12 May 2022
Diary of a Corbynista
by Don Urquhart
A friend sent me a cryptic email:
So Barnet was won, happy? Or not?
He was referring to the result of the council election, which had the Labour Party winning for the first time ever in the borough.
I am a Labour Party member but could not feel enthusiastic about this.
I rejoined the party in 2015 to vote for Jeremy Corbyn as party leader. I stuck with him as the majority of the Parliamentary Party tried to get rid of him. They nearly succeeded. There was a second leadership election in which he was just about included and won again even more convincingly than in the previous year. Along came the 2017 election where he so nearly succeeded. Our local candidate was ambivalent about Corbyn but I campaigned for her. She lost narrowly and only afterwards did I discover that while I was busting a gut to get her elected she had been campaigning for Corbyn critic Joan Ryan in a neighbouring borough.
But she was popular in the local party and was selected as our candidate for the 2019 election. I campaigned for her in what was now regarded as a marginal. But she didn’t get in. Barry Rawlings, the local party leader blamed anti-Semitism. My companions in canvassing were almost exclusively Jewish and all of them were Corbyn supporters. But on the doorstep people told me that they would not be voting Labour because they were Jewish. Gloria would have voted Labour had she not feared the repercussions if her neighbours found out.
Labour lost, Corbyn resigned and there was a leadership election. I voted for Rebecca Long-Bailey but most in Barnet favoured Sir Keir Starmer. He was quick to dissociate himself from the Corbyn-led Labour Party and removed the party whip from the previous leader.
A party document was leaked in early 2020. It contained clear evidence that senior party officials had actively conspired to lose the 2017 and 2019 elections. Starmer appointed Martin Forde QC to establish how the leak had occurred despite the risk of the eminent lawyer uncovering uncomfortable facts about activities aimed at losing elections. The Forde Report was finished months ago but has yet to be published.
Starmer made Barnet his flagship borough for the 2022 local elections. He launched his London campaign here and residents were deluged with literature. Social media were awash with his appearances with local activists.
The Jewish Labour Movement proclaimed that anti-Semitism had been eradicated from the Labour Party and Barnet went Labour. Barry Rawlings put their victory down to Tory failure rather than Labour brilliance.
I’ll be honest; it’s not us being wonderful.
I think a lot of Conservatives haven’t voted this time, I think they feel alienated from Number 10 and that they’ve been disappointed with Boris Johnson.
Corbyn represented the possibility of significant transfers of resources from the rich to the poor so the Establishment decided that he had to be stopped.
The Tory Party and the billionaire-owned media in which I include the BBC, in alliance with ambitious Labour MPs and officials constituted a formidable force. They succeeded in removing Corbyn as a threat to their enterprises and have replaced a decent man with a morally and intellectually bankrupt leadership.
Corbyn never uses the words “I” and “me” when presenting. Starmer’s heroic Beergate broadcast on Monday was him telling us all about his honesty and integrity. Supporters swooned and said how wonderfully refreshing it was. Detractors barfed into the nearest porcelain.
I have been admonished to support Starmer as our best chance of unseating the Tories.
But I take the view that if you choose the lesser of two evils you are still choosing evil.