Tuesday, June 28, 2016
On leadership, ambition and democracy
I am pleased to blog a link to a persuasive interpretation of Labour Party Rules which explains why the coup plotters can only keep Corbyn off a leadership ballot paper if they can rely upon a member of the judiciary who will provide a - shall we say - unusual approach to the interpretation of such Rules.
(Of course I concede the possibility that a shoddy political operation in the interests of the ruling class might be smiled upon by a judge prepared to put class interest before honest judgment - but such an adverse outcome is far from certain) (it's called "relative autonomy" if anyone's taking notes).
The Labour Party Rule Book plainly imposes no express requirement upon an incumbent leader facing a challenge to secure any nominations at all.
And this is why Jeremy Corbyn should hold on and let the members - not the Parliamentarians - decide the leadership of our Party.
I want to say something very important about why I support Jeremy Corbyn.
I support him as Leader precisely because he never imagined himself in this position.
I support him because he did not have that ambition.
In a lifetime of political activity in the labour and trade union movement I have often encountered ambition.
And, over many years, I learned to forget the contempt for ambition which should be the default position of any true socialist.
I have made the mistake, in the past, of admiring ambition and promoting and encouraging "comrades" who exhibited it.
I was profoundly wrong.
The petty ambition of the individual ego (whether on left, right or centre) is the antithesis of the ambition for humanity expressed by true leaders.
Those motivated by ambition are neither to be trusted or admired and those who seek to promote themselves should always be mistrusted.
I now see the character flaws, which I have sometimes failed to perceive in the past, exhibited very plainly in those seeking to depose Corbyn.
(Which is not to say that some others with the same flaws may not flutter around him, drawn like moths to light - and clinging to him regardless of any harm they may cause him).
The careerists of Parliament pretend that their opposition to Corbyn (which is really an opposition to the mass membership which supports him) is for the good of the Party.
It is not.
It is for their own self promotion.
The time is now for those of us who believe in both socialism and democracy to defend Jeremy Corbyn.
From a UNISON perspective, from a lay-led union, our support for Jeremy Corbyn was determined by extensive consultation with our members.
Our Labour Link Conference is the only body with the constitutional authority to change our collective mind on this question - and I think that delegates will reflect upon the fact that, in the absence of equally extensive consultation, there is no sound basis for any such change of mind.
As we must defend the democracy of our Party so we must defend the democracy of our trade unions.
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.