Earlier today seven Labour MP’s finally left the party in protest of Jeremy Corbyn’s approach to Brexit and anti-Semitism. They are: Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey.
They have decided against forming a new centrist party and will become independent MP’s this is unacceptable the British people voted for them to represent the Labour Party and their manifesto amongst the biggest vote gain since 1945. Corbyn’s success and the socialist manifesto of the 2017 election elected these MP’s with large majorities they should have to stand again on their own platforms as every other independent has to. They were not elected as independents and should not be able to sit as such. They all need to be up for immediate elections so the Labour Party can run a candidate in their constituencies if people agree with these centrist MP’s they have nothing to worry about and will be re-elected I’m guessing they know that won’t happen and will call foul on anyone suggesting new elections.
Their reasoning is three-fold firstly lets address their objections to the manner Corbyn is tackling Brexit in stark contrast to the European Union who are looking forward to meetings with him this week. Last week the mainstream media and centrist MPs were thrown off course when the European Union reacted very favourably to Corbyns letter to May which outlined Labours stance on Brexit. In the letter he outlined five key demands:
- “A permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union.”
- “Close alignment with the Single Market.”
- Alignment with the EU to protect key workers and human rights.
- Commitment to work with “EU agencies and funding programmes” to ensure environment, education and industry are protected.
- Agreement to work together on “future security arrangements”.
This would uphold the referendum result that is so important when reacting to Conservative negotiations but can apparently be dismissed if you are in the Labour party in favour of a peoples vote which is not supported by the majority of Parliament as these seven MPs show and which I have already expressed my fears over here. EU President Donald Tusk and EU Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt have both welcomed the first proposal from the UK which welcomes a cross-party approach which could see an end to the deadlock. Labour have been clear that this does not mean a second referendum is off the table as they will push for it in favour of a no-deal all Labour members received an email explaining this so I imagine these MP’s were also made aware.
The second grievance of these MP’s is the alleged institutionalised anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. A report by the Media Reform coalition showed that the media consistently supplied misleading information regarding anti-Semitism and in September of 2018 27 academics including Noam Chomsky writer of ‘Manufacturing Consent’ spoke out about the inaccuracies, clear distortions, and revealing omissions across the media which contribute to an undeserved witch hunt which also misdirects the public from the overt anti-Semitism of the far-right.
This is not to say there are not anti-Semitic members within the Labour Party there is and always has been and they need to be dismissed from the party whenever they are found guilty of these offences. A Government report on Anti-Semitism in the UK in 2016 found that the Labour leader was not directly responsible for abuse committed in his name but should be clearer on his stance against this rhetoric. In a letter published in the Guardian Corbyn said
‘People who dish out anti-Semitic poison need to understand: You do not do it in my name. You are not my supporters and have no place in our movement’
The Irony of it taking less than 24 hours for Angela Smith to make a racist remark on the BBC is not lost. The same report also commented on anti-Semitism in other political parties especially UKIP and the Liberal Democrats which receives much less publicity. The report’s conclusions focused on the private corporation Twitter which has made no meaningful effort to remove despicable anti-Semitic tweets directed at MP’s like Luciana Berger. Instead the report suggested that the $2.2 billion Corporation which acts as a vessel for hatred should devote far more resources to identifying and removing those who spread this vile hatred. Twitter has given these people a loud enough voice that they can appear to speak for the party but they do not. Anti-Semitism and racism is unacceptable.
The third and final attack is by far the weakest these centrist MPs believe in the words of Chris Leslie that Labour has been ‘hijacked’ by the far left. The Labour Party now has the most members of any European Political Party the last general election saw the biggest gain of votes since 1945 when Labour introduced the National Health System, building council housing, and encouraged nationalisation. It is not a coincidence that when Labour finally turn their backs on the neoliberal agenda of privatisation and profits over all their popularity was renewed. These MP’s are on the losing side of history the Blairite wing of the Labour Party are responsible for consecutive losses for the Labour Party before the leadership election of Jeremy Corbyn and the revitalisation of the Left in Britain.