The oft-repeated whinings of the dying centre of British politics directed at Jeremy Corbyn, his like-minded colleagues and their supporters, have decayed into a murmur in the background. The manufactured smear campaigns have been debunked, the challengers in elections – Owen Smith and Gerard Coyne – have dissipated in their respective vacuums and the invented political analyses have been dealt with studiously.
Corbyn’s opponents at the centre of British politics – Progress MPs and liberal journalists – have no strategy other than continuing to repeat what they first uttered clumsily when it became clear that he would win the leadership election in 2015. (I mentioned this in 2015 in Election Despair and Labour’s Death in the section ‘The horror of popular support.’) They have to keep going because the main political objective they share is to try to ensure that socialism does not become popular.
Today, the self-appointed critic-general of left-wing politics, Nick Cohen, preached his hollow polemic yet again. In Cohen arranges his toys in The Observer, Cohen pretends to state that he is speaking directly to Corbyn supporters. He isn’t and nor does he expect the readers to believe that claim; it is just a pointer to indicate a possible semi-comical essence to his article so Cohen can, if necessary, respond to inspection by post-presenting his comments as humourous. The insurance policy of a nod to humour continues throughout the article.
The style Cohen has chosen is to mimic a stereotypical excited blogger who thinks he has many worthless cod-peremptory “points” to make, none of which have been researched, fact-checked or logic-checked, but who possesses no skills that could coalesce these random thoughts into a coherent structured didactic narrative. Cohen is a better writer but he has chosen to write like that for this article; that is, he pretends that he is so “exasperated” that he is metaphorically throwing his toys out of the pram when he is actually arranging them carefully around the room to give the impression of a toddler tantrum.
There is only one “point” that Cohen makes which is that centrists were right to say that a left-leaning leader of the Labour party would reduce the party’s appeal electorally. He doesn’t seek to prove this. Of course, it cannot necessarily be proven nor rebutted with confidence. However, the accompanying analysis from Cohen, that he, presumably, thinks will solidify his point, is just more of the absurd commentary and downright lies that characterise the centrists’ anti-Corbyn polemic.
“Corbyn’s victory has allowed the right to run riot” proclaims Nick Cohen. But, the Tories acquired a majority at the 2015 general election because Ed Miliband’s (not-left) Labour had nothing to offer. Prior to Corbyn’s election as leader, Labour abstained on some far-right Tory bills in parliament.
“Corbyn is so unpopular even Scottish Tories can walk all over him” is Cohen’s analysis of Labour in Scotland. But, Labour’s rapid decline in Scotland occurred as a direct result of the Tony Blair’s disciple Jim Murphy’s incompetence and arrogance.
“In an election, they – [the Tories] – will expose the far left’s record of excusing the imperialism of Vladimir Putin’s gangster state , the oppressors of women and murderers of gays in Iran, the IRA, and every variety of inquisitorial and homicidal Islamist movement” is Cohen’s prediction for Tory strategy if and when a general election is called. So many cuddly toys and rattles were put down on the rug while he wrote that garbled sentence. Cohen’s “proof” of the Putin claim is the employment of Seamus Milne, his “proof” of the Iran claim is that Corbyn was interviewed by Press TV and Cohen fails to acknowledge that the sight of Tebbit being stretchered out of the Grand Hotel after the Brighton Bomb was met with many cheers. During an election campaign Labour could highlight, for example, Theresa May’s obsequious meeting with Trump, her endorsement of Erdogan’s attacks on freedom and the Tory government’s military support for Saudi Arabia’s carpet-bombing of Yemen but Nick Cohen can see only in one direction.
“It ought to shame you – [Corbyn supporters] – to learn that, ever since Corbyn promised to take the fight to the Tories, he and his hopeless frontbench have not forced one Tory minister to resign or even endure a sleepless night” is a hopeless piece of trolling that would embarrass even Sean Spicer. The current mob of Tory ministers is the most corrupt and the stupidest ever seen in parliament and, thus, to expect any of them to resign for professional reasons is laughable. Cohen also chooses to ignore the continuous intelligent criticism of said ministers by Labour’s front bench.
“Labour politicians who want to fight rather than pose say they can see the right mobilising to demand the worst possible Brexit” is a concoction of nonsense. Labour MPs can oppose the terms of Brexit in parliament if they wish, but Tories have a majority. Cohen’s sentence here is particularly dumb and infused with hackneyed vocabulary.
“I accept that among you there are true far leftists who won’t care. You want, and may get, a ‘radical’ Labour party that will spend decades in opposition waiting for the glorious day when voters realise their mistake. I don’t think your imaginary victory is worth waiting for. You don’t have a radical programme that a 20th-century Marxist or any other serious thinker would recognise. All that’s left of the far left is a babble of sneers and slogans.” The purpose of this interlude by Cohen is to try to persuade left-of-centre Labour supporters to distance themselves from further left socialists. Cohen simultaneously mocks the far-left while stating that Marxists are not impressed at all by Corbyn’s politics. The latter point is true but, as Cohen knows, those of us with more left-wing aims than Corbyn can view him and his colleagues as promoting some socialist politics rather than being the complete answer for the future of British politics. Even a sniff of socialist politics is what the likes of Cohen wish to crush.
Nick Cohen has seen the collaboration of Nick Clegg, he has seen the uselessness of Ed Miliband, he can see the careerist apathy of Sadiq Khan and he knows that the Progress MPs who infest the parliamentary Labour party fear Corbyn’s politics much more than they oppose Theresa May. Cohen knows that the Tory cabinet is a diseased mob of criminality and stupidity. Equally, he knows that the constant harping from him and the other centrist liars that Corbyn, McDonnell, etc. are not opposing the Tories is a blatant lie, the opposite of the truth.
Cohen might disapprove of some Tory policies but he fears socialist tendencies much more. This article is not, as he would like it to be viewed, an emotional plea for reason; instead, it is an act, a pretence of exasperation. Cohen climbed out of his pram, picked his rattles, teddy bears and squeaky toys up and placed them down around the pram. “Look how worked up I am!”
He has regurgitated the same knowingly dishonest tripe but with a false excited tone. Indeed, that is the norm for the professional troll. Repeat the lies and misdirection over and over with added invented emotional fervour.