It is quite clear what today’s NEC results mean for the Corbynites in the Labour Party: they’ve consolidated their control over the party structures. All the candidates who won were backed by Momentum, apart from Peter Willsman, who had seen the Corbynite grassroots organisation drop its support after a recording emerged of him making anti-Semitic comments. Willsman pushed moderate candidate Eddie Izzard out and will remain on the party’s ruling body. Izzard and ‘independent left-winger Ann Black’ came 10th and 13th respectively.
Less clear is the implication for that rather nebulous group of anti-Corbynites generally known as ‘the moderates’.
One of the reasons that the implications are less clear is that this group of ‘moderates’ is quite clearly no longer a group, with a split between those who think it is imperative to stay and fight and those who are minded to leave. Acrimony is growing between the two sides, as the Plan A group of stay-and-fighters imply to their colleagues that they’d be abandoning the cause, while the Plan B Labourites suggest that their colleagues are deluding themselves that they will ever win this fight in the Labour Party.
The Plan A bunch argue that this is the darkness before the dawn, and believe that today’s results do still contain grains of hope: the moderate slate that included Izzard and Black did better in percentage terms than previously (though not well enough to win any positions).
While this might sound like the sort of optimism that even Pollyanna would mock, the Plan B MPs aren’t exactly an example of knowing what to do and getting on with it. They might say that the election of someone who has deployed explicit anti-semitism such as Peter Willsman shows that the party is over, but many of them seem to be dithering over when the best time to leave is. All of them have different ‘red lines’ for leaving, but most would privately admit that those lines have now been crossed: the onus is no longer on the party to prove that it has changed beyond recognition, but for those ‘moderate’ MPs to show that they have recognised this.