The Socialist 6 December 2017 |
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Documentary: Labour - the Summer that Changed Everything
Blairite horror and Labour's divisions graphically exposed
Awkward: Blairite Stephen Kinnock (Click to enlarge)
Dave Reid, Socialist Party Wales
Until the recently renewed attacks on Momentum, it all appeared to be sweetness and light in Labour.
The daily Blairite attacks on Corbyn have receded. Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell seem to believe the parliamentary Labour Party is behind them.
But David Modell's fly-on-the-wall documentary following four Labour candidates through the general election campaign should act as a reminder of just how deep-seated Blairite opposition to Corbyn is.
During the campaign, they all expect Corbyn-led Labour to get hammered, and Theresa May to achieve an unassailable position. Some fervently hope she succeeds.
One of the most dramatic TV moments this year was the 8 June exit poll that correctly predicted gains for Labour and losses for the Tories. This is the documentary's climax.
In particular, Stephen Kinnock - MP for Aberafon and latest product of the millionaire Kinnock dynasty - looks aghast.
His eyes are frozen in horror and amazement as the implications of this huge moral victory for Corbyn sink in.
You need to remind yourself that he is not a Tory, but a Labour MP. And that he has been re-elected - with an increased majority courtesy of the Corbyn surge. The narrator gets it right. "He is thinking that the Corbyn-free future he has been dreaming of might never actually come."
The shock and disappointment in Kinnock's eyes as he learns Labour has not been hammered is the most eloquent description of how Labour remains two parties in one.
Kinnock's party, New Labour, wanted the Tories to win so Corbynista Labour could be defeated.
But the film also shows how the right wing has got over the shock and regrouped. In the immediate aftermath many of the Corbyn backstabbers have recovered their poise and publicly turned into Corbyn back-slappers.
Tom Watson, alleged author of the 'Project Anaconda' strategy - to squeeze the life out of Corbyn's leadership - wraps his arms around a surprised Jeremy Corbyn in an apparently joyous hug.
But that hug is a metaphor for the right wing trying to wrap Corbyn up for now, and prepare to strike late.
At Labour Party conference, left-wing journalist Owen Jones - who made prophecies of doom if Corbyn continued as leader - is back on the stage at Momentum's 'World Transformed' event.
Unfortunately the Momentum leadership, and Corbyn's advisors, have apparently been seduced by the parliamentary Labour Party's sham surrender.
Corbyn's supporters must press home their advantage to demand democratic rights including mandatory reselection of Labour MPs.
This excellent documentary did, however, miss some important issues. It never showed, for example, the turning point in the election, which was the launch of the radical manifesto that marked a break from the old politics as usual.
Until then, the press campaign, unanswered up to that point, had an effect in turning some working class supporters against Corbyn.
Nevertheless, it demonstrates the chasm between Corbyn's supporters and most Labour MPs, exposing the utopian idea that the Blairites can ever be won over to supporting Corbyn or his policies.