Update #1 from Missy in the UK:
As Pete reported the other day, to no-one’s surprise – except the most politically obtuse – Corbyn won the leadership election, with an increased majority, so let the re-unification begin…. or not.
The Party Conference is bringing out all sorts of opportunities for MP’s to get in digs to Corbyn, but I am not going to cover them all here, but there have been some controversies, and a couple of main points to raise.
Corbyn hinted in his opening speech that he would not rule out de-selection, and Corbyn supporters have been more open stating that any MP who criticises or opposes Corbyn will be labelled a traitor and action will be taken against them.
On Sunday Corbyn was interviewed on Sky, and amongst his points one that came out was around an issue that is quite big here at the moment – that of the inquiry into soldiers conduct in Iraq.
Just some quick background, this has been ongoing for years, and some soldiers who have been cleared are being re-investigated, and for many the accusers are being actively sought out by lawyers who are making a lot of money off legal aid to bring these cases, even though many of the complainants have been shown to be lying, and in some cases members of the Taliban – or even ISIS. The soldiers are having to foot their legal bill themselves. There is a campaign to get the Government to stop the investigations and inquiry – and Tony Blair has also come out in support of it being stopped, despite being the reason for them being conducted.
During his interview on Sky, Corbyn has said that the inquiry should continue, and that he supports soldiers being investigated for their actions in Iraq – despite the fact that many of the complainants have been proven liars. This has not gone down well with many in the community – including a large number of Labour voters. Corbyn also stated that the Armed Forces needs to be scaled back – though to be honest if the persecution of the soldiers continue no-one will want to join, so therefore that will happen naturally.
Another thing that many are in disbelief at is that Corbyn does not understand why MI6 need to be recruiting more people. It was announced last week that MI6 will be looking to recruit up to 1000 more people by 2020. Corbyn is baffled as to why so many are needed for MI6. This has angered many in the Labour party – and outside it – saying it shows that Corbyn doesn’t understand the threats faced in the UK. The UK is currently on a Severe threat level, meaning an attack is highly likely, the only level higher is critical, meaning a threat is imminent.
Today the Shadow Defence secretary gave his speech, he was reported as being angry when Corbyn’s aids altered his speech, removing the sentence saying that there is no reason to oppose a replacement for Trident, and suggesting that Labour may still yet make it policy to abolish Trident, and not replace it.
A number of Labour MP’s have taken the opportunity of fringe meetings at the Conference to criticise Corbyn, and his supporters, many have warned that unless they move away from the hard left they risk losing very badly at the next election, and losing support to UKIP. In response to the new Labour Policy of opposing fracking, one MP said that there is no point in Labour just opposing Government, they need to be able to say what they will replace it with. Some have noted that polls indicate that Corbyn is not trusted on security matters, and they see this as an issue for the party.
Anti-semitism, sexism, and misogyny also continue to be themes from some MP’s in their speeches attacking Corbyn.