During the attempted anti-Corbyn coup this weekend, one shocking article almost went unnoticed. Just over a week after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, self-declared “tribal neo-Blairite” Dan Hodges insisted in his weekly Mail on Sunday column that the party needed to “kill” its leader. But Corbyn supporters on Twitter were not about to ignore this or anything else related to the coup.
Here’s Hodges’ headline, which was almost immediately reported to the police:
— Shlomo Anker (@Hapoel4) June 26, 2016
Hodges later wrote on Twitter about the “viciousness” he expected to see from Corbyn supporters in the wake of the coup, but seemed completely oblivious to the vicious nature of his own words.
Corbyn sympathisers like former Economics Editor for Channel 4 Paul Mason, however, were not oblivious to Hodges’ rhetoric. The commentator slammed the article’s “language of violence” and asked “is it now clear who is coordinating the coup?” Hundreds of others, meanwhile, believed that police action was in order.
A thoroughly Blairite coup
As a number of shadow cabinet figures resigned their posts on 26 June, the hashtag #DeselectThem began trending on Twitter as Corbyn supporters reacted to Labour right-wingers disrespecting the democratic voice of Labour members. One Twitter user said:
Think of how much easier the GE would be to win if Blairites weren't undermining the leadership at every opportunity #DeselectThem
— Jack Campbell (@Campbell_Jack15) June 26, 2016
Others criticised the coup plotters for:
- Distracting people from Tory divisions and increasing racism in the UK.
- Slamming Corbyn over Labour’s Brexit campaign, even though 63% of Labour supporters had voted to Remain and Corbyn had met the objectives set for him by his detractors.
- Ignoring the fact that post-Brexit Labour had drawn level in voting intentions with the Conservatives.
- Ignoring Labour’s achievements so far under Corbyn’s leadership.
And comedian Frankie Boyle made a very poignant and cutting point:
I'm not a politician, but I don't know that the best time to launch a Blairite coup is 2 weeks before the Chilcot report comes out
— Frankie Boyle (@frankieboyle) June 26, 2016
This was echoed by former UK Ambassador Craig Murray, who argued that “no rational person could blame Jeremy Corbyn for Brexit” and that the real timing of the Blairite coup had been determined by the upcoming Chilcot Report. The report on the 2003 invasion of Iraq would expose Tony Blair’s lies and would push Corbyn to apologise on behalf of the Labour party for dragging Britain into the destructive, counter-productive, and illegal war. Labour right-wingers, Murray said, would find it utterly “traumatic” to see Corbyn stand up in parliament and condemn the former Labour Prime Minister.
Corbyn supporters retaliate against coup plotters
On 26 June, The Canary wrote about how many people in working class communities backed Brexit on 23 June not because of racism but because they were sick and tired of being consistently ignored by an out-of-touch and elitist political establishment – one that was represented for over a decade by Tony Blair’s New Labour. This is why The Canary pointed out that continued Blairite power games are a negative rather than a positive for Labour – and are likely to backfire big time. The party simply doesn’t need more reality-detached and career-driven MPs, but more (like Corbyn) who are prepared to listen and reach out to current and potential Labour members.
Aware of all this, Corbyn supporters on Twitter rallied around the current Labour party Leader. Hilary Benn, a shadow cabinet member sacked by Corbyn at the weekend for leading the coup, was mocked for the ill judgement that saw him support the invasion of Iraq. Heidi Alexander, one of the shadow cabinet ministers who resigned on 26 June, was slammed for having urged Corbyn previously to criticise junior doctors during their dispute with the Tory government. Lucy Powell, meanwhile, had her resignation letter marked with a red pen and given a grade E for her inconsistencies.
One MP sarcastically celebrated the resignation of Corbyn’s detractors from the shadow cabinet:
Crisis ahead!…… If all the Blairites resign from the Shadow Cabinet who will be left to leak the confidential business to the press?
— Paul Flynn (@PaulFlynnMP) June 26, 2016
— JeremyCorbyn4PM (@JeremyCorbyn4PM) June 26, 2016
Even Green party MP Caroline Lucas chimed in, insisting that progressive forces ought to be focusing their efforts on defeating the Tories:
The country is in crisis. Progressives should be forming alliance against the Tories, not fighting each other: https://t.co/Kbz5tfSuQU
— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) June 26, 2016
Corbyn supporters will rally outside Parliament on 27 June at 6pm to make their feelings about the Labour Leader very clear.
The right-wing forces in the parliamentary Labour party, meanwhile, will probably be put under increasing pressure by Labour members to either accept their chosen leader, face deselection, or join another party.
And Dan Hodges? Well, he could be receiving a visit from the police or the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) any day now.
For Canary readers who are current or potential Labour supporters, you can sign this petition to back Jeremy Corbyn (if you haven’t already).
Featured image via Kerry-anne Mendoza