Whatever happened to Leon Trotsky? He got an ice pick, that made his ears burn. Well, Jeremy Corbyn may not have been hunted down and executed by Keir Starmer, but the withdrawal of the whip has certainly plunged a knife deep into the heart of the Corbynista fanatics. This will, of course, cause huge amounts of unhappiness from the far-left swathes of the Labour Party. It includes the juggernaut unions of Momentum and Unite, both of which have condemned the action taken by the Labour Party with Len McCluskey claiming that with it, Labour is “doomed to defeat”.
However, Labour has been in a vicious cycle of doomed defeat for the past decade. The great clunking fist of Gordon Brown missed his chance to win an election when he dwelt on a healthy poll advantage, leaving the door open 2 sneering Etonians to get the keys to numbers 10 & 11. Red Ed was a nice guy, but toothless. It says a lot that in Miliband’s entire career as a politician, his most damning speech came this year. The man was leader of the opposition for over 4 years and he consistently failed to land a blow on the government.
All of this dour failure led Labour to elect the biggest manifestation of their own failure as its new messiah, Jeremy Corbyn. “The greatest Prime Minister we never had”. Boo-hoo, my heart breaks for the left-wing academic visionaries. Alan Johnson put it best in 2019 after the exit poll when he said that “Corbyn was a disaster on the doorstep, everyone knew he couldn’t lead the working class out of a paper bag”, even George Osbourne and Ed Balls were chuckling about it in the background because of how true it was. Once you cut through all the wishy washy bulls**t, the facts speak for themselves when one reflects upon Jezza’s time in the sun. He will be remembered for 3 things during this time. Losing to perhaps the weakest PM the UK has seen since the war, sitting on his hands during the Brexit referendum and stifling the remain campaign and then being the man who Boris Johnson defeated on his merry way to an historic 80 seat majority for the Tories. What has this led to? A Brexit that is going to paralyse the UK, potentially (probably) break up the Union and a host of Tory charlatans chuntering from the front benches and voting through some of the most disgraceful policy modern day Britain has ever seen.
Whatever you cut his premiership, whether you think he was a man who came close to solving Britain’s turmoil, or if you think he’d endanger the UK’s national security, there can be very little doubt that Corbyn’s failure has played a massive part in the disintegration we are now witnessing in the UK.
There was a great deal of speculation about how Starmer would deal with the Corbynistas when he first took office as leader of the opposition. Some thought he should just cast them aside, a clean break from the abject failure that the Labour Party had become, whilst others believed the best course of action would be to keep them onside. The reasoning behind the latter option being that it would keep the party together. But that begs the question, how together has the Labour Party been in the last 10 years? It hasn’t. It has never been cohesive since the Cameron days and that is what has lead to own goal after own goal. The “keeping them onside” was an illusion, a fantasy, a myth. It was simply not possible.
Starmer opted an approach that was down the middle. A few token front bench gestures were afforded to influential supporters of JC and not much was said about it as the Starmermobile took off. But before the ignition was tuned and car revved up, Starmer made one thing abundantly clear to his passengers. Zero tolerance for anti-Semitism. That was crystal.
When the news broke of Rebecca Long-Bailey’s removal as Education Secretary for retweeting a Maxine Peake article, many reacted with surprise. The die was cast. This was the new Labour leader showing just how serious he was in his claim that his first priority was to tackle anti-Semitism within the party. The faintest whiff of anti-Semitism would be dispelled by Starmer, first things first, get rid of the poison that had plagued the Labour Party for years.
It is for that very reason that Corbyn has had the whip withdrawn. The EHRC found that the party, under Corbyn, were responsible for unlawful discrimination. As soon as Corbyn rejected the report’s findings, the writing was on the wall for the “greatest PM we never had”, and Jezza’s successor duly delivered the last rights. There was no way that Starmer could retain credibility had he not taken this action. He made a promise to the party and to the Jewish community to rip out anti-Semitism root and stem, removing the whip from Corbyn goes a long way to showing that he means it. No blind eyes, no short cuts.
Now, twitter is in a frenzy again, 18-year-old Labour supporters declaring that they “will never vote Labour again” and people showcasing solidarity with Corbyn. But if people can look past the short-term fracture this will cause, it is plainly obvious that there is no better time for it to take place.
4 years is a long, long time. Starmer and the party as a whole can go about repairing the mess that has been created under a succession of Labour leaders. Despite having an 80 strong majority, the Tories are still incredibly weak in the public eye and these steps could be the first of many from Sir Keir to show the electorate that he is strong. With this strength, they might just have a chance of toppling the Tories, without it, they are indeed doomed to defeat once more. So, so long you Arsenal fan, it’s time we began, to laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again.