Khan calls to drop deselection

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called for supporters of Corbyn to stop calls for anti-Corbyn MPs to be deselected. Khan said;

“I think the idea of deselecting MPs is wrong” Sadiq Khan

Now this is a curious thing to say, no matter which side you sit on; surely there must be a mechanism maintained within the party to allow for deselection even if you disagree with particular individual examples?

Now I am also a little bit cautious of all of these calls for deselection and have some suspicions when I hear them coming from members of groups who have been excluded by Labour in the past; people perhaps who have an axe to grind. A lot of the attacks have a personal tone to them. In fact some sound a little like the types of attack that been levelled against Corbyn and then, rightly, criticised by his supporters.

But now that Jeremy Corbyn has won the leadership contest (again), with an increased mandate, he has won the internal debate within Labour. The party must now pull together and work progressively for change. Labour must provide a strong opposition to the Tories and build on the successes already seen under Corbyn’s leadership.

More infighting will serve only to turn people off from Labour and play in to the hands of the right wing media and the Tories.

But Khan’s comments show something deeper that I think has been bubbling away under this whole saga of the coup and the leadership challenge; essentially that there are many MPs who see it as their right to sit in the commons rather than it being a democratic duty of representation.

Anyone truly supportive of the democratic process would certainly welcome increased checks and balances, greater participation of the membership and greater power to local constituency parties.

It is not really that Corbyn’s main opponents have thought he is unelectable; they know he is electable. But they fear that Corbyn is electable on the types of policies, and the ideological position, that they oppose. They are worried that this will cost them their jobs and their positions of privilege.

As the political spectrum is in flux we are finally starting to see a growing alternative to the neoliberal ideology which has dominated the last 30 years or so of British, and Western, politics. It is understandable that politicians who have made careers, or intended to set out on careers, under pinned by this ideology are now concerned. Where will they fit in now the Labour Party has become an anti-austerity and, increasingly, socialist party? Now Labour actually has a chance to be a real alternative to the Conservatives.

All MPs, across the political spectrum, could do with a sharp reminder that they represent us. We the people. They should not be in there to serve their own interests. They are not there to help a narrow group of folk just like them. MPs are not in position to make safe career developments for the future. They are our voice in Parliament.

We need to go cautiously about calls to get rid of particular politicians; real, civil debate must not be stifled. But we need to challenge the idea that being an MP is just career choice. It should be a position that is accountable to the electorate and Party membership. MPs should not fear, and show disdain for, those who elect them as many in the Labour Party have done this summer.