September 12th, 2015 Brighton
Jeremy Corbyn has been elected as leader of the Labour Party. In the morning before the announcement, the rumours had spread round conference delegates at the Brighton Centre. But nobody believed them. The announcement of the result was first met with a deathly silence. A few delegates could be heard giggling. Some later told reporters that they were expecting the chair to declare it a joke. But after a minute or so, the silence was replaced by a flurry of hands and calls for the chair. One by one delegates stepped up to the rostrum querying the result, only to be told by a tearful chair, Jim Kennedy, that he was very sorry but the result was no joke.
The first sign of the ructions to come were when Liz Kendall, one of the defeated candidates, walked off the stage. Nobody at the conference remembered that it was almost 30 years to the day since Eric Heffer had done the same. Liz however kept on walking and was greeted outside the conference centre by her new allies in the Liz Kendall for Conservative Leader group.
This was just the start of the uproar. The rest of the days’ conference session was taken up with the increasing bitterness of a party at war with itself. Emergency motions calling for a recount were passed, only to lead to an increase in the vote for Corbyn. A hastily formed “Labour Members for Democracy” proposed a resolution to invalidate the votes of all post-May 8th members, claiming the result had been fixed by Conservative Party infiltration designed to ruin Labour. Others claimed that members of the Green Party, Left Unity and even the Socialist Party had joined Labour just to vote for Corbyn. (The Socialist Party later put out a statement denying that any of their members would join a bourgeois party, and urged every one to join the Campaign for a New Workers Party .) Labour Members For democracy said that if necessary they would use the courts to reclaim their party.
Meanwhile, from an armchair a mile up the road, Facing Reality issued the following statement “We left the SWP after some leading members conspired to cover up rape and sexual harassment by a leading member. Therefore we cannot join a party who’s leading members had covered up the sexual abuse of children in the care of various local authorities by MPs, councillors and other important Labour party figures”.
13th September 2015 : Protesters at Labour’s Conference Join Labour as most MPs leave
There were chaotic scenes outside Labour’s conference at the Brighton Centre today. A small protest march, complete with calls for a General Strike and calls for a New Workers Party, reached the conference centre at the very moment hundreds of delegates, including most MPs, were walking out. At first the delegates were greeted by calls of “come and join us!”. The few delegates still in the conference centre chanted back “come and join us!“.Those delegates who’d walked out found themselves accidentally joining a breakaway march back through Brighton echoing the previous chants demanding a New Labour Party. As they marched up the main road, the entire group accidentally ended up with a few local protesters occupying the main branch of Barclays. Delegates had no idea that their new meeting place was essentially a squat as they voted to form a new party, Great British Labour. Their first act was to expel the local squatters for crimes against property. They then phoned the police to ensure the bank was handed back to it’s rightful owners.
The few remaining delegates in the Brighton Centre continued to call out to the protesters outside the conference, some of them old comrades, to join them. Almost immediately, most members of Left Unity dropped their red and green banners and dutifully lined up at the New Member’s registration table. Members of the ISN, some of whom had only just joined the Green Party, joined the queue. Former Labour member Alan Woods could be seen passing cellotape around a small group, who were soon flashing their hastily repaired Labour membership cards at the entrance. New Socialist Worker placards arrived declaring “Be Part of Labour’s Left Turn! But Build A Fighting Socialist Alternative To Labour!”, as their members tried to make sure everyone going into the conference had the new leaflet. Finally, the Socialist Party kept up their chants from the march calling for a New Workers Party and a General Strike. Some SP members had been left trying to carry Tusc banners on their own as at least half the march had now entered the conference centre to join Labour. They tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade SWP members to help them hold the banners.
Inside the Brighton Centre there were hugs and welcomes as old comrades from the Corbyn Campaign and the protest march were united again. A hastily called press conference, headed by the Labour Party’s 17 MPs, declared that Clause 4 would be reintroduced and that it would aim to “not only end austerity but reverse it”.
14th September 2015 : Great British Labour Warns of Extremism at Westminster
Tony Blair, the new leader of Great British Labour, declared that the greatest problem facing Britain were those extremists who were out to wreck the economy as they had wrecked his former party. He held up a Labour party mug with the words “Full Communism Now!” emblazened around it’s side as evidence (Corbyn later said this was a malicious spoof) Blair called on called on the 221 Great British Labour MPs to help Mr Cameron fight extremism. “Our main task” he said “Is to work with the government to oppose extremism” and said he understood what Liz Kendall had done.
Meanwhile, though evicted from the conference centre, Labour continued to make a series of anti-austerity announcements.Each was lapped up by the press. Headlines decrying the “Spectre of Communism” screamed at passers by from every news stand. “Its like the 1980s again” declared a delighted Mr Bash, as varieties of Trotskyists tried to persuade him to join their authentic marxist caucus. Meanwhile, members of Socialist Resistance and previously invisible members of Socialist Action issued long statements about why they couldn’t be in the same caucus as each other this time round.
15th September Cameron Calls a Snap Election
After meeting with Mr Blair, the Prime Minister called a snap general election for 16th October 2015. The two leaders issued a joint statement saying it was important to give the British People the chance to reject extremist politics. He told his own party that this was their chance to prove that they were “a modern party”, a party that Liz Kendall and Nigel Farage could vote for.
Meanwhile, Mr Cameron explained to his supporters that the election was a chance to put Labour behind them forever as their party had never been in such disarray. (A few heckles about Scotland and referendums went unnoticed.) He also said that it would be fitting that the election would be held on International Bosses Day, 16th October.
Jeremy Corbyn announced that Labour would fight the election on a programme of reversing austerity and making the rich pay for their own mess.At a press conference with the SNP, Sinn Fein, the Green Party and Plaid Cymru, a Coalition of the Radical Left, or CORAL, was announced. “Coalition for Communism” shouted the next morning’s headlines – apart from the Express which revealed how Labour’s Alan Woods had conspired with Hugo Chavez to stop pensioners taking new pills to prolong life, which would bring down house prices enough tallowing the population of Romania move in next door.
16 October 2015 CORAL Election Victory
Contrary to all expectations, CORAL form a majority government after a crushing defeat for the Conservatives and Great British Labour. Tony Blair blamed a “media blackout”, claiming the BBC were only interested in the sensationalist stories about some of Labour’s new radical members. Mr Corbyn’s cabinet however was the first Labour cabinet since 1945 not to contain any former members of Trotskyist groups. The new Deputy Prime Minister, Owen Jones, later made the first two policy announcements. Firstly, there would be a full public inquiry led by Michael Mansfield QC into historic child sex abuse, with powers to prosecute all those covering up abuse.Secondly, there would be a referendum with the question “Do you want to abolish capitalism and replace it with something better?”
Meanwhile, TUSC announced that they had done better than expected in the election, and their result was “just the beginning” and “a great step forward toward building a New Workers Party”
When No Means Yes
With 61% voting “No!” to capitalism, the complaints from the yes campaign began. They claimed the campaign had been unfair as so many of their members had been arrested or had committed suicide during the child sex abuse inquiry. The CPGB declared the result meaningless, as “something better” to replace capitalism was undialectical subjectivism. The Socialist party said that they still needed a General Strike.
On the evening the result was announced, Professor Callinicos, who’s SWP had recruited 34 new members during the “No!” campaign. was surprised to get his first phone call from Mr Corbyn for many years. He’d been told that the IMF, the EU and NATO were democratic institutions and couldn’t be overturned by a simple referendum. So Mr Corbyn asked the Professor to use his previous experience and explain how “No!” can sometimes mean “Yes!”