Comment can seem redundant after an event as shocking as the Paris massacres, but I can’t resist observing how things have changed since the events of last weekend. This seems undeniable when even the Guardian’s Comment-is-Free is feels compelled to publish an article by Rafael Behr denying the reflexive orthodoxy that islamic terrorism is a product of western interventionism.
Granted, CiF give space to that very same orthodoxy in Mehdi Hasan’s companion piece, but the point is that even a week ago, Hasan’s voice would have passed almost unchallenged on the resurgence of any debate on Parliamentary authorisation for British air-strikes on Syria.
This is, of course, mirrored by the manner in which the Isis attacks have managed to accelerate what I have previously outlined as the necessary falsification of Corbynism (yes, you knew this was coming…). To recap, my thesis is that the triumph of the ‘anti-war’ hard left represented by Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader of the Labour party is so deeply embedded in the established political orthodoxy that only a final and decisive collision with electoral reality could discredit it, subsequently allowing Labour to reconstruct itself as a practical social democratic alternative to Conservative government in Britain. I expected some minor precursor shocks along the line before that catastrophic and cathartic event as the saner elements of Labour contested Corbynism from the centre-ground, even if I regarded them as futile. These were indeed swiftly apparent in Corbyn’s clashes with the PLP, even if I must admit they came thicker and faster than I expected.
The first, I believe, came in the form of his IRA-apologist Shadow Chancellor embracing then abandoning Tory legislative government spending limitations, thereby torching his own threadbare fiscal credibility like a teenage joyrider setting fire to a stolen Trabant. The next arose over his nuclear unilateralism conflicting with existing Labour policy to maintain Trident submarine-launched nuclear missiles. Demonstrating considerable value for money, the same issue came back into the news with his appointment of another veteran retro hard-left figure, Ken Livingstone, to conduct the relevant policy review alongside his multilateralist shadow Defence Secretary and provide the necessary unilateralist influence. Immediate embarrassment followed when Livingstone reacted to predictable criticism of his appointment from Kevan Jones, a junior shadow defence Minister, by accusing him (apparently in ignorance of Jones’ treatment for depression) of needing ‘psychiatric help’.
Jezza himself has made commendable efforts to lead his cronies by example in this sustained comic opera. One being his expressed unhappiness over the legality of drone strikes killing Isis members with a penchant for the recreational decapitation of civilian hostages. Another being his halting attempt to distance himself from the Stop the War Coalition’s tweet made immediately after the Paris attacks, which blamed the attacks on western foreign policy. That particular effort might have been more effective if the tweet in question wasn’t entirely consistent with STWC’s ideological approach (i.e., they are not so much ‘anti-war’ as ‘anti-western intervention’ in isolation). The damage that sort of analysis now involves in the post-Paris political context might have been less obvious if Corbyn himself both hadn’t been chair of that particular organisation until his leadership election, and if he hadn’t clearly shared their opinion on the matter.
To add to this embarrassment of riches, another example immediately followed in the form of his reluctance to accept the necessity of ‘shooting-to-kill’ suicide bombers, which was also revealed immediately after the Paris attacks. Corbyn’s precise comments on the issue of the police shooting suicide bombers bear further
ridicule, I mean repeating;
‘But the idea you end up with a war on the streets is not a good thing.’
Indeed. I suggest when you have fanatics using assault rifles and bombs to engage in the mass-murder of civilians you already have a war on your hands, Jeremy. Responding in self-defence may not be ‘a good thing’, but it is almost certainly necessary. That Corbyn has, in another episode of abruptly backtracking after yet another collision with reality, accepted this evil necessity still does nothing to detract from the damage his first responses have caused; very few people outside the echo-chamber of his own constituency will now have confidence in his capacity for decision as a Prime Minister responsible for the defence of the country.
This is only the latest in an exhaustive list of buffoonery which Jezza has managed to cram into his short but fun-packed career as leader, hopelessly attempting to manage the self-destructive episodes inflicted by himself and staged by his hard-left buddies as soon as he appoints them to shadow cabinet positions. It’s like a really bad episode of Dr Who where Corbyn, McDonnell, Livingstone and a coterie of like-minded revolutionaries from a fringe Trotskyite meeting in the glory days of the Lunatic Left under Ken’s leadership of Greater London Council in the late seventies or early eighties find themselves propelled into a twenty-first-century post-Thatcherite world which they don’t comprehend understand, and where the yawning gulf between their ideological certainties and conflicting reality leads to a series of predictable episodes of comedy embarrassments.
For some reason I find myself recalling the exploits of another hopelessly deluded urban revolutionary and his acolytes from the Tooting Popular Front from that era.
Power to the People! Forward to Oblivion!