Today, seven Labour MPs resigned from the party in anger at the leadership over many issues, including Brexit, antisemitism and targeted abuse at those who differ slightly from the party line (something that Corbyn did on a regular basis).
Whether the creation of the new ‘Independent Group‘ will actually result in a new political movement or merely cause a defeat for Labour at the next election is yet to be determined, but that is not the issue right now.
What those in the party should be thinking on this frankly sad day is taking stock and reflecting on the issues they have raised and taking them seriously, especially as it’s rumoured that several more could follow in their footsteps.
Antisemitism has been a massive concern in the party over the last three years and it is shameful that the calls of a significant part of the party have gone either unheard or have been shouted down as nonsense by others, particularly from the far-left. Labour is meant to be a broad church, but the discrimination directed at this minority and the blind eye given by the leadership is forcing people out and is does not represent the values the party was founded on.
It’s obvious there will be division over Brexit, it is the single defining issue of our time and the Conservatives are also suffering from their own internal strife dealing with it. But Labour under Corbyn has not only ignored many of his party members by putting campaigning for second referendum to one side (which had been plan B if the fight for a general election failed), but in fact ditching the key tests for Labour to approve Brexit without consultation. The members of the party should be heard and Corbyn’s seeming inability to put what they have demanded into practice will only alienate them and the public at large.
And then there is the abuse. Anyone with any slight deviation or disagreement from what Corbyn believes in has been met with a torrent of abuse on social media. In what world is it acceptable to be met with death threats because you disagree with the leader of the party on any particular policy? The name-calling and petty squabling is pushing the average voter further and further away from the party and damaging the party’s image.
It will be all to easy for Corbynistas to look at the seven MPs who have quit today and say ‘good riddance’ and denounce them as ‘Blairites’ who want to keep the Tories in power. But remember, this decision hasn’t come easy for some of these people, some of whom have been supporters of Labour their entire lives. By shouting down and dismissing the valid points they have raised, they are only condemning themselves to a greater defeat and further turning away voters from the party.
The reason that Labour has had success in the past is that it was welcomed with open arms people of every background and left-wingers of every kind. The party as it stands, even in the deputy leader’s view, is becoming unrecognisable and its time that they address that or they risk keeping the Conservatives in power for many more years to come.
Featured image: raffalel – Pixabay