Remainers backing Corbyn for PM are the far-left’s useful idiots
BY JAMES BICKERTON
It’s a truism throughout history that extremist factions rarely achieve power entirely on their own. All too often they are helped by more moderate groups, who think they can be controlled or exploited to achieve some temporary political objective. In September 1917 Russia’s Provisional Government released Bolshevik prisoners, including Leon Trotsky, and provided Bolshevik dominated workers councils with guns. A month later those guns were used not to thwart an attempted right-wing coup, as was the intention, but against the very Government that had gifted them. In Iran the Shah was overthrown in 1979 by an unlikely alliance of Islamists and leftists. Within a few years the former had executed or exiled most of the latter.
History repeats itself, as Marx put it, first as tragedy and then as farce. A significant section of the British centre-left has indicated it is prepared to hand power to Jeremy Corbyn and his associates, in order to achieve their desired Brexit outcome. Many ‘moderate’ Labour MPs, enraged by the prospect of a no-deal Brexit and Boris Johnson’s attempt to prorogue Parliament, have largely fallen into line behind the Labour leader. They still make dissatisfied noises to be sure, and occasionally post criticism on Twitter, but when push comes to shove they are ready to make Corbyn PM.
A temporary Corbyn premiership, in order to ensure there isn’t a no deal Brexit on October 31, has received endorsements from well beyond the Labour Party. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon admitted she would back an attempt to enthrone the Labour leader, adding “it is increasingly clear we will have to install a new Prime Minister…so that we can request a delay to Brexit and hold an election”.
Another SNP source, speaking to ITV’s Robert Peston, was more explicit stating “trying to find a compromise candidate, a national unity candidate, is too complicated, especially in the time we have – whether people like it or not, the temporary prime minister has to be Corbyn”. Even Ken Clarke, the former Conservative Chancellor, has said he would back putting Corbyn into 10 Downing Street if it’s “the only way” to prevent Brexit taking place on October 31 without an exit deal.
Perhaps the worst thing is that many of those who are prepared to crown Corbyn know exactly what he is. They are conscious of his longstanding associations with and sometimes defence of hardline anti-Semites, terrorist groups and dictatorial regimes. But provided he vows to block a no deal Brexit all this can be overlooked. Corbyn may be a terrorist apologist who has enabled institutionalised racism, they might as well say, but he’s our terrorist apologist who has enabled institutionalised racism. The only moral question, to some, is a person’s views on Brexit.
I have no doubt this tendency would be stronger still if Corbyn had adopted an unambiguously pro-remain position. It’s noticeable that much of the criticism he receives on Twitter from the centre-left isn’t over his past friendships with anti-Semitic racists and groups that kill to make a political point, but rather his relative Euroscepticism. If he dropped this I suspect we’d hear “oh Jeremy Corbyn” wafting over ‘People’s Vote’ rallies within the month.
The notion that a temporary Corbyn administration could be installed, in order to block a hard Brexit, without causing serious damage to British society is a fantasy. For a start such a Government may not be as short lasting as some assume. Many Remain activists are already arguing that another EU membership referendum, rather than a General Election, should be its focus. To pass the required legislation through Parliament and then hold the poll would take months. Even if the focus is a general election Corbyn will be handed the gift of incumbency, making the notion of him as Prime Minister less inherently ridiculous, and could then present himself as the man who stopped hard-Brexit in the subsequent public poll.
Britain has never had a Government of the far-left, with the state apparatus and security forces controlled by those who’s attachment to basic liberal-democratic norms is at best conditional. Should Labour form a Government the UK economy is likely to be run by John McDonnell, a man who praised the “bombs and bullets” of the IRA and once commented “parliamentary democracy doesn’t work for us, elections aren’t working for us” before calling for insurrection. Corbyn’s closest aides include former members or associates of the Communist Party, which advocates for an ideology that is inherently undemocratic. Staking the country’s future on them being moderated by office is a gamble no liberal should be prepared to make.
Hard as it may seem to believe there are some things, such as keeping the friends of tyranny out of high office, which are even more important than Brexit to our country’s future. To their credit the Liberal Democrats and former Tory rebels, for now, seem to accept this. Any liberal remainer tempted to ally with Corbynites to stop a no deal Brexit, or even Brexit itself, must do so with their eyes fully open. They would be handing executive power to people who think power comes as much from the street, or perhaps even the assault rifle, as Parliament and hold the concerns of Britain’s Jewish community in open contempt. In the end you can only play with flames for so long before someone gets scorched. And right now in Britain there are an awful lot of people toying with incendiaries.
James Bickerton is a writer and journalist. Follow him on twitter: @JBickertonUK