Boris Johnson. Photo: Flickr/Number 10 Boris Johnson. Photo: Flickr/Number 10

Labour must get back to the priority of toppling Boris Johnson with a no confidence vote and reconnect with the movement on the streets, argues David McAllister

Johnson has thrown down a massive gauntlet. Not just to Parliament, but to all of us who have suffered under the brutality of illegitimate Tory rule. Protests have already taken place up and down the country with more to follow. There needs to be a massive response from the unions, the social movements and Constituency Labour Parties to the coup. Corbyn and Labour could give a huge impetus to this by tabling a no confidence motion in the government.

The problem is it was precisely this approach which was abandoned earlier this week in a meeting called by Corbyn with Jo Swinson, Anna Soubry and other continuity Remainers. These are people who have shown their determination to stop Brexit is only surpassed by their determination to stop Corbyn getting anywhere near Number 10.

Johnson’s coup really now ought to kill off any illusions. It should be a wake-up call to anyone on the left who has allowed themselves to be taken in by the Parliamentary manoeuvres and faux ‘opposition’ of the Lib Dems and others, which in any case were always principally designed to neuter any real radical opposition represented by the Corbyn project, reduce it to a passive lobbying operation and take any fundamental challenge to Tory rule off the table.

A Tory no-deal Brexit has clearly formed the premise on which to turbo-charge austerity. For our side, this threat can only be met with an insurgent movement in every locality which involves everyone who stands to suffer under further brutal Tory rule and their war on democracy, lays bare the real impact of neoliberalism and austerity, and demands a general election. The last thing Labour should be doing is allowing themselves to become squeezed into supporting a discredited establishment.

This is not about whether you wanted Leave or Remain.  It’s about whether you want a Tory government or a Corbyn government. That is a battle which can only be settled in the streets.

The following passage sums up well the challenge we face:

“It is time for parliamentarians to bring down his government in a no-confidence vote, paving the way for an election in which the people can express their will… History has shown that charlatans, demagogues and would-be dictators have little time for representative government. They seek ways around parliament before concluding it is an inconvenience. Mr Johnson may not be a tyrant, but he has set a dangerous precedent. He and the cabal around him who have chosen this revolutionary path should be careful what they wish for.”

This is not a left publication saying this. It is the Financial Times. When a major capitalist paper is coming out with rhetoric like this, the very least the Labour leadership should be doing is to match it. And then go further.

As well as a no-confidence vote, Corbyn and his supporters up and down the country should be working towards having a central presence on the upcoming demonstrations and, in the process, revive the insurgency on which Corbynism has always depended. That way, the direction of travel can be shifted decisively away from the dead-end of conventional Parliamentarianism, and outwards instead towards a dynamic mass movement which fights for social transformation.