Jeremy Corbyn and his team have no intention of accepting the proffered hand of friendship. To succeed, their strategy requires division and conflict, inner circle dating app DAN HODGES. T-shirt is emblazoned with an image of their hero gazing wistfully off into the distance. HOPE’ spells the caption emblazoned across the chest, in a homage to the classic Obama campaign poster.
We know this because Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters keep telling us it is. People voted for hope,’ he declared in his first interview after the Election. We offer hope,’ he solemnly intoned on the cover of the New Musical Express a week before polling day, the same interview in which he pledged with equal solemnity to deal with all outstanding student debt. But now the Election is over. And within Jeremy Corbyn’s inner circle, all the hopey, changey stuff can now be junked.
The Corbynites are really coming for us,’ one Labour MP told me grimly. There’s nothing to stop them. Before the Election there were just enough sensible supporters to keep the Momentum activists in check, but now they don’t see any purpose to it. I’ve had lifelong members telling me ‘there’s just no point fighting them any more’. Another Labour MP put it more graphically.
In the days after the Election, moderate Labour MPs attempted to sue for peace. Messages were sent to Corbyn both publicly and privately that, in the wake of a result few had predicted, they were prepared to wipe the slate clean. The boycott of his Shadow Cabinet would be lifted. We were prepared to press the reset button,’ was how one former Shadow Cabinet member explained it to me. But Jeremy Corbyn and his team have no intention of accepting the proffered hand of friendship.
They believe civility does not mobilise activists or provide sufficient political definition for their radical project. To succeed, their strategy requires division and conflict. Hope is a big part of Jeremy Corbyn’s appeal. People voted for hope,’ he declared in his first interview after the Election. Hope is a big part of Jeremy Corbyn’s appeal.
They think that, after the second leadership election, they lost focus,’ a Labour MP told me. The feeling in Jeremy’s camp is that they need to have an enemy, someone to fight. So in each constituency they’re going to deliberately target a supposedly disloyal MP, or disloyal councillors or find an issue that divides the party locally. And then they’re going to mobilise around it. A graphic recent example of that occurred in Haringey, where a routine motion sponsored by the UN condemning anti-Semitism became the subject of a stormy protest in which one Jewish councillor was spat on, and others were shouted down and threatened with political retribution. It’s a proper plan,’ one Labour official told me, ‘they’re going to try and turn every meeting into a battleground’.
DAN HODGES: Last week Corbyn and his anti-Semitic pals smashed the moral compass to pieces but the most terrifying thing of all? DAN HODGES: Are we all committed Corbynistas, Brexiteers or Remainers? No, a silent majority just want to tell Mrs May to get on with it! We’re careering towards an epic political pile-up and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it. Over the past couple of weeks we have seen several fresh examples of what Jeremy Corbyn likes to call ‘the kinder, gentler politics’. First there was the statement from one of his leading parliamentary cheerleaders, Laura Pidcock, that she would never consider being friends with any of her Conservative colleagues because of her ‘visceral’ disgust for their agenda. Then came the news that Labour’s Scottish leader, Kezia Dugdale, was stepping down after what a number of her colleagues told me was a witch-hunt by Corbyn’s supporters north of the border.