Portait of Jeremy Corbyn

Rally For Jeremy

WHEN JEREMY CORBYN was elected leader
with an overwhelming mandate by Labour’s
members we knew that the establishment
would throw everything at him and use
every device possible to undermine him. If
someone comes along to challenge the
system, it should come as no surprise that
the system will strike back to defend itself.
The establishment was left reeling at
the massive vote Jeremy gained. The
representatives of the establishment in the
Labour Party, the media and big business
were shocked – but soon regrouped and
started the campaign to destroy Jeremy and
overturn the democratic decision of the rank
and file party members who gave him their
enthusiastic support.

The establishment deployed the usual
mechanisms at its disposal to undermine
any individual that poses a threat to the
system. It’s particularly well practised in
taking out Labour leaders. It happened to
Michael Foot in the early 1980s and even Neil
Kinnock, though some would interpret him
as the mildest of threats to the system.
It starts with a media onslaught to frame the
public perception of the individual. The media
depiction of Jeremy has at times ludicrously
ranged from him being a determined,
dangerous threat to the country to a jam
making, allotment holder.

The problem the media onslaught has not been able to overcome is that people have seen Jeremy for the honest,
caring and compassionate person that he is.
He has introduced a refreshing new politics
based upon calm respect for people’s views and
a quiet rationalism in tackling the problems
people face. He has embodied a rejection of the
plastic politics associated with spin and lies that
has dominated our political discourse for too
long and as a result he has won people’s respect.
Having come through an initial media blitz
Jeremy has had to face a concerted day-by-day
campaign to undermine him from
representatives of the establishment in the
Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) and
elsewhere in the Party. They have looked for
any potential opportunity to mount a challenge
to Jeremy, and if possible a full scale coup.

Initially they were hoping that the local
election results would be so dire that the PLP
could be panicked into supporting a coup
attempt in order to replace Jeremy, bizarrely
with someone associated with the old
regime that had already lost two General
Elections. That didn’t work because the
election results were better than anyone
could have anticipated and increased
majorities have been achieved in every
parliamentary by-election.

Intelligence emanating from the meetings
of the small band of PLP establishment
plotters confirmed that the next opportunity
they would seize upon would be after the
EU referendum. The challenge would come
even if it was a narrow win for Remain. Even
though Jeremy had agreed at their request
that the EU campaign was to be led by Alan
Johnson and Hilary Benn, the plotters aimed
to blame Jeremy for the result if it wasn’t a
heavy Remain win. Of course if it had been a
big win for Remain the plotters would have
put this down to anyone but Jeremy.

A spokesperson for the plotters told the
New Statesman that they knew they were
unable to win a leadership election now, so
the post-referendum blaming exercise and
threats to Jeremy were aimed at wounding
him and undermining confidence in him
for a potential coup attempt in 2017 or 2018.
Ironically as the Remain campaign got into
obvious difficulties Jeremy was called in to
concentrate on mobilising Labour voters and
young voters. That is exactly what he
succeeding in doing. Nearly 70% of Labour
voters voted Remain and young people
voted by nearly four to one for Remain.

Nevertheless as I write we are facing a
meaningless motion of no confidence in
Jeremy from Margaret Hodge, who only
months ago wanted to stand for the
leadership herself. The plotters are trying to
panic PLP members, arguing that with a
new Conservative leader being elected we
may have a General Election in the autumn.
As a result we may be fighting a leadership
contest this summer. If that occurs I am
confident that Labour Party members and
supporters will rally to support Jeremy and
the new politics he supports. If there is no
leadership election, the plotters won’t give up.

That’s why we need to mount the
largest campaign the Labour Party has ever
seen to bring forward a radical manifesto
and mass activity to support these policies
in the run up to the possible upcoming
General Election. I urge people now to
come together and use our creative
potential to build the transformative social
movement that Labour is becoming under
Jeremy’s leadership.


John McDonnell
Shadow Chancellor

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