Political Division

Politics, at the moment, is defined by division. In the US Trump and Clinton are coming to represent to antagonistic portions of a polarised society, with Sanders as a theoretically retired figurehead for a third faction which is in opposition to the other two, even if some of them have begrudgingly endorse the Democratic candidate. In the UK Labour is battling it’s own internal identity crisis as self-proclaimed ‘moderates’ rally, ineffectually, against the party’s Socialist conscience and history. The Tories too are delicately treading around their own alter-ego, as if Theresa May’s unity act is a cure rather than a bandage for the divisions wrought by the Brexit vote. All around everyone hates everyone and the usual vague sense of consensus – be it legitimate or imposed – is fading away as sides form. In the media too loyalties are being declared along predictable lines, highlighting the joke that is journalistic impartiality when ratings and owners both demand echo-chambers, a protection of personal interests and a neat story line to keep 24 hour news rolling.

None of this is news, really. Anyone can see the divisions manifesting and most people realise that they didn’t appear out of nothing. Nor did they appear out of a Brexit vote or Trump’s candidacy, they’re reflections of societal issues that have been brewing for decades now. And there’s plenty written on which side could, would and should win any one of the factional struggles which have recently clawed their way into the public perception.

The only thought I have to add is one of concern to be honest. The problem with political polarisation isn’t so much that someone will win, although there’s definitely plenty to fear there given some of the challengers. That’s a given though, that’s an observable battle where we can each choose our logical and moral ground and stand on it. What’s more worrying is that other people will lose and, in losing, look for ways to strike back. A mild example is the internal Labour struggle where, by the looks of things, Iron Corbyn will crush the opposition under his brutal Stalinist boot – well, I’ll be voting for him at least. What follows that is the issue though, as the right of the party either leave as they split the party and attempt to drag support away and towards some SDP reboot or stay and repeat the tedious process of challenges, coups and undermining. Embittering their own backers and alienating their opposition as they go, making their own defeat an act of self-sabotage against the Left wing as a whole. That’s a mild example though if you compare current UK politics to what’s surrounding the US election. There defeat for one side or another isn’t going to be a blow against a fairly small political elite who have the power to wreck on a day to day level. There the losing side is going to contain a huge number of voters who’re going to be angry, scared and bitter about the potential results of their candidate missing out. Perhaps rightly so, depending on how fatalistic you want to be. Either way though the illusion of a looming apocalypse is enough to make people act as if the stakes are high and react to them to whatever degree they imagine to be reasonable.

In both countries it seems that those in the media and those in politics are confident in the capacity for the structures of state and society to absorb all this dissent. People will be pissed off, sure, but they’ll accept it and carry on. Most probably will, although some undoubtedly won’t – and even for the vast majority who prefer to live their lives as best they can rather than hand it over to political anger it’ll be another layer of resentment and of disdain for those structures which they’ll feel have misled and cheated them, be it in the media or at the ballot boxes. It’s another sawing away of the support struts of the established structure of state and given the unlikeliness of any real unity or consensus being found whoever wins in these sort of disjointed struggles it’s hard to see anyone moving to repair the damage. And sooner or later that damage undermines the whole thing.

There’s an upside to it all too I suppose. The breaking of the two party system in US politics, the reclaiming of the Labour Party as a Left Wing entity, even seeing the Tories confront their own inner demons regarding neoliberalism and Thatcherist ideals, they could all bring about healthier and more representative landscapes. But the nudging game of hoping for destruction as a precursor to rebuilding is a dangerous one. Again, with the immediate political wranglings you can see the sides, see the issues and see the potential end results. But when it comes to society as a whole and large swathes of the population? There’s no telling how things will fall. And some analysis of that would, for me, be far more interesting than the partisan sniping that surrounds those loudest in their commentaries.

Get Busy Winning or Get Busy Moaning

It’s a dramatic experience supporting Jeremy Corbyn. One day you’re a Stalinist thug, the next a near-fascist misogynist, the next a naive idealist, then you’re backing an ineffectual old man, or a sinister dictator, or a street fighting gangster – every day is a lucky dip of contradictory images. Sure, let this run long enough and there’ll be stories leaking out about Corbyn supporters being the secret descendants of an ancient alien race. Here to purge the Earth in advance of an invasion by our own species of giant Revolutionary Socialist ants – but I’m sure they won’t figure that one out for a while yet.

Momentum's re-enactment society does 'The Storming of the Winter Palace'
Momentum’s re-enactment society does ‘The Storming of the Winter Palace’

There is one consistent theme though, one axiomatic truth that those supporting the coup seem to cling to like a life boat on the Titanic they’ve created for themselves – even if their words contradict their belief. It’s that we don’t want to win. We don’t know how to win, we wouldn’t know what winning looked like if it kicked us up the arse whilst singing ‘Things Can Only Get Better’. Granted, they acknowledge, we do want to terrify, brutalise, intimidate and text them into submission in our blind fervor to keep Corbyn as leader – but we don’t really want to win do we? Not properly, not really, not like they do. We don’t want to win over The Sun, or win over pro-austerity Conservatives, or win friends in the House of Commons bars and if you don’t want those sort of victories then you may as well just give up now.

As media lines go it’s a slightly confused one, as they try to make their opposition seem at once both ruthlessly opportunistic, Machiavellian and nearly nihilistically defeatist in the face of a challenge. It’s understandable though, I think. For a lot of those on the Labour Right (Progress, Maquis, Continuity, Provisional Labour, Blairites – whatever you want to call them) ‘winning’ is a very small thing. It’s the outcome of a closed door competition, where the only valid measures of victory are rarefied and defined by a sealed circle within the political class. ‘Winning’ is to wrestle power away from the honorable member opposite even if you do nothing more or less with it than they do. It makes sense, in a certain light, because it’s a system of victories which radiates from a monopolised source of power – everyone who participates knows the rules, knows the tactics and knows the firm limitations of the outcomes. If you’re a participant why would you ever contemplate bigger goals? It’s a world of competition more than big enough to consume your attentions after all and if you’re in it there’s nothing immoral about it, you can play the game with full certainty that you’re the good guy and as long as you stick with the players you’ll never hear otherwise.

The problem that way of thinking faces, at the moment, is that there’s been a huge influx of attention, energy and desire from a whole load of people who’ve never been part of that closed world and who never will be. It’s like a strangely inverted form of gentrification – those in parliament and around the political class are seeing their comfortable little dramas and conflicts being overwhelmed by a huge influx of outsiders who want to knock it all down and open up a string of Socialist coffee shops and artisan Workers’ cake shops. It’s a new population who have scaled up the entire notion of ‘winning’ from a parochial, insular affair into something far bigger and – as far as I’m concerned – far more important concept.

The established rules of recent decades don’t mean much to these new neighbours. They don’t want to compromise on NHS privatisation, they don’t want to compromise on attacks on social services or benefits – they don’t want to ‘get along’ with the pro-austerity lot next door. And you can see why that would be disconcerting if you’ve been sitting near to the source of power long enough to feel comfortably at home with those sort of compromises.

A normal man who drinks normally from a normal mug, just like you.
A normal man who drinks normally from a normal mug, just like you.

We’ve had their reaction now, after a false start or two. It’s a refusal to pay attention, more or less. It’s Owen Smith. Without a trace of awareness their Great Hope comes in the form of more of the same, albeit with added protestations of being ‘Left Wing’, lip service to a new presence in the political world which can’t be convincing even to those putting him forward. He can win though, that’s the line, maybe they even believe it, narrow as their definition of victory is. As I said though, it’s a small, mediocre notion of victory, one that challenges and gains nothing beyond a warm glow of satisfaction in a small quarter. But it is one which Smith is a perfect model for. A former Pfizer lobbyist, open to privatisation within the NHS, eager to maintain the rules of political movement within the status quo, open to reciting the mantras of a Socialist party without ever needing to act on or fight for them. He’s a reflection of the halcyon days the Labour Right long for, the days of Blair, the days of management where the community of power was small and all too often unnoticed by too many of us. He represents politics as they feel it should be, sensible and codified in a way they can understand and control.

Unfortunately he won’t win. He won’t win in the Party and he wouldn’t win with the general electorate. The times have changed, people have remembered that they should, in theory, have some say in the political landscape of this country. Brexit was just the tip of that particular iceberg and it’s not going to melt away any time soon. People no longer care about the Parliamentary traditions of closed door conflict, they want to know that winning actually means something, they want to know that things can actually get better for people, that they can actually bring about positive change and resist the negative – not just play through the motions of success as if it ended at the boundaries of Westminster. They even, shock of shocks, want to see politics take place outside of the halls of power – they want to see opposition, and government, manifested in the daily struggles of life, drawing power down and out to where they can see, feel and use it to protect and improve their own lives.

So they’re going to fight. They’re going to fight until they do win because within Labour, within the electorate and within the political world as a whole people are realising what victory should be – and they’re wondering why the politicians they have are so reluctant to try to attain it.

Fear and Loathing in Las Labour

I’m not sure that there’s much point in trying to write about the political landscape around the Labour Party at the moment. Sure, by the time I reach the end of this sentence Angela Eagle could have been found jamming an ice pick into Jeremy Corbyn while Hillary Benn launches an armed uprising on Clapham Common. Which would be interesting, to be sure, but it also makes a bit of a joke of any attempts to step back and survey things with any sort of clarity. Still, there’s no escaping the compulsion to try and figure things out as they progress so I’ll do what I can, all on the assumption that I won’t find myself disappeared and this post airbrushed out of history by the Labour NEC.

The word for the day, it seems, is ‘intimidation’. Apparently hoards of throwbacks from Stalin’s purges are storming the gates of Labour luminaries and with flaming torches and sharpened pitch forks terrifying them into capitulation. Or something along those lines. Certainly victims and their defenders are popping up at every turn, outraged by the actions of Corbyn supporters seemingly out to harass them into subservience. And it is, almost always, Corbyn supporters alluded to (though rarely, if ever, named) – which is nice, at least it keeps things simple.

I don’t mean to sound cynical. I certainly didn’t set out to at least. Not so long ago, just prior to being demoted to a slogan for opportunists, an MP was murdered. It was an abhorrent act, one that should offend everyone of every political persuasion and it’s proof positive that there are those who see hate-fuelled violence as a political tactic worth considering. Unfortunately cynicism has set in though. A shocker to those who know me I’m sure.

There are people who think an expression of their personal hate or insanity is a valid act, we know those people when we see them and we detest them too. It’s one of those happy cases where general human morality, mostly, converges in agreement. There are also more subtle forms of self-justifying moral corruption though. Forms which don’t openly act on negative ideals but which do manipulate and profit from them – taking the abhorrent and turning it into a strategic asset in a way that demeans real horrors and insults real victims. That’s what seems to be occurring with ever increasing frequency in the political world at the moment. Fear, intimidation, bullying – all real things, all things that should be disdained and combated at every turn – have been suborned into the role of political gambit. Catch all terms to negate uncomfortable responsibilities and to neuter understandable anger in a way that relegates those in real positions of fear or discomfort to auxiliary roles as totemic examples, symbols to be pointed at to justify any and all manipulations, no matter how cynical.

I know it’s walking a fine line to say that at the moment, in the eyes of some at least. That’s why I’m not planning to call out any particular individuals. Who knows how any one person may take an experience, perhaps in some cases the declared fear is real and the concern honest even if I can see no real strength in the accusations made. It’d be futile cynicism to start challenging every case as if there was an easy list of guilty parties to be drawn up. What I will do though is point to end results which I do feel are manifestations of a deeply unpleasant appropriation of suffering – the end goals for a greater or lesser number of people who’re eagerly corrupting legitimate concerns into their own service.

A few days ago the Labour NEC met to discuss Corbyn’s place on the leadership ballot and whether he was automatically guaranteed a spot. To me, as to a lot of others, this was a pointless debate. Not one defined by honest confusion, but an attempt to secure a new avenue by which to force him into submission or, at worst, a protracted legal battle which might have further exhausted both the man himself and his support. The meeting went ahead though and we all waited patiently on the results. It was along the way that news of the vote on a secret ballot was broken – NEC members, representatives of party membership and Trade Unions were asking for their decisions to be anonymous ones, driven by an apparent fear of intimidation and bullying.

As I said, I can’t speak to the concerns and fears of individuals involved – although there’s been plenty in the press and from some of them for anyone curious to come to their own conclusions. What I can say though is that to have a secret ballot was a slap to the face of the democratic process. Accountability, in all representative decision making processes, is built on openness. That’s why the voting records of MPs are recorded and shared for all the world to see, because without knowing what they do there’s no method by which to judge them, for better or worse. Even taking all self-avowed reasoning at face value there’s still no defence for breaking the democratic process for the sake of fear – to do that is to capitulate to it. Something which I highly doubt those wilfully endorsing limits on openness and discussion would be willing to do if the circumstances seemed more in their favour.

It’s an approach that’s spreading increasingly wider too. In discussions I’ve seen the prevalent threat has become that of accusation. Honest discussion ends up stifled by the overhanging threat of being branded as a bully, not because of any real act but simply because a climate has been created where to proclaim a concern, no matter how slight, is enough to condemn your opposite. It’s a tactic so far removed from the realities of fear and suffering that it becomes an insult to them. Detracting from real experiences to the point where genuine victims – on both sides – will no doubt end up being lost in the mix of opportunism and propagandistic accusation.

Since that NEC meeting hundreds of thousands of new members have been disenfranchised, a CLP branch has been suspended and countless column inches have been given over to apocalyptic declarations about the violence and thuggishness of those who support Jeremy Corbyn – a mild mannered Social Democrat who dresses like a teacher. All with the undertone, or overt assertion, that it’s made necessary because of real harassment and legitimate fear. Again, it’s pointless to speculate on individual measures of honesty in these accusations but as with the secret ballot the end result is enough to make certain judgements. For those new members, for those branch members, for those looking to engage in the democratic process of the Labour Party these accusations have the same outcome as a direct attack on their rights. And whether you’re even mildly cynical and doubtful of the motivations behind it or absolutely willing to believe in their honest intent these results are still an insult to what the Party and democracy as a whole should stand for.

Waiting for you in the car park after last orders...
Waiting for you in the car park after last orders…

Things have started to get paranoid now – an obvious side effect and one which some at least are no doubt relishing. If you support Corbyn and a Left Wing Labour Party then now’s the time to watch what you say, to watch what you write and to watch who you associate with. Guidelines have appeared from the NEC Procedures Committee laying out the various reasons why a registered supporter might be suspended. People are growing wary of new Facebook requests and Twitter followers. They’re waiting for denunciations to start flying as the struggle for the future of the Party goes on. And if this is the result of real fear then that fear has won out already, to the cost of the Party and society as a whole. And if it’s due to less decent motivations? Then the struggle to maintain that ‘kinder politics’ and ‘comradely’ approach is getting harder every day because I can think of little more disgusting than the sort of manipulation that profits from past cruelty to serve itself.

Either way it does nothing to make me want to back down – nor should it any of us.

Side note: This is just a small slice of what’s happening. There’s plenty to be said about the tenuous thinking behind the new £25 fee for supporters, the closing of Union and affiliate voting paths, the stupidly complex registration system and voting qualifications… but that’s for another day. Would also like to add that I’ve done my best to be moderate here, although it might be obvious that I’m more than a little pissed off by it all. That’s not through any sense that I need to hold my tongue or watch what I say but as I said above, the accusations are flying at the moment and the fewer gaps are left for over-excited objection the better. And as another side note there’s a new Tory Cabinet, Boris Johnson is Grand High Racist in charge of the Foreign Office and if ever the world needed a united resistance to that it’s now. Here’s hoping things get resolved soon enough for Labour and the Left to offer it, because that’s where the real fight lies.

Chilcot Report

Well, it’s done. The Chilcot Report is out there and, as of yet, no one’s actually read it properly because it’s stupidly long and, no doubt, as dense as the screaming chaos of the voices in Tony Blair’s head. Early signs suggest that it’s fairly damning, if not personally indicting of those involved. A good sign, I suppose. The deceptions, indifference and hawkish warmongering were already universally known about, except perhaps by the perpetrators, but another, more official, acknowledgement of the facts can only add to the weight of historical judgement. Unfortunately that’s all that’s likely to come from this, the weight of historical judgement. Which isn’t so good.

Since the Iraq War there have been numerous incidents of military interventionism by the UK and other . In Libya and Syria, as obvious displays, or in Yemen, Palestine/Israel, Egypt and a dozen others via the medium of arms sales and diplomatic alignment. More meat for histories unflinching grinder, more to be judged by ourselves and generations to come. Precious little, however, that we seem able to control or resist.

I remember the days prior to the invasion of Iraq. I was a steward on one of the big marches, I saw Tony Benn – I pointed him out to a friend who said ‘where?’ and I said ‘there, that guy who looks like Tony Benn, that’s Tony Benn’, to which Benn replied ‘no it isn’t’. We had yellow safety jackets and placards, there was a million or more of us all told and, in my teenage naivety, I thought we were making our point pretty well. It was a pointless war, a poorly planned one, one with no worthwhile ending and no real humanitarian motive – the good sense of the masses would, I vaguely assumed, win out. After all, if I could see how stupid and dangerous it was then surely someone, somewhere with some power would have the wits to put a stop to the idea. They didn’t of course, but we did go to the pub afterwards so the day wasn’t all a loss.

It’s a familiar pattern now. One I’ve seen repeated over and over in my lifetime, where a bad idea starts off as just that, a bad idea, recognised and known as such by anyone who shows even a vague interest in the realities of what’s going on in the world. Slowly though it morphs into something else, it gains weight, becomes a certainty. Not because the idea becomes any better or the ends any less likely to be bad ones, not even because the weight of propaganda weighs down on public opinion and shifts it into accepting lazy lies and delusional ideals. It’s a shift that occurs simply because power, in our society, has become a wholly divorced world unto itself.

Tony Blair is a nutter. What grasp of reality he had, he’s long since lost as you’ll see if you take a look at his sporadic interviews and missives. He sees the world as one of great actors set against a muted and mostly decorative background made up of the rest of us. They act, we endure, they lead, we seek to understand and justify. He’s fairly open about it, he can afford to be. As the years have shown he’ll never find himself out of work and even if millions of people around the world hate him their judgement will never infringe upon his own sense of place and grandeur in the great story of human history. Others are more circumspect in their belief in power as a thing apart from the rest of us. Less willing to admit that, yes, our opinions don’t really matter because our leaders have already decided what will and will not be – which is perhaps the last remaining vestige of the political influence of the majority of people. We’re still worth the token gesture of lying to, which is nice.

The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore.” He continued “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

– Attributed to Karl Rove

This isn’t, I guess, much of a revelation. History is in large parts built of the vanity and egomania of the few in imagining themselves to be rulers and dictators of the many. That we even have something like the Chilcot Report makes this a better age to live in than one where asking questions about bad ideas was more directly answered with a kicking and a stint on the gallows. But what’s been gained in that nod to civil discourse has been lost in real, practical effects.

I wrote about Corbyn and the internal Labour struggles the other day. I talked about the need to crack open the doorways that lock away those people we’ve given our power to. The need to remind them that we’re still aware that they have it and that we just might choose to take it back some day. Internal party politics is a place where you can see the potential in doing that, the stakes are big, but not so big as to threaten the foundations of established power themselves. War, on the other hand, is something else entirely. When I and a million others marched in London, along with millions more around the world, we nudged up against something more than a door, we hit a big concrete wall – the sort that’d get Donald Trump wetting himself with excitement. We found the definite line that has been drawn around power, the one which people like Blair, Bush and Karl Rove live behind, their death hands pawing at their perceived wealth of influence and damned if they’ll let anyone else get their grubby hands on it.

I don’t know what can be done to break down that wall, or end the cycle of certainty that surrounds the bad decisions of our age. More violence will follow, I know that much, more wars and more incitement to conflict as dictated by the wills and desires of our ruling classes. And there’ll be more protests against it, more disgust, more disappointment. But as I say, I don’t see how we can break out of the certain end that is power doing whatever it wants regardless of the screams to contrary. Not without mirroring the force behind that power and taking a bulldozer to the wall which, while it may one day be necessary, will never be a happy experience.

It was after that march against the Iraq War that I made a nod to the cycle. I had a badge which read ‘Don’t Bomb Iraq’, I crossed out the ‘q’ and added an ‘n’. It was just a bit of idle scribbling at the time, nothing with profound thought behind it, but even then it was clear that there was no end in sight and, even if the next target wasn’t Iran, it’d be someone.

I doubt the Chilcot Report will bring justice, though I hope I’m wrong. More importantly though I hope that, while we’re reading about and re-condemning the failures of the past, we don’t let the certainty of new mistakes assert themselves yet again. Because you can guarantee that those who hold power are already working on making them.

Jeremy Corbyn & The Temple of Doom

Politics isn’t the realm of the people. Never has been.

Put three people in a room and give them even the vaguest sniff of power and within seconds they’ll have completely forgotten why the have it, who gave it to them and what it’s for. They’ll start to find ways to protect it, to wield it to further itself, to put bars on the windows and locks on the doors so no one can sneak in while they aren’t looking and have that power away from them.

Put a few hundred people in a building and you get a very big building, with very big bars and very heavy locks with a few hundred people wielding, furthering and protecting the power they’ve got. And this is… normal. Not acceptable, or democratic, or productive, but normal. For the most part the rest of us are too busy living life to think about it, even though we know they’re using something we gave them to serve interests that are a long, long way from our own. We assume there’s a balance, we assume, albeit unthinkingly, that what we gave them is tempered by some distant awareness of us potentially taking it back – which makes those who have it at least occasionally act on our behalves. We assume that, when it comes to something that matters, we can seek redress from them. Not in the great halls of government, not near their precious and jealously guarded power, but at least through cracks in the door, mumbling requests through and hoping for the best. That’s a realistic enough expectation, not one that makes the whole mess any better, but it’s something, right? Some minor compensation for finding out that what we gave has had the serial number scratched off and been painted a different colour.

Sometimes it works, for some people. If you can get to that crack in the door, if you can whisper clearly enough, if you can afford the time taken to sit there waiting for attention, there can be a payoff. For most though there isn’t, there’s just disappointment when you realise you’re just talking to yourself on the doorstep, looking a bit manic to passersby. But still, when you don’t need to ask for anything, or if you accept that there’s absolutely no point in doing so, the system works. They have our power, we have… well, we have our lives and good or bad that’s usually enough to be focusing on.

Very rarely though, once in a lifetime, if you’re lucky, that door to power opens up a little bit. No one’s kicking it in and if you’re on the outside and your name’s not on the list then you’re sure as hell not going to get a nice seat on the inside. But you can glance in and see a slither of what’s going on in there, maybe even shout a message that can’t be ignored. You won’t get back what’s yours at these times, that only happens when someone ram raids the place, but even the vague opportunity to reach towards that power – our power – is intoxicating enough and, perhaps, useful enough to be a wonder in itself.

Jeremy Corbyn has, in this over-extended metaphor, ignored the door and instead cracked open the toilet window. His politics, whether you view him as their embodiment or just a figurehead, are a throwback to a forgotten time. One where we still didn’t hold the weight of power, but one where we were at least aware that it was ours and in knowing that made sure we gave those doors a good kick every now and then to remind everyone of it. What he represents is a strength and awareness of what went on out of our line of sight that a lot of people had forgotten we could have. That’s not a revolutionary thing, or even a threatening thing, but it is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately the price he’s currently paying for that is getting a good kicking by the people who spent so long fitting locks, barring windows and doing their level best to ignore the whispers at the crack. And that’s not even to say that some of those people aren’t good, in their way, or kind, or caring, or considerate or humanitarian. It is to say, however, that they’re shut ins, hovering around that old power and fixated on it with a clear, myopic focus. Their better natures only ever directed through the prism of the privilege they’re guarding. Which, I’m sure, is very comforting for them, although it’s not much use to the rest of us.

The PLP  is currently in a state of self-destructive crisis. In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, in the aftermath of Corbyn’s victory, they’re faced with a terrifying new reality – or an old one depending on your point of view. People of all political stripes are increasingly aware of the power they’ve given away to them and, what’s worse, they’re increasingly asking what those in established power have been doing with it all this time. Their gut reaction is to lash out. Corbyn can’t be trusted because, unlike them, he seems to have at least half an eye on the outside world, he does more than just covet what he has. He sees ways to do good which go beyond jealously guarding his position.

In the day to day grind of life I don’t know that Corbyn could do the good that will perhaps be demanded of him by those who’ve taken his side. Those defending their own interests are fierce as hell when it comes to a fight and, as the media and his own MPs have already shown, they have no scruples about what they’ll do in the process. Certainly a glorious new Socialist future is unlikely, but a resurgent awareness of our relation to the power that we lend to politicians? Now that is possible.

Those in the PLP who’re embarrassing and disgracing themselves with their attacks on the man are fighting their own existential battle. They’ve shown themselves willing to fight the people who select them, campaign for them, fund them, vote for them and generally elevate them to the point where they’re allowed their little slice of the power pie. I can’t understand why they’re doing this when, regardless of the outcome, they’ll end up paying their own price for it. If they win their little coup then the Labour Party will haemorrhage support, lose money, be disaffiliated by Unions and destroy trust in itself for a generation to come. If they lose then the membership will remember them as traitors, the electorate will know them as failures and if they’re not deselected in due course then they’ll certainly face an eternity of obscurity on the back benches. Which I suppose answers my question, having made the first insane mistake they’re tied to their own sinking ship, presumably spurred on by that same myopic fixation on their own positions which taints and distorts any and all perceptions of the world around them.

In all honestly though, I couldn’t care less about them. The fates of those in the PLP who’ve behaved so badly are of next to no interest to me, beyond a slightly morbid sense of enjoyment at watching them flounder. What I do care about is the potential damage their actions will have on the rest of us. If they win their war (and it has reached the point of true conflict) then an idea which means a huge amount will be lost. We will have been told, with iron certainty, that the doors are shut. Our power isn’t our own, our party isn’t our own, our politics isn’t our own and our country isn’t our own. A message which will drive a generation of people away from even bothering, or perhaps drive them to start thinking of ram raiding those doors as the only choice – a blessing perhaps, in a terrible way. And it won’t just be Labour members and voters who’ll pay that price, this is an assertion of control that’ll echo through all the parties and all the people. Mix it in with a heady brew of Brexit, Tory failures (as always), Boris-No-Mates’ collapse and near non-existent trust and respect for the media and there’s absolutely no knowing what the result will be. Although I’m willing to guess it won’t be the capitulation to the voices of power that the PLP might imagine it to be in their wildest fever dreams.

So… what? Well the battle goes on, day by day, laden with media hysteria and nonsense. Ignore that, if you can, focus on the one thing we can know – that’s our power they’re abusing and unless they learn to remember who owns it now then, before long, we’ll start forgetting ourselves. Support Corbyn, rattle the door.