It started with Suzanne Moore, Zoe Williams joined in, then John Harris capped it off with a shoddy piece in the Guardian on Friday (15th July) about the ‘spite and bullying’ of the Corbyn campaign marking the end of Labour. Left wing journalists, falling over themselves to run away when the going gets rough. ‘Spite and bullying’? Ironically my comment on Harris’ article on the Guardian website which described it as poor journalism and rotten politics was removed by the Guardian’s guardians of good taste, presumably because it was considered to be a personal attack.
More serious was Owen Jones criticism of Corbyn’s limitations https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/15/labour-death-spite-bullying-working-class-base. Labour under Corbyn appears ‘shambolic and incompetent’. There has been a lack of direction and vision; people are at a loss to know what Labour stands for . There is substance in this. There has long been a vacuum of ideas on the left and Corbyn and McDonnell have done little to fill it, though the liberal intelligentsia haven’t either. Some Labour party members wonder if they dare continue to support Corbyn if it means the Tories are entrenched in power for ever. Now Jones, like Williams and the rest, is in a panic about the electoral consequences of backing Corbyn.
But Corbyn’s style more than the substance of his ideas accounts for his appeal. The really interesting question has always been what would happen to the political energy and enthusiasm that Corbyn released? Did the liberal (sometime socialist) intelligentsia not know this? It isn’t actually about Corbyn or the next election. If Corbyn is removed before the movement he inspired matures politically and ideologically, progressive politics of any kind will be thrown back. It is sad that the intellectual grasp of the liberal intelligentsia is so shallow that it cannot provide the ballast that Corbyn needs; instead they have joined the herd in the stampede to retreat.