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Labour would have done better without a campaign to undermine Jeremy

Jeremy Corbyn, in the cross hairsHow many successful elections has Jeremy Corbyn got to preside over before his critics concede he may have something going for him? And when are they going to run out of excuses to explain away his results?

Last summer, as people flocked to join his campaign in their tens of thousands, packing out his meetings and mobbing him in the streets, I was repeatedly told that he was unelectable and would be a disaster as leader. This was after we were told he couldn’t get on the ballot paper and were then told he couldn’t win even if he did get on the ballot paper.

When the Oldham by-election was announced, political pundits and irreconcilable Blairite MPs were united in their prophecies of doom — Labour would do badly under “toxic” Corbyn and might well lose the seat. When we increased our share of the vote, we were told that there was a good local candidate (true) who had won “in spite” of Jeremy.

Now the results of the May elections are being slated as not good enough. Have I read this right? We won all the mayoral contests including by a landslide in Bristol and London (of which more later), picked up PCC victories in several areas including the East Midlands (where we had failed to gain all eight of our target seats in 2015, plus losing another one for good measure), did well in council elections in the south of England where Jeremy is supposed to be especially “toxic,” continue to be the dominant party in Wales despite the doomsayers’ predictions and won two parliamentary by-elections, one with an increased majority. We won more councillors than any other party.

Crucially, we finished ahead of the Tories in terms of the national popular share of the vote. At the 2015 general election we were nearly seven points behind. Now we are a point ahead.

One wonders what the results might have been like if Jeremy had not been subject to a barrage of abuse from commentators, news media and David Cameron every week. Some of these attacks were described by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey as a “cynical attempt to manipulate anti-semitism for political aims.”

There were also sadly attacks from some members of a minority of our own party. In scenes reminiscent of the Blairite resignations announced just before local elections in a bid to destabilise Gordon Brown, Jeremy’s detractors seemed to be throwing more and more negativity at his leadership as we approached the elections.

Yet look at the vote, especially in London. Cameron repeated endlessly the claim that the London vote would be a referendum on Jeremy Corbyn, and warned Londoners not to vote to be “lab rats” for Corbyn’s “crazy” policies. The ensuing landslide for Labour is being presented as — guess what — “in spite” of Corbyn.

However, the situation in Scotland is being spun as all his fault, as if the collapse in the vote in 2015 hadn’t been a very long time in the making, and could be turned around in a mere eight months. Don’t ever say the Blairites aren’t trying to make up for it by making helpful suggestions, though: they think it would rebuild our vote in Scotland if we gave a commitment to keep Trident.

Surely a new leader should be given more than a few months to make his mark? If his opponents really want to win elections, they should stop the barrage of criticism and show that they respect a democratic decision and Corbyn’s mandate.

With the NEC elections coming up, Labour members should choose Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance candidates who have a record of standing up for Jeremy’s leadership and party members’ rights. Then we can get on with the real business of winning a Labour government and Jeremy as PM in 2020.

Christine Shawcroft is running for re-election to the Labour Party National Executive Committee as a Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance candidate. You can follow her campaign.


  1. Mervyn Hyde (@mjh0421) says:

    The Neo-Liberal wing of the party are simply NOT LABOUR. New Labour was the party of big business, hence all the privatisation and pro business rhetoric.

    We need to understand that these people are the losers, they know it but just don’t care about the damage they inflict on Labour, we only have to look at the revolving door to see where these peoples loyalties lie.

    We on the left need to build support and bring all politicians into line, the idea that politicians know best has long since passed its sell by date, we want grass roots power, that was what the Labour Party came into being for. Conference needs to make clear that the Blairites are bringing the party into disrepute, and should suffer the consequences for it.

    We have recent history and the current omnishambles of the Tories to support the need for radical policies, and we should not shy away from it, like the Tories the Blairite Neo-Liberals have been hoisted by their own petard and can be seen for what they are, we should not be slow in pointing those facts out to them.

    1. John Walsh says:

      Well said Mervyn – neoliberalism provides a very useful critical framework for understanding the left’s opponents in the Party. The old-hand lefties so often resort to the long-term ‘vote them out’ strategy. That may have worked in the past but the foes of the new membership are neoliberal through and through. Post-truth politics is their mode of operation – but where does the left think about, discuss such issues?

      Your ‘challenge them’ sentiment is sorely lacking, especially with the orchestrated suspensions. I know from personal experience that Christine is snowed under with dealing with suspensions – but the processes are ridiculous and should be challenged. How do we organise to challenge the neoliberals? How can we democratise the work that Regional Offices are doing up and down the country? How can we publicise the nonsense that the neoliberals are perpetrating?

  2. Nestor says:

    What amuses me most about Blairites repeatedly saying that Khan won in London despite Corbyn (rather than due a the confluence of many factors, from which it is impossible to factor out the Leader of the Labour party) is that during the party vote for the Mayoral nomination, they were all cheerleading for Tessa Jowell.

    Tessa Jowell, ffs.

    1. John P Reid says:

      Twaddle name these blairites as the only ones who said said a Won despite Jermey and they backed Tessa

  3. John P Reid says:

    In a scene reminiscent of the resignations around Gordon and the Eu elections (when he’d done u-turns )been Pm for 2 years, no we were on20% in the polls

    Who exactly was a balirite MP who resigned from the shadow cabinet at the time of the ahold ham by election, Jeremy had 3 wobbly weeks before the by election, when labour so policy as voted for at Conference of keeping trident was backed up by Angela/Marie Eagle and tom Watson as it was our policy that Jeremy disagreed with, then a Blue Labour candidate Jim McMAhon won

    As for the undermining in the last few weeks,again Christine doesn’t name names, but the damage was by her fellow Lufthur Rhaman ban king NEC member and also suspended for a time ,like her Ken Livingstone,part of her centre left…et. …e ,ean far left CLpD slate

    You don’t mention that Scottish labour wants dot put up the basic rate of tax, and the votes we Los there went to the tories

    I’ve heard people go on at the holocaust and should get over and keep reminding to exploit anti semeticism for gain, but then I know the Diane Abbott sod the world exploited the Mcpherosn Report, to justify their own anti white racism

    1. David Pavett says:

      Your idiosyncratic approach to sentence structure and punctuation make your contributions difficult to fathom.

  4. Rob Bab says:

    “There were also sadly attacks from some members of a minority of our own party.” (anti-semitegate)
    Hi Christine, yes sad but true. It’s as though this minority has two allegiances
    1.The Self First Party
    2. The Zionist Party
    Are the members of this minority encouraged to act in this way by members of the LFI?

    I think it’s high time Labour cut Israel adrift. One only has to spend a short time witnessing the hardship under which the innocent Palestinian people exist at the hands of Israel, to understand that true Labour has nothing in common with the Israeli regime. Even the great Desmond Tutu said it was worse than Apartheid South Africa.
    To strongly criticise Israel is not anti-Jew it is a declaration of our humanity, we should not turn our faces when confronted with the God forsaken plight of the children of Gaza – leave that to the Tories!
    In your strong 2009 speech at the Labour Party Conference at 2:14mins you comically alluded to BJ being run over by a bulldozer – as you know that actually happened to a lass called Rachel Corrie whilst she was peacefully defending a Palestinian doctors home from demolition.
    Palestine then, it’s worse now, please watch;

    1. Nestor says:

      Oh go away.

      1. Rob Bab says:

        Hi Nestor, hey I didn’t make the link go live and over sized! 🙂 I agree it is a bit over the top. [Replaced by link – Ed]
        Christine is free to remove the video and leave the link or if she sees fit remove my post altogether, I would respect her decision, it is her article.
        I placed my comment here because she raised the Ziogate issue and was also confronted on her Campaign FB link about anti-semitism, which I read.
        Out of interest is it the subject matter that you don’t like about my posts or the style?

        1. john P Reid says:

          thanks for posting this

          1. Rob Bab says:

            Good job on sorting out the video glitch, cheers


  5. Danny Nicol says:

    I agree with Mervyn Hyde that Conference needs to make it clear that the extreme Blairite MPs are bringing the Party into disrepute and that they should suffer the consequences for it.

    To spell it out, the consequence should be expulsion from the Party. We need to accept the need to throw these people out of the Labour Party. It brooks no delay.

    1. Nestor says:

      Which would achieve the sum total of absolutely naff all, except gift the Tories and the press with “STALINIST CORB PURGE OF MODERATES” headlines.

      I can’t stand the right of the party, to be honest, but that’s just me. The world doesn’t revolve around my own ideology.

      As the cliché would have it, Labour is a broad church and we need to remain a broad church. Of course the actions of the right of the party are counterproductive, not just for the party as a whole but for their own interests as well. Their constant negativity will only serve to alienate them from the membership. Whilst in a certain light this looks like a good thing, it will in the end lead to a party utterly riven and utterly powerless in the face of an FPTP electoral system.

      The whinging of the right needs to be killed with kindness. We need to start sticking flowers in the ends of their rifles.

      1. Rob Bab says:

        “We need to start sticking flowers in the ends of their rifles.”
        Not wanting to be a pedant or such but rifles with flowers in the end are still dangerous.
        To think the right of the party, who worship the high alter of narcissist Blair, can be culled with kindness, is a gross misjudgement of their mindset. If the John Mann episode is anything to go by it’ll take more than a tulip or two up his barrel to calm him down.
        Then again you could be right, as the saying goes,
        ‘The yin shall overcome the yang’

  6. Chris says:

    The Nazpaedo accusations of antisemitism against Labour are the most satanic, animalistic, evil things I have ever seen in politics.

  7. Robert says:

    Nothing much changes of course, these battles have been around for a 100 years within labour the right demanding only they can rule, the left fighting on socialism and then changing to the right.

    Scotland has a left leaning party with the SNP whether it stays to the left is the question.

    The problem in Scotland is the leadership it’s not up to the task, Kezia is a poor leader who may yet cause even more to leave.

    I voted Corbyn now he has to be allowed to go forward to the next election whether he wins or loses the people will decide .

    Remove him and I will be gone, he won so lets get behind him, although Corby will need a stab proof vest

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