The much-derided state visit of Donald Trump to the United Kingdom has brought out some wonderful examples of British solidarity, humour and general opposition to inflated pompous buffoonery and international warmongering.
However, a second thread has begun to develop surrounding the actions of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who quite rightly boycotted the state dinner with the Arse-in-Chief and joined today’s protest in London. This narrative suggests that Corbyn’s actions are in aid of “the Metropolitan elite” and not in the interests of the working class north.
A tweet from Fire Brigades Union official Paul Embery, who absurdly describes himself as “blue Labour”, supported an earlier article by Robert Peston who suggested the same thing. Nobody ever accused “blue Labour” of original thinking.
The position is one that on the face of it is designed to, as usual, suggest that Labour is out of touch with the northern working class, a line that has been pushed by extremist no-deal Brexiteers and general Corbyn opponents alike. However, the suggestion is far graver than that as it suggests that the entire north is standing in support of the racist, Islamophobic, homophobic and misogynistic policies of Trump, policies they support through being working class.
“[They] did not wish Labour to become the party of the lefty London middle classes. So it is a bit confusing that Labour’s leader has chosen not only to boycott the state banquet for Donald Trump tonight, but tomorrow he’ll be the most important speaker at the anti-Trump rally. Because in being the figurehead for the anti-Trump movement Corbyn is playing explicitly to the metropolitan middle class gallery.”Robert Peston
The suggestion that the working class are beholden to the far-right is not only offensive but dangerously untrue. Perhaps Peston and Embery would like to tell their thoughts to the protestors in Manchester yesterday.
Or perhaps to the Liverpool fans who renamed Margaret Thatcher Square in Madrid as “Jeremy Corbyn Square” prior to their victory in the Champions League Final on Saturday.
And perhaps our blue duo have forgotten all too quickly exactly how Warrington (by way of a man from Blackburn) responded to Tommy Robinson just a month ago.
And how Bury responded.
And let’s take a moment to appreciate Nigel Farage in Newcastle.
It’s ironic that the likes of Peston and Embery are in fact the ones who are showing the true levels of elitism, suggesting that only those in London can possibly be anti-far-right and anything outside of the M25 is populated by Trump supporting wildlings. Their comments insult not only every socialist in the north but the many thousands who have protested and taken action against the far-right.
“Manchester has a long history of radical politics, opposition to fascism and free thinking. You only have to look back at things such as Peterloo to see that.”Michala Hulme
The north has a long and proud tradition of socialist unity and anti-far-right activism.
Manchester and Liverpool may not like each other much but in terms of the far-right and socialism, they stand united. In just one example, a 2018 article by the Manchester Evening News tells of how Manchester ejected Oswald Mosley’s attempts to turn the city into a fascist stronghold and Liverpool isn’t known as The People’s Republic of Liverpool for nothing.
These comments serve to attempt to not only drive a wedge between different sections of the Labour Party but insidiously promote Trump and the far-right as the choice of the working class.
Far from being a “middle-class, liberal Londoners” position, opposition to Donald Trump is in-fact the position of the substantial majority of the British public. A poll conducted by YouGov on behalf of ITV found last year that a landslide 77% of Britons have an unfavourable view of Donald Trump.
By standing against Trump, Jeremy Corbyn is abiding by the greatest traditions of the Labour Party and the Labour movement. From a working-class base, he stands against reactionary right-wing forces in the interests of society as a whole, standing in unity and solidarity with the position of the majority of the British public. Much like with Corbyn’s policy on issues such as nationalisation, forces opposed to socialism are attempting merely to deny the fact that the public agrees with the position he has taken.
Socialists and supporters of Corbyn, both in the north and elsewhere, must combat this spreading and dangerous untruth that the north is beholden to the forces of the far-right and make it absolutely clear that the north stands both proudly socialist and proudly anti-fascist.