Apologies if this blog is giving the impression of turning into a pro-Corbyn site, because from a hard-headed tactical point of view I'm inclined to think it would be much better for the SNP if Labour elect Continuity Miliband and proceed with their slow, intensely boring descent into irrelevance. But some of the nonsense being spouted by panic-stricken Blairites really deserves to be called out. There's a downright offensive article in Labour Uncut today by Paul Richards, who with no trace of irony refers to rank-and-file Labour members who diverged from the leadership line in the 1980s as "non-entities", but then whinges about a trade unionist who referred to Blairism as "a virus" that needs to be stamped out. Here's a thought - if the Blairites disapproved of any threats to harmonious camaraderie, wouldn't it have been better not to give their own faction of the party a specific name, and then boast about that faction's triumph over the left by plastering the name over every Labour manifesto and conference backdrop while Blair was leader? Wouldn't it have been better not to make the total exclusion of the left from the cabinet or Shadow Cabinet a test of 'sanity' and ideological cleanliness, as Liz Kendall did in one of the recent televised leadership debates?
Richards also says this -
"There’s Jeremy Corbyn himself, obviously, who has been a hardcore Bennite for 30 years...never sullying his political purity with a single minute on the front bench."
It's true that Corbyn has never been on the front bench, but the snide implication is that this was through personal choice, rather than because of the disinclination of others to give him a job. A quick glance at the records of Shadow Cabinet elections in the mid-90s gives the lie to that notion, however. Corbyn stood in 1994, finishing 49th out of 52 candidates (believe it or not, among the three MPs who finished even lower was Rhodri Morgan, the future First Minister of Wales). He stood again in 1996, finishing 26th out of 26. Extremely unimpressive results, but the fact remains that simply by standing, he was making himself available to serve as a Shadow Cabinet member under Tony Blair. You can't get much more ecumenical than that.