To hear the Corbynites in full flow, you might assume that Labour’s traditions lie in hard left isolationism. They don’t – indeed there were generations of honourable, decent Labour politicians – not least Bevin and Attlee – who recognised the need to take on and defeat evil forces that threaten our way of life.
The question now is whether there will be more such figures in future. The recent debates within the Labour Party over Syria aren’t a normal policy disagreement, they’re being exploited as an excuse to purge those Labour MPs who are deemed impure by the Corbynites.
“F*** off and join the Tories” has already become a routine message from the ascendant hard left to those who disagree with their leader. In addition there are now activists marching on MPs’ offices, others arguing that protesting outside their houses is legitimate action, some are being flooded with images of dead children, while Stella Creasy reports having to leave the chamber because her staff were receiving abuse phone calls. No doubt more such pressure is applied behind the scenes. Meanwhile, Momentum members openly discuss the deselection of any MPs who dare to vote with the Government.
If this was just overzealous activists, that would be bad enough – considering that the Corbynites now make up a huge proportion of the Labour grassroots. But it’s worse than that – despite voicing his dislike for abuse in politics, Corbyn himself has given the nod for his supporters to punish dissenting MPs. The vote may nominally be free, but with his comments about there being “no place to hide” for those voting for the motion, he implicitly acknowledged the threat. And when lieutenants like Clive Lewis pronounce that “on their own heads be it” if MPs fail to toe the line, Corbyn takes no action to rein them in.
So this honourable tradition within the Labour Party has not simply suffered a setback, it is faced with extinction by the extreme cult which is now in charge. The nation would be the poorer if it was to be wiped out.