Several months ago I wrote a piece for this blog entitled “How Despicable is Chuka Umunna?”. It would appear that we now have the answer.
Umunna, who seems to have become a darling of the media for his unfailing willingness to stick the boot into Corbyn’s Labour Project and his supporters, has now decided that this is a good moment to resign the Labour whip and form a breakaway group.
This at the very time when Tory Brexit is unravelling and the only thing standing between the people of Britain and a cliff-edge ‘no deal’ departure from the EU is Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.
That Labour under Corbyn has massively increased its membership and achieved the biggest increase in its vote share during GE17 than since 1945 is as nothing to the 7.
They speak of a culture of bullying and intimidation and of institutionalised racism in the party. (Interestingly, in our local CLP some of those who are hostile to the new direction the Party is taking are also attempting to build a narrative of “bullying and intimidation”. It is as if they are all taking tips from a Progress or Labour First handbook on how to disrupt the Left.)
Still, it seems that many within Labour are distinctly uneasy with democracy, often getting it mixed up with bullying and intimidation.
This is certainly true of the Maudlin 7, several of whom have been enjoying a less than happy relationship with their own Labour members. Gavin Shuker, recently lost a vote of confidence tabled by his Constituency Labour Party (CLP). Same is true for Chris Leslie and Angela Smith. Luciana Berger was due to face a similar motion last month. The motion was withdrawn at the request of the CLP chair.
Angela Smith, at least, seems to take her responsibilities to her electorate very seriously, to the extent that when campaigning during GE 17 she had to write to Labour voters that they shouldn’t worry about Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister.
This commitment does seem to waiver over less important matters such as Brexit. 61% of her constituency voted leave and yet Smith has consistently campaigned for a “People’s Vote”. We can only assume that she is very responsive to her constituents except when Angela knows better. Angela also knows better on water privatisation, of which she is a great champion, and which stands in stark contrast to the opinion of the British people who are clearly in favour of re-nationalisation
And this point gets to the heart of what is wrong with the Misunderstood 7. They aren’t remotely interested in democracy.
Why else would any MP who had gained a seat and a salary by standing as a Labour MP, supporting a manifesto which gained widespread approval from the British People, then regard a by election as unnecessary upon resigning the party?
They are not only dismissive of their democratic obligations, they are also fearful of the likely result, which would consign them to electoral oblivion.
There is also the question of funding sources. Since they have set up as a grouping rather than as a party they are excused from revealing anything about where they are getting the cash to pay for all those PR professionals. We suppose that none of the £450 an hour that Umunna is being paid by the newly established “Progressive Centre UK” will go towards these costs.
One of the justifications for the launch of this new Independent grouping is the problem of Rampant Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.
Only trouble here is that it is simply not supported by the facts, which demonstrate that about 0.08% of our membership are subject to investigation for anti-semitism.
We can be certain that the Mithering 7 and their good friends in the media will not allow the facts to get in the way of a good, anti-left narrative. We shall watch in amazement at the amount of airtime and column inches devoted to their every word in the course of the next few months until, eventually, they slide into electoral and political irrelevance.