Well I'm kinda glad the whole Leadership battle has come to an end, or at least it has hit that quiet moment when you are actually inside the eye of the storm and the real fall out is still to come. In this case, in the form of the forthcoming Labour Party Conference, which shows every sign of turning into one massive bar room brawl. Many of those speaking will have to curb their language to fit the new 'instant suspension' rules, so by the time they reach refreshments, they will have steam pouring out of their ears. Ahh, who remembers the old Union meetings, when a speaker would put a fiver in the swear box and then get their money's worth.
A lot of people from the losing side will be very angry and many will blame Owen Smith. He just didn't campaign hard enough some might say, others wtf were we thinking, the rest, Owen who? The member for Pontypridd not only failed to make a dent in Jeremy's popularity, he increased it. As the face of the Blairites who still see tory voters as their target demographic, he stood for everything the grass roots members had already rejected.
Everything went horribly wrong when Jeremy refused to resign. The more organised and competent plotters didn't have a Plan B. Did they have a 'Leader' waiting in the wings, or indeed flying in, or was Tom Watson going to take over indefinitely? An election forced them to put up a candidate they did not have, well not one who wanted to face a leadership election against the phenomenally popular Jeremy Corbyn. And to be fair, they haven't got a 'crowd puller' among them. They put up the best they had last year and look where that got them?
I can't decide whether Owen Smith got the short straw, or the one a bit longer than Angela Eagle's. So inept were the plotters, that they didn't see the irony of having two unity candidates until someone politely pointed it out. Angela was hopeless, first that whiney voice, the mountain made out of a brick and an office block window and her inability to act like a mature adult in the face of the childish abuse almost every internet user encounters online.
Which brings me nicely onto Momentum, the popular movement that has grown out of Jeremy Corbyn's two campaigns for the Labour leadership. Momentum have been portrayed as bullies and thugs intent on turning the Labour Party into a protest movement with no desire to form a government. I suppose the bigger and more ludicrous the lie, the more likely it is to make the mainstream headlines. The whole backing campaign for Jeremy is geared towards winning the General Election in 2020, and courtesy of the chicken coup and Owen Smith, the 40k+ activists have now had two practice runs.
I watched both documentaries the other evening, expecting the worst! The reporter we were told, have worked undercover in Momentum for 6 months, and, it seems, uncovered absolutely ziltch. No misogyny, no anti-Semitism, no abuse, and nothing that could remotely be described as sinister. They all came across as thoroughly good eggs, and I actually felt a motherly tingle down my spine, assured that the future was safe in their hands. My own home town is a shell of what it once was, and it is heart breaking to see it so run down, and so many young people seemingly abandoned. I was so inspired by these youngsters, I missed most of Panorama because I was signing up for Momentum online!
If I could wave a magic wand, I would wish the forthcoming Conference to have that 'JezWeCan' spirit that kicked this all off. The most inspiring message to have come from Jeremy's Leadership campaign, has been Hope. The country clearly needs and wants, change and the Hustings has enabled Jeremy to explain in detail the viable alternative he is offering. His charm and sincerity have done the rest.
One would imagine that any political party that had hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic new activists would be jumping for joy and seeing the potential for an overwhelming win. When Tony Blair won in 1997, he had the support of Rupert Murdoch at a time when a Sun front page could swing an election. Twenty years on, tabloid news has been crushed by the internet, social media and better writers. Phone hacking and Leveson have exposed the questionable relationship between political leaders and newspaper moguls. With Jeremy, everyone, Left, Right and Centre, know that he will not be schmoozed by private jets or start demanding Limos like Tony Blair.
As for all those centre ground MPs who are feeling threatened, they are pretty much hoisted by their own petards. They are at odds with the party members and activists if they continue to see the tory voters as their target demographic and Jeremy Corbyn as their enemy. They cannot expect the support of the members if they see them as trots, rabble, dogs, Nazis and thugs. Nor can they expect them to campaign on their behalf. Why on earth would they?
At the moment, they have reached and gone past that Oops point and they are on that 'not gonna end well, right dead right road'. They would prefer to crash into a wall than admit they might be wrong. They have asked the audience and this time the audience have responded with a megaphone. Jeremy Corbyn has nothing to threaten these MPs with, when it comes to selection, because the voters will decide and it's unlikely they will vote in someone who wants to continue with the infighting. At the moment fear is a completely wasted emotion. It's like worrying about being caught, after you've been caught. Tis done. They can't take back their ill chosen words and dastardly deeds. Everyone will remember how their hourly resignations were intended to break Jeremy as a man. They spoke of conscience, but what kind of conscience allowed them to take part in something so manipulative and cruel?
Personally, I would welcome an influx of new blood, and going by the recent documentaries, there is a huge amount of talent out there. Too intelligent and too conscientious to have bought into right wing doctrine, these activists, young and old, have the energy, enthusiasm and the will to revamp society and rebuild our communities from the bottom up.
Sadly, I don't think it will matter how many olive branches Jeremy offers, because the sore losers will be plotting revenge. No doubt they will go out of their way this weekend, to spoil any victory celebrations by claiming they are being victimised and abused. Ruth Smeeth is taking a bodyguard and Jess Phillips may appear via satellite from her panic room. All a bit pointless in my opinion, Jeremy Corbyn's campaign has always been about Hope for the future. A victory for Jeremy will a celebration because change is coming and now is the time for action. All those movers and shakers, I imagine, will be talking long into the night about their amazing plans to restore the NHS, build a million homes, and breathe life back into all those communities devastated by years of austerity.
Those embittered MPs I fear, will be sorely disappointed as the spotlight fades because it is no longer about them. Winning armies focus on the future, not the past. Owen Smith, Angela Eagle et all, will have to win over the electorate just as Jeremy has to and see where their negativity gets them. For a country that is crying out for change their battlecry 'Labour can't win blah, blah' doesn't compare to 'JezWeCan'.
So will the gentler style of politics and the Compliance Unit's cleaning up of the Labour Party lexicon carry through into Saturday night and end with a rousing chorus of 'when cowards flinch and 'bleeps.....' sneer', we'll keep the Red Flag flying here. Somehow, I don't think that's going to happen, and there is probably a good each way bet to be had on John Prescott or Ruth Smeeth's minder lamping someone. As much fun as a full scale bar brawl might be, I think the more peaceful approach might be a karaoke battle with leading figures singing title appropriate songs, maybe:
Tony Blair: It has to be My Way
Alistair Campbell I'm too sexy for the Left
Neil Kinnock It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
Owen Smith: Return to Sender (asap)
Angela Eagle: It should have been me
Jess Phillips: Why can't I keep my big mouth shut
Iain McNichol: Every breath you take and every tweet you make
Jeremy Corbyn: I get knocked down, but I get up again
John McDonnell: He ain't heavy, he's my brother
Diane Abbott: R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
Margaret Hodges: Another (Prada) suitcase in another hall
Len McLuskey: You'll never walk alone
Tom Watson: Tears on my pillow
Please feel free to add or amend, I'm sure there's a better song for Tom out there!