyalty as they did before, by texting helpful snippets of information to journalists from meetings, such as: “OMG! Apparently Corbyn wants to abolish the army and replace it with a salad”.
The other demand from the side celebrating its achievement of getting fewer votes than someone they say is unelectable is there can be no threats of deselection. There should be no half measures with this; if Jess Phillips announces: “I’d rather vote for Donald Trump than Corbyn, that’s why I broke into his house and poisoned his fish”, that’s her right as a loyal party member and any talk of deselection would be divisive.
The next issue Corbyn must address now he’s been humbled by winning the election is the problem of all these new members. For example, an investigation into Liverpool Riverside complains there has been “an explosion in membership” which now “meets several times a month”.
That sounds sinister, because when has there ever been any need to do two things in a month?
And what are they all doing, joining like that? No wonder proper Labour members are suspicious. They should have to pass a test, clambering across an assault course, or swimming through piranhas.
As any business leader will confirm, there’s nothing more damaging to an enterprise than an explosion in people demanding your product. This is why Bill Gates always insists, when a new version of Microsoft Windows comes out, that anyone who asks for one is told they can’t have it as they’re almost certainly a member of the Workers Revolutionary Party.
One MP grumbled: “It’s all right these new people joining, but will they go knocking on doors at the election?” We can’t know the answer to that, which is why the best way to ensure they’re enthusiastic enough to knock on doors is to tell them they’re all infiltrating scum and they can sod off somewhere else with their several meetings a month.
If they still join, they should have to prove their loyalty by not only knocking on doors, but when someone answers, say: “Our leader’s unelectable so I don’t know why I’m bothering”.
But most importantly, not one of the plotters has fallen into the trap of accepting they may have made the odd mistake, and perhaps shouldn’t have all resigned to get rid of their elected leader, or whined too many people have joined their party, or gone to court to ban their own voters, or insisted people supported Corbyn because they’d had their arm twisted by Trotskyists, because it’s obviously Corbyn that needs to learn the lessons from the result.