As it stands, Labour MPs are desperate not to leave their party, even after everything that has happened in the past year. They cling to the hope that Smith will win, somehow. That from there normalcy can slowly but surely be restored. But it is now becoming about more than just Corbyn’s leadership – the far-left are digging in deep, changing the party in a way that will be hard to reverse.
Just to recap: yesterday there were elections for the six places on the National Executive Committee that represent the CLPs (there are 33 places on the committee in total). There were 15 candidates, and the split between Corbynites and non-Corbynites was obvious. Amongst the non-Corbynites was a celebrity in the form of Eddie Izzard, and a high profile Labour activist in the form of Luke Akehurst. Many thought that Corbynites would dominate the six available slots – in the end, they grabbed every single one of them.
The reasons why this is bad news for Labour are several fold. One, it puts the NEC that much firmer in the far-left’s grip, meaning that the ultimate decision making body of the Labour Party is pretty much now in their hands completely. Two, it demonstrates just how powerful Momentum are with the membership – the organisation pushed hard for the six who took the seats to get elected and they all won handily in the end. Three, given the results of this contest, a win for Corbyn in September now looks even more likely. Take these three things together and you get the fourth reason this is so bad for the Labour Party: it makes a split start to seem inevitable now.
The only thing that would stop it from happening sometime following September 24th is sheer hope and loyalty from members of the PLP. The dream that somehow the membership will see the light someday soon. Bear in mind, even if a split were to occur, the MPs would view it as temporary, most likely; the analogy I like to use is that they would be leaving their beloved home planet because the atmosphere there had become toxic, in order to seek temporary shelter on a nearby planet where they will devote their time and energy trying to detoxify the home world. But one has to wonder if with the NEC now in the far-left’s grip, Momentum’s momentum and the state of the membership being what it is, that the planet cannot now be saved, regardless.