Carl Sacklen

Corbyn’s Team is As Leaky As a Sinking Ship

Aboard Team Corbyn, the mutiny situation is getting more and more dire. Leaks are appearing faster than they can be dealt with and the faults threaten to sink the whole operation, along with captain Corbyn.

On Wednesday yet another ledger gushed from the lower structures of Corbyn’s campaign team, this time highlighting MPs who have crossed the leadership. This “hit-list” included deputy leader Tom Watson who called Momentum activists – essentially the die-hard Corbyn fans– a “rabble”, Jess Phillips for telling Corbyn’s ally Dianne Abbot to “F* off”, and John Woodcock for dismissing the party leader as a “f*ing disaster”. Owen Smith, who mounted a leadership challenge against Jeremy Corbyn was also denounced in the list as a “real disunity candidate” presumably because he threatens the Corbyn’s leadership of the party.

This isn’t the first time information has inadvertently escaped the confines of Corbyn’s team. When Vice followed Corbyn with a camera over a period of several weeks, the documentary revealed there was a mole in the team. Seumas Milne, senior aide to Corbyn, told Vice that “about a third of the time” the media had received advance warnings of the questions David Cameron was about to face, which Milne claimed gave the Tories an “advantage” on live television.

Nor is this the first list of MPs hostile to the Labour leadership. In March this year, the likes of Sadiq Khan and Labour Chief Whip Rosie Winterton appeared as “hostile” on a document that ranked the party’s MPs by loyalty the Corbyn. And then there’s the leaked emails between the Labour campaign to keep Britain in the EU and Corbyn’s team. They revealed an apparent resistance to include pro-EU material in a speech about worker’s rights just three days after 300 business leaders came out in favor of leaving the EU and a reluctance to campaign in favour of Britain staying in the EU, instead wanting a half-hearted “support” for a remain vote.

Yet another indication of the widening rift within the party, the leaks most likely show extreme incompetence on team Corbyn’s behalf, or that someone is trying to undermine the leadership from within. The recent leak, at a time where the party is already divided and “Blairite” is used as an insult, makes the Labour Party seem extremely intolerant and verging on authoritarian. Almost like a purge list, the leak undoubtedly makes the Labour leadership appear child-like and paranoid, and also communicates that Corbyn, who stood by the claims made in the leak, is not serious about upholding the already crumbling façade of consensus within the party.

Perhaps, with the mole leaking PMQ attack-lines in mind, have we been too harsh on Corbyn? His performance at PMQs has – bar a few weeks – been fairly shoddy but this instance of leaks raises the question to what extent his scrappiness at the dispatch box was his own fault. It also raises the question of the team’s adequacy, however.

Moreover, the leaked emails detailing conflicting motives during the EU referendum communicate to the outside that Corbyn is far from trustworthy. Saying one thing, but his team communicating something else behind the scenes, doesn’t help his image – a concept that is vital in politics.

All these leaks suggest that the party is not going to unite any time soon; either the moderates or the socialists are going to have to give, but the question is who. The ship is sinking, but who will go down with it and how long will it take?