In 2017, the UK Labour Party came within 2,227 votes of winning a general election, which would have resulted in Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister. Had the party won just seven more seats, it would been able to form a “progressive alliance” with other, smaller parties, excluding both the Conservatives and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) from power. A leaked report, ostensibly about the party’s response to accusations of antisemitism, shows how right-wing party staffers worked to stop that from happening. From the Independent:
The senior officials keenly watched polls during the election campaign and hoped that the party that employed them would fare badly. When one YouGov poll showed the party up during the campaign, one said: “I actually felt quite sick when I saw that YouGov poll last night.”
Another official argued that the polling bounce for the party was actually “great”, stating: “I shall tell you why, it is a peak, and the polling was done after the Manchester [terror] attack, so with a bit of luck this speech will show a clear polling decline and we shall all be able to point to how disgusting they truly are.”
The report also details large volumes of abusive discussion by senior officials about colleagues and activists from the party’s left wing. In one exchange a senior official said a young activist had “mental health issues”, to which another official chimed in: “I hope [name of activist redacted] dies in a fire.” A third said: “That’s a very bad wish [name redacted]. But if he does I wouldn’t piss on him to put him out.”
Some senior staff also joked about “hanging and burning” Jeremy Corbyn, and suggested that another staff member who cheered a speech by the party leader “should be shot”.
Ironically, the report indicates, tactics to impede the party’s progress included clandestine work stoppages and slowdowns. Also, some staffers had sought to disenfranchise party members likely to support Corbyn during leadership elections in 2015 and 2016, monitoring their social media activity for evidence that they should be banned from participating.
Around the same time, right-wing members of the Parliamentary Labour Party—that is, members of the Labour Party serving in Parliament—were orchestrating a semi-public campaign to undermine Corbyn’s leadership. As Diane Abbott, the first black woman to serve in Parliament, put it: “There was only one intention: to break him as a man.” A few months later, text messages show, right-wing party staffers tipped off a journalist after they found Abbott crying in a bathroom.
Anyway. Here is the full report. Something to ponder as Bernie Sanders endorses Joe Biden!