The anti-Corbyn wing of the Labour Party has decided to deploy the language of neo-McCarthyite conspiracy in its internecine struggle. Having already called for Corbyn to step down in the aftermath of the Brexit vote and a vote of no-confidence by his own party, deputy leader Tom Watson has now sent an open letter to Corbyn warning of instances of “entryism” by “Trotskyist” sects within the pro-Corbyn movement, Momentum. Although he is explicit that this does not amount to a “conspiracy theory,” Watson’s declaration would perhaps be the first time in history in which whiffs of Trotskyism were not meant to defame a broader political movement and debase the quality of public debate.
The fact remains that the anti-Corbyn wing of the Labour Party is reeling from the ever-likely prospect that its membership will contradict the dictates of party leaders and stick with Corbyn in the upcoming leadership elections. On September 24, party members will be asked to choose between Corbyn and the MP Owen Smith, in an election that has been rightly understood as a referendum on Corbyn’s anti-Blairite, anti-austerity platform. If recent polling and a court decision that blocked party efforts to ban new members from the voting booths are any indication, September 24 will be a bad day for the Blairites.