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What should Corbyn have done re Syria vote?


Okay, this might sound a little like a Scorched Earth approach, but - really - what would be the downside for Corbyn when up against Labour MPs who will just be trying to undermine him over the next few years?

Suppose Corbyn had said he was removing the whip from any MP who was further endangering UK citizens by engaging in more foreign adventurism in Syria. This isn’t the argument for this thread, but his case that the War of Terror has increased the terror threat exponentially in the last 14 years is a compelling one.

But my question is what woulds happen then?

There’s maybe 50 Labour MPs who are going to walk in there and vote with the Tories and maybe a few from other parties. The idea of not being able to run as the Labour candidate would be terrifying to them at the next election and, generally, the Blairites are a bunch of cowardly careerists who essentially vote the way the media establishment tell them to vote. So I reckon you would have had 20 MPs here tops (possibly even just 10) who feel so compelled by Cameron’s argument they’re ready to lose the whip and effectively end their careers.

What next? They sit as independents and carp, which they’re doing anyway, and the other Blairites are scared into good behaviour for the remainder of the parliament, a similar fate awaiting them if they step out of line. Benn gets removed as foreign secretary and there’s maybe one or two others, but you get a party all singing from the same hymn sheet and any talent shortfall can be remedied with some friendly Labour Lords. Yeah, I know there’s an irony to Corbyn relying on the Lords, but all’s fair in this war-torn climate.

This means we go into 2020 as Labour members and Labour MPs all marching in the same direction, nobody shooting anyone in the back. The media would have a field day, but that’s only going to intensify anyway and this way we don’t have any problems with our own people determined to kamikaze us.

Is there some downside to all this I’m missing? Like Conservatives, Blairites respond to a little discipline and I really do think they’re only going to get worse unless dealt with quickly.

What do you reckon?



The sad thing is: he isn’t a leader. He doesn’t think strategically or politically. He appears only to think of issues and moral questions. It’s almost as if the politics are beneath him; which in a way is admirable. But the reality is he will have to compromise some of himself and wade into that shitstorm sooner or later so he can’t fight for those morals he believes him. Whether he will ever get to that position is uncertain. He has been a pariah from a parliamentary position for 30 years. It’s hard to lose that mindset.

On removing the whip; they “know” he will be out soon enough so it’d be an empty threat and leave those MPs in prime position to present themselves as the voices of reason after a Corbyn decline.

What I’d love is that if these rumours of in fighting was just a rouse and Corbyn is actually a Machiavellin master. Cameron gets to the vote and all Labour stand against him and he is forced to resign. (Please write that story!)


His standing among party members has gone up since his landslide election to leader. There’s almost no scenario where a Blairite gets voted in for championing military action.

I got an email from my constituency MP (I live overseas but retain my vote there for general elections), another legacy man in Stephen Kinnock, and his response was quite pragmatic, he said he couldn’t vote for it not because of pacifist leanings but because Cameron presented no strategy beyond airstrikes. As illustrated here:


By now I’ve lost count of the number of times a Tory policy is described by the media establishment as a ‘trap for Labour’. We’ve ended up with a party running the country whose only real priority is screwing over the opposition, ahead of governing. At this point Labout ought to be saying: Fuck it! Come at us bro, we don’t give a crap. Not that they will.

The other aspect that really irks is this political narrative of ‘we’re skint! there’s no dosh!’ then, when something is deemed really needed, suddenly a few billion is ‘found’.

So, Syria will be the same as Iraq, spend several billion ineffectively blowing the crap out of a country far, far away then bugger off leaving the mess for the grateful populace to clean up. Yeah, that’ll work…


A point raised in a political podcast I listened to today pointed out that Britain has always had the full ability to tackle Daesh in Iraq, it’s believed their main man is in Mosul. So since we have not solved the issues there why do we presume that Britain bombing in Syria (where the US, France and Russia are already active) will solve anything of consequence?


All good points about the utter pointlessness of the endeavour but the Chief was talking about Corbyn’s response. He knows this so how does he play his hand?


Well I’d say he’s already played it, the free vote will allow the figures more to the right to have their say and not resign. I think the Corbyn team don’t help themselves with terrible PR gaffes like that Mao book thing but a lot of the electorate actually agree with their stances.

You see a similar thing in the US where the majority of voters agree with tighter gun control and increased minimum wages but nobody much champions them because wealthy vested interests vehemently oppose the ideas. Corbyn has a juggling act to carry out but if he goes he’ll be replaced by another leftist candidate as that’s the will of the party.

That may play out longer term because a lot of Osborne’s cuts are going to hit very hard in the next 2 or 3 years.


The Osborne cuts haven’t really come in yet. The establishment that rules both main parties were grooming someone like a Chuka or whomever to come in and continue same old biz after people horrified by what comes next. Then ten years or so of these guys before they screw up and a fresh young Tory comes in to again follow the same agenda. What REALLY is the difference between Cameron and Blair in foreign or economic policy?

Corbyn was never part of that plan and why both sides trying to destroy him. They need to get him out to continue this facade, though I suspect the bulk of the PLP don’t even realise this. They’re just a mob and either subtly or directly controlled.



They definitely realise it. The PLP MPs are the main winners in this extremely well organised stalemate. Blair was a vacuum for these careerist politicians.


To be honest, whatever he does will be met with the hysterical slagging that’s been in place from the start.

For someone who I’m told has no prospect other than electoral annihilation, there’s a hell of lot of fear from the powers that be.




I didn’t vote him in to be an electoral impossibility. I’d vote for him in a general election, and I think a lot of the people who couldn’t be arsed to join the Labour party to vote him in agree with enough of his points to vote for Labourin a general election. I suspect he will impress enough people to claw back a lot of the Lib Demmers.

He’s intelligent, doesn’t rely on autocue and has principles. And my hope is that the electorate will be so disgusted by the self-serving governing of the Tories that they’ll be very ready for a change. I cannot fathom a world in which the Tories would be elected again, not with what they’ve been up to.

But I hope he can withstand the next few years and round up a gang behind him, Magnificent Seven-style.


The downside would be that using the whip undermines his whole consistent message about politics through consensus. The whip is essentially undemocratic, as it means one man is deciding what we want to happen, and my understanding of Corbyn is that he is fiercely opposed to that. If he ever uses the whip, I would be sorely disappointed.

If he is serious about going back to the party to determine policy, he has to allow every MP to be guided by what their own constituents are telling them.

Of course, if MPs are ignoring what their constituents are telling them (and that’s hard to evaluate) then there needs to be a way for those constituents to recall them. That’s what’s missing in the process.

I would hope that voting records – even without the whip – would be considered as a basis for choosing candidates for the next election, and I wish this would be stated explicitly. I don’t mean, “Did you vote with Corbyn? No? You’re out.” I mean, “Did you do your best to reflect the wishes of your constituents? No? You’re out.”


I think the Lib Dems may be a bigger factor that people imagine. Almost every gain the Tories made in the 2015 election was from the Lib Dems, directly against Labour they ended up minus 2 seats. I was chatting to a guy out here who was council leader in Bath for many years and he says that now they’ve been dealt their kick in the balls as punishment most of their West Country stronghold seats will go back to them in 2020.


As tempting as it might be to whip the Blairites back into line, it does carry a couple of problems;

(1) It labels Corbyn a hard man, which is not a universally respected thing to be. It also doesn’t appear to be what he wants to be.

(2) They won’t all respond by getting back in line.

Blair casts a long shadow, he finished the job of reviving the party and lead it for more than a decade, including ten years as Prime Minister. I voted for him in every general election but, like many, I think he stayed in power too long and his resignation was long overdue.

But a lot of the people who came into politics, and the Labour Party in particular, did so during his time in No.10.

Corbin may face a real showdown with the right of his party at some point, but this is very early in his leadership to take that path.

As important is this vote is, he’s got a long road ahead of him and if he’s biding his time in the hopes that more of the senior members of the party come over to his side then I can’t blame him or disagree with him.


Which is why I think there’s so much sheer fear from both the politicians and media, they fear change.