Boris Johnson’s foul reward to these ex-Labour Corbyn-haters shows how perverted politics is

John Woodcock and Ian Austin
Tracy Keeling

The BBC revealed who’s on Boris Johnson’s preferred list of peers on 6 February. Ex-Labour MPs Ian Austin and John Woodcock are among those who made the cut. They were both serial critics of Jeremy Corbyn as members of his party and ended up jumping in bed with the Conservatives.

Betrayal is a rewarding business in politics, it seems. At least it is in the UK’s perverted system.

Nothing to see here

According to the BBC, Johnson has nominated ex-Conservative ministers Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke for a seat in the House of Lords. This is raising some eyebrows as both backed measures to scupper a no-deal Brexit in 2019. The PM kicked them out of the party as a result.

Johnson’s championing of Austin and Woodcock isn’t leading in the headlines, though. In a civilised system, it would. But that’s not what the UK has. Instead, the functioning of the British political system – at least through the lens of these two non-Labour, ex-Labour MPs – appears to be more akin to the ‘motivational’ guidance one would find in a self-help book titled Only the Ruthless Rise.

Between Corbyn becoming leader in 2015 and the time Austin left the party, it’s hard to recall him doing anything of note apart from attacking his own party’s leadership. Although given how much time he spent droning on about the threat of Corbyn, it was probably hard to find the space to do anything else. The same is pretty much true of Woodcock.

Talking shit about Corbyn eventually turned into talking up the Conservatives, as both left Labour at some point along the way and were then scooped up by the Tories. Austin took a role as trade envoy to Israel. Woodcock, meanwhile, became a government envoy on extremism. And now, of course, there’s the peerages – the veritable cherry on the cake.

A bad example

The trajectory of these two ex-Labour MPs is a shining example of how we teach kids not to behave: beating up your friends or classmates (even if their enemies will give you things if you do) is not okay. If you don’t like your friend anymore, just tell them politely to go find new ones. Don’t run around screaming trying to make everyone else hate your ex-friend. It’s not nice.

But then Woodcock did effectively oppose holding Saudi Arabia to account in 2016 for its brutal military campaign against Yemen. He’s also previously “echoed” the propaganda of Turkey’s increasingly authoritarian president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. So his behaviour towards Corbyn isn’t the only ‘not nice’ chapter in his political history.

Of course, we also teach children that saying you’ll kill millions of people is a bad thing. Yet saying you’ll do exactly that appears to be a standard for assessing good leadership potential in the UK.

Killing: good. Backstabbing: good. Tantrums: good. Mutual back-scratching: good.‘ Yes, that about sums up where the UK’s perverted political system currently is.

Featured image via Channel 4 News/YouTube and Sky News/YouTube

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. The fact that Johnson proposes honouring dissident Tories demonstrates his magnanimity and his belief that all political parties encompass a broad church. If you’re against me, it doesn’t make you a bad person.
      The fact that he also proposes honouring Labour politicians who opposed JC shows that he is in tune with the majority of the UK population.

      1. ‘In tune with the majority of the UK population’? Are you sure? That the Lords is an acceptable institution that the UK population is ok with where manipulated ennobling honourably and stuffily bestowed at the whim of the queen, party leaders, or prime ministers with spite in mind? We all know the house of lords operates in quaint historical fashion being puffed-up with the ridiculous and the unelected.

        1. I think you miss my point.
          Yes, the House of Lords is an anachronism that has outlived its usefulness.
          But Boris’s ‘rewarding’ of Labour politicians who criticised JC resonates with the nation.
          JC’s a joke figure.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.