It’s Still the Iraq War, Stupid.
No rational person could blame Jeremy Corbyn for Brexit. So why are the Blairites moving against Corbyn now, with such precipitate haste?
The answer is the Chilcot Report. It is only a fortnight away, and though its form will be concealed by thick layers of establishment whitewash, the basic contours of Blair’s lies will still be visible beneath. Corbyn had deferred to Blairite pressure not to apologise on behalf of the Labour Party for the Iraq War until Chilcot is published.
For the Labour Right, the moment when Corbyn as Labour leader stands up in parliament and condemns Blair over Iraq, is going to be as traumatic as it was for the hardliners of the Soviet Communist Party when Khruschev denounced the crimes of Stalin. It would also destroy Blair’s carefully planned post-Chilcot PR strategy. It is essential to the Blairites that when Chilcot is debated in parliament in two weeks time, Jeremy Corbyn is not in place as Labour leader to speak in the debate. The Blairite plan is therefore for the parliamentary party to depose him as parliamentary leader and get speaker John Bercow to acknowledge someone else in that fictional position in time for the Chilcot debate, with Corbyn remaining leader in the country but with no parliamentary status.
Yes, they are that nuts.
If the fault line for the Tories is Europe, for Labour it is the Middle East. Those opposing Corbyn are defined by their enthusiasm for bombing campaigns that kill Muslim children. And not only by the UK. Both of the first two to go, Hilary Benn and Heidi Alexander, are hardline supporters of Israel.
This was Benn the week before his celebrated advocacy of bombing Syria:
Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn told a Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) lunch yesterday that relations with Israel must be based on cooperation and rejected attempts to isolate the country.
Addressing senior party figures in Westminster, Benn praised Israel for its “progressive spirit, vibrant democracy, strong welfare state, thriving free press and independent judiciary.” He also called Israel “an economic giant, a high-tech centre, second only to the United States. A land of innovation and entrepreneurship, venture capital and graduates, private and public enterprise.”
Consequently, said Benn, “Our future relations must be built on cooperation and engagement, not isolation of Israel. We must take on those who seek to delegitimise the state of Israel or question its right to exist.”
Heidi Alexander actually signed, as a 2015 parliamentary candidate, the “We Believe in Israel” charter, the provisions of which state there must be no boycotts of Israel, and Israel must not be described as an apartheid state.
This fault line is very well defined. The manufactured row about “anti-Semitism” in the Labour Party shows exactly the same split. In my researches, 100% of those who have promoted accusations of anti-Semitism were supporters of the Iraq War and/or had demonstrable links to professional pro-Israel lobby groups. 100% of those accused of anti-Semitism were active opponents of the Iraq War. Never underestimate the Blairite fury at being shown not just to be liars but to be wrong. Iraq is their Achilles heel and they are extremely touchy about it.
No rational person would believe Brexit was Jeremy Corbyn’s fault. No rational person would believe that now is a good moment for the Labour Party to tear itself apart. Extraordinarily, the timing is determined by Chilcot.