Bloody Sunday: the Combined Attack on Jeremy Corbyn

Last Sunday [20 September] a serving General in the British Army publicly threatened mutiny and a possible coup if Jeremy Corbyn  were to be elected Prime Minister and attempted to carry through his policies. He was  mildly rebuked by the Ministry of Defence.

‪The General is being effectively backed by Hilary Benn, reappointed Shadow Foreign Secretary by Corbyn. Benn junior is threatening to vote for bombing Syria and is strongly opposed to ditching nuclear weapons. He said this on a Sunday morning TV show. (poor Tony who, in the course of a discussion on the Miliband sons,  confessed: ‘I have a similar problem’. He wasn’t referring to his radical daughter Melissa). As if this was not bad enough, on that same day, Sadiq Khan,  Labour’s venal candidate for Mayor of London has accused Corbyn/ McDonnell of inciting anti-semitism and racism. According to the Daily Mail:’ “New Labour Party leaders Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell were last night sensationally accused of risking inciting terrorist and anti-Semitic attacks in London.

The claim was made by the Labour candidate for London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, in a devastating assault on Corbyn and the man he has made Shadow Chancellor.

Khan, who is Muslim, suggested that Corbyn’s refusal to sing the National Anthem showed he was unfit to be Prime Minister.’ For further details, see this from the Daily Mail. Khan has, till now, not issued a rebuttal or threatened action against the Mail.

‪The Tory press, the Blairites in The Guardian (where, incidentally, there is a situation not unlike that confronting Corbyn, an elected radical Editor surrounded by an old guard desperate to keep her isolated). Meanwhile the campaign to get rid of the elected leader has begun. There are two ways to deal with this combined assault.

‪The first is to pressure the new team to keep on making concessions that will effectively demoralise those who voted for JC and the latter himself. McDonnell was risible on Question Time. The tactics being followed are those adopted when Ken Livingstone was Mayor of London the second time. They weren’t exactly successful, were they. Making Ken the mouthpiece of Scotland Yard and the City of London didn’t even work on an opportunist level. He was not re-elected and was in denial for months. The ghosted Corbyn article in the FT reminded one of those days. So how far can Corbyn retreat before he is acceptable? The answer is obvious. They will never accept him. Never. Given this, surely its best not to retreat any more.

‪Its the Labour Right and their allies that are refusing to accept the decision of the Labour Party voters. Its the media who are backing them. Not too difficult to imagine the response had a ‘leftish’ PLP behaved like this when Blair was elected. Leading a very rightwing PLP is not easy BUT the programme on which Jeremy Corbyn was elected should receive priority over the PLP. This means that if Benn junior and others on the front bench as well  are going to vote for dropping bombs on Syria (this, incidentally, is what encourages terrorism at home) they should be sacked and replaced immediately.

Enough of kowtowing.

Tariq Ali is the author of The Obama Syndrome (Verso).