Richard Burgon just gave Labour members a colossal reason to vote for him as deputy leader

Richard Burgon
Tracy Keeling

In the battle for the position of deputy leader of the Labour Party, Richard Burgon just gave members a colossal reason to back him. Specifically, he gave those members who supported the party’s direction with Jeremy Corbyn at the helm a reason to give him their vote.

For all those Labour insiders who spent Corbyn’s term in office sabotaging the leader, however, it’s the last thing they’ll want members to hear.

Etched in my memory

Burgon spoke at an event called Rally for Socialism on 26 February. During the rally, he raised a spectre from Labour’s recent past that many in the party will want people to forget. Fortunately, the SKWAWKBOX captured the moment.

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Burgon said:

What I won’t forget ever, as long as I’ll live, is that attempted coup.

The coup Burgon speaks of happened in 2016. 172 MPs systematically resigned in the pre-planned challenge to the Labour leader. As Burgon explained:

Every hour, on the hour, people resigned from jobs no one knew they had until they resigned from them – almost as if it was scheduled, the news bulletins, heaven forbid.

These people were elevated to the level of the political titans of our age by the commentariat.

Burgon then talked about why this elevation happened. He said those in the establishment believed they were “fulfilling a very important historical role”. That role was, he explained, to ‘get rid of a socialist as the leader of the Labour Party’.

At the time of the coup, however, the establishment didn’t get what they wanted. All the coordinated attack did was give Corbyn an even bigger mandate for leadership than in the 2015 election, despite the party potentially purging around a quarter of his would-be supporters.

No lectures from saboteurs

Ultimately though, the establishment got their wish. The constant briefings against Corbyn from within his party, a rabid media eager to smear him at every turn, and the leadership finally appeasing the Remainiacs in its party all combined to bring Corbyn’s tenure to an end.

Now, the same establishment cohort who brought Corbyn down are harping on about electability in order to secure their favoured candidates over the line. But Burgon’s having none of it. At the event, he said:

I won’t take lectures from people about the desire to win elections, when they sabotaged our elections… I hope those people are proud of themselves… through their indulgence and through their treachery to the members, [they] helped to deliver that right-wing [Tory] government.

Onwards comrades

Betraying the membership alone is bad enough. But Burgon also highlighted what the saboteurs snatched from the country through their skullduggery:

the prospect of a socialist, anti-war, internationalist government that would have gone about creating… a fundamental shift in wealth, power and control in favour of the 99%. The government would have pursued… an independent foreign policy, based upon peace and socialism, not just doing whatever the inhabitant of the White House tells us to do.

In his searing comments at the event, Burgon showed a passion for continuing the transformation of the Labour Party that Corbyn started. He also bared his disdain for and distrust of anti-progressive and anti-democratic establishment figures in and out of Labour’s ranks.

For anyone who doesn’t want Labour’s clocks to turn back to the neoliberal, war-crime-ridden days of Tony Blair and centrism, that’s a pretty colossal reason to vote for Burgon.

Featured image via Sky News/YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. Not only in this a good reason for voting for Burgon but his stance on the 10 vile pledges advanced by the B o D is perhaps more persuasive. The 3 leadership candidates have embraced Zionism, the set of attitudes and policies responsible for the ethnic cleansing of nearly a million Arabs in 1948, the consistent racism of the Israeli State towards the Palestinian and now the prospective annexation of part of the West Bank. Starmer talks of an “insecure Israel”. The country is deemed to be among the half dozen most powerful military powers on earth. It has nuclear weapons. By what logic can Israel be insecure when it is back the US? Here’s an example of what Zionism means. In 1983, Rafael Eitan, Israel’s Chief of Staff said: “When we have settled the land all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry round like drugged roaches in a bottle.” That is the fascist attitude which rules Israel. The annexation of the West Bank is an act of fascism. It is based on the delusion of Jewish superiority and the inferiority of the Arabs. It reduces Arabs to a sub-human condition and denies them the rights Jews take for granted. As Aharon Geva wrote at about the same time as the remark noted above: “Some of us Israelis behave like the worst kind of anti-Semites , whose name cannot be mentioned here, like the very people who painted a picture of the Jew as a sub-human creature…” The Jews are doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to them in so far as they refuse to acknowledge their humanity, apply racist standards and treat them with brutality. Is this what the leadership candidates stand for? It seems so, either pout of ignorance, naivety or cynical calculation. We need Burgon to speak up for what is right.

    2. That 3rd from last sentence of yours is exactly the sort of ill thought out verbiage (an “in so far as” qualifier just doesn’t cut it) that ruins whatever argument you think you’re trying to make. It shouldn’t go unchallenged, for the sake of genuine protest more than just arse-covering when it’s (correctly) brought up as another example of spatter-gun attack.

      I actually popped in to comment that Burgon did himself a lot of favours on Marr. Used to strike me as someone who thinks saying “Tory Austerity” was an answer to everything but he defended and promoted his positive ideas well. He also clearly and calmly explained why the BoD pledge sheet was not something he wanted to sign. Clearly and calmly. As in, not that “Jews are doing what the Nazis did” stuff.

    3. Those “remainiacs” constitute 70% of the Labour Party, including the overwhelming majority of its young and left-wing members. For many of us, being a Socialist is about being Internationalist. Nationalism is the enemy and there are literally no arguments for Brexit that don’t stem from it.

      Take a look at the following stats if you think Remainers to blame.

      Here are the +/- figures for 2019 compared with 2017:

      Labour -8.3%
      Lib Dems +4.2%
      Conservatives +1.2%
      Green +1.1%
      SNP +0.9%
      The Brexit Party didn’t run in 2017 but we saw during the 2019 election that its prior support had completely collapsed and the gained little or nothing from the other parties.

      Now, who do you think Labour lost most support to? Remain parties or Brexit parties? If you need any help with this simple maths then let me know.

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