26 Nov 2015

Jeremy Corbyn’s red letter day

The letter Jeremy Corbyn has sent out to MPs is intended for the attention of party members. It declares his opposition to military action in Syria.

One Labour frontbencher said: “This is war, and I’m not talking about Syria.”


One member of the Shadow Cabinet said: “How do you deal with someone like that?” The Shadow Cabinet member accused Jeremy Corbyn of dishonesty and attempted intimidation.The Corbyn critics in the Shadow Cabinet say the deal in the room was to “take counsel and keep counsel” over the weekend. They believe Jeremy Corbyn has gone behind their backs and broken the agreement made in the room by writing a letter that is intended to stir up his supporters in the country to lobby their MPs to back him on Syria.

Three frontbenchers told me they thought we could be approaching resignations from the Shadow Cabinet. Two frontbenchers said they thought it might calm down but blamed Seamus Milne, the newly recruited Guardian columnist now at Jeremy Corbyn’s side, and John McDonnell for coming up with a harder line that seems a world away, in their view, from the pluralistic politics Mr Corbyn himself seems to espouse.

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15 reader comments

  1. James says:
  2. Tegwen Haf Parry says:

    As a Labour Party member I voted for Jeremy, because like him I agreed with his views on war and foreign policy and many other issues. It’s sad there are so many Blairites still within the party who are trying their best to oust him. Why don’t they cast their minds back to that fantastic day in September when the grass roots Labour Party told those in the PLP who they wanted to lead their party.

    The more they try to criticise him the more popular he gets!

    Don’t let them grind you down Jeremy – he has kept to his word about his views on war and to that I commend him!

  3. Greg Gordon says:

    Why shouldn’t the Leader of the Party set out his views? Jon Snow was suggesting that Jeremy Corbyn should show some leadership.

    Why was Barbara Roche on C4 News just now? As she said she is not in the parliamentary party. Of course not, she got one of the worst results for Labour in 2005 and lost her seat. One of the main reasons for this disaster was her support for the Iraq war. Any lessons here?

  4. John Haslam says:

    I would like to understand exactly what the labour ‘rebels’ want in relationship to Syria. Are we saying that because the bombing campaign is favoured by the US, that is all that is needed, without any further analysis as to how successful such an approach might be ?

    I don’t think anyone is saying that the present situation is satisfactory, but until there is a general agreement internationally and a clear plan of how to end the civil war In Syria, as well as one to deal with ISIS – and that will almost certainly involve the use of ground forces – simply bombing is likely to be a waste of time and in the long run, probably counter productive.

    1. Juliet Shipman says:

      I agree. No one knows what is going on in Syria or how effective this bombing campaign is. All we know is that a lot of Syrians are being bombed by almost everyone in the world and the end result is a an awful lot of refugees that no one knows what to do with.

  5. Bob says:

    Jeremy Corbyn has already turned his back on many of his positions/statements he held before his election as Leader so he is consistent! Making a military allegory if he was in my army he would not be provided with a gun and if he was a driver he would not get a vehicle.

  6. Charlie Ross says:

    Why shouldn’t Jeremy Corbyn oppose David Cameron’s half thought out policy? After all Cameron is already responsible for a series of foreign policy blunders in Syria – backing rebels against assad without a coherent plan, destabilising the region leading to a stronger ISIL and the worst refugee crisis in modern times. Cameron has made Britain less secure and without boots on the ground, our 8 RAF planes are not going to clear up the mess he helped create. The shadow cabinet need to get out of the Westminster bubble and actually talk to the people on the street because from where I am stood corbyn talks sense and he’s the only one trying to stop another major foreign policy blunder caused by this government.

  7. RichardGray says:

    JC may well be right about the obscenity and uselessness of air strikes in Syria. I think he is. But the way he is going about it is destroying the party he supposedly leads. He should recognise his role as leader of a major political party or go back to making principled statements from the sidelines.

    1. Brian Steere says:

      With respect, you are saying that only the unprincipled should have any political power.
      And that principle has no place in politics.

      The ‘New’ Labour Party was subverted by Blair to become a mere tokenism of the forms in which Shadow Money and Power dictates policy – for no real representation is allowed in anything that might be seen as ‘threat’ to the such agenda.
      Whether JC is indeed a threat it is clear that he is being demonized as such – but those who engage in smear reveal a lack of integrity to those who value integrity of communication and relationship as a basis of humanity – rather than being processed by a loveless and hollow technocracy masked within corporate agenda conferring privilege for collaboration… or not withdrawing it for compliance.

  8. Mary Clark says:

    Syria has enough problems without us joining in with air strikes and bombing them as well .You cannot bomb an ideology . France and others have produced their own brand of home grown radicals ,who are using this ideology to fill up a void in their lives .Fill up the void and the aggression will stop .

  9. James Davies says:

    Gibbon’s smear Corbyn daily blog post. It’s all distortion, as if sending a letter to MPs is worthy of a resignation, obvious nonsense. Notice the shadow cabinet members aren’t named.

    Gary Gibbon, please improve at your job.

  10. Philip says:

    Unlike Bob, I believe Jeremy Corbyn has been almost wholly consistent. He has remained true to his principles. The PLP have forced him into this position because of their disloyalty – in many cases a public disloyalty – and in some cases plotting against a leader elected with the largest mandate in the history of the party. The idea put around by some that he should resign is a monstrous denial of democracy. In view of their machinations, it seems to me he has every right to contact the people who elected him & who form the backbone of the party to remind the PLP that though they may live their lives in Westminster bubble & may well not yet have come to terms with what happened in the leadership election, tens of thousands of people don’t want the UK rushing headlong into military action where there is a high risk of civilian casualties, limited guarantee of success and the likelihood that it will make us less, rather than more secure, when there are better alternatives – which don’t involve killing innocent civilians & fuelling ISIS propaganda – available.

  11. Ken says:

    It’s all very petty, I live outside the UK so I follow it at arm’s length. So as I understand it the Labour Party needed a new leader because Miliband chickened out before a new one could be elected, not that Miliband was popular within the party, the PLP that is, but no one had guts enough to stand up to him. So we then have a 3 against 1 election and because the mediocrity didn’t win the PLP all gang up on the winner. Great, so the PLP want mediocrity to lead the Labour Party. Great, this ensures that Labour will never again win an election in England. When the UK leaves the EU and it will leave, the breakup of the UK begins. First as we know it will be Scotland, followed by Wales and Northern Ireland. None of this will bother Osborne as these are all seen a drain on the UK’s Banking lead economy, which is collapsing, banking is computer lead, industry isn’t. Prepare for the collapse of the Pound Sterling.
    All this because a miserable few want to Bomb ISIS in Syria, bombing ISIS in Iraq frees up American an Coalition aircraft to Bomb ISIS in Syria, we/you currently legitimately Bomb ISIS in Iraq. These few also insist that increased bombing using suspect equipment, old Tornadoes coming to the end of their service life and obsolete Tridant missiles and associated Submarines are more important that people, hospitals and the general welfare of all. Please keep in mind all this costs money which means greater Austerity for longer. But then these few, these would be precious few, closet conservatives, all agree with Austerity, unlike their Leader and Shadow Chancellor. Cesare was knifed the back by Allies.

  12. Barry says:

    it would be outragious for Corbyn to withold his views from his party with him being its leader. Those accusing him of dishonesty and suggesting there is a war within the party are allowing their own egos to userp the interests of the party. Corby wants to take on board views and move forward with a consensus, Those lambasting him are stamping holes in their own boat during a media squal in order to get their own turns at the helm. They will have their day or they will sink labour trying as their only interests are themselves.
    Corbyn understands that violence normaly generates more violence even if it is required sometimes, so needs to be measured. Like the war on drugs just escalating the bodycount and exacerbating the problem.
    Some Labour MP’s are like the press at the moment wanting war and blood and to come out on top with a hollow victory and no regard for colateral damage,

  13. Brian Steere says:

    One aspect seldom reported or acknowledged is the ‘war’ going on in the reshaping of British, European and Global politics through the use of masked, contrived or designed narratives that asserts and imposes what is essentially Loud Lies upon the possibility and potentialitity of real communication.
    My Corbyn stands out as NOT of this agenda – but of a willingness to communicate within a sense of humanity – and the unmasked hostility that he is being targeted with is ongoing across the whole of the mainstream Media – (with token gestures from Guardian masking the same hate) REVEALS that in fact the Media is not free but directed. This kind of direction can occur in many forms – it does not have to be overt. One can simply recognize courses of action that are believed would incur negative results and self censor real journalism.

    Mr Corbyn is being made the focus of very important decisions such as engaging acts of war directly upon Syria – which has been made a proxy for geopolitical agenda – as were Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya. There are very real news stories that are effectively censored from ‘mainstream’ because they do not support the so called ‘official narrative’ – of a one narrative State.
    The devices of deceit and diversion are well known known political tricks by those in attempts to coerce outcomes – well intentioned or not. But the General Public are not. Perhaps a willingness to educate is in order…

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