At a time when coronavirus dominates the headlines, other news struggles to get out. Yet one piece of news deserves to get a much wider hearing, namely, the story of how Labour full-time officials opposed Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party to a degree where they preferred the party do do badly in elections. The same party officials were responsibly for feeding contacts in the media a constant drip of anti-Corbyn leaks, particularly around anti-semitism and Corbyn’s alleged failure to deal properly with complaints. Now a leaked internal party report, commissioned during Corbyn’s time in office, has revealed some of what went on and much about the attitudes and behaviour of senior Labour staffers, particularly during the 2017 general election when Labour did better than expected and denied the Tories a majority. Reports: Aaron Bastani at Novara Media, The Morning Star (1, 2, 3), The Independent.

The details revealed are very shocking although perhaps not surprising to anyone who had encountered these individuals or others like them in student politics in earlier decades. Essentially, they regarded themselves as the true guardians of legitimate mainstream Labour, understood as being very right-wing social democratic indeed (probably well to the right of former leader Ed Miliband and possibly his predecessor Gordon Brown) and believed that the elected leadership of the party and the majority of the membership were illegitimate. The epithet frequently used is “trots”. They devoted their time to rooting out from the party those on its left by trawling social media for statements that could justify exclusion (perhaps someone just “liked” a tweet by the Green Party). In communications (including to a private WhatsApp group) they gave full rein to their attitudes and even violent fantasies about those they hated, expressed hostility towards Muslims and solidarity with journalists who promoted an Islamophobic agenda. During the 2017 election campaign, they diverted resources from marginal seats towards candidates they approved of, expressed dismay at any good polling results, and when the actual results started to come in were angry and disappointed that the party had done well. Following that election they redoubled efforts to destroy Corbyn’s leadership.
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