So what is happening in the Labour Party, and why are so many people keen on Corbyn despite his manifest imperfections? I think it’s highly likely that John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn are trying to turn Labour into a Democratic Centralist party, but I don’t think that most of Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters, despite their WUNC behaviours, are trying to do likewise or would even want to do so. But do they really believe that Labour under Jeremy Corbyn can, or will, become a social movement that could genuinely change the political landscape?
Some of them may. I’ve heard an oft-repeated assertion that the current growth in Labour membership is just the beginning of a red tide which will sweep across the nation. I have to say, I don’t think this is terribly likely. Labour party membership currently stands at a record high, but then again this is at the end of a hugely exciting eighteen months in Labour politics. We’ve had the general election, the surprise Tory win, the leadership election, the surprise Corbyn win, the council elections, the mayoral elections, the EU referendum, the “coup”, and another leadership election. What larks, Pip!
But this is a highly unusual year. Most years in politics, nothing happens. You get the odd communication from the party, if you want to leaflet or door-knock (both monstrously tedious) you can do that, if you want you can go to constituency meetings (even more tedious, particularly in constituencies where there isn’t a sitting MP), there’ll be a conference once a year which most members don’t get to go to, and that’s pretty much it. If the PLP has any sense it’ll get its head down, concentrate on the hard and boring but necessary work of mitigating the worst excesses of a sitting Conservative Government, and give Comrade Corbyn enough rope to hang himself. Thanks to the Parliament Act there isn’t even the excitement of a possible snap general election. It’s pretty dull, and, to be honest, not much for your twenty-five quid. Under these circumstances will the majority of the Corbynistas continue to pay up, year after dull, unexciting year? I have my doubts.
More shortly. But tomorrow – Bake Off!!!