Corbynistas are now fighting the man who triggered the 2006 move against Blair
Perhaps the biggest development within Labour’s antisemitism row over the weekend has been the assertion by the deputy leader, Tom Watson, that he does not follow the Corbyn line.
It sometimes feels like people have been calling for me to stand down from day one but I never, ever thought I’d be facing demands to #resignwatson for standing up for people who are facing prejudice and hate.
— Tom Watson (@tom_watson) August 5, 2018
Of all the people within the movement Watson is in a unique position because he owes his role within the party to his own mandate. He was elected deputy leader in 2015 at the same time as Corbyn won the leadership.
Corbyn is simply not in a constitutional position to sack him and Watson can remain pretty much as long as he wants. The same rules that make it so difficult to oust a party leader within Labour apply also to the deputy.
This doesn’t, however, mean that he is immune from a social media onslaught as the Tweet above suggests that he has had to endure following his remarks.
For in a biting observation over the weekend Watson warned that LAB will “disappear into a vortex of eternal shame and embarrassment” if it failed to resolve the row on antisemitism. He told the Observer that Labour should adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism in full – something Mr Corbyn is refusing to do.
Watson was always regarded as one of the key figures behind Gordon Brown and older PBers might recall the part he played in September 2006 in getting Labour’s three-times election winner, Tony Blair, to commit to an exit time-table.
Team Corbyn underestimate Watson at their peril. It is not good for them that he and Corbyn are not on the same page.
In the betting punters rate it as a 64% chance that Corbyn’s exit will be 2020 or later.