Jeremy Corbyn is startling sometimes. He has amassed such a bewildering (and bewildered) group of disparate supporters around him, and communicated his ideas so poorly, that it is deeply complex to ascertain exactly what we’re looking at when we see his Labour Party operate. In no reasonable sense is the Labour Party today the same entity it was when it was, say, winning elections. They don’t seem to have a problem with this, because, as any Momentum supporter will tell you, elections aren’t the point. The point is stimulating activism.
Whoa there, spooky. The UK is, constitutionally, a parliamentary democracy where the people are represented – Parliament is sovereign, thanks to the decision to cut the head off Charles I and the coronation vows of successive monarchs. Elections are the fucking point, and anyone in any doubt should try to subvert or overthrow parliamentary democracy (protip: you’ll go to jail).
As a result, it doesn’t matter how many clam-bakes, safe-spaces, die-ins or bake-offs you organise, if you want to wield actual power in the United Kingdom, you need to run for election and win some seats.
Even the most pugnacious Labour MPs know this – but for some reason, Momentum’s drones either seek to marginalise and minimise the importance of parliamentary elections or to undermine their own members of Parliament. The people who know how our democracy functions are being undermined by people who think one-way streets are systematic capitalist oppression.
Momentum does not, yet, own the Labour Party, but they’re about to get the keys to the shop at Party Conference. When that happens, it’s curtains for both the ability of the party to construct a coherent narrative in the leadup to the general election, and for the authority of Jeremy Corbyn himself. When he is returned to his leadership, the strategically shaved morons shilling for him will begin the purge, to get rid of the people who know how the fax machine works, and the people who moderate the worst bits of McDonnellism, the thuggish, aggressive, militant tendency in the party. McDonnellism has had to be quiet and loyal up to now – but even Tom Watson, the intellectual heir to McPoison and Brown, must now be able to see what’s coming now.
We’ve been able to laugh and slightly worry about Labour up to now – from this weekend on, we need to reflect on the crisis McDonnellism inflicts on UK politics – because nobody’s actually foolish enough to vote for the thug, but they may be prepared to put up with Uncle Grandpa.