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By M. Babajide-Alabi
After Jeremy Corbyn, the United Kingdom Labour Party leader, was dealt a below the belt punch by his party faithfuls during the debate on whether UK should get involved in the air bombardment of terrorists’ targets in Syria or not, it seemed he was not ruffled. His appearance looked cool but to political observers it was obvious the punch had landed in an awkward place on his leadership. As a result everybody expected after effect of this “wrong turn” by loyalists.
Corbyn, as the leader, definitely has the option of throwing a good and final punch to defeat the seeming rebellion against his leadership. Redeeming his leadership, according to observers, was to do away with the few turn coats in his shadow cabinet. Therefore, speculations were rife all through the Christmas and New Year that Corby was planning a reshuffle to achieve this.
Immediately after the victory of Prime Minister David Cameron, and the support given for the air strikes, by some Labour front benchers there was no disputing the fact that there would be some repercussions. Corbyn, besides being the opposition leader had never hid his dislike for any UK involvement in bombing IS targets in Syria. This is understandable, realising the fact that Corbyn was a prominent figure in the Stop The War coalition. Prior to the debate, he was said to have toyed with the idea of imposing his wish on the party, but had to restrain himself to avoid a further “washing of dirty linen” in public. This did not however deter some of his shadow ministers to openly criticise the leader and support the Tory sponsored bill. The rest of the story is history.
However, against the run of expectations, Corbyn’s much touted reshuffle punch only managed to “stagger a few”. The most celebrated of the “sack” was of Pat MacFadden, the former shadow Europe Minister, one of the front benchers who openly supported Britain’s air strike in Syria. It will be recalled that MacFadden had condemned the Stop the War Coalition, which Corbyn used to chair, as being insensitive with its comments that the Paris attack was as a result of the military action against terrorism by the French government.
MacFadden was quoted as saying the labour leader informed him that he took the criticism as attack on his person. It was obvious that if he had no intention of a direct personal attack, Corbyn did take it personal. This sack has effectively ended the “good run” of this promising politician, for now.
The list of ministers, as drawn up by the public was far longer than what the leader eventually came up with. Hilary Benn, the shadow foreign secretary was among the names bandied around for sack. The speculation of his sack was not far fetched after his “infamous” speech in the Parliament that literarily rubbished his leader’s stand. In the speech, Benn had specifically rallied his party members to vote for UK’s intervention in Syria in order “to confront the evil.”
Benn was spared. This “miraculous” escape from the punch of Corbyn had triggered some comments of his being muzzled and made to give his word not to criticise the leader’s position in future. As expected, Benn had denied this report, saying he did not do anything out of the ordinary to keep his job. It is obvious that he will need more than a mere statement to clear the air on his new found support for the leadership. The Guardian UK quoted him as saying: “I’m going to be carrying on doing my job exactly as before, which is speaking for Labour on foreign policy, supporting Jeremy Corbyn and campaigning really hard to get Labour elected at the next general election.”
His mission to get Labour elected at the next general elections will indeed prove a very difficult task for him and other loyal members. It is no doubt that the party is a hard sell right now. Something really radical has to be done to win the public’s sympathy back.
There is little sense of fence mending in the Labour Party after the reshuffle. Rather, the Labour leader has been variously criticised as being vindictive with his “singling out” MacFadden and the others for the “chops.” The sack in the cabinet has also brought out the lingering crisis in the party. The “live on TV” resignation of Stephen Doughty, the foreign affairs minister and of two other ministers in protest against the sack of their principals cannot and should not be underplayed.
The puzzle among observers is how Jeremy Corbyn hopes to bring the party members together before the next election to rally support for a shot at 10 Downing Street. It seems he has a bigger headache than Ed Miliband, and his head is not as big as Ed’s..
THE LATEST ISIS’ PLOT
It is not every day ISIS releases videos of their activities. But when it does, the maximum impact and reaction are what these terrorists expect. There is no doubt that the propaganda machine of this evil organisation works round the clock sourcing materials that would make viewers “flinch” and also where possible gain more sympathy for their dying cause.
After a lull in their publicity activities following the recent pounding of their bases and the loss of some key officers of the group, ISIS came up with another shocking propaganda video last week. The unique thing about this latest propaganda video is that it is directed towards the UK authorities. There was no disguising the fact that ISIS do have issues to sort out with the UK. In the video, a man with clear British accent named Cameron and called him unprinted names as he accused him of dancing to the dictates of the United States in the fight against terror.
The most striking aspect of the video is the child making threat against those he called “kaffir”. He, definitely is a remarkable child with lots of balls. However, his action definitely had not gone down well with his grandfather who was shocked to see him on television.
The Nigerian grandfather’s blood pressure must have risen above normal when he saw his five year old grandson on the TV making threats to the world. I can not imagine what went through the mind of this man when the image of this kid came on.
However, his pain could not be disguised as he narrated to the media his betrayal by a daughter who decided to bring shame to the family. Identified as Sunday Dare, I watched with pity as he struggled to exonerate his beloved jihadist grandson from any blame. His line that the grandson does not like it in Syria was a feeble attempt to redeem the child in the court of public opinion.
This boy portrays the new generation of future terrorists. And the unfortunate thing is he has Nigerian blood in him. But one is consoled that his game is far above Boko Haram. So no direct threat to Shekau’s leadership.
Published in the Sunday Vanguard of January 10, 2016. CLICK HERE