Gordon Brown has made a veiled attack (Daily Telegraph, but ‘veiled’ is used across the media including in the Guardian) on Jeremy Corbyn. So that literally means the ‘attack’ was intentionally hidden from most people who don’t obsess over the daily papers, right?
Why the studied ambivalence? Well, the former pm is seeking to provide tokenistic support for Yvette Cooper and knows his outright support for her would finally finish-off her already-failed effort. But at the same time he doesn’t want to diss important Corbyn supporters like John Trickett MP, his close aide when prime minister. Brown’s problem was always that he was super at triangulating Labour party interests in this way but hopeless at persuading voters he was a straight-talking kind of guy. That’s why he will be ignored, as he was at the last general election – most notably in Scotland.
Meanwhile, some figures on Labour’s right have been presenting two hilarious arguments. First, Corbynites are entryists who don’t respect democracy, so if Corbyn wins then democracy-respecting new Labour folk will immediately seek to overturn the democratic result by summarily removing the guy who was elected. Follow? Second, serial rebellers Corbyn and his supporters are too disloyal and irresponsible to run the party effectively, so if he wins then ‘loyal’ Labour folk will organise themselves into squad of serial rebellers against their new leader. Properly hilarious, yes?
The naked silliness of all of these notions shows that everyone’s accepted Corbyn’s imminent victory and for some the game is now about showing how your did your best to stop Corbyn while laying down some kind of justification for seeking to undermine the Labour Party from within in the coming months and years. So, essentially, the tables have been turned for now and the conventional ‘rebels’ and ‘loyalists’ have swapped places. The language games have little depth of meaning, of course. ‘Loyalists’ are, by definition, in charge and rebels aren’t.