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​The Labour Party Is Dead and Jeremy Corbyn Won't Bring it Back to Life

His inclusion in the Labour leadership race is just cruel.

by Sam Kriss
18 June 2015, 5:00am

Jeremy Corbyn (right) with his fellow Labour-lefty John McDonnell (Photo by Jack Pasco)

Jeremy Corbyn is, if only for one reason, the most honest person in British frontline politics. In 2004, he was one of three people to sponsor a Parliamentary early day motion on MI5 proposals to use pigeons as flying bombs, a motion in which the House "believes that humans represent the most obscene, perverted, cruel, uncivilised and lethal species ever to inhabit the planet and looks forward to the day when the inevitable asteroid slams into the earth and wipes them out thus giving nature the opportunity to start again." (The Tory coward Peter Bottomley amended this radical hope to the measly expectation that "humans and other creatures may with luck have the chance to live together again", for which he should be shot.)

Most politicians despise the electorate, in a kind of feeble, snobbish way, but only Jeremy Corbyn has the guts to openly propose the final extinction of the human race as a solution to the institutional mistreatment of pigeons. That by itself is enough to make him worth voting for.

Corbyn is the surprise latecomer to the Labour party's leadership race, pulling in the required 35 Parliamentary signatures just short of Monday's deadline. In a lot of ways he's the perfect candidate. Corbyn is a veteran trade unionist and anti-war activist, a figure of the Real Proper Left who calls people "comrade" but also has enough extraneous "y"s in his name to placate the fretting middle classes.

He has a strong record on opposing Tory austerity, the 2003 Iraq war, the monarchy, and the other senseless wastes of human life that have plagued this country. He says what he means. Unlike the hovering translucent demons he's challenging for the leadership, he has strong links with the party's grassroots activists. He wants the cosmic annihilation of humanity, with a better life for everyone as a transitional demand. He is, fundamentally, a decent person. This is why his presence on the ballot is an incredible cruelty.

Something very strange happened on the last day before the contest proper started: several MPs added their names to the list nominating Corbyn for leader, despite openly admitting that they had no intention of voting for him and no desire to see him win. Why would they do this? The stated reason was that his presence would broaden the discussion within the party and give voters the biggest range of options possible. This is mendacious bullshit. Even if you follow this line, there's something sickening about it.

Since the disaster of May's election the Blairites have burst to the surface of politics like maggots up through the skin of a corpse. Even before the leader has been chosen, there's been what is essentially a coup d'etat. All this nonsense about a "discussion" is only intended to cement this victory. When Corbyn loses (and he can only lose), it'll be to prove that the discussion has been had, in a free and open manner, and the voices that want the Labour party to actually mean anything lost.

There's another aspect too. The act of nominating a candidate when you don't actually want him to win is brutally condescending. It's a show of power, to let poor, hapless old Corbyn know that he's only allowed to stand up for actual principles because the people who no longer have any are allowing him to. He's been turned into a puppet; it's an act of revenge. The Freudian overtones are hard to ignore. It's like a newly minted son insisting on taking his father out for dinner, again and again, calmly chatting over the starters, but with a cold saurian glint in his eye. I don't need you any more, it's saying; you may as well die.

Over on Noisey: Why Are Festival Comedowns So Awful?

Unreconstructed leftists like Corbyn are sometimes referred to as the conscience of the party – in other words, they're its superego. In Freud, the superego first formed when the first band of sons joined together to murder and cannibalise their father. The gesture is repeated in every infancy as the Oedipus complex. For those kids that never learned how to play nicely – the psychotics of the Labour front benches – it never ends. Every nomination for Jeremy Corbyn was another knife in his back.

Corbyn won't win. The party is gleefully dangling the prospect that things might somehow be better in front of us, and then snatching it away again. It's pure sadism. But even if he did win, what then? The party machine only just tolerated Ed Miliband, despite his being less a strong leftist ideologue and more a blob of Vaseline with a face drawn on. Either Corbyn would end up making concessions to the party's right wing, or he'd suffer the political equivalent of being found limp in a drainage ditch with his throat cut (sometimes, admittedly, the political equivalent of that is the same thing).

It's time to face facts: Labour is finished. We can only look forward to the day when the inevitable asteroid slams into the earth and wipes them out, thus giving politics the opportunity to start again.

@sam_kriss

Previously: A Pessimist's Guide to the Labour Leadership Race

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