The Corbynistas almost – almost – make me nostalgic for the cybernats and the halcyon days of the “civic and joyous” referendum on Scottish independence in 2014. The militant keyboard warriors on the side of Alex Salmond were delightful and charming compared to those on the far left who ride under the banner of the Labour leader.
There is nothing new in people not liking what they see written and wanting to let you know it. That instinct is as old as the printing press. It is healthy. Every journalist learns early on the power of reader criticism and interaction.
Even so, there is something peculiarly batshit crazy bananas about the, er, feedback from the most aggressive Corbynistas. Write something robust about St Jeremy of Corbyn and they arrive online in the most furious rage that defies reason. The fervour is that of a religious cult. Many of the converts do seem to be young. To criticism they respond – on Twitter and elsewhere – with a torrent of either abuse or demands that x person be shut down for saying y. How will these people compute a massive Labour defeat on June 8th if it happens? Who will they blame? Will anything cause them to pause and ponder whether they might have attached themselves to some very bad people in the Corbynista high command? Will they take any responsibility for the destruction wrought by these wreckers on a once great party. What will it take?
Predictably, the cult of Corbyn crowd didn’t like my piece in the Times today on Corbyn and patriotism, as they dislike anything unhelpful, especially something pointing out that Corbyn is outside the tradition of patriotic Labour. Some others on the mainstream left thought it tasteless so soon after Manchester. Well, what could be more important now than basic questions of suitability for office and patriotism? If not now, when?
It is, I’m afraid to say, perfectly obvious. Corbyn is not some slightly misguided old hippie pushing peace. He is not a “nice guy” with a few wacky ideas and a heart in the right place. At every turn he has taken the side of Britain’s enemies. He was pro-IRA (and no, he had stuff all to do with the peace process). He even chaired the anti-West Stop the War until 2015, a vile organisation in which Stalinists and Trots, unusually, come together to campaign against the West. The best one can say is that he’s just a bit dim and not aware what it all means.
Either way – being anti-British or a bit dim, or both – he is not a remotely suitable person to chair COBRA emergency meetings, or to see secret intelligence, or to engage with Nato or look after forces. The good news is that the voters know this.
But as the day of defeat draws near, the disciples are on the hunt for someone else to blame. The alleged “comedian” Rufus Hound tweeted that all this terror emergency stuff is a bit suspicious from the Establishment. Helpfully there was a reichstagfire hashtag deployed too, just to give the conspiracy theorists an extra thrill.
Ian Leslie, a sensible man of the centre-left, put it perfectly in response. Houndist views are widespread among a frighteningly large minority of people. It suggests that the British left – or the non-mainstream part of it inhabiting a social media echo chamber – has completely lost its mind.
It happens. In 1968 and then over Mao it happened. Just look at the trouble John Lennon got into with the undergraduate revolutionaries for his song Revolution. It happened in the early 1980s too, in London Labour and Militant.
There is only one solution, for which every patriot across the spectrum should agitate after June 8th. That is the reinvention or rebuilding of Labour as a sensible, pro-British, moderate, patriotic party that is sound on defence and terrorism. The Corbynistas should all be expelled, or encouraged to go off and form their own party and see how many seats they get without the remaining infrastructure of the Labour party propping them up. Having failed at politics the Corbynistas will then have plenty of time on their hands to go to Rufus Hound concerts. Everyone’s a winner and the UK gets back a proper opposition party and potential party of government.