We are briefed by the media that Jeremy Corbyn will reshuffle the Shadow Cabinet this week. Of course, they don’t call it that. Even the BBC calls it a ‘Revenge Reshuffle’. Just as Ed Miliband was consistently smeared as a brother-back-stabber, so the right wing of the LP and the corporate controlled press are wanting to associate Jeremy Corbyn with vindictiveness and spite. This is a classic advertising ploy which trades on human psychology … in fact, mammalian psychology… which is primed towards fairness. Their aim is to induce ‘disgust’ at Corbyn’s unfairness.
If this were not so detrimental to democracy, it would be hugely funny! Of all people, who would think it likely that Jeremy was spiteful? However, it is clear that it, and the rest of the media rubbish, worked to a great extent in undermining the character of a thoroughly decent man like Ed Miliband.
However, to return to my main point that Hilary Benn remaining as Foreign Secretary is a mockery. What on earth (or who on earth) made him think that he didn’t have to resign?
Yes. It was a free vote but being Foreign Secretary is rather special. We now have the lunacy of a Foreign Secretary who voted in favour of bombing Syria, opposing 75%… the vast majority… of the Parliamentary LP, the membership and the leadership (who was elected only 3m ago with an overwhelming mandate of 59%).
Hilary Benn should have resigned, just as Robin Cook did over Blair’s invasion of Iraq. He has created a totally untenable position for the LP. His decision was not some trivial matter of foreign diplomacy. He voted knowing that it meant innocent people, children and the elderly, would die as collateral damage. And he did so, knowing that the overwhelming majority of the membership, the PLP and the leadership, did not support his position.
To add salt to the wound (although I’m very glad of it), it is perfectly obvious that this was a trap set by Cameron to split the Labour Party… the British bombers have seen very little action because they were not needed, and there was none of the faux-urgency that Cameron pretended.
To be clear, Hilary Benn may have been honestly persuaded by the arguments (however weak) and obviously he should follow his conscience … but that same conscience should have told him to offer his resignation as Foreign Secretary before, or at least, after the vote. He has compounded the error, either accidentally or on purpose, by allowing the profoundly serious matter of bombing Syria to be turned into another opportunity for Corbyn-bashing.