Tuesday, 10 April 2018

The Road From Damascus

Are there really Labour MPs who hate Jeremy Corbyn so much that they would rather side with John Bolton and John McCain, with al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State? Yes, there are. Of course there. 

Tony Blair, who seems to have bought the BBC, was on the Today programme this morning  issuing them with their whip. And we shall soon have a comprehensive list of them, which will be very useful indeed. There are all sorts of ways of forcing a Commons vote on Syria in order to flush them out, even if to no other effect.

No one expects Boris Johnson to know anything about Syria, and no one expects Theresa May to know where it is. They are stock examples of certain stereotypes of and within their party. He is an upper-class buffoon, and she is the cut-glass but culture-free Home Counties housewife to "something in the City".

But to which Labour stereotypes do the anti-Corbyn MPs conform? If they were the working-class self-improvers of the fiercely internationalist trade union movement, or if they were figures of either the Fabian or the more-or-less Marxist intelligentsia, then they would take an entirely different view from the one that they are, if this is the word, articulating.

On the Division List of the House of Commons, they are about to name themselves. At which point, the process will begin to replace them with the working-class self-improvers of the fiercely internationalist trade union movement, or with figures of either the Fabian or the more-or-less Marxist intelligentsia. With or without the formal endorsement of the Labour Party.

Meanwhile, what is Conservative Party doing to replace the upper-class buffoon, and the cut-glass but culture-free Home Counties housewife to "something in the City"? That same Commons Division will be equally crucial to the future of both main parties. Or, at least, it ought to be.

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