In the wake of the Chilcot report a Facebook acquaintance posted a video of Jeremy Corbyn at the time of the Iraq war, making an impassioned argument against it. The post was ( I imagine) designed to show that Corbyn has been on the right side of history and his stance is vindicated by the report. That’s fair enough.
However, it’s the smug ‘holy than thou’ attitude with which the video was posted, and I’m sure many similar ones across the internet, which feels unnecessary and self-defeating.
Firstly the post was titled ‘So…Blair v Corbyn?’ – implying a link towards Blair’s decision to go to war and the factions that are more than evident in the Labour party today. As if Corbyn’s correct stance on the war somehow negates his terrible leadership abilities and therefore all those Blairites are wrong – because ‘look what you did in Iraq’ – ‘we can never trust you again’.
Secondly it went on: ‘Also please don’t comment until you have made yourself aware of the outcome of Chilcot’. As if a single Facebook post is the debating halls of the Oxford Union.
What exactly is meant by this? In order to comment should I have read the entirely of the 2.6 million word report – have they? If not, what counts as ‘making yourself aware’? Reading articles on it?
I like Corbyn and I agree with a lot of what he stands for. I admire his ability to engage people and when he was first elected he had an opportunity to widen public debate, and provide credible counter-arguments to the Conservative’s austerity economy.
That isn’t what happened and now, regrettably, he has moved his party closer to being unelectable.
His supporters, who absolutely deserve credit for their activism, must come to the realisation that their leader isn’t the solution to the Everest of issues facing the country at the moment. By accepting he isn’t going to be prime minister, that being elected to government should be the aim of a parliamentary party, and by unifying the party around the idea of strong opposition they have a chance to move forward to a position of strength.
Furthermore, Corbyn and his supporters must stop blaming everyone else. No one has come out of the last 12 months well – no one. Complaining about how the mainstream media isn’t fair or how MPs are betraying the party doesn’t change the situation. Corbyn hasn’t energised the party as hoped – he’s divided it. Find a new hero, one that can lead. Corbyn was right about Iraq, but so were many others. His stance doesn’t make him electable or make him a leader.
The Labour party has a lot of problems at the moment and by acknowledging that some of them are down to Corbyn rather than passing the blame there is a chance to build a new narrative. For now though stop with the sanctimonious attitude – being a martyr for principles doesn’t help anyone if you can’t put them into action.