Len McCluskey: ‘Who’s going to be the king? Which one’s Corbyn, and which one’s us?’
Excellent – “McCluskey thinks all the talk of abuse and intimidation has been wildly exaggerated. “Well, there’s a hysteria being whipped up. A few people say things they shouldn’t at meetings and then it’s blown up out of all proportion, to suit the imagery that the Labour party has somehow become a cesspit.” He is gloomier about the online abuse. “God knows how you can control social media. I know the more vicious elements hide their identities… But how can you control them? Who are they?”
His answer is unexpected. McCluskey thinks the ugly online abuse of Corbyn’s critics is posted by security forces trying to discredit his supporters. Registering my surprise, he exclaims, “Of course! Of course! 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.” He thinks that in 30 years we’ll discover that MI5 was behind the social media threats?
“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.”
Another surprise comes when I read out statements that two former shadow ministers have released to explain why they resigned. Both describe in anguished detail the impossibility of serving a leader who refuses to communicate or collaborate on any coherent strategy. McCluskey’s face crinkles into contempt. “Wow, so someone in Jeremy’s office made the odd mistake,” he sneers. “I think this is all disingenuous. Jeremy gave them their dream jobs. Where’s the loyalty?”