In 2015, anti-war socialist Jeremy Corbyn caused a stunning shock when, as a 500-1 shot, he became elected as Labour Party leader. Corbyn’s campaign engendered great enthusiasm among those desperate for Labour to make a clean break with elite-friendly pro-war neoliberal Blairism.
In the 2017 general election Corbyn defied the odds, and the smug inside the tent pundits again, with Labour achieving its biggest increase in its share of the vote since 1945.
Mrs Thatcher gained a lot of working-class votes not because of any great enthusiasm for her policies, but because she came across as a strong leader who didn’t flip-flop. In his defence, you could say that Corbyn has been let down by his allies. His strongest support, from what I hear, has come not from anyone in the Shadow Cabinet or the PLP, but from his Strategy and communications director Seumas Milne.
Which brings us back to Mrs Thatcher. She famously acknowledged ‘Every Prime Minister needs a Willie’. She wasn’t referring (heaven forbid) to private parts of the anatomy, but her very loyal Deputy Willie Whitelaw. Ideologically Whitelaw came from a different faction in the Conservative Party than Thatcher (he was a One Nation Tory and she was from the ‘New Right‘), but he backed his leader to the hilt. Corbyn desperately needs a Willie. In fact several Willies. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Momentum boss Jon Lansman, both seem to have accepted the false Friends of Israel narrative that anti-Semitism is a big problem in Labour. Momentum — under Lansman’s ownership-has turned out to be a block on radicalism.
In short he has to go back to being the Jeremy Corbyn he was before he became leader in 2015. Radical, daring and unafraid of speaking truth to power.
Show us you’ve got big balls Jeremy, before it’s too late and Britain’s best chance of real positive change for the many and not the few, has been destroyed by the wreckers.
Alas, reports that have just come in that Corbyn’s office has called on Chris Williamson asking him to apologise and withdraw comments he made about Labour being too apologetic about the anti-Semitism witch-hunt, indicates that a fight-back is not going to happen.