A good leader or bad is not the issue. The real issue is that Corbyn represents, and continues to represent, a powerful socialist movement in UK politics as witnessed by the hundreds of thousands of mainly young people he was able to mobilise through his unequivocal anti-austerity leadership campaign last summer. Efforts to topple Corbyn confirm what we all knew already, that the Blairite right-wing of the Labour Party were never prepared to accept a committed socialist, whoever it might be, as their leader and were simply waiting for the first half-decent opportunity to pounce. This makes the struggle to defend Corbyn and what he stands for of critical importance to socialists within the Labour Party and, more importantly than ever, to those of us outside the Labour Party who, until now, have been bystanders watching an increasingly bitter relationships breakdown.None of us can imagine the horrendous psychological impact the orchestrated resignations must be having on Corbyn and his team and the massive operational disruption they are causing to the Labour Party machine. This coup was clearly designed by extremely bitter individuals who appear to be revelling in the perverse pleasure of humiliating, hurting, weakening and destroying their opponent. But we must all hope that, despite this incredible pressure, Corbyn will stand firm and remain in post.
He has behind him the most powerful mandate of any Labour Leader and if there is another leadership election Corbyn is very likely to be re-elected. If this is the case, then I would urge Corbyn and his team to move quickly and decisively to remove from positions of influence all of those involved in, or supportive of, the coup including using the not inconsiderable influence of Momentum to ensure that none of these elitist carpetbaggers who have no genuine commitment to fundamental social change, are not selected or re-selected as MPs, councillors or party officials.
Furthermore, should Corbyn be re-elected as leader he should prioritise the development of his “new politics” by announcing that the Labour Party will enter into discussions with the Green Party and other socially progressive groups outside of the Labour Party, about establishing affiliation or federation arrangements. Indeed, I would suggest that, if they are not already doing it, the GP leadership should be sounding out Corbyn and his team about this possibility. I’ve said before and will say it again the future of modern politics, especially environmental and socialists politics is not the old fashioned monolithic, top down, controlling party structures invented more than 100 years ago, but alliances, federations and affiliations of like-minded people and organisations. To enable this new politics to work Corbyn should of course commit Labour to seek a fairer voting system and reduce the voting age to sixteen!
Having said that, should Corbyn fail to be re-elected as the Labour leader, or should he decide to stand down, my advice to him would be to demonstrate the leadership many claim (myself included) he hasn’t thus far shown and resign from the Labour Party immediately. There is no doubt that a properly planned Corbyn resignation would bring with it a mass-defection of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Labour Party members, including MPs and councillors. A large group of former Labour Party members and politicians gathered around Corbyn could be the catalyst for a new socialist/ environmentalist grouping which could incorporate the Greens, other left of centre organisations and hopefully trade unions too, who would be a new and modern political force determined to fight for fundamental and progressive social change. It’s happening in Spain and Greece and even in the USA with Bernie Sanders – and in a bizarre but exciting twist the EU referendum has opened up a once in generation opportunity to build a new 21st century socialist/ environmentalist force here.