The Labour leadership election has become even more bizarre today. Len McCluskey, the leader of Unite the Union and a key Corbyn backer, has given a Guardian interview in which he suggest that the ugly behaviour of Corbyn supporters online is actually the work of the security services. He tells Decca Aitkenhead:
“Do people believe for one second that the security forces are not involved in dark practices? Decca, I have been around long enough … the type of stuff that we ultimately find out about, under the 30-year rule.”
When Aitkenhead challenges him on this, McCluskey continues:
“Well, I tell you what, anybody who thinks that that isn’t happening doesn’t live in the same world that I live in. Do you think that there’s not all kinds of rightwingers who are not secretly able to disguise themselves and stir up trouble? I find it amazing if people think that isn’t happening.”
Now, I’m clearly not living in the same world as Len McCluskey as I find it rather hard to believe that the security services are busy impersonating left-wing Twitter trolls; I suspect they have rather more important things to do. But McCluskey’s warnings do give you a sense of the atmosphere, and manner, in which this Labour leadership contest is going to be contested.
Though, it is very revealing how awkward McCluskey’s answers are when Airkenhead challenges him on whether he is just backing Corbyn to help him get re-elected as Unite General Secretary in 2018. One of the last hopes of the Labour moderates is that after he’s been re-elected, McCluskey might be prepared to help get rid of Corbyn.